Picture 1.jpgEach day of human life contains joy and anger, pain and pleasure, darkness and light, growth and decay. Each moment is etched with nature's grand design—do not try to deny or oppose the cosmic order of things.

—Morihei Ueshiba, The Art of Peace

It don’t take much more than a few guns to start popping off to see where people really stand on the issues, what makes them tick, how loyal they are to the noises that come out of their pie-holes. It don’t take much more than one of your own to become collateral damage of the war, the policy, the course of action to see if you’re really about that stuff you talk. Until then, it’s an idea, a platonic equation like numbers on a page. But let the blood come from you or someone you know (or think you know) and it gets real. The hands start wringing, emotions come into play then you start looking for scapegoats. And they’re always outside.

Hot 97. The “entourage.” Them, the other, the uncouth masses that can’t appreciate their blessings:

When is it going to stop?

As if it ain’t been jumping off, as if we’re not dealing with centuries of inequity, dreams deferred and psychological operations. No. Let’s blame it on hip-hop, whether as the cause of the problem or as the force that should have been able to stop it—because it’s not just music, or anything.

Yes, there have been more than a few high-profile acts of violence this young year that have been tangentially related to hip-hop. But none of them—to the best of my knowledge—have had anything to do with hip-hop. It’s not like anyone got capped for biting a rhyme or refusing a guest appearance. Hell, far as I know, no one’s even gotten their lungs collapsed for going too far in a verse. No. Nickels have been getting the fat torn out their heads because, guess what: nickels get the fat torn out they heads everyday.

But there’s no outrage over the system that uses these cycles of violence as fuel, no introspection as to how much we feed off of and into this system. Not really. There’s just a lot of admonishing, a lot of I’m sick of hip-hop, a lot of When is this all going to end? —like some fruit flies don’t listen to music, but just skim through it. Granted there’s no void of anti-ness going on in the music; no shortage of ultra-violent hyperbole in the words. It’s true that there’s too much of an emphasis on the what and not enough on the why or the and then what. Yes, the scales are tilted in the favor of death. But is this content a source or a symptom; a chicken or an egg; or is it the cause, the effect and the way all in one?

Clichés, like stereotypes, achieve their status because they’re rooted in truth. The options of music vs. being dead or in jail have been repeated so much that they’ve lost their poetry—but it doesn’t make them any less true. Because, for some of us, those are the options. And, no, a dead-end job that leaves you just enough money to be broke is not an option, it’s a trap. For some the escape is another trap, for some it’s the way of the gun, for some it’s a pen, a mic or a hustle by any other name. These are the cards that are dealt. If you got a better hand, consider yourself blessed.

Not to get all Black Card era around here, but for some of you clappas, hip-hop really is a game that you choose to play. And when the game gets too tough, you can get up from the table and walk way. I’m sick of hip-hop. Hip-hop is something you can put down, log off from, cancel your RSS feed to. The rest of us a can turn in our Bapes, Red Monkeys and fitteds for a three button Zegna and pair of Allen Edmonds, but we’d still be nickels in overpriced suits and well-crafted shoes. Some of you don’t know anything about that and never will. Consider yourselves blessed.

You’re sick of hip-hop. Well, cuff you and the horse you rode in on cause I’m sick of you, too. Get the cuff out of here. No one needs you.

You may never understand that when some of us would rather go to jail than cooperate with the police it has less to do with The Godfather, being cool or selling records and more to do with an understanding that the State, its Stars & Stripes, its blue-eyed mystery God and its boys in blue are, and always have been, on the other team in war where winning is far from reality, payback is impossible and revenge is a short-lived high. You don’t have to read Fanon or have spent time in Clinton to know that one—some things you pick up as you live; some things wake up in your skin, passed down from generations.

But then some of you fruit flies think that it’s not disrespectful to put the Neptunes in the same thought as Cool & Dre, so there’s really not much that can be done. It’s only so much that the language can be dumbed down before it ceases being useful.

Consider yourselves blessed. Ignorance is bliss, indeed.

And—because you know I really care—I must ask: Do you have conversation to learn something new or just to prove to everyone else that you already know everything?