I'm critical but I don't wanna be
but being critical helps me to feel safe.
There's no alternative for me cause
I can't relax among people
in jail or in the big city. See,
I learned how to trust people at an early age
and how to hold grudges because
I saw the people who didn't become used
and I didn't want it to happen to me.
I wanted to survive.
I did not want to be a victim,
so I stuffed my feelings
and gagged my conscience
and listened to what my peers told me.
Yeah, there were people who tried to tell me
where the wisdom of my peers would take me
but they didnt' seem tough
and at that time touch was all I wanted to be,
i didn't want to be weak.
My plan for life lacked detail and coherency.
And in the absence of a clear plan
I played out the negative stereotypical roles laid out for me.
Now I'm in prison, scratchin' my head
still critical, but trying not to be.
Going to cognitive behavioral groups
finally talking about my problems
and learning tools so I can become positive
and my son can have more hope than me.
I grew up with rap and there was a time when I'd listen to it,
feel the beat, nod my head and agree with the rapper's rage.
I identified with them
from the way they dressed in sneakers and t-shirts
to the life they talked about.
I didn't live the whole life they rapped, but it was all around me.
See I grew up in South Central, right off of Crenshaw.
They were rapping about my world,
or what they saw when they walked through it.
But they didn't see everything
and I sure didn't.
None of them ever rapped about what happened after the shootouts.
Cube only made one rap about having a homeboy in a wheelchair
No one yet has rapped about the misery of having a momma or little sister on crack
And how many gangster rappers ever rapped about
what it's really like to get a life sentence
of being in prison, year after year, as members of our family
stop accepting your collect calls and start forgetting about us,
of realizing that momma is the only one who's gonna stay
in our corner till the end,
of watching her suffer as she tries to hold onto hope for us,
of realizing the indignities she goes through when she comes to visit,
of watching her go broke as she keeps accepting our phone calls
and scrapping money to visit us
and of the loneliness we experience when we go one or two years
without getting a visit.
You'll never find the sobering truth in gangsta rap.
All they see and all they rap about is their selfish and tainted picture of the neighborhood.