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The Immersion: Dead Broke and “Gutted” With Beanie SigelPosted by Dharmic X on 07/19/12 | Filed under Features, Opinion, The Immersion
The reason why Rick Ross likes to make “Maybach Music” or “Aston Martin Music” is the same reason why most rappers’ “rags to riches” stories rarely dwell on the “rags” aspect. To be blunt, being broke fucking sucks. When you’ve been broke, you want to put the details of that lifestyle into a wooden crate and torch it into splintering fragments.
Even Jay and Beans tried to avoid their own past in "Gutted", a song about abject poverty, choosing instead a second person narrative to get the listener to relate without admitting to autobiography. Jay’s verse is condescending almost to the point of taunting.
For most of tenth grade, I felt as if they were talking about me.
By this point, my family had already moved to West Roxbury, so we weren’t exactly poor. But simultaneously, things were a little tense financially. My dad was trying to start up his own company, which was obviously generating no income. He worked from home... or at least he claimed to be working, but by the time I got there after school he seemed to be just surfing the internet or playing games on his laptop. Meanwhile, frustration was setting in, not just for him due to his inability to gain traction on a venture that seemed to have little opportunity, but also for my mother, whose job was the only source of income that year. It strained my own relationship with my father, a relationship that was tense enough to begin with due to the generational and cultural gap between us.
I was going through my own problems that year. While I’d never been a particularly hard-working student through the first three years at the school I was in, there was a certain sincerity that was getting eroded through the company I was keeping and the culture of the school itself. With all of my friends simply trying not to fail and looking to avoid summer school, what was the difference between an A and a C? Classes shuffled by one after another, passing in a sleepy daze. They were either way too easy, or in the case of Latin and Geometry, way too difficult--the former a case of apathy, the latter a result of an undiagnosed learning disorder. My patience with merely breezing through a disinterested public school system had finally reached the breaking point, and I started acting up in class, trying to entertain the other students but more importantly, trying to entertain myself.
Beyond that, I was dead broke. After I turned sixteen in January, I began looking into jobs, but I was always too lazy to apply and my parents never really encouraged me to do so, prioritizing my education above everything. They told me that they would give me money whenever I asked for it, but I refused, far too headstrong for a handout. And yet my wallet was ravenous for cash. Hanging out after school at the malls or the fast-food joints was painful. This was also the emergence of the iPod Touch, and it seemed as if everyone was rolling around with one. My friends especially took great pride in showing them off.
Soon I realized that my friends were using any means necessary to get their hands on the iTouch. A couple of them in particular had formed a little crew of small-time thieves within the school building, taking wallets and cell phones out of peoples’ backpacks and reselling them to others. I wanted in... I was gutted and so very desperate...
(DJ Dharmic X is the host of This Culture Never Dies, 11PM-1AM Saturday on wnyu.org. Fans and haters, can follow him on Twitter and check him out on Facebook.)
See Also: The Immersion: Living By the Code Jay-Z Laid Down in “No Hook”