Occupation: Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY
Why we hated them: Because he described 2Pac, Flava Flav, and Snoop Dogg as "thugs...who have absolutely nothing of redemptive value to offer."
Lyrical shoutout: "I never was a follower of Reverend Butts/The bitch type I dislike, I'm rougher than a fistfight." - Big L on "7 minute freestyle"
The Bible states in Matthew 5:22, "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire." So, far be it for a man of faith like Harlem's own Reverend Calvin O. Butts, to throw names around, right?
Back in 1993, there were protests against the rough stories Dr. Dre would paint, the dating life described in MC Lyte's raps, and the recreational drug use championed by Snoop Dogg. There was even mass hysteria surrounding the actions of kids who were chanting, "Whoomp, there it is," seemingly spurned on by the notorious rappers Tag Team. But amidst all the hoopla, Reverend Butts stuck out.
Not at all a classically trained ad man, he decided to re-brand rappers as "thugs... who have absolutely nothing of redemptive value to offer." Instead of condemning parents for how they raised their children, Butts turned around and verbally spanked your favorite artists. Thankfully, Reverend Butts didn't live to see the likes of Eminem or Nicki Minaj or Tyler the Creator, who all invaded popular culture with their radical lyrics and exaggerated fantasies and rhymes that would even make Tag Team blush, over the last 15 years...Oh wait, yes he did; and without any commotion from Butt's pulpit.
Today, the good Reverend remains doing God's work at Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church, is President of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, and Chairman and founder of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, which oversees $500 million in housing and commercial development in Harlem. Oh yeah, and he delivered a weekly sermon on the first radio station to ever play rap music, New York City's KISS-FM, until the station's demise in 2012.