F.T.L.O.M…People Will Rob Their Own Brother


For all of the things that Hip-Hop used to be.

Remember when we championed that Hip-Hop was the voice of the people? Our personal CNN, or more aptly titled, UNN (urban news network). Through Hip-Hop music and culture, we conveyed realistic tales relatable to all who either endured or fell victim to societal ills inflicted upon urban communities throughout this country. During that time, it was apparent that Hip-Hop was anti-establishment. Counter-intuitive, non-conformist, mandating change. No blurred lines.

Well, now, it appears that Hip-Hop is just an extended audio and visual commercial for capitalism. It’s the haves and the have nots – not just the have nots talking about what they have not. Which is a far cry from the truly “telling it like it is” approach that the culture was established upon. Whether you agree or disagree, arguably in Hip-Hop, we’ve seen the same effects on the culture that integration had on the ideas and ideals of the Black community. I need not say that it hasn’t all been beneficial.

My debt far exceeds my assets. Even the money that I borrowed to attend college, years ago, I still owe. I have not had money to freely throw around in years! As a matter of fact, I’m lying. I ain’t never had money to freely throw around.

I just asked a good friend of mine, “What do you do if you’re in a club and someone is making it rain and money lands on your head?” Do you (a) leave it there like you don’t feel it (b) get upset with whoever threw it, or (c) put it in your pocket and hope they throw some more?

‘Naw,’ he said, ‘You have two options: start throwing your own money, or get the hell out of the way.’

In today’s Hip-Hop culture, it just seems like everybody (and I do mean everybody) has money to throw. Even during these difficult economic times for the majority of Americans, if you let some tell it, they have more money than they can count.

I just recently heard in a song that Wiz Khalifa got so much money he could “open his own bank.” Damn, that sounds like Rothschild wealth!

In Baby’s new song “Born Stunna”, for the hook, Rozay continuously say in his infectious tone, “money, money, money bags.” Now I’ve been going to the bank for years, but I have yet to leave with my money in a bag. Unless it’s the same as them little envelopes that I usually receive my paper currency and change in, and they’re just calling it something different? Envelopes, money bags. Money bags, envelopes. Probably not the same, huh?

Several months ago, Bill Maher compared Mitt Romney to rappers who, in many cases, flaunt their club/tour date proceeds as wealth to us. Though not surprisingly with Mitt Romney, who is worth a reported quarter of a billion dollars from being a venture capitalist and is the Republican nominee for the 2012 Presidential election, we cry outrage and lambast him for not being able to relate to the common American citizen.

Surprisingly though, we literally love and defend the rap artist who reportedly makes millions of dollars from our personal consumption of their music, merchandise, concert tickets, liquor, and
lifestyle. All while reminding us just how financial distraught we are. In the majority of cases, a paycheck from complete poverty – literally.

We thank God for a many things, don’t we? Including, caller ID.

Not to digress, but I just read in my local newspaper that Baltimore City is intent on closing Korean-American-owned liquor stores in desolate urban neighborhoods because the product that they offer is helping lead to the demise of the community and its residents. Would you believe that it has been reported that some of the residents actually intend to defend the liquor stores? And in all actuality, all that the city requested was for the owners of the stores to offer a
healthier product.

Many of the liquor stores masquerade themselves as pseudo-grocery stores as well. Providing for the residents either unhealthy or subpar food and beverage options. And, not having a viable
option in clean, board-inspected and approved markets providing a multitude of healthier items in close proximity, we succumb. There’s a correlation there somewhere.

Now, as I continue. We’ve succumbed. Maybe it’s foolish of me to think, but personally I don’t believe that everything was meant to be profited from in a monetary fashion. Not everything. What dollar amount can honestly be placed on the sincere upliftment and betterment of people? And, what better vehicle do we have at our disposal than Hip-Hop?

Someone just recently told me that chasing the American Dream is what actually leads to poverty…because many people find themselves living well above their means. I won’t attempt to blame Hip-Hop for that. However, can we agree that Hip-Hop in itself has become the greatest marketing tool to employ the idea of capital gain? Which isn’t a bad idea in its totality, I guess.

Depending on who’s benefiting from it the most…