Tag Archives: tradition

Crips in New York City?!?

Are you f*cking kidding me?

Unbelievable.

One of those kids is yellin’ “cuzz”…it don’t even sound right in that accent, like a mockery almost.

Far be it from this author to question anyone’s thug thizzle…I don’t even think it’s about turning the streets out on that tip for these particular guys, seems like it’s a rap thing.

This could have been a “You can’t make this stuff up” entry, but it was just beyond bizarre to see this. Don’t get it twisted, I got used to NYC-style Bloods, but I also know that what they do is different. Generally though, it’s like this in my mind, if you’re gonna be thuggin’, the least you can do is stay in your city’s lane. Bay Area do their Bay thing, Chicago and the Midwest stick to Folks and People, New York should stick to Decepticons and razor blades in the mouth and buck fiftyin’ people (not that I want to see that), and Crippin’ and Bloodin’ needs to be left to SoCal and wherever it made its way to pre-The Chronic. For a style of thuggin’ to rise in a place known for a different home brew? It’s just odd.

About as odd as that Champ MC video “Keep It On The Real”, with lowrider Impalas in the middle of the Bronx.

What’s next, Nortenos and Surenos in France or some sh*t?

UPDATE: Researched it some more and it seems that Crips have been around in the Tri-State and other northeast US areas since at least ’96. Doesn’t take away from my idea that NYC just looks weird embracing a foreign style of thuggery. And they could be very true and sincere to this, showing solidarity with SoCal sets and everything. I’m just sayin’, between this and those 508 dudes, the streets are out of control, things done changed.

#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.

#43: Cookout holidays

cookoutThere’s three types of holidays:
-the giftin’ kind (e.g. Chrismaboxihanukwanzakah AKA the whole month of December, Mother’s Day), where women and children always want some sh*t…
-the drinkin’ kind (NYE, St. Pats, Cinco de Mayo…really, all of them, but specifically those), the bar’s, club’s, liquor store’s, and freeloading female’s best friend, and…
-the grillin’ kind (could be the whole season of summer, but specifically Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, and Labor Day weekend).

This is the type of holiday where there’s suddenly not a parking space in sight, mad kids you never met will be runnin’ around, and e’ybody feel like they can throw down. Swear they got the best ribs, the best carne asada, the best chicken, best brisket or brats or links.

Vegetarians, as you have probably figured out by now, ain’t welcome and the ghetto people who make up the bulk of the crowd will feel threatened by them and make remarks about how they can’t live without meat! So they’re up crap’s creek unless they’re interested in the potato salad with paprika and eggs and green onions and other random *ss ingredients (what in holy hell is a pimento?).

Anyway, all these foods you will take a plate of home, then forget all about as it goes bad inside your fridge…because you already know too many cooks spoil the pot(luck), but you gotta humor the sensitive bastards who made it lest you get made to feel feel guilty…

And of course you know what else is gonna happen when ghetto people get pepped up. That’s right, sweet babies, your ears will bear witness to the f*ckery known as a soundclash (clash being the key part of that term). Because there will be that DJ that doesn’t give a f*ck enough to have turntables as he opts for his dual CD player and a zip case full of bootlegs and burns of the same damn Tupac and reggaeton and oldies you can hear on a day heading home from work played with no kinda blends involved. That dude is also unequivocally over 35. And his opponent: that one cousin or boyfriend who swears his trunk rattlin’ *ss Chevy is bumpin’, so he just GOTS to have his door wide open as he wears Young Jeezy the f*ck out.

Oh, but there will be a wildcard, and that’s that dude that rides the wide *ss Harley with fringes on it. He’s sure to come rip snortin’ in the dance like he’s the absolute don playin’ Teddy Pendergrass or whatever super-lover artist was hot when he was younger.

Total noise pollution (which could get uglier if the karaoke starts) to add on to the air pollution of the burning flesh of the piggy piggy. Because the ghetto cookout just isn’t fine if the attendees can’t dine on swine. It’s a party, y’all, to which the 20-somethings will have blunts in rotation, the 13-year-old girls will bang out the stank dance of the month, and that one uncle the family suspiciously knows about is in the background grabbin’ his meat.

What, I was just talkin’ about the sliced beef!

#39: The 4th of July

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Those who know the hood well know ghetto people get up for July 4th.

Why is July 4th so special? For patriotic reasons? Probably not (unless a family member’s in the military). Not many in the hood really care to appropriate the idea of Independence Day. But hey, why not enjoy the day off, and the excuse to get up with good people?

But again, why is July 4th so special? One can barbecue or grill on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends just fine…or any day in the summer.

So why is July 4th so special to ghetto people?

FIREWORKS.PIC-0211

The whole damn week leading to July 4th, the hood is awash with the report of shock and awe inducing illegal fireworks. There’s always that guy that has the M80s and cherry bombs and bottle rockets on deck, and ghetto people find that guy and get that hook-up.

Because safe and sane stuff like cone fountains and Piccolo Petes just don’t cut it. City ordinances are worth scoffing at since the police basically WILL look the other way (not hating, just telling the real). So those illegal fireworks are getting lit and put in the air like spliffs. It’s not a celebrashonnnnnn without ’em!

And the culmination on the night of the 4th (when everyone exhausts their stash and drivers have to swerve out of the way of fireworks in the middle of the street like mines) is like a day in Afghanistan. Literally for some, because there will be likely gunfire in the mix too (not like New Year’s, but it happens).

Author’s note: Yeah, the holiday just passed over the weekend, but the relevance was too much to wait till next year for.

#38: Michael Jackson

RightOnMJRegardless of overall ghetto ideology, understand this: Ghetto people, hood folks, whatever you want to call them, fox with Michael Jackson, always had, always will.

The thugs, the smokers, workaday people, hoochie mamas, uber snobs, churchy folks, foreigners who own the shops, every single generation alive right now and they kids, any living condition you could possibly think of, fox with MJ.

The hood was on those Beat It and Thriller jackets real tough along with the sequin gloves and weren’t afraid to admit it. So many artists the hood appreciates got some of their early and/or current steez from Michael. Dr. Dre in his World Class Wreckin’ Cru days. Ginuwine. Usher. Ne-Yo and Chris Brown. Cats that were singin’, rappin’, producing, startin’ record labels all likely dreamed of being involved in a Michael Jackson cut. Because the world watched him like Monday Night Football, or more to the point, the World Cup. He may not have been in the hood long beyond blowing up out of Gary, Indiana as a child, but he was the son of every hood, and many in the hood ate due to his existence.

Trust, you saw bootleg t-shirts of the month when his albums and concert tours were churnin’? You gon’ see ’em this weekend with EXTRA strength!!

Surely many wondered as this author did (including before even the news broke) how large the story of the death of a guy like Michael Jackson would be. An icon probably matched only by Michael Jordan, maybe Madonna…but we’re not gonna go there today.

Could this be the day pop music died, as said on the news? As with the foundation he laid mentioned above, probably not. The show went on when Pac and Biggie returned, the show went on when Elvis died, the show went on when so many others died (or fell off), so the machine will keep churnin’. But again, with the foundation he laid mentioned above, the legacy and doors opened are arguably unmatched.

The term King Of Pop wasn’t just a marketing tagline. It was already understood before it was even coined to promote the Dangerous album, back in ’91. When Jam first came out, this author could have swore that was Chubb Rock on the mic, until I was informed it was Heavy D…but I digress. Back on that generation thing, it was one thing that the Jackson 5 were them boys in the 60s right next to Elvis and the Beatles. It was another that they fit right in in the 70s with all those disco and funk acts. But in those damn 80s though. Certain elements of pop culture were just…larger than life in the frickin’ 80s. Knight Rider & A-Team. Dallas & Dynasty. Lakers & Celtics. Transformers & G.I.Joe. Hulk Hogan. Mike Tyson. Michael Jackson. Elements of culture that rocked those who grew up in the 80s and beyond. Game changers.

MTV got on board because his videos were EVENTS, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics. Punk *ss MTV were the folks who wouldn’t play a single record that wasn’t by a white rock artist. Ray Parker Jr.’s “The Other Woman” was turned down because he had a white woman on his arm and MTV didn’t want to upset the likely racist viewership they were courting in such places as the Bible Belt. MJ’s music had the clout to apply the undeniable pressure necessary for MTV to cut the crap and play not only his material, but Lionel Richie! Jacko arguably made Yo! MTV Raps, Fade To Black, MTV Jams and Black Real World cast members possible.

Oh yeah, that wonderful nickname. Jacko. Short for Wacko Jacko, as the Brits would call him. Yeah, the hood knew that something was off with him. And we ain’t talkin’ the initial nose job: no one really tripped when that happened. Pallin’ around with Emmanuel Lewis, no big deal (back then anyway). Could even look past having a pet chimp. But when all the other stuff rolled in regarding kids that looked noways Black and Jesus Juice and some of the other…eccentricities made headlines every frickin’ week for some 25 odd years, the ghetto didn’t clap to it…

But oh, bet your bottom dollar that albums like Bad, Dangerous, even History and Invincible, were for them trucks. Many a Suburban piloted by the Billy-est of Bad*sses had some Michael subbin’ right in the mix with one of those Lil Young Boy rappers. And you better believe the parties and barbecues with the fam went hard when “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” was thrown on the same way they would to the latest freaky dance cut.

NBA commissioner David Stern said recently, and I paraphrase, that there are two things that unite a people. The house of worship (church, synagogue, the rally, masjid, what have you), and the house of sports worship (you know schools, cities, and countries get up with great pride for its team winning a title). Michael Jackson was, and is to this day, yet a third.

By the way, what a busy news day: death of Michael, death of Farrah Fawcett, the Iran craziness, NBA draft…this author remembers two others like this. Sammy Davis Jr. and Jim Henson passing on the same day in 1990, and Johnny Cash and John Ritter returning the same day in 2003. And that thing about deaths of famous people going in threes is some wild space sh*t…but again, we’re not gonna explore that one.

#37: Naming kids after products

bentleyYou can tell who the clubhoppers and carhoppers were by the names their kids have.

Lexus. Alize. Remy (on a girl). Mercedes is a traditional name, but ghetto folks think of the car brand. Same inspiration behind Porscha, derived from when folks would pronounce the car company Porsche like Portia (of Julius Caesar and Ellen’s wifey fame). It’s a surprise no one has seriously named a child Cadillac or Hpnotiq.

Girls tend to be the victims of such names and are doomed to be turned down out of hand for legit gigs and forced onto the stripper pole or into the porno industry, with the only bright side being no need to invent a handle.

The comedian Renee Hicks once clowned the mentality behind it with the example of a then-popular Volkswagen slogan. “Fahrvergnugen…that’s a pretty name. Fahrvergnugen Rashawn Johnson!”

There’s nothing pretty, classy, or exotic about it at all. Chlamydia sounds exotic too but should it be a baby name? Waaaaait a minute!

And A-list celebrities aren’t much better in this regard either. Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay’s Chris Martin named their daughter Apple. They must have laughs about it in retrospect. Apple Martin? Imagine the Spanish pronunciation of the last name. Musician Frank Zappa named a child Moon Unit…sounds like the shape of a deuce dropped in the toilet.

Far be it from this author to tell parents what to name their children, or to discourage originality with the snobbery of the corporate world in mind, but how much foresight blurring does it take to sign these names onto the birth certificate? It’s like my rule on tattoos: will whatever you get etched into your body at 20 represent you at 60? If not, you the responsible party get the punishment you deserve.

For example, the guy who had his love of watching ESPN in mind when he named his son needs to be drawn and quartered by his head, arms and balls.

#26: Jesus

jesus_fingerYou need Jesus.

According to the average ghetto person, we all need Jesus.

Ghetto people LOVE to evoke Jesus.

If a ghetto person graduates, eats food, gets some skins, their team wins a title, just bought a new car, finds out he’s not the father, and so on and so on and so on…they’re thanking Jesus as if they just grew a Rams jersey and quantum leaped into Kurt Warner’s body.

All the good in a ghetto person’s life wasn’t just how things happened to shake out, wasn’t even by their own design. Nope, Jesus had something to do with it…he pulled the trigger on it, goddammit, and there’s no point in arguing with one who’s convinced, because they’ll likely cut you! They ride for Jesus like Crips, Bloods, Folks, and Peoples ride for the set.

That’s what’s up. It’s like riding for the local gang because it’s the safe bet. It’s traditionnnnnn….TRADITION! The whole block goes to the same church. Mama and Grandma raise the babies with guns to their head in their house of the Lawd to make dead sure that to Jesus goes the glory (but all things bad are their own fault, go figure). The offspring play along lest they end up “on punishment” (the hood term for “grounded”), beat with Hot Wheels tracks, or kicked out of the house. And once they come into their own, they generally embrace Jesus, due in no small part to such immersion.

Never mind that a lot of Christian teachings aren’t even really adhered to (“What do you mean don’t eat pork?!? I ain’t Moooooze-lum!”). Never mind that most aren’t that religious in daily life and only go to the “good Christian” card when it’s convenient (e.g. the one who pays the bills is in the hospital, or the jury is deliberating the verdict). Jesus is their homeboy when it’s time for him to be…and he’s not here to defend himelf, so they get away with using his name in vain.

This was written on a Sunday, the day after many church goers just finished a good six days of sin, capped by a wild night at the bar, rent money spent on drinks, glittery tiddys* out, and the whole shot.
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Disclaimer: Not written to take a position on religion…gotta disclaim this lest this author incur of the wrath of the likes of this guy:
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*spelling on purpose