Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Keeping mob shit rocking" at The Bay Guardian

I've written about this before in other widely-ignored posts, but it's an issue that's going to be with us for a long time, since it's part of a larger cultural struggle going on in both the black community and the country in general. As long as "progressive" publications and the national culture glorify thugs and drug dealers, it's delusional to think that gun violence by young black men in our cities is going to end.

The current issue of the SF Bay Guardian has an article glorifying a crack dealer/rapper that could be seen as parody if the Guardian wasn't so routinely witless and humorless as to make the idea implausible ("Dope, Rap, and Religion," Garrett Caples, SFBG, July 12-16). From the start, it's clear the writer is infatuated with his subject:

A Mercedes SL500 creeps through the crowd and parks in the middle of the road, retracting its hard top with the slow-motion elegance of a moon landing before a familiar 6-foot-3-inch frame unfolds from the low roadster and begins the usual round of hand slaps and hugs. Husalah is on the set...Combined with his athletic build and strikingly handsome face, his height makes him conspicuous in any crowd.

Writer Garrett Caples obviously admires Husalah---born Tito Alston in the East Bay---in spite of his pro forma references to a disapproving NY Times article. Caples admires Alston's looks, his "ever-evolving gangsta argot," and his "thugged-out" performances, even though the 25-year-old punk has been a crack dealer since he was in high school. In fact, Alston has just begun serving a four and a half year federal prison sentence for possession of five kilos of cocaine five years ago.

Caples and the Guardian evidently assume their youthful readers will think Alston's moronic punk ethos is pretty cool:

I've always been the nigga to wear the flyest kicks, the best fits, the best chick, so I gotta keep that standard going...When you look back at the whole situation, I had a lot of fun...I rocked a lot of models, rode a lot of rims, dropped a lot of tops, popped a lot of bottles, all that bullshit, so I'm trying to see what I'll evolve into now. I might be heavily religious. I might be into different types of music. Whatever it is, I'm gonna stay a real nigga, keeping this mob shit rocking. I'm gonna lay down and do my time. Then get right back and make money like I never left.

Yes, religion is always a career option for jive-turkey punks who face serious jail time: after all, simulating religious conversion might help when you go before the parole board. After his bust, Alston "began to develop a spiritual consciousness." He started out reading the Bible and of course the Koran, which "spoke to his struggles and sensibility." Now there's a concept for you: the sensibility of a crack dealer! Alston's hypocrisy is breathtaking: "It's all about God first. It ain't about preaching. It's about knowing what's real."

And the reality is that even doing prison time will be a good career move: "I figure I'll still be able to work in there, because in the federal system it's a lot more open. I'm pretty sure I'll have a mini ADAT recorder. There'll be new product...We gonna make sure our check is in the mail."

And, as a last resort, there's always God---or Allah, as the case may be.

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