Just To Earn A Rep

A few months after I graduated high school, I was arrested after looting a local Sam Goody record store and leading security guards and authorities on a 40-minute foot race throughout Long Beach (and I would have gotten away with it had they not cheated and chased me down in a truck). A few things actually prevented me from doing actual jail time, though: I was roughly six months away from turning 18, and I was $150 short of being charged with a felony.

Definitely not one of my prouder moments in life, as I was more ashamed of the fact that I embarrassed my family more than I was of myself, but it was only a coincidence (or was it?) that I had Raekwon’s “Criminology” playing in my ears while ducking behind cars and trees. Whether I did this out of “parental rebellion” or “musical inspiration” I’m not sure to this day, but I did notice that once I dumped most of the street talk for the Rawkus stylings I wasn’t as compelled to snatch a kid’s Jordans anymore.

Rap has been widely criticized as a misogynistic, ultra-violent medium (those naysayers obviously haven’t sat through an hour of dancehall music) that supposedly warps the minds of white, Midwestern children across the nation, with rappers constantly being jailed for the most trivial of crimes sometimes. Pundits against it have been clamoring for change for about as long as I’ve been born, but I don’t think they realize how much weight rap pulls. Specifically, within the prison industry.

Every two-bit, knucklehead rapster still thinks that having an unfuckwitable street rep includes doing jail time, which almost always includes doing the lettuce exchange with their bunkmate – ironically the least thugged out thing evAr. Despite the bodyguards, weed carriers and other hangers-on essentially designed to take a bullet for them, artists still insist on carrying a firearm with them at all times. And why have one anyways if it doesn’t get used? More often than not a rapster is getting sent up the river for just having a gun. If that were me, I’d at the very least fire a couple rounds into the air; how would I look like collecting guns like they were deadstock sneakers?

While prisons continue to survive and thrive on its residents, rappers also receive a boost in profile. Gucci Mane got locked up after spraying up someone who had the sheer gall to look at his blood diamond-enriched Odie chain the wrong way, and came out even more popular than ever. T.I.’s camp became an extremely hot commodity after he got caught with guns that rivaled those of a Transformer, with reality shows, a platinum album and more. Wayne is set to do the same once he gets out from the grab-ya-ankles facilities as well.

Does rap need prison? Of course not. But it does make for great music sometimes. Imagine if Big Lurch came out of prison right now; he’d probably be the hottest rapper out. I mean, homeboy killed and then ate his victim on some Hannibal Lecter shit; you can’t get any gullier than that.

  • Pingback: Slang Editorial: Just To Earn A Rep | 2dopeboyz

  • http://www.myspace.com/doinalright ROX ONE

    If XXL needs an editor, get at me… Too many posts read like first drafts….

  • TheFuckingTruth

    Speaking of Big Lurch…. PCP is one hell of a drug. Didn’t dude think the lady he ate was like satan or something?

  • J_EaRLy

    May 2nd!!!!

    P.S. Nigga, you gay.

  • http://majorwaves.com Dan V

    C’mon Mek,
    you can’t tell me that local/state POlice (not to mention the alphabet boys) don’t specifically target rappers. Is it just a coincidence that corporate-controlled media has done nothing since hip-hop’s golden age but promote these same violent, mysogynistic so-called “artists” while at the same time blackballing (almost)any MC that acually has an orignal thought bouncing between their ears??

    There’s three things these people don’t like. 1) A man with a huge following
    2) An intelligent man with a huge following
    3) A intelligent black man with a huge following. (Say what you want about Wayne’s MC skills, but behind the weed smoke and the styrofoam cups I can tell he’s a smart dude)

    But on the other hand, if I was T.I. or Lil Wayne I’d carry a gun too! Shit, I’d have a whole Tony Montana arsenal if I recieved death threats on the regular. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. Can you?

    And as far as (white)people criticizing rappers for carrying ILLEGAL weapons. I need only refer them to the immortal words of one Katt Williams.

    “You had a gun!”
    “Yea”
    “But it was STOLEN!!”
    “And?? What am I gonna do? Shoot somebody with MY gun? HERE’S THE EVIDENCE, COME FIND ME!”

    Nuff said.

    • TheFuckingTruth

      How can you call Wayne a smart man, when every time he talks he just spews out random statements that contradict each other.

      • http://majorwaves.com Dan V

        Look. I’m a smart man, and I’m sure you are too. But I’ve said some pretty retarded things while intoxicated.

        Leave the man alone. He likes to be on Cloud 9.

  • Grimey G

    Of course nobody actually enjoys doing prison time. The appeal comes from when they get out and can tell people they did time. Society has the notion that being locked up instills in you a level of toughness, swag and whatever qualities make somebody a “gangster.” Nobody actually wants to go to jail, they just want to say they have been to jail. Its really a silly notion but you can’t deny its the way society feels. In order for the criminal boasting rappers do to have any credibility they have to have some credentials. Since you can’t really prove all the crimes you talk about actually happened (nor would you really want to if your smart), that leaves prison time and getting shot as the two status quo things you need in your past to give your thug image credibility.

  • Worley

    Rappers need to drop the weed carriers in favor of two attorneys in each state and at least 5 ex military types with federal carry permits (think of that big Austrian looking dude always with Jay-Z). That would considerably slow down the hip hop police and the goons.

  • DJ NITTI

    Of course the authorities, aka THE MAN, is targeting rappers, does anybody really think that if they (the cops) searched a rock star or most pop star’s tour bus they wouldn’t find illegal substances and possibly even a weapon or two? But they don’t, or won’t, search them. Look at Lindsay Lohan, I dare the cops to search her vehicle, there’s no telling what kind of drugs they’ll find and there’s no doubt her driver, whether licensed or not, is carrying a gun to protect her. Matter of fact, most of those drivers/security are cops moonlighting as security, which in NYC is illegal. So rappers are in a particularly sticky situation because they obviously need security but they can’t trust these moonlighting cops who do security because they will probably be the first ones to set them up for having illegal drugs. But would they set up a Bruce Springstein, Bon Jovi or any of these other rock stars? Of course not! So rappers feel they have to protect themselves and they can’t rely on cops even though they pay for their salaries, through their taxes, to protect them. Shit, the only way to definitely get away with murder is to kill a rapper, just ask Biggie’s killer, or Tupac’s killer, or Jam Master Jay’s killer. So what’s a rapper to do?

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    Damn Meka you couldn’t make the title ‘Just To Get A Rep’ to throw Guru a little dap?

    Lifers and bid maxers don’t brag about the penal system, skid bidders do. Call me when that 9-5 rapper blows up.

    • eesco

      yo that is so true. I have a couple buddies that did fed time and they dont brag about shit but every kat i kno that is a frequent county jail in and outer always talking like that shit made them gully word to fleece booty warrior johnson. lol

  • Anonymous

    IT’S
    D- BLOCK SNITCHES

  • iliveonce1

    The criminal non justice love seeing this.It makes prison ( modern day slavery) more appealing. Then when the male or female gets arrested the family is destroyed and then instability then drugs then more crime then the babies become enticed by criminal life style and grow up to be deceived by the system and become slaves the what!! they move in to low income areas and can’t control the areas why because they don’t have power or economic power. MEANWHILE THE RAPPER IS LIVING AMONGST THE SAME EXECUTIVES WHO DON’T LIVE IN HE COMMUNITY AND THE RAPPERS CHILDREN ARE GOING TO THE BEST SCHOOLS..THE EXECUTIVES AN RAPPER LIVE IN NICE NEIGHBORHOODS WITH NO CRIME (SOME GATED COMMUNITES) { 50 CENT FOR INSTANCE }……IT’S ALL A LIE

    • J.M.L.

      Realest comment of the day. “They” LOVVVVVE seeing this cycle continue especially when “THEY” get PAID because of it!!! At some companies, I wouldn’t doubt “they” have hour-long meetings on the subject. Glad I’m not the only person who sees this…I’ve never heard of a “cool” slave. “Coonery”, I think “they” call it…

      Sincerely,

      A 25 year-old college-educated Black man/MC/producer/SC native–raised by BOTH (college-educated) parents–with NO “baby mamas”, NO jail record and NO plans to EVER aquire one. (In case they didn’t think we existed…was hoping to piss one of “them” off to make that next “meeting” a little more interesting LOL!!!)

      P.S. Weezy WAS my favorite MC…before he went commercial…just a sidenote

  • fuck a meka

    BLAH BLAH this ignorant writer should be working at sam goody still

  • SPLIFFINGTON

    DANCEHALL > RAP

    RAP IS BLOODCLOT PUSS COMPARED TO REGGAE. PUT THAT PON YOUUUCHUUUUUBE

  • 619

    A lotta youngsters do get impressed by all these exaggerated war stories.
    “If I coulda told you all the shit I really did
    I woulda sold more records than that nigga 50 cent”

  • Mr. P

    Youngsters Think Going To Jail Is Cool Until OG Triple OG Makes Young MC Snot Nose Grab His Ankles And Yoddle Andrew Lloyd Weber Songs……You Feels Me Meka SouL ???

    • what

      Why do we accept this as a condition of doing prison time? That shit doesn’t happen in the prisons of the brokest, gutterest Eastern European countries, let alone Japan or France. When it does, it’s usually the COs, not the inmates.

      People talk a lot about the prison-industrial complex and what-not, and that’s important, but they miss the bigger picture. The point of having such shitty conditions in prisons is to make people scared of the possibility, so they’ll do ANYTHING to avoid it.

      That means people will take the shitty 9-to-5 jobs that barely pay for the costs of living, because they don’t want to experience hell before they die, and no other opportunities are available.

      That’s the only way capitalism works at this point. Somebody has to flip those burgers.

  • Anonymous

    Man thought this was an update on X… He should’ve put a gucci mane up because X need some help..

  • Gift

    THE THING THAT FUCKS ME UP ABOUT THIS PIECE, IS YES, RAPPERS ARE OFTEN TARGETED BY “THE MAN”, BUT IN THE SAME TOKEN, THEY MAKE THEMSELVES SUCH EASY TARGETS. wHY WOULD YOU SHOW YOUR STRAPS AND DRUGS ON VARIOUS DVDS. “THE MAN” CAN USE THOSE AS TOOLS TO FIND OUT WHAT ILLEGAL SHIT THESE NIGGAS DO ON A DAILY. SECONDLY, SMOKIN AND RIDIN IN “THE HOOD” WHEN THEY NO THE LAWS BE WATCHIN THEY ASS ON THE REGULAR. YOU ARE MAKING YOURSELF AN EASY TARGET. WHY HAVE AN ENTOURAGE, IF YOU STILL GOTTA HOLD ALL THE ILLEGAL SHIT. tHESE FREELOADIN ENTOURAGE MEMBERS HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO ASIDE FROM LEECH, SO MAKE THEM NIGGAS USEFUL. STOP TRYING SNEEK SHIT IN AIRPORTS, IF YOU CONNECTED, AND KNOW YOU CAN GET YOUR MEDICINE OF CHOICE, ONCE YOU GET IN THAT PARTICULAR DESTINATION. iT’S ALOT OF SHIT THAT RAPPERS COULD DO TO NOT BE SUCH AN EASY TARGET FOR THE LAWS. tHERE ARE GREAT NUMBER OF SITUATIONS WHERE THE LAWS WAS ON SOME DICK SUCKIN SHIT, BUT OTHER TIMES, RAPPERS JUST NEED TO LAY IN THE CUT, AND CUT DEADWEIGHT, AND ALOT MORE OF THEM WOULD BE FREE. REAL TALK.

  • 773

    If your as Gangster why do you need body guards ?,You should handle your shit yourself (guy)… Rappers have turned Pussy I dont like rapper that much becuz Pac and Big where the best and still are the greatest of all time , half of these rappers, are rapping about stuff they have never done .

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    The dichotomy of the rapper shouldn’t come as a shock. Are rappers targeted? No, black men are targeted. Black men are a great threat. We are taught that we have equal rights, yet every law is set up against “the black man” That is at the heart of the contradiction. With that said, you have rappers who are all intellegent, young black males using their talent to attain an out of this world lifestyle. You have millionaires who would pretend to be poor and hungry because the underworld shows “the black man” more love. That rep or street cred goes a long way. Hip hop is the only music genre with those requirements. With that in mind, i wouldn’t be suprised if some rappers make side deals before they get arrested. Hip hop and the world could really benfit if they allowed black men to be free to express our self.

  • deuce53

    last i checked, lindsay lohan got the DUI, u wanna know the real reason rappers are targeted? cuz the media puts that shit into ppl’s heads, thats why shes on VH1 and E news gettin fucked up, and we gota hear bout this kinda shit with rappers just on the websites…as long as cats like bill o reily and rush limbaugh pollute the airwaves (on national news channels no less, one word; woooow) then why wudnt they put down an art thats cinsidered “violent” and “degrading”? true enuf, hip hop police do exist…but u know wat pigs do when they go home? they do the same shit we do and watch tv, think bout that

    p.s. racism, while it still exists, falls prey to the media too, racism, to me, is like a cult following, meaning errybody follows that one idea…lol i wud be embarassed to be part of a quote, but the only reason racism even still exists pasts all the other cult bs weve herd bout thru history, is cuz the media chooses to blow that up…we all victims of this ppl, just look