How Lil Wayne and Rick Ross Lost: When Hip-Hop Polices Itself

How rap fans demanded more of artists and their lyrics by attacking their branding deals.

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April protest in New York City for Reebok to fire Rick Ross (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Billboard breaks down the trend of hip-hop fans holding MCs accountable for inappropriate lyrics and ads, versus the days of C. Delores Tucker and gangsta rap when the accusations came from outside of the hip-hop community.

The women who took Rick Ross down -- for a lyric about drugging a girl and "enjoying" her -- were longtime hip-hop fans, still raw from the verdict in the Stubenville rape case in which two high school boys had sex with an unconscious girl in front of a crowd of classmates. Source magazine alumni dream hampton and Kierna Mayo used their platforms (Twitter and Ebony.com, respectively) to call for Ross's head in their battle against "rape culture"; and it was an article on Ebony.com by Jamilah Lemieux, another woman raised on hip-hop, that caught the eye of Nita Chaudhary, founder of the women's rapid response political action group, Ultraviolet -- which ultimately launched the most visible action against Reebok, including a protest at their New York flagship store. Chaudhary, 33, grew up in a Harlem neighborhood she references wryly as "featured prominently in the gunfight scene in 'Juice,'" the film debut of Tupac Shakur. Chaudhary went to high school in the Bronx and counts herself as a hip-hop fan.

"For us and our members," she said this week, "this is not a hip-hop problem. This is an American problem."

Read more at Billboard.

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