During a conversation with rapper-turned-podcaster Joe Budden on his Instagram Live show Zone Radio, Beatz said hip-hop pioneers like DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash are owed a cut of the massive earnings pulled in by today's rap stars.
"I wanna raise a million dollars for each icon that started hip-hop, Kool Herc on down. The fact that we're not paying taxes on who started hip-hop shows that we don't f**king really love hip-hop. The fact that we don't pay taxes as artists to those icons that paved the way, took the lower cut for the music that allow us to feed our families. … We need to be paying taxes to the creators of hip-hop that gave us freedom of speech to go forward,” Beatz told Budden.
Beatz is one of the minds behind the wildly popular Verzuz battles that have dominated Instagram over the last two months.
The battles have drawn millions of viewers and increased streams and sales for artists who have participated and have brought legendary music to a new generation of listeners.
Part of what spurred the conversation about hip-hop taxes was a discussion of how Verzuz was reviving a widespread love and appreciation for past generations of music.
Beatz spoke about how he wanted to do battles centered around verses from legendary artists like LL Cool J, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and Busta Rhymes. The conversation moved to the idea that legendary rappers of the past have not received their due and that they deserved a cut of the wealth being accrued by the current generation of rhymesayers.
“Every new deal that gets signed, 1% or half a percent should go towards rapper reparations,” Budden said in response, adding that it should become a standard the way 360 deals are now an industry standard.
Beatz's intentions are admirable, but it's safe to say the consensus was he may need to return to the drawing board with his desired form of homage.
We get the sentiment but not listening to your elders? We can't do all that now, buddy.
Swizz Beats said today’s rappers must pay taxes to the OG’s that started hip hop?!?! This is why old heads need to stop talking
— *^! (@yvessainttiiamo) May 13, 2020
This dude spotted a reach.
Swizz Beats said young rappers should pay “taxes” to the hip hop legends who helped start hip hop.
Said they signed bad contracts so the younger generation could thrive.
I say bullshit. They signed those contracts because they didn’t know wtf they were doin.
— Wave God ???? (@TeejSmoothDude) May 13, 2020
The gray area is always key...and so is the precedent.
Noble cause, but the number of people in hip hop that could actually afford to maintain their lifestyle, and pay a tributary “tax” to the forefathers is slim. Maybe he should cut a check to set the example ????????♂️.
— Quantum Wave (@dame314dash) May 14, 2020
swizz really think rappers need to pay taxes to hip hop founders? damn i didn’t know ideas could be worse than his beats
— omyawn (@omyawn) May 13, 2020
All eyes on you, Swizz.
If that's the case EVERY rapper after 1980 should be paying taxes to the late 70s generation that started hip hop! So go ahead Swizz set the example????
— Balyztyk (@balyztyk) May 14, 2020
Just last week, Verzuz announced that on May 16, there would be a battle between rappers Nelly and Ludacris.
— Verzuz (@verzuzonline) May 12, 2020