JAY-Z | His headlining slot at the Glastonbury Festival June 28 has been the stuff of much controversy, with various artists weighing in on his suitability to the event. Glasto has always been a guitar-rock show, and its fans and performers have been slow to accept hip-hop. Oasis remnant Noel Gallagher, bucking his usual habit of polite, non-confrontational passivity, flatly declared: “I’m not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It’s wrong.” In response to this nay-saying, Hova kicked off his set with a facetious cover of “Wonderwall,” segueing into an à propos “99 Problems.” Sure, Jay, Noel may be a bitch, but he goaded you into singing an Oasis song. Which is the very definition of defeat. OUTCOME: ETHERED.
TUPAC SHAKUR | Last year, a bronze statue of the allegedly dead rapper was defaced by a vandal who hung a wooden cross around its neck and plastered it with racist literature. (The statue, which stands outside a Georgia community arts center founded by the rapper’s mother, is perhaps most famous for looking almost nothing like Tupac.) Finally, this week, an answer: the vandal has released a manifesto explaining, “Tupac Shakur is not only a rapist and murderer of his own people, his center of the arts is in the business of molesting the young minds of our youths into believing that ‘Thug Life’ is the American dream.” Tupac — who is still laboring under the morbid and unconvincing charade that he’s dead — refused to abandon his hermitry to comment, thus losing to a crazy guy by default. STATUS: BUSTER.
YOUNG JEEZY | Usually a man of unwavering purpose — to inspire thugs to greatness — Jeezy has recently undergone a baffling flip-flop in his opinion of John McCain, whom he met at a Saturday Night Live taping a while back. Some reports quoted a pessimistic Jeezy: “John McCain’s cool, but he looks like a fraud to me. I told him the ’hood was fucked up and he was like, ‘How you doing?’ Real talk. They know entertainers, so they shake your hand, ‘I’m your friend.’ I don’t really feel McCain.” In a Vibe magazine interview, however, he took a different position: “No disrespect to my man Barack, but I fuck with John McCain. [Editor’s note: that’s a good thing.] He greeted me like a God. The fact that he acknowledged me was crazy. I said, ‘I’m Young Jeezy, and it’s rough out here.’ He blew me off at first. I was like, ‘Nah, for real. It’s rough out here, so what you gonna do to change it?’ And he gave me a look back, like, ‘I know.’ ” Well, which is it, Snowman? Do you fuck with him or do you not feel him? I can only assume he picked up this habit of sudden, bizarre reversals of opinion from . . . I dunno, some politician. DIAGNOSIS: POSSIBLY TRIPPIN’.
SUGE KNIGHT | Rap’s favorite big terrifying evil guy was dealt a humiliating blow this month: Death Row Records, the historic label that he founded, drove all the talent from, and ran into the ground, has been auctioned off for a mere $24 million — and he won’t see a penny of it. (Well, he might see a penny of it, because that’s a lot of money, and statistics suggest that at least one penny of it will one day circulate into his possession, but let’s not think too hard about this.) All the cash will be used to pay outstanding debts incurred during a lifetime of malfeasance. The new owners, meanwhile, lucked into a cache of 20 still-unreleased tracks by “dead” rapper Tupac Shakur. (Still thinking about the penny thing.) VERDICT: SONNED.
NATE DOGG | The singer/rapper was, it’s reported, arrested for “terrorist threats” last week, but this isn’t nearly as awesome as it sounds. I was hoping for something like that Coup album cover from 2001 where they’re blowing up the World Trade Center that would kick off some big First Amendment hurly-burly that we could all get a lil’ chubbed up about. Turns out he was just menacing his estranged wife with death threats and driving recklessly. If that’s terrorism, shit, you might as well lock us all up. ASSESSMENT: HERB.
LIL WAYNE | The noted goblin and disputed Greatest Rapper Alive has announced plans to add fine alcoholic beverages to his repertoire of talents. Rap news site Ballerstatus.com (if there were any justice in this world, that domain name would be mine) reports that Weezy is “dabbling in the world of champagne” — which is much more amusing if you take it literally. I don’t think I need to know anything more about this story; the image of Weezy in a glorious, sparkling world of champagne, coquettishly dipping his toe into a huge flute and creating little golden eddies of bubbly, is more than enough to run my motor for a few days. Perhaps Birdman is there too, and they’re about to kiss, but then they turn away from each other all shy-like. BALLER STATUS: HOT FIRE!