Psalms 118:22 The stone that the builders refused has become the cornerstone.
I have struggled over the past few years with understanding the violence in some forms coming out of the rap genre. I have wondered why it is popular within communities that have very little on the surface in common with areas that violent rap seems seeded from. I had reckoned that it was to today’s young like metal was to me back in the 80’s. It was music that my parents despised and I could own it as my own with my fellow buddies that were also metal heads. There is much more to it than the beats being rad.
While reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, I came upon chapter 4 and was enlightened a bit by her take on the gangsta lifestyle and music that it is associated with. When perceived authorities label us, we tend to assume those labels into our identity with others and can make it our own cornerstone. I can recall my father labeling me as lazy when I was young. He was trying to motivate me, but it backfired. I feel that I have been lazy all my life, and do greatly enjoy doing nothing, but people that I work with have told me that I am a very good worker and not lazy. Labels from authorities can stick for a long time so be careful with you labeling.
Ski Mask Malley, otherwise known as Jamahl Drake was an up and coming rapper from Cleveland, Ohio. He was sentenced to nine years after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter on a plea deal. The prosecuting attorney said,“Serving time as a cooperating witness, which some people call a snitch, are not easy years,” while defending the deal to the press. I don’t know if that is true anymore. It is rare that a case makes it to trial these days. Reading about the drug war and many facts pertaining to how efficient the legal system has grown over the past thirty years leaves little doubt to there being many more snitches in prison than prior to the escalation of the drug war upon the citizenry. I would also add that it may not be wise for a prosecuting attorney to make such a statement for it won’t encourage future potential snitches to snitch and make his successful record on crime less useful for future political aspirations.
In conclusion, I really don’t desire to promote Ski Mask Malley, but this is a portal to understanding why we do what we do. I’m continually disturbed to learn how fucked up we are in relationship to each other and how we turn our backs to less advantaged out of fear of losing our own advantage. I’m complicit in this as anybody. Some say that fear is the mind killer and I would not have a quarrel, but I would add that the killer of love and wisdom is fear as well.
The worst thing we can do when housebreaking a dog is to shove their nose in their own shit. It just teaches them to acquire the taste for their own shit.
“The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism. As a form, the blues is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.”
― Ralph Ellison