Category Archives: street cred

You can’t make this stuff up #7

So after this author gets thru watching NCIS: Los Angeles (don’t sleep, excellent show, I never miss an episode), I click over to the news, and oh so many stories in, they talk about these cats in New Bedford, MA, who get arrested for making a “f*ck law enforcement” type song. At first, you’d be like, what is this, ’92? But before you grow a tie-top hat and Zubaz, the thing was, they were naming names, not just any names, but those of specific police officers, their actual probation officers, so on and so forth. No DA worth his salt is gonna sit back and let that go down without f*ckin’ with somebody.

And as 2520 as these dudes come, they aren’t exactly the Icy Hot Stuntaz. They look like they get down for real. Who knew there was a 2520 hood out there that was that style of grimy? And though the song doesn’t sound mixed very well and these cats drop F-bombs like they’re going out of style, dare I say it’s overall actually pretty dope! Old girl from “It’s So Cold In The D” should take notes. They got a future with street cred attached once their violation lid is up.

UPDATE: As stated when this author first reported for you to decide, the actual vid is lawn gawn, so this is the closest you’ll get to hearing the sound (until maybe those cats or one of their boys cut an edited version…dare I say they should be heard from again with something, LOL. Somebody will sign they *ss even in these days and times):

Click here for the full story.

#50: Worshiping criminals

the last gangster supper!BET had a documentary on a year or so back called American Gangster. Under normal circumstances, one would say it’s simply telling a story about people the general populace might not be aware of, just giving information. After all those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it, right? Sadly, however, one has to keep in mind BET’s recent history and what kind of demographic it seems to want to court. You guessed it: ghetto people!

This isn’t a rant on BET itself, that’s another post (surely one the audience has been looking for right here or on a more specifically Black-oriented blog, where the channel is frequently ripped, so let this author not lose focus here with this long set-up). And let me state now that it was among BET’s offerings that featured fairly solid production values (just like First In: Compton, a show you should follow while it’s here). The ugly part is the context one can’t miss, because if you’ve known enough ghetto people, especially males, you’d know they’re downright fascinated by criminals. And BET, having evolved into a station ghetto people turn to, apparently couldn’t resist catering to ghetto interests by airing this series, showing history a lot of ghetto people want to repeat!

Why is the ghetto world so interested in criminals? Ghetto people especially like to keep special edition Blu-Rays (the bootleg DVD just won’t cut it in these cases) of movies like Scarface, Goodfellas, Public Enemies, and American Gangster (no relation to the above) that romanticized the dubious protagonists of these flicks as the best at their respective professions. So when the real deal exists, just like high profile athletes and rappers, everyone wants to be (or be with) that guy. Wantin’ autographs and locks of their hair and sh*t. Dare I say he’s the ghetto person’s picture perfect idea of manhood. “F*ck Warren Buffett and Barack Obama, I wanna be Nicky Barnes or Freeway Ricky Ross!”

He lives that playboy lifestyle, successfully picks up all the freaks, comes and goes as he pleases, drives flashy expensive whips with equally pricey rims on them, holds down really nasty guns (another favorite ghetto toy), regularly orders bottle service at the swankiest clubs in town…he’s the epitome of hood rich. Yet while wrapping their lips around his d*ck, people don’t wrap their heads around what kinda heinous things he might have done to get to that level. And if and when they find out, they’re quick to excuse it! If duke goes to jail, he could have raped 12 kids and smoked their mothers and these idolaters of criminals are urging him to “keep his head up”…as if he’s somehow the victim. As if he’s a political prisoner, targeted for persecution by the powers that be for living and doing righteously. No matter what, the ghetto person has the criminal’s back.

The amounts of futures such criminals have probably destroyed (whether by physically killing people or some law changes due to them) don’t rate to ghetto people. They also don’t allow in their brains that said criminal whose picture is ironed on to their T-shirt would probably just as soon have them whacked if he felt one was in the way of what he wanted. But this congregation is too busy wishing they were as tough and rebellious, too busy living vicariously through the stories of these guys (as well as hating the idea of the criminal’s other enemy, law enforcement) to even consider there’s more than one side to every story. And that all heroes have elements of their lives that would make that proverbial little boy from the Black Sox scandal cry “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”

Author’s note: Yeah, so many topics could have been #50 on the ghetto bucket list, but the hot hand (immediately inspired by the f*ckery one reads over on AllHipHop) wrote this one!

#46: Not caring for professional help

FtcouchIn case you haven’t noticed, ghetto people don’t do therapy.

Nope, having a shrink is not what’s hot in the streets. Ghetto folks are too “real” for that…no matter what kinda funk they could be in.

They ain’t tryna get labeled crazy or weak (though they and many of their ghetto contemporaries are as crazy and/or weak as they come…hey, they don’t hide behind guns and their crew for nothing). They think all the therapy they need is Jesus, or sex, or money (I guess they never heard money can’t buy happiness)…or exorcising their demons on others.

Is it not having the cash or insurance for it? Is it pride (read: fear of tainting their street cred)? Are these folks who say things like “only God can judge me” and other witticisms taught to them by Tupac records as they do this, that, and the third with no shame in their game really that afraid of being ostracized and gossiped about by their community? A lot of people in the hood are struggling with serious personal problems that they can’t sort out on their own. But again, many hood folks are victims (and some in turn are perpetrators) of the toxic ghetto mentality that rules out many of life’s options.

It’s funny how that ghetto mentality works. The ghetto has a thing for keeping one down and kicking them while they’re there and (while they ironically enough can’t stand haters) hating on any ideas for rising up that aren’t pre-approved as appropriate for one of the ghetto world. One can trace conditions of education and infrastructure and crime in the hood to this worldview. The ghetto would easily rather one like Maia Campbell not get the help she needs, but get caught on camera cussin’ out some hoodbooger in a tank top, as in that recent YouTube clip that made the rounds. You the reader probably have tons of new lines to impress your friends as you insult their anti-horny *sses.

It’s funny in all its seriousness.

#41: Taking rap(s) too seriously

Studio gangstas exist because rap’s biggest problem since the rise of the thugs and “roughnecks” has been the idiot fans (and some rappers’ colleagues) who feel that keeping it real actually means that rappers must live exactly what they say in rhymes (that subject matter usually being some hardcore dirt or illegal way they got extreme stacks before they first hit the mic). To these people (usually ghetto), there’s no such thing as a persona or a character, no such thing as creative license.

Somehow this “keep it real” contingent never got the memo that a rap song isn’t an interview with a given rapper.

Some, to be sure, actually do rap about their real current lives or true experiences. Or even base fictional raps on something that really happened, ripped from national headlines or their personal ones.

But one should be able to paint whatever type of picture they like without some weirdo attaching these works to how the performer actually lives. Many rappers are their own worst enemy, as these lyrical Brunos never step out of character, and perpetuate the idea that this should be the normative of Hip-Hop. Even wrestlers change it up when they get out of the polyester daduntaduns.

Overemphasizing that other idea of “realness” is what has poisoned the rap climate for so long. It’s partly how Tupac and Biggie got killed, it’s partly why so much corny E-thuggery is posted to rap sites like allhiphop.com or DubCNN, it’s partly why so many MCs (like Max B and Shyne) go catch cases and end their own careers.

It’s really disrespectful to the beauty of what Hip-Hop has been and still could be. You don’t see this f*ckery go on in rock or jazz, not even with these all-too-closely-associated R&B artists.

And it’s paradoxically hilarious that these homophobic alpha males are analyzing every square inch of the life of another man as if they’re getting paid for it. Message to that man in question who rolls like this: If another dude was on your tip like that, living vicariously through you, you’d call him all kinds of queers, right? Of course you would, the world already knows how people like you are. You don’t think you look some kinda way all in a rapper’s personal business (or that of some sports figure, for that matter)? *cue the plea copping that it’s supposedly different*

And leave it to this idiocy that you got rappers not admitting to or proud to have perfectly legit jobs or degrees in the name of higher street cred. For the sake of feeling right listening to a record, one would rather that someone getting smoked or turned out on crack actually happened, and at that rapper’s hand! As if that makes the beat sound better in the speakers or some sh*t…

#36: Haters

haters
Haters make the ghetto world go round. Ghetto people are obsessed with haters. Katt Williams told the ghetto faithful, if one doesn’t have enough haters, he needs to do what it takes to get his hater army up.

Why? Because hate is big business. The hater effect is realer than the Oprah effect. More extremely large rims are sold in the ghetto for the Chevy crowd to build ghetto monster trucks with, not because they think it actually looks good, but because it gives the haters fits!

Haters give a ghetto person another thing they hold in high (or low) regard: a target. A ghetto person can breathe again, has a new life, something to look forward to every waking morning, knowing that Jesus provided them a new hater to make or break the day of, as they turn their swag on, buy bigger shines, and give the haters another reason to make a bitter beer face. One who has a hater to focus on has new pep in their step.

There was once a player in a now-defunct football league called the XFL who went by the name He Hate Me on the back of his jersey! He had that good football-playing job due to the haters who inspired him to have them hating him more and more.

Teenage Beckys usually kill themselves if hate is coming their way because they aren’t wired to take the pressure like ghetto people are. Ghetto people hear these stories and wonder “what the hell was wrong with them?” They took themselves off the planet over haters instead of milking it for all it’s worth! Haters give one an opening to vent some frustrations, as a hater punching bag is preferred to seeing a therapist.

This means Kobe and the Lakers should feel good about their status in the hate community. Means they’re doing something right.

Haters aren’t a top-3 subject of raps for nothing. The street cred grows bigger with the haters to back it up. And ghetto women don’t feel right if a hater woman doesn’t have interest in taking her man. Haters are the spice of ghetto life.

On a side note, the following shirt is just wrong…well, at least in context:
hibyehater

#34: Police issues

fpigs187
Ghetto people spend a lot of their days hating, fearing and/or complaining about police.

Now to keep it funky, there’s much grist for the mill of police hatred. A true blue ’bout it, ready-to-set-it police hater would have been a good friend to have in the 50s, when a lot of the police in many cities were racist white Southerners who gave police the reputation they have to this day. A reputation constantly worsened by modern incidents like that one that happened on New Year’s in Oakland, as well as Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell in New York, mishaps with the special needs kid and numerous shootings in Inglewood, the recent endings of chases in El Monte, CA and Birmingham, AL, and so many others, rightfully giving your friendly neighborhood police hater some ammo.

And these incidents need to be bravely challenged, exposed early and often. The police may police us, but we police them too. We give them power.

Generally, however, let’s face it. Your average police hater is the type of cat that loves to do things he frankly shouldn’t be doing. And on top of that, ain’t even doin’ big illegal thangs. Just a loser doing a bunch of petty loser activities wasting time. Many of the police constantly poppin’ them are simply doing their jobs and probably wouldn’t even be interested in said loser’s funky *ss but for whatever law is on the books. Real talk, not that I advocate or condone crime, but if you gon’ hate police, hate them because you have penitentiary chances to take and they’re what’s standing in your way. Hate ‘em for some real sh*t, not because you were dumb enough to blaze and drink in public when you know damn well that’s asking for trouble.

Not all po-pos are the kind bashing in the heads of Black and Latino males who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. While it does go down, to think that is what will happen guaranteed in any encounter with police, and that that is all police are good for, amounts to sensationalism. Of course, you can’t tell many ghetto people NUH-thin’ because they’re convinced it’s crazy sexy cool and politically correct to hate police for livin’. It’s so bad you have some silly bastards who are quick to yell “F.T.P.” at the top of their lungs, but hide the fact that the boys were who they called when the Caprice or their place got broken into. Wild as hell.

Even wilder is that it isn’t like a ghetto person is guaranteed to be shut out from being one. I mean hey, they’re always hiring, it’s a ticket to having one’s sh*t together, and there’s some power to be had in that profession. Street cred, not so much….

Trust, I’m no right wing douchebag who thinks police are all good all the time. Plenty of them are scumbags, and I hate that douchey, bristled mustache a lot of them have. But hating police just because they’re police officers? Even if a relative or good friend happened to be one? Something ain’t right with a person that has that feeling. Those folks are more often than not armed to play themselves right into getting f*cked with by the boys when they really don’t have to (like these idiots here):
Plain and simple, the hood needs to take a holistic approach towards the idea of police and the police need to take a holistic approach towards how they treat the hood. Both need to exercise some empathy and dead the assumption that the other is up to no good at all times, because that assumption has them making asses out of one another.

#27: Thuggish-ruggish lesbians

SnoopHas it gotten to the point for you that when you run thru the ghetto and see some shorty dressed extremely baggy, you have to check their chest for taped-down tiddys?

OK, for a minute there, I wondered if I was the only one.

Call ‘em what you will, butches, studs, all that bomb sh*t, and call SGPL and its current author what you will, mean, ignant, whatever, but we’re gonna keep it funky here for a moment and go in: the hood and lesbians go hand in hand. Trust, it’s no coincidence that Snoop Pearson was a fan favorite on The Wire.

These are the girls who were reaching for the Tonka trucks instead of the Barbies at Toys R Us. Quite tomboyish up to middle school, they usually go full-bore and come out around tenth grade. Once that happens, it’s a party, y’all…

They dress baggier and saggier than dudes, they get crustier smoker lips than dudes, they style their hair in cornrows and “dreads” more often than dudes (as well as straight women), and they’re getting in all the hood activities ghetto dudes are known for. Even competing with straight males for the available pool of single ghetto women (see future post). Anything guys do big, the thuggish-ruggish lesbians are doin’ it bigger, count on it.

Many are harmless girls who just wanna have fun, but make no mistake either, some are quite hardened, nasty characters, though they may look like little boys who throw on their older brother’s clothes that they’re not big enough for yet. Real talk, you couldn’t possibly imagine these girls having periods (do they?).

Anyways, unlike any other place, for some reason, whether it’s always been this way or the rise to power was recent, the hood seems to be a lesbian factory. Your local ghetto yields a much higher proportion of open lesbians than anywhere else, and especially butches and studs. The WNBA needs to get its fans (and players) from somewhere, eh? It’s no surprise a lot of female rappers emerge from this farm system either.

CleoSeriously, the ghetto is damn near Girls Town as the Yang to the Boys Town Yin. It’s an amusement park for lesbians where big rainbow lollipops are available for free.

Even funner (and incidentally, funnier) is this fact: as homophobic as ghetto males are, lesbians are often ironically enough one or more of the gang right along with ‘em, with the street cred the guys provide. New meaning to the term ride-or-die chick. One in no danger of becoming anyone’s baby mama.

Hey, somebody was bound to say it.

#23: Nicknames

fright
We all know one or more of the following:  A Ray Ray.  A Pooky.  A Peanut.  Peaches.  Little Man.  Man Man.  Boobie.  Sleepy.  Kisses.  Smoke (who most likely got them trees on deck). Tiny for some big dude. If you’re Mexican, a Joker or Thumper…and so on and so forth.

A trip to any hood yields a roll call that reads like a Dick Tracy strip.  We could go on forever, but the point is pretty much made.  

Ghetto people.  Have a thing.  For childish.  Douchey.  Nicknames.

They originate from everywhere.  One doubled-up syllable from the real name.  Cartoon characters.  What they eat or drink.  What they got caught doing when they were a kid (ya know, that story you wish they wouldn’t tell in mixed company).  Where there’s a will to manifest a new ghetto nickname, there’s a way.  And once that nickname comes out, one is stuck with it in the ghetto for-EVER.  Will never live it down, no matter what.

Sometimes, the ghetto person isn’t mad at it, but embraces it, makes it their badge of honor.  They may tag the streets with it.  Sometimes they bang or slang with it.  Sometimes it becomes their rap name.  Or that’s what they want the girls to call ‘em.  This would explain the obsession with NBA players wanting to be known as other than their real names, because they are usually ghetto their got-damn selves, and they can’t wait for that name to grace their new shoe line that the hood will queue up for.  Ghetto nickname translated into brand loyalty!
lilkeke1

There will be females all of 30+ years old seriously wanting someone to call them Lil Mama or Chocolate, dressing exactly like what their name sounds like they should be doing:  stripping or some other sex-based profession (even though their body is burnt out after 5 children before 23).

And oh yeah, Little and Lil (somehow the apostrophe disappeared) is but one of many oft-used prefixes and suffixes used for such nicks, along with Big, Boy/Boi, Young/Yung, Girl/Gurl, Ms., One, Loc, and Dog.   Because ya gotta make it that much more fabulous!

#22: NFL and NBA players

cassel01
Guys wanna be them, girls wanna be with them…for the money and fame anyway.

The NFL or NBA player is the man in the ghetto.

Why not, they live the life!  They play great sports, they wear wild hair (unless they’re balding, then it’s HeadBlade time), they flaunt all the attitude they want, they get instant attention, they make it rain at strip clubs, they get shoes and clothes and video games named after them every year, they make up celebration dances after scoring, they can afford bricks of weed and custom stash spots in their house(s) and car(s) to put it in, they get DUI and assault and gun raps and can afford the lawyer(s) to get off easy with, they knock up multiple women from all walks of life while managing to stay happily married, and more!  And it’s all covered by Sportscenter, TMZ, and the papers for the world to know that they keep it real.  Commit any and all ghetto shenanigans this side of homicide and still have your job in most cases (because they need you, so you take advantage of it while you can).  What’s not to like?

And their boys get a piece of the action too (ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none).  There are whole hoods that have a vested interest in one player, and that particular player begins loving every minute of it the minute he goes on AAU tours and starts being lavished, pampered, and spoiled with perks and praise from people ready to cash in on draft day years down the line (as early as upon graduating high school–or not–in the basketball player’s case, up until Andrew Bynum).  Is it any wonder why so many of these athletes actually end up broke, necessitating the big contracts they go after (or Dancing With The Stars when they retire)?  Maybe if they went to college just one year longer, or at all…

Even though you can wear gold chains and have a longer career where you get paid potentially waaaay more with less risk of destroying your body in baseball (if you don’t roid up!), it makes no sense for a ghetto person to aspire to something another ghetto person won’t see (except on throwback jerseys), because street cred is of the utmost importance.  Never mind the platform given to them by Jim Brown, Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe and others to do even bigger things. Never mind even tragic stories like Maurice Clarett, Leon Smith, and Len Bias.  Money, hoes, and clothes, all a ghetto person knows.

#19: Chevrolet

chevy1
The heartbeat of hood America.

You’ll find ‘em at lowrider shows, at sideshows, on street blocks, on cinder blocks, in front yards and impound yards.

Think of some of your favorite rap songs.  Yung Joc letting it be known the Chevy has the butterfly doors.  South Central putting Ice Cube to the test with 4 brothers in an SS.  Tum Tum doing line dances with his crew as a tribute to the Caprice.  These songs are art imitating life, because the hood luh dem some Chevrolets…the bigger, the V-8ier, the better!

Ghetto folks have a voracious appetite for GMs in general:  Caddys, Regals, Cultlasses, you name it…but they salivate for the bowtie.  Cheap to acquire, easy to find parts for (sometimes stolen), one is instantly official and ready to terrorize the strip.  Do violent-sounding donuts against oncoming traffic to his heart’s content in the Camaro. Load up three or more deep for a smokeout in the illegally tinted Impala.  Lean the Monte Carlo seat back too far for his own good. Run red lights at will like a bully in the Suburban.  Let’s not even get started on El Caminos. Any highway douchebaggery you can think of, chances are any Chevrolet you bump into has logged a mile or two committing such an act. 

Even if it’s ratty to death, the savvy (would-be) parking lot pimp can simply pretend it’s under construction.  “Don’t worry, baby, the candy paint, dubs/Daytons/IROCs, Flowmasters, and sounds are forthcoming!”  This big hoop dream of an investment on a hooptie nightmare of a throwaway, money pit Celebrity or Lumina that probably cost all of 400 bucks, crummy four-cylinder, flood damage, and all.  The ultimate bucket.  And you can’t tell them NUH-thin’!

What keeps ghetto twentysomethings lining up to get a piece of the action when that Chevy is likely to get them pulled over on numerous DWB raps?  Ready to lift them on rims that are way too big down South or slam them with hydraulics on rims that are way too small in California?  One wonders what the electric appeal could possibly stem from.  Maybe it’s the pair of balls they never grew up with…who knows.