articles: Word from the Inside


C-Lig: The Chameleon Homie – Part 3

By a Gossiping Bitch on March 26th, 2004




C-Lig: The Chameleon Homie - Part 3

Two particular periods in C-Lig’s career require more than a cursory glance. The first of these is known to the homeboy community simply as the “Hammer Years”. Ask even a fringe member of any posse about this period, and the reaction you are likely to draw is one of fondness and wistfulness. For posse lifers, this period was the high tide mark, comparable to what the ’70’s was for swingers, or what the mid to late ’90’s was for dot com investors, or what our current times are for people who build bombs and shit. The mere mention of MC Hammer’s name brings tears to C-Lig’s face, and the memories flow just as easily.

“The man employed every motherfucker he ever met,” C-Lig recalls. “No one ever did more for my people than Hammer. I remember when I first caught up with him. This was back around the ‘Let’s Get It Started’ days, you know? I told him the first thing he needed to do was drop that fat motherfucker that was his hype man then. I mean, it was hard for me to say, because I got love for all those cats, but he was weighing Hammer down — not only figuratively, but my man would literally weigh down the tour bus. Of course, later on, Hammer would end up replacing him with dude that had an arrowhead haircut, so maybe that wasn’t such a hot idea.”

Leaving aside the number of lives destroyed by C-Lig during the Hammer Years, the power he wielded over Hammer’s career is astonishing in and of itself. For instance, C-Lig’s impact on Hammer’s lyrics came almost instantly.

“I told him, ‘Look, all these motherfuckin’ rappers be talking about their DJ or their bitches or whatever the fuck. You need to set yourself apart. You need to shout out the posse. Show that love for the people who made you what you are.’ And he came back like, ‘Word, C-Lig, you so smart and dope. And you dress good and shit, and you get more girls than I do. But yeah, you right, the posse is what made me what I am: an employer of a posse.'”

Thus, lyrics such as “My posse’s ever rollin'” and “Go posse, go posse, go posse, go” (“That shit used to be just, ‘Go Hammer, go Hammer, go Hammer, go’ before I hooked up some rewrites,” C-Lig shamelessly brags) were incorporated into Hammer’s high-energy party rhymes. Of course, the height of Hammer’s popularity came upon the release of his greatest hit “U Can’t Touch This”, and the subsequent whirlwind of genie pants, world tours, and television appearances. C-Lig was there for all of it.

“I was on Arsenio several times. I was on stage at the MTV Awards drinking Pepsi. Shit, I did more dancing in that time than I ever did in my life. And I can’t dance for shit! Not like Hammer, at least. But he was like, ‘Come on, C-Lig, we need more people on stage! More motherfuckers on stage! With the big pants on, no one will be able to tell how you dance, anyway. Besides, you so cool, you could just stand there and be the shit, C.’ So, I got up there a few nights and did my thing, you know.”

But America grew tired of MC Hammer, and the rapper soon found himself struggling to maintain the lifestyle that the thousands on his payroll had become accustomed to. Paying people to be his yes men was to be Hammer’s downfall. On his way to bankruptcy, Hammer attempted several style switching comebacks, urged on by a desperate C-Lig, who suggested everything from Gangsta Rap (“Even I had to laugh at that one”), Poolside Playa Rap (“On the ‘Pumps and a Bump’ video shoot, everyone was just trying to stay away from Hammer’s dick”), Gospel Rap (“Sweet Jesus, that went to shit”), and Jingoistic Rap (“Yo, that America, red, white, and blue, fuck Osama shit can get you paid! I mean, it didn’t get us paid, but still”). Finally, C-Lig gave up, declaring, “Hammertime is up!”

Luckily for C-Lig, as the Hammer Years were coming to an end, a new era was just beginning. Because of it, posse members have stayed paid for over a decade. Unlike the Hammer Years, the scope of this period is worldwide. It became known to professional lackeys as the Wu Era.

Boasting inconsequential members from the U.S. to the Far East, the Wu-tang Clan’s extended family has taken the all-inclusive approach to posse building. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a career posse member who has not been a part of the Wu at some point. For C-Lig, membership in the Wu started around 1996 at 36 Chambers Studios.

“I was waiting outside the studio with a six pack of Heineken and an old Algebra book I had,” acknowledges C-Lig. “The book was from like high school and shit, and it still had the paper cover that the teacher makes you put on there. So, with a Sharpie I wrote ‘Lessons’ on the book cover. I think it was Masta Killa or somebody who came by and noticed it and commented on how I was probably not ‘an 85’, and that I should come inside with them. Once I was in there with the Clan, they were all reciting math shit and playing video games. Well, when the math club style cypher rotation got to me, I had to say some shit. Before that, I had looked at a couple of pages of the book, so I was ready. I was like, ‘When factoring second-degree polynomials, apply the AC test for factorability. Matrix multiplication is not commutative. Depending on A and B, either AB or BA could not be defined, or defined but of different dimensions, or of the same dimension but AB still unequal to BA.’ After I was done, they were just staring at me, and I got real nervous. So, I said, ‘Uh, cypher divine, gods.’ Then they were like, giving me pounds and yelling, ‘Word, word!'”

Word life. Upon knowledging the gods about the teachings of the righteous, C-Lig was christened the 1,249th member of Wu-tang. This gave him privileges such as full stage access at all their performances (“It was like Hammer’s show in terms of how many motherfuckers were up there. But no one had to dance or do anything! I was like, hip-hop has come a long way.”), a solo album deal (which never materialized for C-Lig), and membership in GZA’s book of the month club. It was at one of these club meetings where C-Lig got a chance to speak at length with the “head” of the Wu.

“I was mad because I thought we could milk this Wu thing for all it was worth. Wu-tang Forever was about to drop, but what was gonna happen after that? So, I was thinking I should approach some of the members about this. GZA was the first. He had been talking to me about how fucked up his first solo deal was at Cold Chillin’ and how they expected him to make bullshit love rap songs, and I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s some bullshit, those devils got some nerve.’ Anyway, the conversation got around to future plans, and he was telling me how RZA was so busy that he’d probably be less available to the members on their next shits. That’s when I replied, ‘The fuck you need RZA for?'”

“The fuck you need RZA for?” became an often-repeated phrase of C-Lig’s in his dealings with members of the Wu. To him, more solo albums meant more tours, which in turn meant more opportunities for posses. He found a receptive audience in members such as U-god, Raekwon, and Cappadonna. Out of habit, he even accidentally used the phrase when speaking to RZA himself.

“RZA used to say ‘dude’ a lot around that period,” C-Lig recollects. “And he stuttered too, of course. So, he was like, ‘Du-du-du-du-dude, I am the RZA! What you talking about?’ And then he was trying to say something else, but all that came out was that ‘du-du-du-du’ shit. Then he got quiet for a minute, like he was thinking to himself. He finally said, ‘Son, yo, you might have a point.’ That’s the story about how Bobby Digital was born.”

Consequently, the members of the Wu drifted apart — some to prison, some to zany college movies. Still others to doomed nightclub promotion ventures that offer free Courvoisier. And that’s the story of how Wu-tang Clan became irrelevant.

Through the years, C-Lig has found steady work training hype men. “You know,” C-Lig amplifies, “that ‘say ho!’, ‘throw your hands up!’ shit.” His greatest success was his work with Lauryn Hill’s hype man from the Miseducationperiod. Through his wild dancing and crowd pleasing chants, the hype man helped breathe life into the ex-Fugee’s live performances and videos. The hype man, who refused to give his name, spoke to GB about C-Lig’s mentorship.

“Throw your hands up to the sky! Throw your hands up to the sky! Come on, come on, come on, come on! If you want to party with us, say Yeaaaaaah! Say Hell Yeaaaaaah! So, um, yeah, C-Lig taught me everything I know about this hype game: how to accentuate all the shit that the rapper says, how to get the crowd amped, how to load and unload the equipment from the trucks — all that shit. It’s too bad that Lauryn went all crazy on me. I mean, I don’t know how the hell I’m supposed to hype up bad guitar playing, crying, and speeches about white babies. If you have any motherfucking suggestions, let me the fuck know. But yeah, I owe it all to C-Lig, no doubt.”

As for the current crop of no-name posse members, C-Lig is rather unflattering in his assessment. “You have that Phantom of the Opera fool in Nelly’s crew. That guy is an embarrassment. You got the G-g-g-g-g-ay Unit, who need to rap as little as possible. That’s something only the Yayo dude has figured out — the less you rap, the more props you get. Going to prison is the best thing that can happen to a crew member. You got Memphis Bleek, who they keep trying to put on every year. It’s like, motherfucker, you one of us! Just accept it and get on with the business of telling talented people what they should be doing. I don’t know, man. These young ones today don’t have no respect for the game. All trying to be up in everything. That’s why I’m moving towards the pro athlete posse world. I already have some experience in that field. Since I was one of the major players in getting the Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” made, a lot of wannabe rapper athletes have turned to me for advice. Deion Sanders, Roy Jones, Chris Webber, Kobe [Bryant], [Allen] Iverson — all those motherfuckers. I told Iverson, ‘Let these fucking faggots know what time it is!'”

It was due to these anti-gay and other hardcore lyrics that the NBA applied pressure on Iverson, and his rap album went unreleased. However, overall, teams in the league have been receptive to posses, even including clauses in player contracts providing for individual posse members in the event of a career ending injury.

How C-Lig has been able to go from crew to crew undetected has been a previously unexplained phenomenon. Ask any rap artist or other head of a crew about this and the only answer you’re likely to receive is, “He just seems like one of us.” As this Gossiping Bitch sat with C-Lig to discuss his life, it became clear what these people were describing. When the subject of future plans came up, C-Lig said that he was going to attend the Scribble Jam event in August, because there were great opportunities there for a man of his talents. As he went on discussing Scribble Jam, his skin began lightening appreciably. In addition, his voice became increasingly emotive, until he was practically in tears. He also grew testy at any perceived slight at white rappers, saying that they were the only ones “pushing the culture forward.” Among industry insiders, C-Lig is known as the Chameleon Homie, and the reason for this was seen right before this Gossiping Bitch’s eyes. He has the ability to blend in with any crew, regardless of race, region, or even sexual orientation, as his current Dipset affiliation suggests.

The life of C-Lig is a study in what killed hip-hop. Artists have had their actions dictated to them by the man, and have suffered the consequences. By the time they’re in jail, or in bankruptcy, or in court, C-Lig is on to the next victim. All rappers would do well to heed this warning from the GBs: there are more like C-Lig out there, and these people will run your career into the ground if given the opportunity. Your boy that’s eating your cereal, sleeping on your couch, sitting next to your engineer, cashing your check, smoking your herb? Believe it or not, he just might be your worst enemy. He just might be C-Lig himself. When will your Hammertime be up?

When dealing with these bloodsucking freaks, we suggest you follow this Hammer line, taken completely out of context, and tell them…

Go posse, go posse, go!

This is PART 3 of a 3 part series. While it is the final portion of this report, the GB’s will keep you informed upon any future C-Lig sitings, since the man remains at large.

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