Journey into the heart of darkness

You fruits are gonna have to forgive me for this one.

I’m sure many of you spend your every waking hour in the ghetto, and hence could care less about my brief venture into your domain. There probably isn’t a whole lot I can tell you about your home, especially since I only spent the amount of time there it would take to have a brief conversation and then break the fuck out. (No, I wasn’t buying drugs.)

That is, unless you’re from some place like New York, where they don’t really have ghettos like they have here in the Midwest.

I’m not gonna sit here and claim to be an expert on New York, but I figure I’ve spent enough time there to know that the softness that’s set in there isn’t just limited to Manhattan or whatever. I spent some time in Queens last year, and also a couple of years ago, and I made it a point to look for the especially shitty areas, just for my own personal amusement. And the worst parts I saw there or anywhere else in New York look like the places where poor white people live here in the Midwest. I didn’t see any places that look like where poor black people live here in the Midwest.

Keep in mind, I could be mistaken. Also, I definitely don’t mean to brag or anything. If only the rest of the country could be like New York. (You know, minus the furriners.)

I’d been to the ghetto here in St. Louis before, but it’s been a long time. Like most black people, unless you’re part of one of those rare black families that’s been balling for generations, my entire family hails from the ghetto. And for all I know they might still live there, but who knows. We used to go down there to visit people when I was a kid, but the family has since grown much less close knit. A lot of the older people are dead, and a lot of the younger people could care less.

I’m not risking having my car stolen just to see some mofo I’m ostensibly related to. I’ll just watch 106 & Park. (I kid. I’m not watching 106 & Park.)

The thing that struck me driving through the ghetto today was how much more fucked the fuck up it is now than it was back then. I knew, because I’d read it in the paper or some shit, that the relative prosperity of the Clinton era, when unemployment had fallen to a supposedly negligible amount, and people weren’t sweating how much longer they’d be able to afford living indoors, had skipped over the ghetto, but I just figured that was motherfuckers complaining. Apparently, it did though. Who knew!

Oddly enough, the ghetto seemed like a much more vibrant place back during the height of the crack era. Now, I’m not even sure what’s wrong with the ghetto, other than… you know, poverty. There just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on there. I noticed a lot of the chain restaurants that were there even back when new homicide records were being set year in and year out have since been closed.

But of course, with this being the ghetto and all, there were still people out on the street. Even during a slight drizzle, there were people walking up and down the street, headed nowhere in particular, sitting on stoops, and what have you. That’s one thing you see in the ghetto you just don’t see other places. I mean, there’s people on this block who don’t work during the day, but they stay the fuck inside. What is it about the ghetto that drives so many people outdoors?

I guess, if I couldn’t afford the Internets, I’d spend more time standing around out front. Somebody might drive by in an interesting car.

Not to get too far off track in what’s already turning into a waste of a post, but there was an hilarious article in the New York Times a few weeks ago about these white chicks who had moved to Harlem, for the relatively cheap real estate, but decided to leave because they got tired of black dudes checking them out on the street. Not raping them, mind you. Just having a gander, and maybe whistling or some shit.

Roffle.

Anyhoo, if you’re into… erm, sociology or whatever, and you’re willing to take a certain degree of risk, you might want to consider visiting one of this country’s ghettos. I know some cracka-ass crackas have been going on poverty tourism expeditions to places like Brazil. But places like North St. Louis are way closer, and you’d be surprised how fucked the fuck up they are. Even in a time like this.

You might even be able to find a good deal on a blowski.

  • FPL

    We’re loosing (as a whole)….and you’re laughing…

    • te noh

      No, you’re just *losing* at a personal level.

      Annnnnndddddd . . . this post is pretty much on point. The Midwest has giant swaths of land that some would qualify economically as ghetto but which Sarah Palin would just call small-town, real America. So, if you go to where people consider in the Midwest consider the ghetto, you can see some real wild shit. I feel much more comfortable in the Bronx or Brownsville than I do in, say, East St. Louis.

  • DA TRUTH

    St. Louis is the only city i’ve been to were the county is fucked up. why is north county so fucked up. its the county, its were the white people should want to live.

  • og bobby J

    yo BOL…where in queens were u at….im from queens…just curious.

    • http://xxlmag.com Bol

      Not sure.

      Once I was in a hotel by the airport, and once I was in a hotel by the highway leading into Long Island. Both were pretty shitty.

      One time I had a car and drove around some. I think I was in the place where Fiddy Cent is from. Fortunately, I didn’t get shot nine times.

      • Og bobby J

        word…if you are talking about JFK airport….then that pretty close to jamaica…which has its shitty parts.

        Most of NY is suburban…but there is also a high concentration of people in the 5 boroughs…making high crime areas or ghettos more concetrated to small areas. Bed Stuy, Brownsville, East NY, Coney Island, are all pretty hood…and thats just brooklyn. Queens is probably the nicest borough…besides south jamaica, and Queensbridge

  • http://www.prettypancakes.com amar

    what about ppl who live in atlantic coast-ish states like new orleans, texas and especialy florida? there, if your house isn’t foreclosed and you can still afford to sit on a stoop, chances are you’re just gonna get blown the fuck away by a hurricane or something else that bitch mother nature has in store.

    http://www.prettypancakes.com

  • The Spaniard

    You may consider this post a near waste but I am seriously debating whether or not this is classic material.

    I was thinking the same thing about NY on my few trips there.

  • giantstepp

    Total waste of a post bol, POINTLESSS! You must be tryna make your quota to get whoever at xxlmag off of your ass.

  • http://xxlmag.com Billy X. Sunday

    Detroit impressed me on what an urban ghetto could be and the D isn’t officially midwest either.

    In the center of the city there was an abandoned Foot locker and the signage was falling off the buildings facade.

    You know shit is fucked the fuck up for niggas when a sneaker store closes.

  • 619

    I’ve seen all the spots in the East, but the only one that was trivial to me was D.C. It’s like one minute your driving past the Capitol building, the next minute your on skid row! The difference with the East is all the states are so close together, you go from Blair Witch woods to hood in a few minutes. Out here the hood just continues throughout neighborhoods until you hop on the freeway. The heroin problem in places like D.C. is something different too. In South Cali hoods we mostly got sherm alleys or zombied out sherm housing where everybody living there is wet. There was an alley like that behind the complex I used to live in. You come out your front door and you can smell the embalming fluid already. Everyone in the alley deep as fuck, banged out from head to toe, blacking out or speaking a different language slow as fuck. And the females either dropping panties or getting their man some warm milk to sober him up.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Yeah, you were in Jamaica, Springfield Gardens…….it’s all the same shit. Hotel (motel) by the highway (Belt Pkwy.) probably the Executive Motor Inn or some other shit. Hotel by the airport (off Farmer’s Blvd. & the South Conduit)..shit that could be anything they close all the time. It’s all fucked up. That’s why I got the hell out!!

  • El Tico Loco

    hey yo what’s the deal with the furrinerz? Are you counting latinos too cuz we’re all overn (midwest and all) and spreading, if you’re talkin about the funny smellin ones then I understand, and I was just checkin.

  • balaramesh

    too the mainstream, everyone is irrelevant aside from wayne, kayne, jeezy and ti. you can factor in a few other media whores including fiddy and diddy.

    with that said, if anyone does any searching on their own, they can find a tons of cats out doing thier thing including lupe, crooked i, killer mike, bun b, royce, budden ect.

    in regards to the 97′, just about everyone had to be NICE to be out. now, you can be completely garbage and get mainstream video and radio rotation

  • balaramesh

    wrong post. that was how wack this post was today.

    oh dude, NY got cleaned up the past few years. however, if you go to brownsville, it’s still dirty and grimy. queens is about the second nicest borrough after harlem in regards to cleanliness.

    in some southern states, it still look like most folks still in slavery. well, you get my point.

    • Og bobby J

      except for the fact that Harlem is not a borough….dummy

  • http://jasongchu.blogspot.com Grand Master

    “I guess, if I couldn’t afford the Internets, I’d spend more time standing around out front. Somebody might drive by in an interesting car.”

    pardon me, I had to laugh at that (c) Jay-Z

  • geico lizard

    this post was right Bol people arent walking to the store in the hood or anything they arent doing it for exercise they just go walking or to the porch/stoop just to get out of the house. they act like their homes are prisons. internet and cable tv is the only thing that keeps the younger people inside. i dont know about the drug sales but the women selling sex are usually on drugs in the hood and the ones online or in a strip club are materialistic and they want nice things or they want fast money to pay bills for their kids. i dont buy that molested or raped excuse for selling sex because most of those women are having sex for free.

  • niggaplease

    I was listening until you said Queens. Queens, save for Corona (Re: Mexicans), Jamaica (re: Fiddy) and Queensbridge (Re: Nas and a bunch of terrible rappers) is a pluralistic multi-racial suburban safe zone.

    Had you said East New York, Broadway Junction, Redhook, Brownsville, University Heights, etc, I might’ve took that to heart.

    Try the Bronx on for size. Its the only part of NYC, besides East NY, that I don’t feel comfortable in.

    Because niggas is dumb.

  • http://xxlmag.com Cal

    Man thank God those N-bombs were in NY when they whistled at those girls coz out here in the midwest and down south motherfuckers would’ve gotten lynched for that shit!

  • droopey

    Bol, are you trying to deter people from coming to the states?! I’ve only seen the US on TV but I have to see for myself, the good and the bad.

  • BIGNAT

    BOL NEED TO GET HIS ASS OVER TO THE SOUTH BRONX. THE WORST GHETTO’S I SEEN WAS WHEN I WAS TRINIDAD. THIS ONE TOWN WAS SO BAD THAT THE PEOPLE WILL NO EVEN LET YOU USE THERE GAS STATION. THEY WERE CHILLING THERE WITH GUNS IN THERE LAPS AND MY MOM’S BOYFRIEND TOLD ME THAT YOU DON’T WANNA BE AROUND HERE WHEN IT GETS DARK. HE SAID THE COPS DON’T EVEN COME AROUND HERE.

    ALSO THOSE WHITE CHICKS LEFT HARLEM BECAUSE BLACK GUYS WAS PAYING ATTENTION TO THEM. I HOPE THEY GET INTO A CAR ACCIDENT AND THEY LOSE ALL THERE LOOKS THEN NOBODY WILL LOOK AT THEM STUCK UP BITCHES

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=26870 jay

    El Tico Loco says:

    hey yo what’s the deal with the furrinerz? Are you counting latinos too cuz we’re all overn (midwest and all) and spreading, if you’re talkin about the funny smellin ones then I understand, and I was just checkin.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    let me help u out with that answer..

    are u not from america
    are u anything other than american
    are u anything other than black or white
    so u speak a differnt language than english

    if yes to all of those then yes hes talkin bout u mutha fuckaaaa

    • Zottapottamottakiz

      i answered yes to all 4 and i couldnt be prouder you racist fuck.

  • Combat Jack

    NY got some eff’d up parts (East NY, So. Bronx, some parts of Staten Island, Mount Vernon), but I co-sign on the fact that other ghettos in the US is just plain on some 3rd world level ish (Philly, Detroit, Chicago, Florida). I mean straight up abject poverty. Still and all, what makes my city stand out from all the rest is the fact that you gotta be rich to be poor here.