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Topic: In The News
Submitted By: 1boss
Date Submitted: 01-22-14

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Mister Cee Comes Clean About His Secret Double Life


There are some uneasy moments now, sure. One recent Friday evening he played Buju Banton's “Boom Bye Bye” on air—a song about murdering gay men. Hip-hop has largely embraced Cee, at least publicly, but some behave differently behind closed doors. “I do understand Cee's fear, and I'll never say the rappers' names,” Flex says, but “my relationship has changed with a few rappers.” Hot 97 still routinely spins the North Carolina artist J. Cole, who on his last album rapped: The same reason they call Mister Cee “the Finisher” / Forbidden fruit, watch for the Adam's apple! (Cee: “J. Cole, if you're reading this: I have forgiven you for the ‘Forbidden Fruit’ line, and we can move on.”) He remains one of the foremost boosters of a genre that can still sometimes sound as confused about its attitudes toward gay men and women as Cee is himself.

But then there are the moments that have been surreal in an entirely different way. Cee says Big Daddy Kane called just the other day to ask, only half-jokingly, “You ready to come back on the road?” Kane, Cee says, “is not the most expressive person when it comes to saying ‘I love you.’ And within the past two years, that's all he's been saying to me.” The past is being rewritten before his eyes.

In our booth at the restaurant, I ask if Biggie would've understood, had this happened twenty years ago. “Oh, I know that,” Cee says instantly. “I know Big stands next to me. I have no question in my mind.”

I ask him why he's so sure, and he says it's because they were friends, first, but also because hip-hop is such a transparent thing to those who've lived it: “You know who's phony, you know who's hypocritical, you know who's real.” Cee is real.

And anyway, “who's going to really keep the memory of those people alive, the Bigs and the Pacs and the Aaliyahs and the Big Puns and the Big Ls and the Freaky Tahs and so on and so forth—who's going to keep their memory alive the way that I do it?”

The answer is no one, though one wonders about a life spent so deeply in the past, when the present is as confusing and rich and unknown as his is. Then he smiles, and the smile matches the smile on his black T-shirt: Richard Pryor, grinning, next to the words you can kiss my happy black ass!

“So not only do I feel like Big has my back,” Cee says. “I feel like every person that I have ridden for in their afterlife—I think they got my back as well.”

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