Monthly Archives: March 2009

#25: Selling you their rap CD

On avenues from Melrose to Myrtle, you’ve likely participated in the following exchange:

“Do you like Hip-Hop?”
“For you? No.”

Sad and mean, but after so much of the the exact same approach from these rappers wanting you to take a flier on them all at random, you develop a heart that pumps used motor oil.

Trust, Stuff Ghetto People Like does not believe in knocking hustles, just pointing out what goes down when it comes to some hustles, and how wild the game really is. Ghetto people try the hard sell on you con frecuencia, taking the darndest folks by surprise. It can sound like they’re practicing on you for the day they’re actually serious about getting a sale or two.

Oftentimes the spiel is fired at probably the most inappropriate moment of all: on company time. Surely you thought it was weird to be hit up about buying a rap album by a security guard, or the guy changing your oil at Jiffy Lube, or a bank teller (e-mail that I’m lyin’!), or dude that is taking your order at McDonalds. Get a $5 drink coaster with your Big Mac Value Pack!

It’s not totally a bad thing. Some of the best acts in the Hip-Hop era got their careers off the ground by flipping their music on the streets (see Too Short, Showbiz & AG, Nas, countless cats down South). The thing is way too many guys do it these days, from the Woods of Ingle to the Woods of Holly, and they’re annoying anymore. Cats don’t even stand out, looking exactly like the dude next to ’em selling incense. (They probably came together! Take blunt breaks with one another and the whole deal.)

It’s as if no one tries to get signed, they’re selling the demo right to the consumer, unmixed, unmastered. And often it isn’t even packaged in an appealing way that would fit in next to the Gang Starr and Lil Wayne on your rack. Quite likely it’s a sweaty envelope with folded corners from sitting in the pocket of homeboy’s North Face for days.

Listen up, MCs, if you got a product you reeeeally believe in, if you’re a real artist, and you aren’t just someone hitting a lick like so many other rap hucksters (many of whom actually get radio spins on Power/Hot/The Beat in your town right now), get your marketing bars up, find better and more respectful ways to demonstrate that the product is dope. Take it to college radio. Book some shows opening for someone established. Do your cuts at open mics with your albums handy. Put some in the hands of a few bar and club DJs. Hell, sell it on Myspace. Failing all that, at least have it bumping out the car trunk or in a boom box. Anything but trying to push it on someone unheard, because you may as well be panhandling. Those who know this author know I’m not a big fan of panhandlers. And don’t you dare pass me those sweaty, lice- and ear wax- ridden headphones, because I’m likely to slap them to the ground.

Yep, even in front of my evening date.

#24: Doing hair

Meet your average ghetto female, and there’s a 70% chance she has one of two occupations.  Doing hair, and singing.  Since these girls never really sing unless their song happens to come on 106 and Park while they’re in the shower, we’ll focus on the doing hair part.

How can a ghetto female from 17-70 not get her thalers up on any given Saturday?  Chicks always want their coiff did up, to get ready for the club, chu’uch, court, that hot date with the next sugar daddy, er, baby daddy, er potential deadbeat dad, whatever.  (Can’t forget the dudes that want the braids, rows, or “dreads” hooked up, but let’s not lose focus here.)  Rent or the car note is due, or the kids gotta eat, or old girl wants to stack to get a new pair of heels?  Do a couple of heads and be good to go.  Hey, why let the semester in cosmetology up under nosy loudmouth chickenheads and gay guys go to waste?

In some cases, all that skilled living room stylist has to do is show up with her hands ready to make magic, as it’s often the client’s responsibility to hit the Koreans up for all the supplies. Otherwise, she might already have that blackened pressing comb that doesn’t even require a dedicated stove, as she only needs to throw it on the range.  And she can take her time, as girls are always prepared to be around all damn day to get it done (and some styles still require that lucky girl to come back the next day).  The stylist can watch her shows, talk about the latest neighborhood highlights, smoke a tree or two, cuss her boyfriend out on the phone, smack the kids up for spilling the quarter waters on the originally white carpet and all that.  Might even dance a little.  The client is fully entertained for the trouble, and the stylist will still get paid, lest the client wants water thrown on her dome (you know the ghetto girls hate to get their hair wet) or the fake hair yanked clean out.

Some of these ladies who do hair for the hustle are able to parlay it into renting a booth at virtually any beauty shop in the hood, secure that the buzzer-activated iron door will keep the clients in and the ex-boyfriends out.  (Some even ban children!  Great quick vacation.)  And there’s plenty of these shops to choose from, as some streets have them lined up two to four in a row on the same block.  Veterans of visiting Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles know what this author speaks.

It’s a seller’s market.

Send in the pictures and videos!

We’re steppin’ in hotta this year!  And you’re welcome to add on.  In addition to guest blogging and requests, we want to see what you see out there amongst the ghetto people.  Crazy club outfits, wild incidents at the Wal-Mart, some ridiculous car customization, all fair game. Any material you want to slide to us is golden (excepting nudity of a sexual nature, unfunny violence, or stuff from other sites).   If it’s usable, it’s here on this site.

#23: Nicknames

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!

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

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.

#21: Sunflower seeds

People from many walks of life like sunflower seeds (also known as “polly seeds,” the reason of which probably lost on anyone you ask), but ghetto people in particular make the most curious case study.  Quite tasty with their roasted flavor, you would think one would prefer to buy and inhale the already dehulled packs of sunflower nuts and cut out the middleman.  Yet the in-shell seeds are by far the most popular in the ghetto, which they show quite adept skill at cracking in their mouths as they eat.  Ever wonder why?

Apparently there’s something about spitting the shells all over the place and making a huge, wet, nasty smelling mess, at school (especially a favorite with the fast and sassy middle school set), on the bus, movie theater, wherever thee f*ck they feel like eating them at, while cursing like sailors in banal and boisterous conversations with their little friends. Perfect display of the average ghetto person’s “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude. Leave sunflower seed shells scattered on any random floor and force someone else to sweep up after you as you simply take off and go about your business. As the Legion of Doom song went in the WWF, what a rush!pollyseeds1

But karma is a mean mother.  Since ghetto people consume so many of these extremely salty sunflower seeds over their lifetime, eventually the pharmacy gets its man in the form of all these folks that need high blood pressure medicine for the rest of their lives.  It’s probably why they also sell a lot of this great American snack, right next to the pork skins and Funyons: it’s a capital investment.

And oh yeah, they’re available in BBQ flavor too, which only the ghetto could appreciate.