"You said you a gangster but you never pop nuttin'/ We said you a wanksta and you need to stop frontin'" 50 Cent "Wanksta"
..y'all n-----s actin way too tough/ Throw on a suit get it tapered up, and let's just...(Change clothes and go) Jay-Z "Change Clothes"
Recently, I've taken part in a couple of discussions where the above lyrics seem just as appropriate as the following bible verse:"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."
-1 Corinthians 13:11
Gang bangin' is played out. Maybe that's because I, both outgrew that way of living and outlived that way of thinking. I knew too many people who weren't lucky enough to do the former. Which in turn, prompted my change of heart in regards to my "love for the hood."
So when I see Facebook comments by grown people (those over the age of 30) saying things like "Happy C-Day" I tend to think about the above mentioned quotes.
There comes a time when adults need to act like adults and more importantly, a time when parents need to be parents.
Here in my hometown, Denver, the recent Willie Clark trial is a testament to the ridiculousness of gangsta life and the inherent pitfalls of truly living that way. That young man who dedicated his life to following the code of Crip is now spending the rest of his natural life behind bars. Even after death, he has an additional 1152 years to serve in prison. This is for the murder and attempted murders of a high profile football player and other passengers in the limo that Clark was convicted of shooting into. Clark, maintains that he was setup as the fall guy for "the homies." Other members of Clark's gang testified against him in exchange for lighter sentences in other unrelated crimes. Other gang members, who may (or may not have) exonerated Clark refused to testify for fear of retaliation from fellow gang members against their families.
I'm confused as to exactly which part of this lifestyle is still appealing to anyone other than kids who don't know better. The kids who are misled into believing that this life style is glamorous by the songs and videos from hip-hop stars who proclaim to be OG's and reaping the benefits of their status.
A few years ago I was really disturbed by an episode of VH1's Hip Hop Honors. It's a great show that pays homage to some of the pioneers of what is now more than a passing phase as it was predicted to be and has evolved into an American Cultural phenomenon. Many props must be given to many well deserving artists who for many years went unrecognized for their contributions. Snoop is not one of them.
Snoop at one point was a refreshing breath of fresh air with a unique and an unbelievable spitfire lyrical style. That day passed as soon as Dr. Dre and D.O.C. left Death Row. Post-Dre, the best skill and talent Snoop has shown is as an actor. No, not as a Hollywood actor because his bit roles in Baby Boy and Training Day were no better than any of his starring roles in B movies made by No Limit and other second tier movie houses. But Snoop has been a great actor who has played the role of OG, Hardcore, Shot calling California Crip. He plays the role of street savvy pimp with a stable full of women willing to submit to his every whim because his game is sold and not told.
Truth of the matter is; Snoop was a low level street drug dealer and gangsta. He was never a baller nor a shot caller on 2-1 Street or anywhere else in Long Beach. He had a bit of street cred when Dre discovered him because he did some time in the County Jail and didn't snitch.
So with that being said, kudos go to Calvin for not breaking at least one of the codes of the streets he is so quick to claim his pedigree from. However, I have to raise my pimp hand to convict and sentence him for breaking law #1 of the hood, street and music...Always keep it real.
Many will argue that Snoop and all other rappers who brag extensively that their music is no different from the scripts that Hollywood produces and therefore they shouldn't be expected to promote anything above the violent, drug selling, ho-pimpin' lyrics that are obviously very lucrative subject matter.
The difference is, Denzel plays an actor Alonzo in "Training Day" then after the movie is shot edited and released to the public, he is Denzel. There is a clear distinction between the character and the actor and both of their respective actions. Snoop on the other hand puts a deliberate effort to let you know that he IS OG. Snoop Dogg from L.B.C. all day every day "cuzz!" He wants you to believe that he is the biggest certified pimp next to Bishop Magic Don Juan this side of Chi-town.
Because Snoop is financially successful and because he's a media icon, he is a role model. He can say he's not but I can call myself white, neither statement is true. It is what it is. With the power that comes from his incredible influence on 100s of 1000s of kids who listen to his music and watch his videos and are willing to follow his every word, Snoop has a great deal of responsibility to make sure that he keeps it real with these kids.
I'm not even saying that he has to be all "Just say no!" or do anti-gang related public service messages because ultimately raising a responsible youth falls in the hands of the parents and or guardians. However, Snoop needs to stop putting out this false image of Crippin' lifestyle as being getting high, getting laid and getting paid everyday like it's easy. The REALITY of gang life is Death and jail. Homies are rarely true. Girls are rarely around and money is rarely easy. Being a Crip is not what Snoop is. He is not a gang banger and has never been one to put in work like what he's telling these kids to do.
1000s of young girls are allowing themselves to be violated and turned out in a business that has been trivialized and glamorized. They have the misconception that a person who is disrespecting them and pimpin them is someone to be admired because that's what this super rich rapper Snoop Dogg said he did to get where he is today. That's just not the case.
Young Calvin created a a character that was extremely marketable which made him extremely wealthy. Unfortunately, the cost to be the boss was paid by impressionable young people who didn't have the privilege of having responsible parents to teach them the difference between REALITY and Doggsh!t.
By: Jonathan McMillan