Remember back in the old days, before your home entertainment system could see you & music came on shiny frisbees? (Pun absolutely intended.) There was a game that you may be familiar with, called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, that served more as a gang bang tutorial (no, not that one, nasty ass) than it did as a fun-filled, adventurous quest. Unless you count racking-up police car stars, shooting arbitrary thug zaggin’s & running-down pedestrians as an adventure. [Sidenote: I DID!!]
Not for nothing, but as a life-long Angeleno, believe me when I tell you that we collectively embraced that game for what it was: a testament to how cats live in Los Angeles (with an exaggeration or 500). & this isn’t to take anything away from chasing magic dragons or tackling QB’s & what not, but GTA: San Andreas is arguably the most “relatable” game under the mature rating. Which is pathetically hilarious, if you smell my cologne. Once ignorance went digital, that was a motherfucking (w)rap.
Imagine a room full of weed, booze, & ghetto denizens playing a game that is, more or less, more weed, booze, & ghetto denizens. Except with guns, vendettas, & no repercussions to their actions. Good times, am I right?
Now, there’s a model/back-up singer named Michael Washington, who claims that the world famous, Grove St. OG Carl Johnson is a character based on his life & even his likeness. As a result, Washington is suing Rockstar Games for “misappropriation of likeness and copyright infringement” to the incredulous tune of $250 million San Andreas bucks. I’m not clear on the details of how he exchanged whatever informations with whom, but Washington is confident enough in his claim to legally bomb first. Not only does that take guts, but evidence. Clearly he has both, or he’s horribly delusional. [Sidenote: I can fathom the delusion. I was claiming "Grove Street" for about 3 months, & my CJ never wore a shirt, to floss his neighborhood canvas. So to speak.] Even if they settle out of court, which they more than likely will, he’ll still be that much richer than he is right now. & if it goes extra smoothly, he’ll have a lifetime supply of every new game they drop. Something similar happened earlier this year, when Freeway Ricky Ross decided to sue William Leonard Roberts for “borrowing” his likeness. Rapper Rick Ross was an obvious & blatant carbon copy of Freeway Rick’s less-than-admirable accolades. & Freeway Ricky Ross lost. His. Case. Suck on that, for a moment…
The thing about a archetype-specific game like GTA:SA is that the story line is too generic to belong to any 1 needle in such a vast, proverbial hay stack.
To paint a picture, if I may, I can name a baker’s dozen of friends whose older brothers are “rehabilitated” gang members. Or whose mothers’(?) premature expirations were a result of senseless Black-on-Black crime. For that matter, I know a Ryder, personally, & if my wife is reading, she can vouch for it. While we’re going there, take the crackhead dude, Big Bear, who Carl & Sean Johnson tried to save from crack addiction. As God is my witness, the exact same thing is happening to a good friend of mine right now. & there’s nothing I can physically do to stop it, or help him. So, while Rockstar is handing out satchels of green backs for niggas howling “Copyright infringement!” they own me some, too. Did I mention that my grandmother still lives in Compton to this very day? That’s gotta be worth something. Nonetheless, don’t let the legal weed stores & skinny jeaned weirdos fool you; Los Angeles is jus lyk Compton.
To Mr. Washington, I say, “Good luck with that,” because it’s going to take a lot of firepower to fight back against a billion dollar corporation, whose revenues are generated by marketing ultraviolent video games to unassuming kids & slackers with disposable incomes.
Speaking of which, I have a relative who’s been chasing, catching, & popping pills my entire life. She might need to get a piece of that big ass pie Namco has, really though.
I saw a real, live dead guy yesterday.
My son & I went to have lunch with Queen Grands, at her place of employment, & in doing so, we got to travel through a substantial amount of the city. That type of scenery is always the backdrop for an interesting & entertaining conversation between my son & I, because that’s how we roll. & when we roll, we’re usually together. I’d decided I’d stop bragging about him so much, online & beyond, because that type of thing has an expiration date. Just like any other nozzle activity. But, the kid’s very cognizant & his comprehension is awesome. That’s to say I can gingerly converse with him on any subject, fluently, within the grasp of
above average 7 year old reality. But that’s not the point.
At [REDACTED], where my wife works, there’s a gigantic parking lot. The type that demands extra attention for horrid drivers, as well as aggressive homeless folks. I noticed “Caution” tape in the distance, covering a small area between a trash can & some type of car. My son & I started walking towards it, out of mere curiosity (that same shit that kills cats), & like clockwork, my daddy sense started tingling. Looking at the tape, I didn’t notice all the uniforms off to the side. Once I did realize that they were standing about, in no hurry whatsoever, near that tape, I knew what time it was. I told my son to wait, but fuck all that, though. I needed a picture…
The first time I saw a dead body (no ‘Stand By Me’ or ‘Boyz N Da Hood’), I was about 15. My ace boon Teron was spending the night, & my Grandparents were flying back home, to Lewzanna. My mother asked us to ride with her to the airport, & like most young boys, we jumped at the chance of going to a place that’s potentially full of boobs at any giving moment. At the airport, for whatever reason, I called the house to talk to my dad. He told me that someone had gotten shot in front of our apartment, minutes after we drove away, & that the guy’s in the alley. Dead. (That’s not as awesome as it sounds, for the record) My dad said that the police had taped off our whole block, because as the shooting began, he ran, & bled, & possibly dropped all types of evidence. The gunmen drove away, which my dad saw because we lived in an upstairs apartment, only to come right back, & shoot the man more. He stumbled to the foot of the alley, & expired.
When we got home, my mother, Teron & I, we had to drive an extra 2 blocks to come around on the opposite side of the block, & the rest of the way, we’d walk. It turned out that, the alley wasn’t blocked off on the other side, because the man went nowhere near there. So, that’s the way we went in. This gave us a chance to walk within literal feet of the newly dead body. So, we did. The wind blew mildly enough to ruffle the white sheet, & we talked for what seemed like hours about how, what, why. (We already knew when & where.) After awhile, we went in, made a snack, admitted it was the creepiest thing we’ve seen in life (at that point), & played Super Mario Kart until the sun came up. That way, if he zombied-up, we’d be completely safe.
Contrary to popular belief, seeing a freshly dead body is not normal. It wasn’t then, when I was about 15, & isn’t now, that I’m most certainly 34. Anyway, we walked away from the scene of the, umm, crime, & had lunch with the matriarch. By the time we’d finished our delicious meal, word had spread all throughout [REDACTED], into the parking lot, & all the way over to the dining area of the cozy strip mall where we dined.
From my intel, I found that the lady standing next to the cop in the photo, is the person who called the police. Also, the person who hit the man. However, not the person who killed the man. Apparently, he was already dead, of what seems like natural causes. So, the man just ceased to live, right there in the parking lot where he lived, behind a trash can, alone. Not for nothing, but it turns out that the woman not only hit the man, but drove her car over his (already dead) legs. She got out to see what the bump was (yikes!), & the rest is history. Literally & figuratively.
I offered to walk my son closer to look, & he said no, which was okay. I wasn’t doing it to tease him, or play some cruel joke like a lot of these young-minded fathers would do, but rather use this as a visual aid to the bullshit I pound into his brain/mind everyday of the Christian calendar. Life is real. Life is short. Life is once. Or, somethings to that effect. I saw his curiosity peeking around his fear, & encouraged him to talk about it, & he admitted he was sad, but also made it clear that he understood the gravity of this situation. (Aware & empathetic; mission accomplished?)
When we walked past the scene, from a moderate distance of course, the coroner was doing his “get the dead guy up off the ground” routine, & my son voiced his opinion on how gross handling fresh carcasses must be. (“Fresh carcasses,” roffle mayo.) Well, not ver batim, but you smell my cologne. That backdrop for interesting stories theory is dead on, because then, I told him the story of how my family had a party for my grandfather, while he lay in his bed, deceased, waiting for the coroner to arrive.
Oh, & the morning after the guy got shot in front of my apartment complex, the neighborhood “kids” walked around looking at the clumps of blood, plasma & other bodily fluids that trailed the sidewalk like a roadmap to his redemption. Made me think about my own. Maybe you should too.
If you’re reading this, that means I’m guaranteed you have at least minimal knowledge on the group Gangstarr. Even if it’s just because we discussed the impact of Guru’s death on these threads a few times. R.I.P. Keith Elam.
Since he died, all types of information has become available to those who are curious, the last tid bit being that the infamous Solar was abusive in their seemingly peculiar relationship. I say peculiar, because by most opinions, their friendship was on the business end of bizarre. Some people have gone as far as to ask what many of us were thinking. “Was Guru gay?” It’s a reasonable inquiry, given the shade thrown on the men’s association since Guru died. Before his death though, not many people were to interested in what Guru had going on. Self included. Perhaps if we had’ve been paying closer attention then, we wouldn’t be so confused now. Now, everybody’s mad at Solar, & Solar is steadily becoming famous, in a Kat Stacks kind of way. That’s probably all he ever wanted. If he’s really the type of guy he’s being portrayed as, he’s loving every minute of his 15. I wouldn’t doubt that he goes to the ‘Nets’ favorite new site, FuckSolar.Com, just to bask in the anti-glory of his hatred. But I digress. All bullshit aside, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, but I don’t judge, I just speculate for the next man to.
Before I started typing, I had to ask myself first, “What if Guru was gay?” Does that have anything at all to do with his music & legacy? Does that governor the amount of influence he had on the Hip Hop culture? Is rap music ready for an MC to admit that he lusts for intimate bromance?
If Guru was gay, it has no bearing on his creative output. In no way would that change or obscure his place in the culture. Maybe to the small minded, or easily offended, but not to the average fan who grow up on his (& DJ Premier’s) music. Especially since he’s never referenced it in a song. I think the same would apply to an outwardly gay rapper today. A person’s perception is easily swayed by packaging. As long as the rapper doesn’t make self-righteous, awkward songs about forbidden love, I don’t see where his personal life would interrupt the showcasing of his ability. The time is approaching for that one, brave rapper to come out & admit he’s gay. & chances are, we’ll be alive to see. Though the initial backlash will most likely crash Twitter (yay!), I doubt it would be as painful a revelation as most people think. As a society, we’ve accepted gay people in the community. Because if we hadn’t, believe that hate crimes would be much more prevailant than they are. So obviously, it’s not that big of a deal to most people, even the ones that hurl epithets to fit in with the crowd. You know, the ones who do shit ‘just to get a rep,’ so to speak.
Personally, I couldn’t care less. I’ve befriended quite a few gay dudes in my life, & I can honestly say that A) not one has attempted to rape me, & B) they don’t sit around & talk about their sexual conquests. Just to be on the safe side though, I don’t eat popsicles or corn on the cob around them. Miscommunication can happen in the blink of an eye.
It’s to the point to where only a fool would shake his pretentious, proverbial fist at the gay lifestyle. & I say that as a man who, wholeheartedly, doesn’t not advocate it. I don’t condone nor attempt to quantify reasoning for same sex relationships. But, what the hell does it really have to do with me? Until the hand of God Sodom & Gomorrah‘s us, it’s not my concern or responsibility where a man does or does not place his “Exit Only” sign. From a statistical stand point though, there’s a gay rapper out there. I doubt he’s in a hurry to wave his hands in the air, though. With the omnipotent ‘Net shadowing the lives of the famous & the nameless alike, I wouldn’t be so quick to admit something of that magnitude myself. Some things are better kept in the darkness for as long as possible, & I totally understand that. I’m old enough to know that there’s only 2 types of people in life: allies & enemies. There’s no room for skin color & sexual preference in either category.
I don’t think Guru was gay, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being abnormally curious as to the inner workings of his ties to Solar, even a couple of weeks after his passing. Either way you slice it, Guru’s one of the true pioneers who rightfully earned the title ‘Legend.’ & he did it before he died, unlike a lot of the “great ones” who expired prematurely. God bless his family.
Solar “defends” his reputation against ConspiracyWorldwide. #fail.
I’m not good at eulogizing the deceased. I find it’s easier to hand flowers to the living than it is to lay flowers on the dead. That said, when news of Guru’s illness & hospitalization first surfaced, I figured that I should speak on him while I had the chance. So, I wrote a drop dedicated to him called ‘My First Rap Love Song‘. Maybe I knew that this day wasn’t far off.
Rest In Peace, Guru. Thanks for the memories, OG.
& while the ‘net is going crazy behind Keithy-E’s allegedly shady “partner,” Solar, I’d rather not speak on him. Not yet, at least. However, my brother from another mother, Phlip, has some choice words about the situation.
Yesterday, we lost a legend, & if nothing else, use his passing as an opportunity to reflect on your own mortality. Death to one is birth to another, if you smell my cologne.