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Walking and Talking

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Over the last few weeks, I've been giving plenty of space to rising rapper Yo Gotti. Now it's time to give a little play to his rival, Miscellaneous.

The two have been feuding -- mostly via MemphisRap.com -- over the authorship of two singles, "D-Boy" and "Memphis Walk." Miscellaneous wrote both; later, Yo Gotti came out with his own versions on mix tapes. And after Miscellaneous went on radio station Power 99 to discuss the situation with DJ Freddy Hydro, Hydro was attacked by Gotti at Young Avenue Sound recording studio. Soon after, gunshots at Gotti's birthday party at The Plush Club were reputedly related to the conflict.

While I haven't been able to compare the versions of "D-Boy," the similarities between the versions of "Memphis Walk" are staggering.

Miscellaneous -- winner of the 2005 Xposure rap-off and talent showcase -- says that he wrote the tune, a brilliant, updated version of "Land of 1,000 Dances," and released it more than two years ago. Gotti's interpretation of the song appears on I Told U So, his new mix-tape collaboration with DJ Drama.

On the song's intro, Miscellaneous raps, "In A-Town, they got the A-Town Stomp, ya know/In St. Louis, they got the Chicken Head 'right thurr'/Fat Joe, he got the Lean Back/We're going to the right, over to the left, now back and forth like you do the two-step/Memphis Walk/Hey! Hey!/Now Memphis Walk."

Although Gotti's version opens differently, the chorus sounds suspiciously similar.

Miscellaneous says that while he's angry with Gotti, there hasn't been any gunplay. "I went to holler at him, but it didn't get out of hand," he says. "I put out a dis record, 'Get Your Mind Right,' where I got him over the phone talking and telling on himself," he says. "Sooner or later, there will be a lawsuit."

For now, Miscellaneous is focusing on the positive. "I hate having to give the situation acknowledgement, but it's been a blessing in disguise," he says. "I'm getting more support now, especially from [radio stations] Power 99 and K-97, although I wish it didn't happen like this.

"It is what it is," he says with a shrug.

The rapper, who was once all street, also started a publishing company, launched a Web site, MiscHome.com, and a MySpace page, MySpace.com/MemphisWalk. He's now affiliated with Stonekold Entertainment and Mob Ties Records and has a new single with Kavious, "Ain't It Maine." His releases, however, are still underground. To pick one up, you'll have to stop by The Chop Shop, The Screw Shop, Boss Ugly Bob's, or Ike's Record Shop.

Raised in Foote Homes and Whitehaven, Miscellaneous doesn't like to classify himself as a South Memphis rapper. "I don't hold it down to an area. I've got the city on my back!

"If you keep doing that, that's gonna be your only fan base," he says of up-and-comers who continually refer to "the Bay," "Blackhaven," or other locales in their music.

Monday, June 19th, he hopes to bring some solidarity to the city's rap scene via an afternoon concert outside the National Civil Rights Museum. "I've got Mac E, Yung Kee, Stress Free Family, and more folks coming," he says. "I even hollered at Yo Gotti's people and invited him to come.

"It's like the civil rights movement, but with Memphis music," Miscellaneous says of the event, billed as the "1st Annual Memphis Movement." "We don't have any unity in the city right now. From my understanding, from what my grandparents and other folks have told me, we had unity and love here. Then when Dr. King got killed trying to help the sanitation workers, a big cloud came over this city. Ever since, there's been so much hatred and so much crime here. My point is, if we go right back to the place where he got killed, maybe we can break this curse."

If you think sentiments like these distinguish Miscellaneous from most of his Memphis rap contemporaries, he'd probably agree.

"The streets never lie," Miscellaneous says. "What I'm doing is bringing hope back to the game. A lot of the rap music out now is garbage, and it's killing young people. Hearing about selling dope or how much ice you've got doesn't help them. They need something to help get through their day. You know, in the '80s and '90s, a lot of rappers did reality rap. Now all these cats are rapping somebody else's life. When you actually do some things in life that you aren't proud of, you don't talk about it that much. If you constantly rap about the same thing, obviously you've never done it."

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