Thursday, January 21, 2010

T.I. should meet my uncle.

Can you imagine how many rappers wish they were in T.I.'s position right now?


No shots, but Mystikal, Mr. "Shake It Fast," served a little over 5 years for some unsavory business etiquette towards a female member of his entourage. As successful as he was pre-"Bitch betta have my money (or else swallow throat lotion!)," dude comes home to little fanfare whatsoever. The few fans who were excited about his return, are lost in the message boards of articles & blog drops about his release. Lost, as in a "Mystikal's back!" is met by 25 commentors calling him a criminal, & throwing around words like "extortion," & "rapist." I'm not a judge, so I don't condemn. I just hoped he learned something, aside from how to live with nothing but men for years at a time. Point being, many people don't even know he's home. Of those they do know, most don't really care. His ship has long since sailed unfortunately, & not even the great Percy Miller himself can undo that. Shit, P can't even keep his own brother out of jail, so good luck with him relaunching a rap career that's long been dead in the water. "Watch yaself," indeed. It'll be interesting to see if Mystikal jumps into the viral ring, or fades into absolute obscurity. How much you wanna bet that he's set on putting 'The NEW, New No Limit' back on the map. No dice. & I don't think it's so much that we, the fans & heads & afficianados, turn our backs on artists during trial & tribulation, so much as it's just that niggas have better shit to do. Any man who believes life will stop for him is a fool doomed to failure by his own stagnation. I'm almost positive he wishes he was in T.I.'s position.


Again, no shots, but Prodigy of Mobb Deep, is in a curious situation. Mind you, I'm a Hip Hop Head from the early 80's, & still, if I had to name a rapper who I could quote verse for verse, song by song, it would be Prodigy, before NaS, or even Redman. There was a period in my life where I had a BIG ASS poster of 'The Infamous' album cover on my wall, over my bed. No homo. Call me a stan, but I'd prefer you call me a Tony (ha!). Sorry, that was corny. A lot of people may not know that P has sickle cell anemia, a blood disease that affects people of color, that can cause death. The girl I lost my virginity to had it. That shit is no joke. It almost seems unbelievable. I know all to well how it can affect a person. Yet & still, this nigga wants to be a thug. Carrying guns, fighting people, going back & forth to jail, where he sits now, as what remains of his music career sits in limbo. Not to mention, the apex of his career came & went while he was still free, so now what? Dude's gotta be at least 30-something by now. The number of people who probably don't even know who he is greatly outweighs the amount of people who anxiously wait for his release. Saddest part is that 50 Cent (Whaddup MDub!!) seems to be his only remaining tie to rap music at this point. Good luck with that, P. I put him in a category I call "When Keepin It Real Goes Right," because apparently these dudes want this life. Mistakes are one thing, but repetition is insanity. I'm pretty sure he wishes he was in T.I. position.


Which all brings me to my point about T.I.'s position. As a rapper, boundaries are set as to what you can or can't do, lest you be wished into the cornfield by the public at large. The nay-say is loud & plentiful, but the truth is that T.I. is arguably the most successful rap dude of 2009. Success, in terms of popularity, record sales & media attention. Dude held a press conference last year. Now, I don't remember what it was about, but what rap nigga does that? & wasn't the police chief or somebody there with him? This guy got a television show, based around a crime that he only served about 8 months for. If that's not "success" in some variation or another, feel free to correct me. Unlike most young, Black felons, he has the chance to come home, & make a difference, especially on a worldwide scale. The same difference he made when he began his arbitrary reality show, which to me, was a pretty good idea. Who would you take sound, sage advice from; your grandfather, or some nigga who lives a life you wish you did? Just saying.


I'm not one to recalibrate another one's moral compass, but it would be nice to have a high-profile celebrity bring some positive energy to a culture that seeks instant gratification, yet ignores any repercussion. The listening world knows all about what T.I. has done to harm his impending society, so why not be an asset, in the public eye, to reverse the detriment? I always say society loves a rehabilitated convict with a story to tell. That trumps a "feel-good movie" any day of the week. Now's his chance to be a role model, at a time when we really don't have any left. Again, just saying.


I have an uncle, who served 7 years on federal drug charges. Dude got home early last year. When I was growing up, this cat was rich. Literally. In a White people way. He moved from Compton & Firestone to Rancho Cucamunga, & had unnecessary luxuries as far as the eye could see. I loved going over there, looking for shit to steal, even though he would've given it to me if I asked. Dude was so heavy in the street that every time I rode with him, we got pulled over. Here I am, a kid, being treated like a man because my uncle's a known drug dealer. Everybody knows a hustler, or the neighborhood dope man, but this cat was far removed from all that. With all sincerity, 'Scarface' was very, very similar to his life story, except the ending. Anyway, he came over yesterday to pick up some mail. In his work truck. He drives for some meat-packing [||] company, delivering dead animals to businesses for food consumption. A humbling job, to say the least. To the multitude of kids he has (yes, MULTITUDE), he's a hard working cat, trying to provide the best way he can. Only his oldest daughter is of an age where she could slightly recall when this guy was ridiculously paid. Albeit by poisoning the community, but paid nonetheless. All the others know is that daddy's finally out of jail. Point being, he touched down with the intention of doing the right thing(s), by his kids, if nobody else. That's the least he can do. It's imperative that the kids see that, especially with the stories of their father they undoubtedly have heard about. You know kids stay eavesdropping. One of the first things he did when he got out was to check on me, hearing about my run-in with death via alcohol. He had some very wise advice, too. It was obvious he'd thought long & hard about the life he lived, & for all the evil he'd exposed me to, as a kid, he was know shedding much needed positive light on me, as a man. That's that real shit, fuck the fake.


It would be nice if T.I. employed that same attitude for the thousands, upon thousands of young folks who look up to him. He's blessed with the opportunity to help, from the inside out, & us positive Black men could sure use the manpower, really though.

14 comments:

Capital G said...

" He had some very wise advice, too."

This is the part that caught my attention the most. What was said advice? I'm sure your readers could use a little knowledge, especially from someone who's been to the mountain top and the belly of the beast all in one lifetime. I've lost years of my life caught up in the system. I'm 29 years old now and as a man I know I have no one else but myself to blame for piss poor judgement that put me behind bars. But this ain't about me, I'm curious as to what your uncle's view is on life and what words he used to convey his thoughts to you. You left out the best part T. People may see him drive a meat truck and think it's a mediocre existence, but the man is probably in the best place mentally in his entire life. What did he say? You gotta tell us.

Tony Grands said...

"mountain top & belly of the beast all in one lifetime"

^^^Heavy summarization, man.


I don't remember verbatim, & I can't get on here & start lying to y'all. But what I got from him is that happiness is momentary, but satisfaction is life-long.

Another thing he pointed out was that, as adults, we stop thinking, & start acting on instinct. Like, I was drinking because I was drinking, feel me? He was chasing money, because he was chasing money. Neither of us thought about what was tethered to our actions, rather we stayed in the moment, without thinking any further into the future. He did say this, though, verbatim; "You gotta make better decisions."

It sounds pretty simple but A) I've always looked up to him &
B) sometimes advice from another grown man is what a grown man needs, @ least in my case.

Not so much what he said, but how he said it, & who he is/was, if that makes sense.

Capital G said...

Shit makes perfect sense fam. I'm happy the dude realized happiness is fleeting. Instant gratification is just that, instant. Satisfaction from a life well lived is eternal. Good shit homie. Each one teach one. Your uncle did his job as long as his message got through to one person.

HustlerVision said...

This was great. This are the types of posts I scout the net for. Real stories. Real people. Real knowledge.

I read somewhere... The more u contemplate the future, the sharper your focus. The easier it is to understand that ur actions today represent the bridge to that future.

"...hearing about my run-in with death via alcohol..."

Uhh... Tony Grands, don't mean to pry but would u consider sharing ur wisdom from this experience in ur future posts?

Tony Grands said...

HustlerV!

"Uhh... Tony Grands, don't mean to pry but would u consider sharing ur wisdom from this experience in ur future posts?"

^^Never prying, fam. Capital G is one that has been supporting me since day one, & he'll tell you I put my shit out there because I believe there's only so much Hip Hop & bullshit that cats can read about. Dudes want real shit sometimes, feel me? Check these out:

http://tonygrands.blogspot.com/2009/09/blame-it-on.html

http://tonygrands.blogspot.com/2009/04/happy-rebirthday-to-me.html


http://tonygrands.blogspot.com/2010/01/hi-my-name-is-tony.html

Capital G said...

@ HustlerVision

I don't tend to comment about too much shit on the internet. I come here for some food for thought from an intelligent perspective. Grands puts it all out there, short comings and everything. Sometimes shit is funnier than a muthafucka, other posts touch on a serious note, all of it's worth reading. Go back and read the archives. It truly is a beautiful thing to see how organically this site has grown. And to think, he's just getting started. The caliber of writing keeps getting better and better. Catch up homie, you won't be disappointed in the slightest.

HustlerVision said...

@ Tony Grands

Wow! Congrats. I can only imagine the strength and discipline it takes to come through all that & Have to keeping beating it back.

@ Capital G

Thanx homie. I'll def make time to go through the archives.

Tony Grands said...

Thanks Cap. For real, mayne. I appreciate it...

HustlerV-
Enjoy fam. Everybody's welcome around these parts. Oh, thanks for the congrats. Gotta make it do what it do, ya know?!

BLESSD1 said...

Sup T. Grands? Thanks for the shoutout. LOL! This was a great post for me b/c I've felt the same way. Right before TIP went in [ll], he did a gang of PSAs and his show was really positive. He now sits, with the world at his platform, waiting to hear what he has to say. I think, and hope, that it's someithing reflective, positive, and honest about what he's gone through, and, in his own way, contributing to help our youth. I have a lot of respect for him b/c in this world of phony rappers, he SEEMS almost authentic. I hope he doesn't piss away this great opportunity.

P.S. I have a 37 year old cousin, who is more like a brother, that has spent more of his life behind bars than out. It is sad that dude can't ever seem to get his shit together long enough to stay out of that place. This post hit home.

Don said...

No doubt Grands. I have too many friends in the system. Some even still have 30 + years to go and been in for almost 20. I wanna hear what T.I. has to say. I'm thinking he will snatch Drake Cakes' shine for '010.

Tony Grands said...

^^^If not T.I., The Machine is push Jay Elec real hard right now.

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