Caught Up in Image and Actin’

Although I claim to be a young at heart, I’m not one to comment on the antics of the ongoings of the younger generation. When one thing happens you can bet that another thing is right around the corner. Keeping up with the latest from the socialite world can be exhausting. The latest and most likely silliest thing is the Tekashi 6ix9ine nonsense and his alleged development of diarrhea of the mouth.

Caught up in the trapping of rap music, he bragged about his defiance of protocol when he visited other cities in order to perform his brand of music. His meteoric rise to fame was born on the wings of being an outstanding character, to say the least. In interviews, older “G”s like Charlemagne tha God admonished him that being such a provocative character wasn’t necessary to be a success. And I agree. His music, as much as I admit it is relatively good, for rap. He doesn’t have the best lyrics as far as his use of similes and metaphors. But I have always enjoyed the hardcore thumps and bumps of older hardcore style rappers like DMX and LL Cool J. In a time of what I consider mumble rapping, he is actually a breath of fresh air. But that’s my opinion. Lest anyone say I’m being hypocritical I acknowledge and sincerely wish that all rap artists and comedians would throw the n-word in the garbage heap of history once and for all. Even this non-black 20 something-year-old half Puerto Rican half Mexican indulges in calling his friends and foes the n-word throughout his music if one could call it that. So there you have it Black America, more people using what some have proclaimed “our” word for their own purposes. Proud yet?

Maybe the young Daniel Hernandez, AKA 6ix9ine, should have actually read through and studied some of the histories of his trade before embarking on this long arduous path. Mobb Deep in Survival of the Fittest told us that there was no such thing as halfway crooks and some people just aren’t around when the beef cooks. Translation, it’s one thing to sing (rap?) about these things, yet another to actually live them. The glorification of thug life has been and always will be a sought after phenomenon. And no this isn’t just limited to rap culture. The God Father series was an award-winning tale of murder, exploitation, and tribute paying homage to those of Italian descent and the attempts to make the best of the American dream. Remember that a whole TV series, Sons of Anarchy was dedicated to a biker gang and their trial and tribulation of trying to make it in this world. The west was won on the backs of those who were willing to go into enemy territory and do what others weren’t willing, kill. That’s actually where the word and history of the U.S. Rangers come from. One of the best-loved TV series of all was about backstabbing, murder and a quest for a throne forged by murder, conquest, and control of dragon fire. Maintaining this tough guy image isn’t always pleasant and sooner or later it will be time to pay the piper. I’m off-topic, let’s get back on track.

Mr. 6ix9ine is now in a quandary or just about out of one. As comedian D.L. Hughley put it, Everyone wants to be Black until the cops come, well that’s not precisely what he said, but you get the point. When the time came for Tekashi to pay up and reap what he had sown, he realized that his mouth had written checks his butt couldn’t and wouldn’t cash. Looking at more than forty years in the pen was just too much for the 23-year-old. No more rapping, no more time with his daughter, and no more access to hair dye was a reality he couldn’t accept. And so now what does 6ix9ine do? He rats on all his friends. In the hood, for those who don’t know, snitching, ratting, dime dropping or whatever it’s called now is well, let’s just say frowned upon greatly. His former friends including Snoop and 50 Cent, have turned their backs on him. The internet memes of Tekashi’s testimony have been hilarious, to say the least. Each more creative than the last.

What has been Tekashi’s course of action in the days and times since? He’s reportedly continued being a provocateur and going after former associates.  I truly wish 6ix9ine well. He’s supposed to be released in Jan 2020. It’s reported that he has refused witness protection (I will believe that when I see it), instead, he will have bodyguards and 24-hour surveillance. In one interview he said not even his mother had his phone number. Who knows if all of this was an act, or a setup or just more image and actin’. But I do know that there are young people out here with no guidance who are looking at this type of behavior and idolizing it. For some people, negative attention is better than no attention at all. And that’s what I’d like for people to think about. The course of action he has taken, in which communication with his mother and child is limited, landed himself in prison, only to be released to a different prison of round the clock guards when and if he leaves that physical prison is no life at all. And so I ask, was any of this worth it? Sadly, I suspect that many will answer, yes.

Let me leave you with the words of another great poet who saw all this type of shenanigans before and is still here to tell the story:

Things just ain’t the same for gangstas
Times is changin’, young n****s is agin’
Becoming OGs in the game and changin’
To make way for these new names and faces
But the strangest things can happen from rappin’
When n****s get wrapped up in image and actin’
N****s get capped up and wrapped in plastic
Zipped up in bags: when it happens, that’s it
I’ve seen ’em come, I’ve watched ’em go
Watched ’em rise, witnessed it and watched ’em blow
Watched ’em all blossom and watched ’em grow
Watched the lawsuits when they lost the dough
Best friends and money: I lost them both
Went and visited n****s in the hospital
It’s all the same shit all across the globe
I just sit back and watch the show

– Dr, Dre

The Watcher

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