I heard this comment today and I had to share it with you, “Playing kickball on your cul-de-sac does not count as growing up on the streets.”
I found this statement amusing because I am constantly complaining about people who think they are “gangsta” when CLEARLY they are not. I am no expert on the subject mind you, I grew up in a family home, with both parents, we moved to a small city, into a suburban area. We always had food to eat, the bills paid, and warm beds to sleep in. I am NOT “gangsta.” I don’t try to be “gangsta,” I have no desire to live the life of a “gangsta.”
But for a moment let’s have a look at what makes a “gangsta.” I am not talking about “GANGSTER” there is an unmistakable difference between the two. John Gotti was a “gangster.” Tupac was a “gangsta.” A gangster is the head of an organized crime ring; a “gangsta” is a young, male, who grows up in a less than desirable area. This individual will usually take to selling drugs to survive. They are usually involved in criminal activity, carry weapons, and often have spent some time in prison. A “gangsta” is usually known for his ability to rap, and creating a name for himself in the music industry is often his main goal in life.
Now that we have distinguished what makes a “gangsta” we can get back to the real topic. Why do people feel the need to pretend they are gangsta? It seems that everyone wants to suffer and live the hard life. Every other well-off suburban white kid wants to be the next Eminem, and every young middle class black kid wants to be 50 cent. But why?
The fame? Probably. The money? Of course. The fact that rappers now a days make the tough life sound cool? Definitely. See back when Tupac (2 Pac) was “gangsta,” rappers used their lyrics to make lower-class kids in housing projects choose a different path than they had taken. They spoke of the hardships. They did not sugar coat their lifestyle and make it look cool. They did not sing about how it was cool to sling dope on the streets, or how many “Bitches” they hooked up with while doing it. They spoke of the pain of watching their friends die, the shoot outs, and the fear. They did not want the same life for their children or fans their words touched, they wanted to make a difference. TuPac was a poet at heart.
Enough about that, yes clearly I have respect for the man himself, Back to my point….
I am so sick of typical little boys from hardworking middle-class families pretending they have a hard life. I hate to break it to you sunshine but just because the paint is peeling on your 3 bedroom condo does not mean you live in the ghetto. It is my opinion that for the most part if you live in Canada, you are not a gangsta. I say this for a few reasons; we are lucky here in Canada we have a reasonable minimum wage, and an even more reasonable welfare system. Although many people struggle to get by, Canada has endless resources available if you seek them out. We have an excellent public housing system, and great health care. In comparison to what I have heard about some areas in the U.S. Canada is a kingdom. Not to say people here do not suffer, as a single mother I am aware of how tough it can be to make ends meet. I have had the times of hardship and the fear of how to feed my family. I have been at my lowest and climbed back up, but I am not a “gangsta.” I did not resort to robbing stores, selling drugs, or drive by shootings. I had other choices available to me in life and I took them.
I think for a true “gangsta,” which is what I am talking about here, there are not other options, it’s a shark tank, eat or be eaten. I don’t think many of us truly know that kind of lifestyle, nor will we ever. This is the reason I am sick of kids pretending they suffer. The fact is there are people out there that truly are suffering, that truly do have no choice but to steal to eat, to kill to survive. There truly are kids out there that will grow up with no better or safer option than to join a gang, until they find other options. There are children who will be shot in the street, senselessly. There are families who will have to grieve the loss of a child, family member, or friend because the lifestyle of violence made it so. THIS SHOULD NOT BE BY CHOICE. This should not be for show; this should not be the creation of some middle class punk who just wants to be cool. For many this is reality, and I am sure they would be the first to tell these little “wannabe gangsta’s” to find another path, to make a different choice, that this life is not cool.
This turned out a lot more serious then I intended, the more I got to thinking, the angrier it made me. To think that someone would choose to put, not only themselves, but their families through such pain just because they feel like acting like 50 cent makes me sick. Ask 50 cent, I am sure he will tell you it is not the lifestyle of choice.