Like my homie said the other day, folks don't know that Young Jeezy (aka Jay Jenkins) is really just a nerd with a thug costume on. I'm not saying the costume is a prop. Nah, oftentimes in my hood, nerds had to wear thug costumes to navigate the space. So it wasn't being dishonest if you ask me. We were being "of the people". These costumes allowed us to keep our kinship ties with our friends while continuing to do our "nerd learning" shit at home. It also gave us the ears of our peers. So when we tried to share some of that nerd knowledge, cats listened.
Now other cats just didn't care about their kinship ties with their friends and ALLOWED themselves to be alienated from their own hood. That's cool. But to me that's not how community should work. Parents should NEVER teach their kids to make enemies out of their own people in their community. I don't care if they are on crack or selling it. My pops EXPLAINED why folks did what they did. And he said go play with them, but PAY ATTENTION to them (and their parents). He never alienated me from my hood. Even when crack deals went bad and gunshots broke out at 2am forcing us to crawl around the house on the floor. And I'm thankful. Oh so thankful. See Saul Williams (and maybe "Afropunk-er" James Spooner) for an example of a nigga with an alienated childhood tryna reconnect with his people.
Now, even though Jeezy describes his childhood as "empty" (damn), he got his career started as a producer, not a rapper. That alone tells you a bit more about this dude. He has a creative brain and knows how to use it. He's not just another bad poet calling himself a rapper, he actually makes music. I found his comments to Bill O'Reilly interesting:
“Damn right! I ain’t never ran, nah mean?... At the end of the day, you’re dealing with cats who think that we as young black men don’t know what it is we do. We entrepreneurs, we came from nothing. If you gotta mispronounce my name to try to be funny and you got a Harvard or whatever education you got, then you’re really showing how ignorant you are... If you didn’t hear what the fuck I said, it’s all good, but you didn’t hear all these people crying in New Orleans... You ain’t know bout the [Oscar] Grant kid that got killed in Oakland, you ain’t speaking on that. You ain’t talking about these ladies out here killing these babies, you worried about what I said."