It’s bad enough going to jail, when you’re a famous rapper and hence don’t have any business going to jail, but it’s even worse going to jail without anyone knowing about it. Might as well get that credibility boost that comes from being a known criminal.
Even if you committed a bullshit crime where no one got hurt and nothing was stolen, or if you just got locked up for being crazy, I’d say there’s still something badass about being institutionalized. Take for example Charles Hamilton. I always kinda knew he was crazy, based on damn near every single thing he’s said and done since he’s been a public figure, but, like the late, great Noz, I also suspected that at least some of that was a put-on. When he showed up to that XXL Ustream interview in a pink wheelchair, I figured he was just fucking with us. How could it be that he couldn’t walk, but he wasn’t crippled or anything? His brain was just too fucked the fuck up, from heroin, and the confusion that comes from producing an album via seance with the late, great J Dilla, and the emotional pain that comes from being hit by a woman (which could even be worse than a woman being hit by a man, because it’s more wrong), to control his legs. I’d never heard of anything like that, and I’ve heard of all kinds of crazy things. But now that we know that Charles Hamilton spent several weeks in the pokey out in Ohio somewhere (where he may have just randomly woke up, like that time William H. Macy woke up in Canada in the excellent new Showtime series Shameless), for trying to beat up a cop, which is one of the main crimes committed by crazy people, and that’s he since been released into some sort of facility for psychiatric evaluation, I don’t have a problem believing anything having to do with Charles Hamilton being crazy. That motherfucker must be batshit. You know good and well they aren’t keeping people locked up just because they’re crazy, what with the state of the economy, especially out here in these rust belt areas. They aren’t even sending out squad cars for incidents of rape-rape anymore. It might be a while before we see Charles Hamilton again.
Similarly, it was announced recently that Scarface is in jail down in Texas or somewhere, and there’s no way he can get out. He got locked up on umpteen different charges of failure to pay child support, but there’s also some undisclosed federal charge against him, so there’s no bail he can pay to get out, and he couldn’t just pay the amount he owes in back child support and get out, even if he could afford to. Ironically enough, the fact that he’s being held on some mystery federal charge, which could be BS (you know how they see a black man in a nice car and immediately assume he must be some sort of criminal), is a disincentive for him to bother trying to take care of his kids. What’s the point of him trying to scrape together whatever amount he’s been ordered to pay the skanks he had these babies with, which is probably way above minimum amount necessary to keep them in pampers and similac, when, even if he does, it’s not like he gets to go home. Might as well just hold on to that money, maybe try to hide it in secret accounts or some shit, which I’ve heard suggested as a strategy for guys who fuck around on their wives and don’t want to run the risk of having to cut a check for half, Johnny Carson-style. Have guys actually gotten away with that shit? I might need to look into that, to suggest as a wealth strategy for Nas, even though his wife was the one fucking around on him. I guess they don’t care about those kinds of details out in California.
If I were Scarface, there’s two main things I’d be concerned with, regardless of whether or not those kids get taken care of. First of all, there’s the very real possibility that Scarface could end up dying in prison, like the Levert brother who ended up dying in prison after he got locked up for failure to pay child support. That “I’m Not Your Casanova” money must have finally run out. There was also Kenneth Keith Kallenbach, who died in the joint after being locked up for trying to lure a young girl into his car, as I recall. Scarface is probably in worse shape than either of them – though it’s hard to tell. Those R&B niggas might appear to be more healthy, because they put more time and effort into their hair and makeup. To his credit, I’d say Scarface appears to be in much better shape than Gerald Levert, who also died relatively young, albeit not in jail. He may have overexerted himself flying around playing shows for the random, remote groups of people who still give a shit. There comes a time in your life when you don’t want to have to work as hard as you did back when you were still having good ideas on a regular basis.
This is my fear for Scarface. The fact that he’s been in jail since October and we didn’t hear about it until the other day lets me know that he hasn’t been putting a lot of thought into managing his career. It’s no wonder he’s got kids in several different states that can’t afford to eat. (That’s in addition to any kids he actually takes care of, and any kids of his who are roughly my age at this point. You know how those southern rappers get down.) His entire life must be in a complete and utter state of disarray. The first thing he should have done when he found out that his Genghis Khan-like reproduction tour of the American Southwest had finally come back to haunt him was have someone send out a press release announcing that he’d been locked up for multiple counts of failure to pay child support. Yeah, failing to take care of your kids is some foul shit, and doesn’t necessarily constitute gulliness, but it does involve jail time, and, as previously discussed, there is some marketing benefit from jail time, regardless of what it’s for. Also, there is something badass about having more kids than you can afford to take care of, even though you’re a famous rapper. There’s a part of me that’s jealous of guys who have like 24 kids, and take home like $400 a month, or whatever you’re allowed to have left after garnishment. I don’t take home that much more, and as sad as it sounds, I’d probably trade it to have sex 24 times, as long as they were all different women. That’s not a bad total for a lifetime, let alone by the time you’re like 28. #lowexpectations