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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ironic defines it as "poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended."

I define it as Philly-based rapper Beanie Sigel being shot during a botched robbery attempt early Thursday morning. He was treated and released, and will survive.

Why, you ask, is that ironic? Sigel can answer better than me with this lyric from his old song Flatline: "You shoot first if you get the drop." Or maybe ironic is "The aim (is) all that; when I flame you get all that," from Gotta Have It. Translation: My shooting aim is very accurate, and when I open fire I'll strike you with pretty many rounds.

I admit, I am a hip-hop hypocrite. Love lots of the tunes, and I even justify singing along w/some of the naughtier songs, because I tell myself "it's just music, man!" And I don't want any lectures from anyone over 40 who grew up in the era of sex, drug, and/or rock'n'roll themed "pop" songs, about the "evils" of hip-hop. Pop tunes of all genres are catchy, and at their root they're all corny.

But even I know you reap what you sow. And if there is such a thing as fate then sowing crazy songs about shooting people might lead to you reaping your own set of bullet wounds.

Now, to his credit, Sigel later wrote and performed a verse for I Can't Go On This Way, in which he laments the tough life he has reportedly given up and reminisces about being taught that you should "Use your tongue as your sword and your books as your ammo." In several more songs released late last year Sigel offers prayers and apologies for his old ways. Again, if fate exists then the dummies who shot Sigel will turn on their radios and "hear" the seeds he's sown more recently and find a gig other than stick-up kid by which to earn their keep.

Kudos to Sigel if things really have changed. You need a mulligan, a second chance, every so often. Unfortunately, changing your sermon doesn't always guarantee that your former disciples are gonna get the new message right away, just like forgiven doesn't always translate quickly to forgotten.


  • JB3-
    I'd like to see a CEO of a gun company shot and robbed (but not killed) with his/her own product.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:00 PM  

  • I find it so disgusting. People who know South Philly know that this was suppose to be a move out of the rougher areas of North Philly to what was then (and still is to a large degree) White ethnic, middle class Philly.

    I don't follow the lives of these talentless rappers but I did get a piece where he was speaking about his mother being a social worker. A SOCIAL WORKER? Are you kidding me? This reminds me of rappers that don't want you to know that they attended Catholic school or that their parents had jobs. Seriously. Jay Z actually spoke about his mother working as a stock broker as a single parent, being where he got his work ethic. Cam'ron attended Manahattan Center, a school for gifted kids in East Harlem where I worked. Biggie Smalls grew up in Black middle class/working class Fort Green, attending Catholic school and his mother was a teacher. Busta Rhymes (and that whole crew) grew up in a West Indian thoroughly middle class West Indian neighborhood of Uniondale, NY, on Leslie Street (I lived on his block.) It is all so sickening.

    Music that eventually is controlled by a handful of distributors who are not Black is being purported as Black culture with the main market being White suburban teenagers. And let's face it, the music content that was an expepression of inner city social currents and thought- from Nationalism, Socialism, Islamic (both manifested as Nation of Islam and "Orthodox" Islam), Afrocentrism, separatism, Third World Revolutionary movements, etc. could not be sold to White kids.

    (It is probably important to mention that the neighborhoods that Hip Hop came from were politically progressive Caribbean immigrant communities of the South Bronx, Queens and later Brooklyn.)

    Hip Hop was commodified to music and the music was repackaged to appeal to White notions of fear inspiring, hyper masculine, violent and just plain bad "Rap".

    The secondary market, Black kids from all over America, are actually interpreting this music as something TO EMULATE as if it DEFINED the Black experience. As if people of color were actually rich, blinging, drug selling, etc. instead of poor, incarcerated, uneducated. I want to see the raps that reflect Black males with a 50% real unemployment rate and Hispanic males with a 37% rate in urban America; about the nearly 1 out of 3 black males and nearly 1 out of 4 Hispanics males under 35 under some form of court jurisdiction; the 11 to 13 TIMES greater net worth of White households compared to Hispanics and Blacks; the fact that in the nation with the highest incarceration rate (the Good Ol' US of A) having an incarceration rate of four times as much for people of color; the ridiculous longer sentences for the same crimes for people of color vis a vis Whites with similar records...

    I don't think it's an accident that this has happened to Hip Hop or Rap. Progressive movements in our communities have sputtered. Record companies with porch negroes and armed Step and Fechit acts are selling mental death our kids.

    Okay man, you're killing me. As usual you bring up the stuff that needs to be talked about but just angers the hell out of me when I stop and think about it. Headed for self destruction indeed. I fel the need to do a post on my time off! ;) I love you for it...

    By Blogger Miamista, at 12:01 AM  

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