Monday, March 8, 2010

When I grow up… I want to join a gang

When I grow up…

I want to join a gang

This is a public service announcement to all millionaire gang members – “Stop brainwashing our youth you ignorant bastards!”

This goes out to Baby from Cash Money Records with your big red star tattoo on your head, talking about, “keeping it blood all day,” while your son (Lil Wayne) is locked up on Rikers Island for gun charges.

You better hope no REAL Bloods decide to pull Lil Weezy’s card on the island for flying a false flag… Better yet, you better hope no Crips decide to take his little 105 pound frame for a test drive for claiming Bloods.

Baby… How does it feel to join a gang in your 30’s? I thought that was something we did in our preteens to find acceptance, protection, camaraderie, family, etc.?

Yet you’ve joined after becoming a successful business man…

You mean to tell me with your tens of millions of dollars in houses, cash, cars and jewelry you haven’t found the acceptance you were looking for?

Because you damn sure weren’t a Blood three or four years ago. And neither was Weezy when he was flying a Crip flag in his early music videos… Did he just get tired of the color blue and decide he liked red more?

And by the way, how much did you guys have to pay for your initiation or affiliation into the Bloods? Because something tells me you weren’t jumped in or sexed in… at least I’m hoping not the latter.

This letter also goes out to the Dipset, specifically Jim Jones and Juelz Santana for introducing the Bloods to Harlem in much the same way Nicky Barnes introduced heroin to the community in the 60’s and 70’s.

Your lies and deception are killing our youth on a daily basis you ignorant bastards!

Honestly, please explain to me how you live with yourselves each day knowing your glorification of a violent lifestyle kills

teens every single day?

Teens that look up to your level of success only to find you wearing “white face” and modern day woolly wigs, gloves and tailcoats… dancing for your masters at the record labels.

You keep dancing for the destruction of Black and Latino youths you silly bastards. Just keep shucking and jiving all the way to the nearest bank.

And I’ll keep going to the community centers to try to grief counsel the teens actually experiencing the pain of living this gang lifestyle.

I’ll keep jumping out of my truck in the South Bronx, breaking up violent fistfights like the one I saw this afternoon. A fight in which six girls were beating one girls head into the concrete pavement until blood began gushing from her head.

It took a bus driver, myself and two other grown men two minutes to stop the attack. And it’s scenes like these playing out in cities across the US that make my blood boil at the glorification of gangs and street violence.

We made it so cool to behave like this… until we’re staring at all that blood… listening to all that screaming… then it’s not so cool anymore.

Honestly, the least any of you can do since you profit off the death of your own is send flowers to the funeral homes… and while you’re at it send a card that reads… “I’m sorry I killed you kid… but I got a nice new Bentley out of it…’

Correct me if I’m wrong… but I’m a firm believer that if you actually lived through the street wars of the 80’s and 90’s you’d have a certain respect for the realities inflicted upon our communities due to this type of lifestyle.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t a lot of the real gangsters who did fifteen to twenty years and are now coming home, now trying to help the youth avoid those pitfalls, not live up to them.

I don’t respect anyone who glorifies the gang life as if it’s a badge of honor that should be represented to the fullest…

I don’t believe any of you have ever sincerely stood over the coffin of a teenager lost well before his time. And if you did stand over the coffin, you might as well have spit on the cold body with the behavior you’re all exemplifying these days and passing off as real.

Because that’s exactly what you’re all doing… spitting on the graves of all those killed in gang violence due to their circumstance.

And the only thing real about it… is how really damn pathetic it is that anyone who considers themselves a real man would pass this off as the right way to live your life.

The sad thing is you all do it with big smiles on your faces and even bigger chains dangling around your necks.

Funny that this new form of slavery comes in diamond and platinum… although much more appealing to the eye, they are still chains of slavery… this time mental slavery!

Tell me fellas (millionaire gangbangers) when will enough be enough with this type of sick ignorance. An ignorance that has us killing ourselves in a never-ending cycle, all in the name of financial success for a very select few?

The fact that Dipset, Cash Money and so many others have so heavily pushed gangs into our streets, schools and homes is one of the greatest mocharys of Hip Hop’s storied history.

It’s nothing less than a crime against humanity… and a crime against ones own race.

And I personally – yet again – am at a loss as to why it hasn’t been addressed by the elders of Hip Hop and those respected in our communities.

Of course Bill Cosby has tried by presenting The Cosnarati: State of Emergency featuring Supa Nova Slom, Jace the Great and Brother Hahz. But it cost him a war of words with Russell Simmons and many others.

Underground rap phenomenon NY OIL has made some of the most controversial records of our time dealing with the death of our community at the hands of these rappers. Most notably “Ya’ll Should All Get Lynched…

Of course, the song and video is too truthful to ever get mainstream attention… the truth hurts way too much.

This open letter is addressed to all those men over 21 who have now grown up and decided to join gangs.

I don’t respect you… you’re all clowns to me… thank you for making this world a circus of death.

They’re not laughing with us… they’re laughing at us!

***Special thanks to my brother Trig One for bringing this ridiculous phenomenon of grown men and some of Hip Hop’s elite joining gangs well after they should’ve actually grown up.***

Ivan Sanchez is the author of Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 2008). The book is the first memoir released by a major publishing house written by a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Sanchez is also the co-author of It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ (powerHouse, 2009). He was awarded the National Novel honors for his first fiction offering and is currently working on several new books about NY Latinos. He is also the co-host of Rebel Radio on Urban Latino Radio.


  1. I didn't know stupidity like this was going on. Thanks for shining the light.

  2. all really sad ,, but true...

  3. Excellent post! If you don't mind I would like to post it to

  4. @ Augie - please feel free to repost... The more that read, in my opinion, the better! Thanks for the love!

  5. Ivan: Whoa! I have a huge knot in my throat after reading this. The funny thing is that it's nothing new to me. I lived through best friends getting killed for leather bombers, sneakers, gold chains, etc. That was then, but now is now. And now is ugly. I spend very little time in the States; I am living in Costa Rica while I work on various projects. When I do get the chance to visit cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles, I actually go into a state of culture shock. I ask myself, "What the hell is going on here?" "What went wrong?" Is this the byproduct of capitalism ghetto style? People that can't compose a spoken sentence making millions of dollars, while well-educated folks collect welfare and wait for unemployment checks. This can all be confusing to the young minds that have nowhere to hide and less places to run. TV shows like Growing Up Gotti, who wouldn't want to be a Gotti? Lifestyle of the rich and infamous, making money, hanging out with stars, international travel and drinking inexpensive liquors and wines. Are these the same lures that make old bald white men, create multi-billion dollar frauds and build and destroy Fortune 100 companies in a blink of an eye? I would say yes. Yes because the system is already designed to help those with money and nothing else. Intelligence helps and so does education, but money moves mountains. From boardrooms to courthouses, money doesn’t only talk, it shouts and loudly! America today is doing business with the devil on all levels. We have left little or no hope for our youths. Big companies like Viacom (MTV, NICKELODEAN, ETC.) have the grasp on everything, movies, video games, you name it they hold it. Behind the scenes, you have mostly young Caucasian writers from the suburb who come to capitalize on the “animals” in the urban jungle. They see our youth as “trainable people”. Unfortunately, the people who prove to them everyday that we are trainable are the Russell Simmons, Puff Dummy, Little Wayne and his big gangster papa, etc. And of course, these guys walk away with cake, money or bling-bling all day long. The Simmons and Dummies are like breeders in the jungle. They train the youths to train their youths. A 17 yearold has a child, now the teenager and his child will be wearing RocaWear, Phat Farm, Sean John and even those cosy boots called UGG.
    Those are the problems. We, as a concerned community, better known as “the escapees”, we need to provide vivid futures for today’s youth. We need to show our youth to exploit our artistic gifts in positives ways. We can’t deny that Jay-Z is creative, but he’s utilizing that gift inappropriately. This tasteless form of success must be addressed and we must say stop feeding this crap to our youth. We need to say this and say it loud clear: Hip Hop is an art form, not a marketing device.

  6. Excellent post, thank you for sounding the alarm on an epidemic and another plague eating at the fabric of minority communities its appalling and it needs to stop. Unfortunately moneu and fame and the worshiping of celeb-whore-t's makes stupid behavior and destructive things profitable.

  7. KCeryus
    3-10-2010 7:00 pm

    To the author: You exacerbate their glorification by posting non-researched material, such as the garbage I’m commenting on. My hood had plenty of gang shyt going on, including the induction of me and my brother into a certain one (I follow my Law and show respect, but I’m inactive. I’m married with kids, and I serve in the military. I’m currently in Iraq), but all the bloods were very small in number, and they preferred it that way. Now EVERYBODY wants to be a blood. The gang-bang shyt is played out. People do need to realize that, and a lot of gangs are going back to their roots: protecting their communities and allowing people a structure of family. I was blessed to be part of a gang that had structure, and that shyt is rare these days. For example, I dropped out of high school, but I was still encouraged to learn, and since I started a family at such a young age, I wasn’t involved in most illegal activity. I’m not on here to support joining any gang, including my own, mainly because loyalty and respect are such a rare commodity nowadays, but also because if you’re a weak individual, you develop a need to ‘belong’ so bad that you quickly lose focus on reality. But enough about all that, let’s talk about this stupid “PSA”:

    Baby has been on this shyt so much over the years that most gang members, active or inactive such as myself (I hate the term ex-member. That shyt was for life), were sure he was associate with people’s. He signed Mack 10 a few years back, remember? He’s obviously more comfortable in his shoes since The Game has been around though. Hell, everybody is. There were a few blood-affiliated rappers already out, but The Game clearly pioneered the movement that has every rapper claiming a red rag. And for Dipset being credited as the ones who brought bloods into New York? And that was a serious comment? Gangs have saturated almost every, if not all neighborhoods of color in the US, long before the Diplomats (or even Cam for that matter) came on the scene. In my opinion, today, everybody wants to be in a gang until they get hit with a RICO charge.

    Oh and by the way, Juelz is just throwing the sign for ‘east side’. That sign alone means different shyt for different gangs in different regions. Funny how a simple slip could make it look like the BK sign.

    In closing, you need to do research before you post a “PSA” for millions to see, especially these people’s fans. You just come across as an ignorant ranter employed by BP. All gang members aren’t violent criminals and some know how to read and write…

  8. To KCeryus: I have a few questions for you…

    (1) If the article was truly garbage as you called it, I wonder why you’d waste a significant amount of your life – time you can’t get back – to write such a lengthy rebuttal?

    (2) Please tell me what you plan to do for your hood when you return from Iraq? I just want to make sure if you’re going to $h!t on my words that you’re “active” in cleaning up some of the mess our generation left behind.

    You say my article is un-researched – yet I’m not throwing around numbers of gangs in America, numbers of gang members or any other type of statistic – so why would I need to do research?

    What I’m doing is writing about my experiences as a minority in the South Bronx. I’m writing about what I see on a “DAILY” basis… Not some $h!t I see on TV or in the movies. I’ve done grief counseling to young teens caught up in gang banging, which is why it upsets me to no end that these studio gangsters are selling this bullshyt to our teens as something they should live up to.

    I’m not glorifying a damn thing here… I’m raising awareness to those not paying attention. I’m opening up dialogue – just like the one we’re having right now – so that responsible citizens can step up and do something about this epidemic.

    You all say, “It’s the parents… it’s the parents…” Well where the hell are the fathers? Dead and locked up… and what happens when the mothers are working two jobs to make ends meat? Or when their strung out themselves or too depressed to know how to care for their children? Do we all just say, “Oh well… the parents should’ve done something…”

    Come on man… that’s nonsense… You say you were in the life… I say it’s your job to come home and help change some lives for the better.

    I say Dipset brought the Bloods to Harlem because they damn sure spread the message to “MILLIONS…” overnight my brother… to millions with just one f’d up music video… So yes, we’ve always had some presence of some crew, clique or neighborhood gang.

    You can call me ignorant my brother… But I’m from the streets; I went back to college in my 30’s… I have a Bachelors Degree, I’m a published author – the first Puerto Rican from the Bronx to get a major book deal for a memoir – and I’m helping communities all over the US on a daily basis… So if I’m ignorant… What’s everyone else?

    Be safe in Iraq my brother and thank you for your service… but remember we have a real war right here at home as well… If your gang is really going back grassroots to take back their community and turn things around then I applaud them. But don’t think for one minute that’s the norm…

    Peace, Author Ivan Sanchez

  9. Wow i dont know where to start Ivan. One my heart breaks every time i hear another story about another child getting killed for an oath they did or didn't take.

    It is heartless of those in the entertainment industry that promote their affiliations when they are painfully aware of the blood sheds.
    Now there are many places where if you are not in a gang you are good as dead. I totally know this and it kills me inside to know that is how one must live their life just to TRY to see another day.

    Gangs have been around forever which is very much true, however, back in the begining they were there to protect and help not what they have become now.

    @ KCeryus - Oh dear one, first of all much respect to you for serving our country.
    Now that is out of the way,

    One cannot speak up for something they have no knowledge of. I can see where you are trying to come from, but you know what there is a whole world out there that is spinning and you are speaking from a one sided point of view.

    Ivan may not have done a full research on this topic but he speaking from first hand experience through the voices and hearts that he has had to help mend.

    You do not need to do research to put two and two together friend this is not a RESEARCH PAPER it is a BLOG which one may express their opinions and facts if one may have them.

    But ignorant? no he is far from it. Ignorance falls into the hands of the ones who think "hey its kewl I can show off this lifestyle because at the end of the day it aint my kid in a coffin and after all look at all the wealth i have gained." Now that is straight ignorance.

  10. Very, very enlightening and articulate article. I would like to start by saying that the devil is a beautiful liar! My comments are directed to the writer of this article. Please do me a favor, and take some time to research this so-called elite group of people who call themselves "Illuminati". If you are upset about the negative influence that Lil Wayne and Baby have on our young people, then you are really going to be upset when you discover the satanic, subliminal messages that the industry has successfully pursued over the years by way of TV, music, movies, commercials, and the media. Since childhood, I have been a dedicated buyer and listener to music, and discovering that most people in Hollywood are devil worshippers, in all honesty, I must admit that me and everyone that I have shared this information with are, wholeheartedly, not only diappointed and disheartened, but angry as well. Listen, Baby, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and Beyonce are just a tip of the iceburg of what we are going to be forced to deal with in these perilous times that we are living in. Thanks for shedding a bright light on the darkness that daily surrounds us. Thanks for being brave and telling the truth to these rappers who has chosen to sell their souls for platium and gold! This article tells me that I am not the only one in this world who's concerned, not just for my own children and their well-being, but the youths in its entirity! Remember, these are human beings just like you and me which brings me to my conclusion that the only stars to me, are the ones in the sky! Peace and Blessings to Everyone!

  11. Great Words, always enjoy, keep on trucking & thanks for the intro to NY OIL!


  12. Wow. You know my mother found this and shed some light onthis to me... I didn't even know about dipset and baby... I had an idea though when I saw that red star... and lil wayne switchin colors... its all just a shame that grown men still represent or are trying too. What's the price you truely pay for these actions...