Hip hop itself is a hustle and rappers have used it as a legitimate mean to make money and to establish a Black economic power in a mainstream society (Garner, 2009). This being said, hustling was rooted in the poor urban communities of the united States and was a viable alternative for those reprimanded by the oppression exerted from the White America. Hip Hop was their voice, and through this art each artists has engaged the Image of the black hustler into their music at deferent point of time, but their various ways of representing hustling in their situational setting share a common standpoint and background.
Hustling was “the response of the harsh realities” endured by the African Americans and other group of minorities In the United States beginning in the mid ass (Garner, 2009). They were living in poor living conditions and were faced with racism, discrimination, poor economic resources, decreased opportunity and struggled to get their rights heard. Hustling was a “cool pose” which they adopted as a way to cope with the restrictive effects of their environment.
The process of hustling implied a series of coping mechanisms through the adoption of behaviors, attributes and lifestyles to accommodate, ultimate one’s manhood and to assure their survival. Those mechanisms adopted from Individuals living In poor communities were more or less against the values and norms of the mainstream society in which they were embedded. In fact, the hustler operated outside of the “mainstream’s moral correctness” and constitute but not limited to the drug dealers, the pimps and the gangsters (Garner, 2009).
Perhaps, the tragic trinity of hustling reinforced the stereotypes of the African American as drug dealers, pimps, gangsters and prostitutes by not leaving room for other types of hustling perceived as being more legitimate. It implies the criminal lifestyle adopted by a number of disadvantaged African Americans as a mean to make money and to rid them from their economic hardship. This over generalization of hustling is supported since rappers themselves glorify this lifestyles which In turn Is mimic by the vulnerable Black population.
One of the first rappers to have put the society off guard and to violate its “moral correctness” through his offensive and explicit lyrics is Ice Cube (Garner, 2009). Growing up in the ass In South Central where there was an over unemployment amongst black males because of thousands of manufacturing bobs lost due to the economic crisis, the only way to escape this reality was by “joining a gang, selling drugs or joining the music industry” (Canton, 2006). Along with some friends from the ghetto he formed the group NNW.
A track from the former group titled “Gangs Gangs”, details the trajectory of the hustling life of disadvantage Black African American: “Here’s a little something’ bout a Amiga like me Never should been let out the penitentiary Ice Cube would like TA say That I’m a crazy mouth back from around the way Since I was a youth, I smoked weed out Now I’m the mouth back that yea read about That’s what the hell I do, you don’t like how I’m living Well buck you!…. Gangs, Gangs!
That’s what they’re yelling “It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality” – KIRKS One “Hoping you sophisticated motherless hear what I have to say”” This part of the song portrays the gangs life that Ice Cube and his fellow band members undertook. It clearly represents what the tragic trinity of hustling, which is the criminal lifestyle of the Black Man. However he had the ability to take that negative image and make money out of it and to become one of the pioneer of gangster rap music.
In the early ass, a new philosophy of hustling emerged in the poor streets of black communities in the United States, the thug life. The thug life movement was introduced and put into practice by Outpace Shaker. Growing up in the poor neighborhoods of New York and belonging to a family of Black Panthers pioneers, he quickly understood that his life as a young African American in a restrictive and mainstream society wouldn’t be easy (Edwards, 2002) Unlike any other rappers of his generation, he was aware and was involved at an early age in the Black political movement working against the oppression of the White America.
It is by the aid of hip hop and by internalizing the identity of the black gangs, that he found a solution to overcoming the struggle, poverty and misery faced by minorities community but mostly the Black African Americans. The thug life was a way of coping the injustice inflicted in the black community. It was an acceptance of the terms of society by adopting a lifestyle that will allow them to succeed against all odds ( Stanford, 2011). In other words, thugs refers to those living the difficult experience of the ghetto life, but trying to compensate their suffering through illegal assure of action.
Outpace understood that in order to create at Black Power, it is by the aid of those people who uses illegitimate mean to survive and seen as deviant in society. Like the lyrics of his song “Changes” suggests: “We goat make a change… It’s time for us as a people to start making’ some changes. Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live and let’s change the way we treat each other. You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do what we goat do, to survive” Outpace reinforced the idea of a collective act as a back up plan for survival.
We need to move away from the violent lifestyle that is killing our people who are experiencing the same suffering. Instead we have to build a community of thugs who share the same background and if they could come to an understanding, the hustler for a better living will come true. This is why Outpace suggested we should follow a code of thug life that is designated to politicized gang members or others activist to oppose “the racist and economic oppression” and to come to a better way of hustling by working together to improve community hardship (Stanford, 2011). Hustling” was huge phenomenon that topped the chart of the U. S Billboard music chart in 2006. Powerful Miami drug dealer, turned himself into a gangs rapper and through his song, he promoted his lifestyle of hustling as a drug dealer. “Every day I’m hustling, Everyday I’m hustling” is well represented in the music video and gives us a broader view of what hustling consists of. In the beginning of the video, we see Rick Ross drive passing a woman selling water and another woman selling food from a truck. This moves away from stereotype of the tragic trinity of a black criminal male making an illicit income.
However we see women that can be mothers struggling to survive who try to make some extra money. Because these days hip hop is over commercialese, the figure of the black hustler as a gangs or a drug dealer is a sell out and is well fitted in the screen. Rick Ross understood this and managed to portray this aspect of hustling in his first verse of his debut rap song: “Who the buck you think you bucking’ with, I’m the bucking’ boss Seven forty-five, white on white that’s bucking’ Ross I cut ‘me wide, I cut ‘me long, I cut ‘me fat (What) I keep ‘me coming’ back (What), we keep ‘me coming’ back
I’m in the distribution, I’m like Atlantic I got them motherless flying’ ‘cross the Atlantic… ” We see again in this portion of the verse the lifestyle of a black hustler. Rick Ross embodies the inner role or a ” boss” drug dealer who owns a powerful drug business with people working for him which is in the process of making an illicit black economy which is society’s views of the black hustler. As mentioned earlier, hustling is a coping process adopted by the marginalia communities for survival purposes but through this process, a stereotype of the black hustler have emerged from the mainstream society.
This stereotype have been passed and fulfilled from rappers to rappers in order to exploit the image and gain recognition or financial mean through it. Then again hustling is a way of life to survive the injustice imposed on the poor communities and rappers have managed to talk freely about it and to promote that lifestyles that some considered criminal and non legitimate. BIBLIOGRAPHY Canton, D. A. (06/2006). The Political, Economic, Social, and Cultural Tensions in Gangs Rap. Reviews in American History, 34(2), 244-257 Edwards, W. (09/2002). From Poetry to Rap: The Lyrics of Outpace Shaker. Western
Garner, L. J. (09/2010). ” Can’t Knock The Hustle”: Hustler Masculinity In African American Culture. Protest, 71(3), 943 Stanford, K. L. (01/2011). Keeping’ It Real in Hip Hop Politics: A Political Perspective of Outpace Shaker. Journal of Black Studies, 42(1), 3-22 APPENDIX A N. W. A. Lyrics ” Gangs Gangs ” Here’s a little something’ bout a Amiga like me Taking’ a life or two Well buck you! This is a gang, and I’m in it My man Drexel buck you up in a minute With a right left, right left you’re toothless And then you say goddamn they ruthless! Everywhere we go they say [damn! ] N W Ass bucking’ up that program
And then you realize we don’t care We don’t Just say no, we to busy saying’ yeah! To drinking’ straight out the eight bottle Do I look like a mouth bucking role model? Too kid looking’ up TA me Life anti nothing but bitched and money. Cause I’m that type o’ Amiga that’s built TA last If yea buck wit me I’ll putt foot in yea ass See I don’t give a buck ’cause I keep bailing You, what the buck are they yelling [Chorus:] “Hoping you sophisticated motherless hear what I have to say” [Verse Two: Ice Cube] When me and my posse stepped in the house All the punk-ass inning start breaking out Cause you know, they know hasps
So we started looking for the bitched with the big butts Like her, but she keep crying “l got a boyfriend” pitch stop lying Dumb-ass hooker anti until but a Dyke Suddenly I see, some inning that I don’t like Walked over to me, and said, “Hasps? ” Rene started stomping me, and so did E By that time got rushed by security Out the door, but we don’t quit Rene said, “Let’s start some shot! ” I got a shotgun, and here’s the plot Taking inning out with a flurry of buckshot Boom boom boom, yeah I was gunning And then you look, all you see is inning running And falling and yelling and pushing and screaming
And cussing, I stepped back, and I kept busting And then I realized it’s time for me to go So I stopped, Jumped in the vehicle It’s like this, because of that who-ride N. W. A. Is wanted for a homicide Cause I’m the type of Amiga that’s built to last Buck wit me, I’ll put my foot in your ass See I don’t give a buck, cause I keep bailing You, what the buck are they yelling? “He’ll tell you exactly how he feel, and don’t want a bucking thing back” [Verse Three: Ice Cube] Homiest all standing around, Just hanging Some dope-dealing, some gang-banning We decide to roll and we deep See a Amiga on Damson’s and we creep
Real slow, and before you know I had my shotgun pointed in the window He got scared, and hit the gas Right then, I knew I has to smoke his ass He kept rolling, I Jumped in the bucket We couldn’t catch him, so I said buck it Then we headed right back to the fort Sweating all the bitched in the biker shorts We didn’t get no play, from the ladies With six inning in a car are you crazy? She was scared, and it was showing We all said “buck you pitch! ” and kept going To the hood, and we was fin to Find something else to get into A bum rush, but we call it rat pack On a Amiga for until at all
Ice Cube’s go stupid when I’m full of eight ball I might stumble, but I wont lose Now I’m dressed in the county blues If you buck wit me, I’ll put my foot in your ass I don’t give a buck, cause I keep bailing [Interlude: Ice Cube, DRP. Drew] Wait a minute, wait a minute, cut this shot (Man watch goanna do now? ) “What we’re goanna do right here is go way back” How far you going back? “Way back” “As we ago ill something like this” – Slick Rick Here’s a ill gangs, short in size A t-shirt and Levies is his only disguise Built like a tank yet hard to hit Ice Cube and Easy E cold running shot [Verse Four: Easy E, MAC Rene]
Well I’m Easy E the one they’re talking about Amiga tried to roll the dice and Just crapped out Police tried to roll, so it’s time to go I creeper away real slow and Jumped in the six-of’ Wit the “Diamond in the back, sun-roof top” Digging the scene with the gangs lean Cause I’m the E, I don’t slang or bang I Just smoke motherless like it anti no than And all you bitched, you know I’m talking to you “We want to buck you Easy! I want to buck you too Cause you see, I don’t really take no shot [So let me tell you motherless who you’re bucking with] “It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality” KIRKS one “He’ll buck up you and yours, and anything that gets in his way” “He’ll Just call you a low-life motherhood’s, and talk about your funky ways” APPENDIX B Outpace lyrics Come on come on I see no changes. Wake up in the morning and I ask myself, “Is life worth living? Should I blast myself? ” I’m tired of been’ poor and even worse I’m black.
My stomach hurts, so I’m looking’ for a purse to snatch. Cops give a damn about a negro? Pull the trigger, kill a Amiga, he’s a hero. Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares? One less hungry mouth on the welfare. First ship ‘me dope & let ‘me deal to brothers. Give ‘me guns, step back, and watch ‘me kill each other. “It’s time to fight back”, that’s what Hey said. 2 shots in the dark now Hue’s dead. I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere unless we share with each other. We goat start making’ changes.
Learn to see me as a brother ‘stead of 2 distant strangers. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. How can the Devil take a brother if he’s close to me? I’d love to go back to when we played as kids but things changed, and that’s the way it is [Bridge w/ changing ad lib’s] That’s Just the way it is Tithing’s never be the same awe yeah [Repeat] I see no changes. All I see is racist faces. Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races we under. I wonder what it takes to make this one better place… Let’s erase the wasted. Take the evil out the people, they’ll be acting right. Cause both black and white are smoking’ crack tonight. And only time we chill is when we kill each other. It takes skill to be real, time to heal each other. And although it seems heaven sent, we anti ready to see a black President, uh. It anti a secret don’t conceal the fact… The penitentiary’s packed, and it’s filled with blacks. But some things will never change. Try to show another way, but they staying’ in the dope game. Now tell me what’s a mother to do? You goat operate the easy way. “l made a G today” But you made it in a sleazy way.
Selling’ crack to the kids. “l goat get paid,” Well hey, well that’s the way it is. [Bridge] [Talking:] We goat make a change… What we goat do, to survive. And still I see no changes. Can’t a brother get a little peace? There’s war on the streets & the war in the Middle East. Instead of war on poverty, they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me. And I anti never did a crime I anti have to do. But now I’m back with the facts giving’ ‘me back to you. Don’t let ‘me Jack you up, back you up, crack you up and pimp smack you up.
You goat learn to hold yea own. They get Jealous when they see yea with yea mobile phone. But tell the cops they can’t touch this. I don’t trust this, when they try to rush I bust this. That’s the sound of my tune. You say it anti cool, but mama didn’t raise no fool. And as long as I stay black, I goat stay strapped & I never get to lay back. ‘Cause I always got to worry ’bout the pay backs. Some buck that I roughed up way back… coming’ back after all these years. Rat-a-tat- tat-tat-tat. That’s the way it is. uh [Bridge ’till fade:] Some things will never change