This second image, essentially a graffito, also came to me over Facebook. "All Eyez on Me" might be Tupac's best-known rap. It may also have got him killed. The lyrics are loaded with obscenities, delivered in a sort of fury, I just thought, "Come on, buddy. Get off your high horse." But most of his listeners probably don't understand the song in context. Tupac delivers his sneering, vindictive rant toward people that he knows:

"So many player-hatin' niggas trying to sound like us,
Say they ready for the funk, but I don't think they knowin'
Straight to the depths of Hell is where them cowards goin'
Well, are you still down? Nigga, holla when you see me
And let these devils be sorry for the day they finally freed me
I got a caravan of niggas every time we ride
Hittin' motherfuckers up when we pass by.

The people targeted in Tupac's rant know exactly who they are. They are as jacked-up as Tupac, and they eventually used deadly force against him. This scenario also happens fairly often to Black kids who use social media a lot.

Note again the caption beside the Tupac grafitto. It comes from another Tupac rap, "Keep Ya Head Up!" America has to prepare for all kinds of wars—social-media wars, gang wars, and rapper wars. Cops have to keep their eyes on social media outlets to track down hot spots, where a beef could get someone killed. There's not much anyone can do for the rapper wars. According to on-line sources, between a hundred and two hundred rap musicians die violently every year. Like Tupac said, "Keep it real!"

As I watch this play out, I remember the M. Night Shyamylan movie The Village. The residents of the Village believe they are living in the late 19th century, while the hustle and bustle of 21st century life goes on around them. The dystopian violence of the Gangsta Rap society goes on day after day, blind to the wealth and opportunity available to them in the wider American society,


September 30, 2022

Rolexes and Wealth

I remember the day my eighth-grade teacher arrived at school wearing his new wrist-watch. We saw this guy for the 180 days of the school-year and knew him pretty well--as well as anyone did. We noticed that, among his other mannerisms, he tended to look often at the watch during class. We thought he was keen to know the time on a regular basis. Now, I believe he was just admiring his new watch.

September 28, 2022

Family-life is not a Democracy

I ran into a problem yesterday when I returned to Germany. On my first evening, I wanted to slake my thirst for German beer, big-time! So I ordered a liter-serving right off the bat; but I knew I also wanted some wine and ordered a carafe of it, as well. Shamefully, I have to admit to not finishing either. I slaked my thirst, but had to leave some of it undrunk. I hate wasting anything, but I had work to do and wanted to operate on all my cylinders.

September 24, 2022

Violence in the Real

This article appeared last July in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, by the newspaper's expert on hip-hop music, Florentin Schuhmacher. He regards gangsta-rap, and its sub-genre Drill, as a legitimate art-form. He can understand the reservations that law enforcement, parents, and teachers have toward music that glorifies gang-life, describes the rush of killing one's enemies, the pleasure of drugs—as a source of wealth—and demeaning women; but Schumacher also says the police cannot simply censor it. They must distinguish between art and criminal acts, shooings, and robberies.

Lloyd Bowers


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