May 14, 2011
I was heading into the last straight away of my daily run today when my body screamed for inspiration. So I hit the next song button on my beloved I-pod. Bobby Brown, no. TLC, no. R. Kelly, no. Green Day, ummmm no. Rick Ross, lets get it!
As soon as I heard the beat drop to “Push it to the Limit” that’s exactly what I started doing. I was caught up in some gangster fantasy and convinced myself that I was running from federal agents or chasing down some coward that violated me until next thing I knew I was finished with my work out. The song ended and I went right back to being a square ass struggling writer.
But it was something about that moment that made me wonder what it is about gangster rap that I find so irresistible. And it’s not just me. All of my college educated friends have a favorite thugged out song that they like to go crazy to. Whether it is in the car, at the gym, or in the club, there is something about the latest hood anthem that brings out the primal instinct in all of us. We mean mug, bob our heads to the beat, throw our fingers up and scream along with the chorus; “If you don’t give a damn we don’t give a fuck!/Hey!”
To make matters worse usually the more violent, vulgar, and extreme the song is the more we love to hear it. I don’t know. It really doesn’t make sense. I mean it’s not like we want to be thugs or think the criminal lifestyle is all fun and games. Every last one of my friends has lost a loved one to the street life so it isn’t like there is a detachment either. It’s just something that comes over us that we can’t stop when we hear Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, or Rick Ross. I suppose it’s something similar to when educated white men watch a Godfather marathon, or Scarface, or the Sopranos. While you are watching it you become equally as invincible as the characters and you never have to spend a day in prison for it. The truth is that at times everyone wishes they didn’t have to care about the consequences of their actions or observe the law, so when we hear the voice of a rebel we respond—even if that voice is fictitious.
Gangster rap is a lot of things at the same time. It’s oppressive, repressive, corporate, poetic, real, fake, and liberating. Therefore I think it’s safe to say that it is not for everyone but if you have the capacity to feel it then you really feel it.
So to all the critics “Don’t talk no shit won’t be no shit!” LOL.