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Ghetto boys
Die by twenty-five
Or catch a quick three-to-five

From a young white Canadian
Wannabe G’s perspective
Baby baby
Reminiscin’ back
To when I wanted to be part of gangster rap

To be a gangster, or not to be a gangster, that is the question
Do you find it impressive or do you find it offensive?
Well now I find it offensive, but if I go back to the exact moment
My own hormonal clock ticked over into adolescence
God damn! I don’t understand these rules, man
It’s like they’re just designed to hold me back, but gangster rap
Now that seems cool, yeah, that Ice Cube attitude
And 2 Live Crew, like “Unh me so horny” – yeah me too!
I just wanna screw everything that moves, but these high school chicks
Man, is it me or do they only like guys who act like huge dicks?
I’m lookin’ for role models and all I can find is Bruce Willis
And Slick Rick, and my parents want me to plan for the future?
Man, fuck that! What I need is some swagger to compete with these bastards
For female attention – I’m not tryin’ to get a teenager pregnant
But at least me and my henchmen need to be seen as contenders
And these gangsters on TV, man, they could be our secret weapon
I mean, I’m not a killer, but I roll with some pot dealers
So yeah, I’ve got a rebellious side, and I bet lots of these guys
Who live in villas are about as real as the zombies in Thriller right?
Obviously I was vanilla, but I just had this feelin’
This visceral attraction to rap; it was just like I just had to listen
Plus I was an avid mimic, so I guess my gangster obsession
Made me a poster boy for the natural selection of inaccurate perceptions
The evolution of self-deception

Emulating ghetto boys
Even if we’re not in ghetto streets
Exaggerating the threat of violence
It’s a state of mind
That dictates reality

Evolution has no foresight
It moves like a person through a dark forest by torchlight
With no map, no compass, no divine oversight
So we can’t expect it to behave nice or known what’s right
Suppose you knew your death would be on March 17th when you’re 73
What kind of person does evolution predict you would be?
It predicts men will breed slightly more promiscuously and women
Slightly more selectively ‘cause their investment is relatively extreme
But since co-parenting is so very beneficial
To your adorable little genetic vessels, the sexual
Differences are often negligible – what the longevity really predicts
Is a constant investment in your long-term potential
You would plan for the future, and be a contributor to your community
And make a long-term winner out of a short-term loser
Now imagine you knew you would die at thirty-five
What does evolution predict that you would do to survive
And reproduce? If you’re a man, it predicts you would fight
Thug life, fuck the world, yeah, what, ready to die
Why? ‘Cause these young girls get pregnant quick
And if they don’t, well then they don’t get to spend much time with their kids
And they only hook up with the guys that are rich
The ones who cut throats and leave their victims to die in a ditch
So why are adolescents prone to pro-gangster biases?
Maybe because they don’t know how long they’re likely to live

Emulating ghetto boys
Even if we’re not in ghetto streets
Exaggerating the threat of violence
It’s a state of mind
That dictates reality

So what up G, are you a real G or just a studio G?
How many people do I have to body for you to believe?
None really, it’s a front really, I just want you to feel me
In reality I’m a civilian, I think thuggin’ is silly
But if I’m bein’ threatened, then hell yeah I can be aggressive
I’ll fight you straight up, unless you come at me with a weapon
‘Cause weapons are the democratization of physical strength
So I’ll pack a weapon too, except I’ll fill it with blanks
I’ll just use it for threat displays, but if I get tested
Then I’ll get disgraced, so it’s time to go load up the tech and spray
Mutherfuckers like Scarface, yeah, Tony Montana – explode some shells!
My threat level is more effective the less I know myself
‘Cause these dogs can smell fear, so I’m fearless, hell yeah
I’m a twelve-year-old gangster; you better steer well clear
And that’s how you go from a well-intentioned adolescent male
To another thrill-seeking statistic in jail
But hip-hop culture isn’t about causing harm for no reason
In a way it’s an artistic arms-control agreement
I thought it was survival of the fittest, but instead it
Turned out to be survival of the illest lyrics in the minds of listeners
So now my ex-gangster obsession gets exapted
To something less graphic, like trading Gladiator for X-factor
So instead of bellyaching on the generation gap
Why don’t you try bangin’ some gangster rap and see if it takes you back


from The Rap Guide to Human Nature, released August 1, 2010


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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Science rapper and inventor of several novel hip-hop variants. Canadian transplant to New York. Pathological optimist.

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