Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Does Atlanta Have A Gang Problem?
Ok so. I'm surfing the web and decide to stop by Zach Wolfe's spot to see if he'd gotten around to posting any of the goodies I've seen him capturing over the last few weeks that I've seen him out. I didn't see any of the recent Mike Bigga, Slaughterhouse, A3C Festival performances...but I did stumble across this Jody Breeze joint he shot recently...
Now, before I get into my little rant, I was very hesitant to even speak on or post this. One, because I found it to be pretty stupid. Two, I'm not all the way aware of what I'm watching. Three, I didn't want to feel like I was spreading ignorance, which is pretty easy to do on the internet. Because I mean really, half the dumb ish we complain about on the net grows legs because we post it, retweet it, email it, etc.
But yeah, this is a video for Jody Breeze's latest freestyle that he did over Drake's "Uptown" beat. In it he's going at Young Jeezy as well as spitting about about the things that the ATF make a living off compensating.
Dissing rappers, not new. Rapping about firearms and drugs, not new either. But what did catch my eye is all the flashing signs and flying colors in this video. Aparently the Atlanta Blood Gang (ABG) is starting to surface beyond the Southside and East Atlanta into rap music and now onto the internet.
I heard about this "gang" a while back but didn't really pay it no mind, because hell, Atlanta gangs never get payed attention anyway. They usually disappear within months, if that long. But then when I started hearing The Dirty Boyz start shouting them out on the radio as if they were the new rap crew or something, I started worrying a little bit. Well, not worrying, but moreso wondering. Did these niggas really just shout out a "gang" on the radio, during a show that targets an audience below the ages of 21-23 for the most part?
Then I started noticing how alot of the rappers and random cats in the street started wearing red all of a sudden. Gucci, Waka Flocka FLAME and the cats that run with them mainly. In seeing this I started asking myself...when the fuck did gangs become cool in Atlanta?
For as long as I've been living here, I don't recall too many times when gangs neither existed nor were cool here. The "gangs" here have always been neighborhoods or high schools. Colors? No.
Sure, everybody wanted to rock blue flannel shirts back when Snoop Dogg first came out, but were niggas really banging like that? Nah, not really. Really, only time I can remember a gang really making an impact here was when the Folks came here in around 93-94. And most of the cats that got involved in that shit got into it because it was "different." They didn't wear blue or red. Niggas liked throwing up pitchforks because it looked cool. But after enough niggas got sent to jail for banging, peoplel left it alone...the shit wasn't cool anymore.
Notice I keep saying the word "cool." Atlanta folks have always been too "cool" for "that gang shit" as we used to call it. Gangs scared girls off, fucked up the party and always carried themselves as they were too "hard." Them niggas was always mad, weren't popular and were never fresh. Nobody here wanted to be like them. Plus, there was never a gang culture here. The culture here has always been one that revolved around hustling. If you was worried about getting picked on here...you didn't join a gang. You just hit the weight room and learned how to fight or tried out for football or something.
So that brings me back to asking, when did this gang shit become "cool" in Atlanta. From the looks of this video and what I'm noticing out in the street, cats are really thinking this shit is cool now. They've found a reason to wear red bandanas, red t-shirts, red G-shock watches, sunglasses, designer jeans and red Crooks & Castle hats (which ironically have a big ass C on them, smh).
I talked to a couple friends who I thought would be able to fill me in more on this "epidemic" I'm missing out on. The consensus is pretty much that joining a "gang" in Atlanta has become convenient. I mean besides the fact that cats in Atlanta already love the color red (UGA Bulldogs, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks), it seems like associating yourself with ABG is the thing to do now.
One, because its different from the Crip influence that Jeezy and BMF brought to the city a few years back. Just like most social phenomenons, followers seek to be carbon copies of whatever is in style at the time. Jeezy and BMF wore black and blue...so dammit, we are too. Same shit as when Snoop Dogg, MC Eiht, Dogg Pound, etc were the coolest rappers walking. Wasn't nooooooobody trying to listen to or be like DJ Quik at the time. Hell, even after their popularity waned you still saw rappers rocking blue bandanas. It wasn't until Dip Set, The Game and Lil Wayne started claiming Blood affiliations (and selling records and making hot music) that you saw everyone else wanting to look like they were Bloods.
Couple their popularity with their ability to make being a Blood look fashionable (red glitter belts and such) and now you have a bunch of people wanting to look like them.
Another reason I'm guessing ABG is the thing to be down with nowadays is becuase there isn't much of an alternative. Shit, ain't no Crips around (yet) to bring any opposition, so you can just fly your colors at will with no worries.
Then hell, what community organizations are there to counter it. From what I see Fraternities/Sororities rarely extend beyond the college campus anymore. Church organizations be on some "don't call us, we'll call you...after you tithe" shit. Little league sports are still here, but parents aren't. Plus I see them on the highway shoulder asking for money more than I see them actually playing. Can't remember the last time I bought a Girl Scout cookie off an actual Girl Scout. The community is losing businesses left and right so these young cats can't even get a little job like breaking down boxes at the store or sweeping hair at the barber shop.
So...what can we do for these cats before they get themselves killed either by their peer or by the police? I'm dead ass serious.
But yeah, back to this video. Honestly, I'm still perplexed as to what I watched. Of course it looks "nice" because Zach Wolfe is good at what he does. But still, what the fuck shawty? Really? Tell me if im thinking too hard but this was more than just a cool video to go along with a random freestyle to put on the net. This shit is damn near propaganda.
Its a trip how lenses and filters work. Through this lense, this "freestyle" actually kinda looks like a work of art...almost dismissing the sign flashing and color flying. But if it was on Flip cam, this shit would like like exactly what it is...some stupid shit that will get somebody hurt.
I don't know shawty. This obviously set something off in me. Like for real, gangs in 2009? Who does that besides lame ass rappers trying to look cool? Like the big homie said, if gangs aren't here to evolve into social organizations of influence like the Shriners...get the fuck on. If you're going to start a "gang" in 2009 are you going to wield a voting base in local politics? If you're joining a "gang" in 2009 are you doing it to lead it into being an effective/profitiable organization that offers anything other than destruction and rap songs?
This the thing that makes me say that Black folks need to leave gang and crime alone. We aren't good at it and we never evolve. We start gangs and they turn destructive. White folks start gangs and become organizations. Black folks do illegal shit and go to jail. White folks do illegal shit and start NASCAR.
And let me say I'm kinda dissapointed in young Jody. I just interviewed him not to long ago and it sounded like he was trying to be somewhat of a "positive" influence. He wanted me to make sure that I told readers of the intervew, specifically younger people, that all that trapping and stuff he used to rap about was for the birds and that they need to find something better to do because it only leads to death or jail. Last time I checked...gangbanging does the same thing.
But yeah, I'm kinda rambling now. If you have a comment, you know where to leave it. If you feel you can educate me as to what the hell is going on around here, feel free to do that as well. For real, how real is this ABG thing and is it something we need to handle before it gets crazy? Because for now I mean, it really just looks like a bunch of C-level rappers wearing red with a few nameless goons rolling with them. Let's "build" as the 5 Percenters like to say.