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Internets, I've supported washed up rappers seeking out alternate forms of income since Cappadonna wa

Life in a Shanty Town

January 17 · Issue #164 · View online
The hip-hop newsletter that's not afraid to ask the tough questions

I’ve supported washed up rappers seeking out alternate forms of income since Cappadonna was driving a cab, so it goes without saying that I was proud to see Young Joc driving an Uber and Ja Rule offering to do people’s taxes.
I wish I could find another prominent recent example, so that this would be an official trend per the New York Times’ rule, but ironically, I don’t have the time to scour the Internets for anything that’s not a picture of a certain kind of woman, because I’m out here trying to put food on my family.
I know what it’s like to be in the struggle. I’ve cultivated a sense of empathy in my old age. (It just doesn’t seem like it.)
Some inconsiderate woman captured video of Young Joc driving an Uber and posted it on her Instagram story. There isn’t any indication that she had his consent to film him or to post it on social media, which is something to keep in mind when the Russell Simmons hit piece premieres on Apple’s streaming service next week.
In the video, Young Joc’s fares immediately recognize him, despite the fact that he’s facing forward, wearing a pink hoodie. They’d recognize that voice anywhere, because they probably still listen to his music on the reg. Also, Uber gives the passenger the driver’s government name, right, in case he commits some weird sex crime? They probably know Young Joc’s government name.
Aside from that time he got a perm, I hadn’t so much as thought of Young Joc since the mid ‘00s, and I’d imagine that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s now driving an Uber. It’s important to keep in mind that the year 2006 was not in the last decade, but the decade before that. Young Joc is as irrelevant now as Melle Mel was back when Joc himself was poppin’ back in the '00, at least mathematically speaking.
A few especially committed Young Joc fans on Twitter are suggesting that he wasn’t driving Uber but rather some Uber competitor that he co-owns. Pull Up and Ride, or something to that effect. I’m assuming the source of this erroneous information was Joc himself, in the comments section on Instagram. When he said that he owns his own rideshare service, he may have meant it in the sense that every Uber driver, in a sense, owns his own company. They’re required to provide their own healthcare, like bloggers for mid '00s-era XXL.
Ja Rule, meanwhile, is offering to do people’s taxes. On Twitter, he posted a flyer from one of these sketchy income tax preparation companies that set up shop in an abandoned Payless Shoes for like four months out the year, beginning in January. They usually pay some recovering drug addict to dress up like the Statue of Liberty and stand on the side of the road holding a placard. Ja Rule is at least fortunate that all he has to do is post a flyer on social media.
Ja is also claiming to be a co-owner of the company he’s been reduced to working for in his old age, but I’m not buying it. Certainly, if/when this company gets caught filing fraudulent tax returns in the names of the elderly and having the refund checks sent to a FedEx Office, he’ll claim that he had no idea what they were up to, and he was never really an owner, he just pretended to be on social media.
I read somewhere once that they’re all owned by the same company, even though they look like they were put together using chewing gum and a shoestring, by someone who just got off a boat. They make their money not by charging people $20 or whatever to do their taxes, but by extending payday loans to hoodrats who can’t afford to wait until those refund checks come out.
According to a guy I used to work with at Warehouse #1, hoodrats, if they’ve got—or can claim—enough kids, receive into the five figures annually in tax refunds, i.e. as much as I make in a year applying packing tape to cardboard boxes. Income tax preparation joints like the place where Ja Rule now works let you get that money a few weeks early, in exchange for like 30% of it.
Knowing Ja Rule, the best case scenario is that all this place does is charge exorbitant interest for payday loans disguised as tax refund checks. I definitely wouldn’t entrust them with my personal information, the fact that I don’t have any money to steal notwithstanding, nor am I willing to believe that Ja Rule does his own taxes, let alone anyone else’s. Lest we forget, Ja Rule did like three years in prison for tax evasion. How is even allowed to do other people’s taxes?
Ja Rule and Young Joc both could find better jobs, but the most important thing is that they’re no longer pursuing careers in music. I’d suggest that younger rappers follow their lead, but so many of them seem to be going to jail or dying from drug overdoses—which only seems tragic if you’ve never been a middle-aged man walking around on a concrete floor all day, feeling your hips, knees and ankles crumble beneath you.
Take it easy on yourself,

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