I’ll admit, I’m not completely immune to that feeling black people get when we see someone getting out of jail. I don’t know if it’s a psychological remnant of slavery, or what.
Every year this time, I hear about someone I’m related to or someone I know from work graduating from high school (usually just high school…), and I’m just like, “Yeah, whatever.” I’m sure part of it’s that, having graduated from both high school and college (what a waste!), I’ve realized that having a degree isn’t a sign of anything other than having parents with the sense + the means to keep you in school. You’ve gotta be at least kinda smart to make it all the way through college, but you don’t have to be that smart. And it isn’t clear to me that there’s any real requirement for graduating from high school. I know shedloads of people in certain areas drop out, but I also happen to know that a lot of those who do stick it out through graduation can’t even read. Maybe if graduating seemed like more of an achievement.
Getting out of jail isn’t much of an achievement either, but there’s something about it that resonates with people on an emotional level. I don’t even like Gucci Mane, but when I saw that video of him exiting the pokey (nullus), I was like, “Shit yeah!” (Whether I would have felt even better, if he hadn’t received time off for good behavior, is a topic for another discussion.) I found it roughly akin to how I felt when Barack Obama was elected president, with the caveat that I didn’t give a shit about Barack Obama being elected president. There was a certain novelty to it, with this being such a racist country, but it really just came down to a matter of demographics: we’ve finally reached the point where a black man, if he meets the Illuminati’s approval, can be elected president. As Chris Farley would say, whoopty frickin’ doo.
Don’t be surprised if, from now on, every time a rapper gets out of jail, he’s videotaped exiting the building, and then there’s an impromptu press conference. Even if it’s just some bum rapper no one gives a shit about, and the press conference just consists of him speaking to his weed carrier holding a flip cam. It’s probably bound to happen anyway, in this age of flip cams, World Star, Ustream and what have you, but I don’t recall there being anything quite like the footage of Gucci Mane getting out of jail. When T.I. got out of the joint, not too long ago, it seemed like he went home first, and he was there for a while before anyone even knew he was free. There were rumblings that his sentence was coming to an end, but it wasn’t clear when exactly he touched ground. What a waste. Though T.I. may not have been as concerned with exploiting his release for marketing purposes, since there isn’t a genuine question as to whether anyone other than Noz and his ilk even likes his music, as there is with Gucci Mane.
Credit where credit is due: So far, Gucci Mane really does seem to be making the best of his release. I joked the other day about his plans for his career post-this most recent stint behind bars, but so far it looks like I may have been mistaken. In addition to that inspirational video of him leaving jail (at least for the time being), I checked World Star just now, to see if there was something more interesting I could write about today, and I see he’s got this huge banner ad calling himself Georgia’s Most Wanted. There’s an entire website, which I’m not gonna bother to visit, and there’s even a t-shirt you can buy. The logo on the t-shirt is clearly based on the logo for America’s Most Wanted. Looking at it, with an image of Gucci Mane in his Sunday best superimposed over it, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the analogy to Ronnie Dobbs I made in a post on Gucci Mane I did here a while back. I wonder if some white kid at the label read that post and that’s where they got the idea, or we just happened to be thinking on the same wavelength.
Which of course begs the question: Has Gucci Mane reached the point in his career where he both literally and figuratively can’t get arrested? No one gave a shit about the real Ronnie Dobbs, once he cleaned up his act. Is Gucci Mane destined for a similar fate? (I mean, even more so than usual.) Or is it only a matter of time before he’s back behind bars? Based on that impromptu press conference, I’m gonna suggest the latter. Yeah, he didn’t say anything to suggest that he’s about to go out and do something stupid, as my colleagues here at XXL seem to be encouraging him to do, with that gift basket they prepared for him. But he seems mad nervous. The way he says he’s gonna clean up his act, it’s like he’s trying to convince himself that it’s true. If I would have been giving that same speech, and I was confident I wasn’t going back, I would have been like, “Fuck the warden, fuck the judge, and fuck this prison! I’m out!” That would have made the video even better than it already is.