A Gangster and A Gentleman - The HillTop

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's an article that I wrote for The Hilltop.

Submitted: November 27, 2010

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Submitted: November 27, 2010

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A Gangster and a Gentleman
Michael Muanankese
Monday, November 1, 2010
 
It’s rather difficult to believe that the very same individual responsible for the lyrics for the song Brenda’s Got a Baby is also the same man who wrote Hit ‘Em Up. In Brenda’s Got a Baby, Tupac embraces teenage mothers and provides much needed encouragement. In the song Hit Em Up, Tupac opens up with the following line “That’s why I f*cked your b*tch, you fat mothaf*cka.” How eloquently put, to say the very least.
Nas has a song called I Can. The chorus to the song goes as such “I know I can be what I wanna be, if I work hard at it, I’ll be where I wanna be.” Nas proceeds to start the song with the following line “Boys and girls listen up; you can be anything in the world. In God we trust. An architect, doctor, maybe an actress but nothing comes easy. It takes much practice.” The youth in America need more music similar to this one. I must also make it known that Nas made the song Oochie Wally. The Oochie Wally video can very well be considered to be a soft pornographic film, in which Nas degrades and objectifies women.
Nelly refrains, more so than most, from rapping so much about guns and violence. He focuses rather on the good things in life, such as money and women. While Nelly may be criticized as much as the next rapper, I do believe that he represents a step towards progress. In his very first studio album there’s a song called Utha Side in which Nelly encourages kids to “just go to school and make something of your young life and watch it blow up.” In all fairness I must remind you that Nelly is also responsible for the infamous Tipdrill video. The video is an artistic expression depicting the black woman as a Nubian queen, really?
Jay-Z states in Hard Knock Life that“I flow for chicks wishin they ain’t have to strip to pay tuition, I see your vision mama.” I think that often people need inspiration in life; lyrics such as this provide just that. Jay-Z made a song in which the chorus is simply “money, cash, ho*s,” enough said. It’s interesting that Jay-Z criticizes Nas for doing that which I accuse him of doing. In the Blueprint 2, Jay-Z says “Is it Oochie Wally Wally or is it One Mic? Is it black girl lost or shawty owe you for ice?”
In New York City, Pee Wee Kirkland is known for his legendary performance in the 1970 season in Rucker Park. Pee Wee played college basketball for Norfolk State University where he was an exceptional basketball player; he was later drafted by the Chicago Bulls. It’s believed that he turned down the offer because he was making more money in the streets. His fast life eventually caught up with him and he landed in prison in 1971. While in prison, it’s speculated that he scored 465 points in 8 games. Pee Wee decided to redeem himself after being released from jail. He travels the country speaking to the youth about pathways to success. Pee Wee has capitalized on the respect he receives from the youth because of his past as a gangster and uses it to reach at-risk youth. Pee Wee eventually started a recording label, which he chose to name So Gangsta Music (SOG). This act alone solidifies my argument that the black man in America is essentially forced to be two personalities simultaneously. On the one hand, he’s preaching to the youth about staying out of trouble. On the other hand, he feels compelled to be “gangsta” or else the youth will not take heed of anything he has to say.
While I initially started writing this paper criticizing the black man in America for his contradictory nature, in the end I have come to the conclusion that the paradoxical nature of the black man in America is not only useful but necessary.


© Copyright 2020 Michael Muanankese. All rights reserved.

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