To listen to the radio these days, you'd think this was some new halcyon era of crack dealing. Every rapper and his mother is "into distribution." You hear more songs about slinging yay, in fact, than you did during the original crack era of the late '80s/early '90s.

Meanwhile, statistics show that actual crime, including drug dealing, is way down these days. Unless you live in the kind of neighborhood featured in the "awesome" straight-to-DVD film Havoc, you don't see crack vials lining the streets and junkies blowing mothefuckers on the sidewalk like you did back in the day.

That said, I wonder if this current fascination with all things crack might herald the return of rock smoking to America's ghettos. If Young Jeezy and the Clipse can get young jigs to walk around with advertisements for crack on their t-shirts, what's there to say that they can't get them to walk around with actual crack in their pockets?

I rarely venture into America's ghettos myself, for the safety of my car, but it could be the case that this phenomenon is already beginning to take root. We know for a fact that something like 70% of black male high school dropouts are out of a job. They've gotta be doing something to make money, right?

Indeed it was suggested recently, in an op-ed in the New York Times, that rap music is one of the main reasons why young black men are drifting further and further from the mainstream in an era when other groups are making strides. Why waste all that money on a college degree that's not gonna be worth a shit anyway when you can deal crack?

Crack dealers, after all, get a lot of pussy. A brother with a college degree (read debt out the ass), meanwhile? Not as much as you'd like.

Back in the '70s and '80s you had a lot of black dudes dealing drugs because there weren't as many viable ways to make a living. While that's still true to a certain degree, I get the idea that a lot of kids today are getting wrapped up in that shit because it's the thing to do.

Here's hoping they all get raped in prison.