A Hard Knock Night

Flossing and fighting with the Roc-A-Fellas

Although the injury of a police officer is an extreme instance, flying champagne bottles are not uncommon in the art of flossing. In an MTV interview last year, Ghostface Killah of the Wu Tang Clan crew addressed the issue of fans showing off at clubs by saying, "Those cats be worse than bitches, waving expensive bottles of Cristal and Moët like they got money, just so we can see them and let them run with our crew."

This kind of fronting by clubgoers is nothing new to Bleek, who addresses the topic at length on his latest release, Understanding. Bleek's sophomore effort debuted at number one on the Billboard charts this past December, lifting the up-and-coming rapper out of the shadow of Roc-A-Fella founder and platinum-seller Jay-Z (Shawn Carter). As head Roc-A-Fella lyricist, Jay-Z has illustrated over the years that his crew, unlike others in the rap industry, has the right to floss. "I ain't running through the club on some loco shit," raps Bleek on "Hustler," setting the tone with which he and the rest of the Roc-A-Fella clique call out those who front. On "Do My..." Bleek breaks down who can and cannot floss: "The ladies know the difference between dem niggaz and us." The Roc-A-Fellas are not just talking about rival MCs but about the men showing off at clubs. But what's wrong for them is all good for us: "If my niggaz run it/let 'em know you still gunning/Throw a drink in the air/let 'em know you still thugging." By waving dollar bills and champagne bottles, the crowd on South Beach may just have been following the Roc-A-Fella's cue. The folks outside the club have to prove they are not the scrubs Bleek is rhyming about. They have to show they are the real deal.

Of course Memphis Bleek did not directly inspire any violence. As Norris reported, the rapper was secluded from the incident in his own VIP section, enjoying his own champagne (no word on whether it was Cristal or Moët) and waiting to perform. "I'm a promoter and like to keep the artists I bring protected from situations like that," said Norris. "He didn't know until I told him back in his hotel room that there was even a fight."

"Bleek did not know anything," agreed Georgina Prentice of the Roc-A-Fella management team. "Bleek felt bad about what happened and wants to make it up to the people that did not get to see him perform." High & Mighty and Roc-A-Fella Records plan to put on a repeat performance in February, featuring the entire Roc-A-Fella roster. Hoping to prevent further incident, Norris plans to enforce a dress code and charge an even higher ticket price. Still, with mo' money comes mo' flossing.

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