Raised by the streets

Its 1980. My names Jamal and I'm 16 year old black man. I'm busy as hell and 6’5 and I live in North Philly… pretty much the hood. I'm living in a world where it seems everyone is a G. Where everyone's a Thug and packing heat. Its pretty common to hear about gang warfare and gang violence and territorial disputes and a lot of times you'll hear shoot outs and drive bys and it's almost an every night thing to hear police sirens in the distance. I live life one day at a time and honestly life is rough. I need to put some money on the table so i'm out here slangin dope, my dad left me and my mom, my mom has resorted to drugs to deal with stress and to top of the cake i'm in a gang that I don't even know I want to be in. Now yeah, in my own ways and just my personality I have been called as a thug and been compared to one but i've never been in a gang. I've always just flown solo, just the lone wolf. But now I have been associated with people who are in one of the biggest gangs in town. They are my friends in school who brought me in but now that I actually see what they’re doing, see what life they’re living.I don't know if I want in anymore. There was not initiation that I had to do to get in and yeah if you're in a gang you have people who have your back and who are ride or die, But this might just be too much. But at the same time this is pretty much all I know. I was basically raised by the streets and the streets are what helped me put food on the table and keep money in my pockets. The one thing I could always count on was my music. But even my music gave me reasons to be a G or not to be. My favorite artist Like Eazy-E, Tupac, Big L, Big Pun, and Biggie Smalls  were all Gangsta rappers and Eazy- E was in a gang himself and they're all very successful so why shouldn't I be like them?  I've always been good with words, beats and rhymes. Maybe I can have the same outcome as them. Not only their success but their music and lyrics speak to me. They give reasons to want to live the thug life but I have to remember that throughout a lot of their music the express emotions on the life they live like in a lot of Tupac's music he expresses the struggles that the black race and  young black males have to deal with like in his songs Changes, Me Against The world, and Ambitionz az a Ridah or in Biggie’s song “Juicy” Music is pretty much where I go to think and it helps my mind find answers but this time i dont think its working. The only thing I could think of was to just stop all this completely and start trying to be a rapper but I have no idea if i'd even get that chance to be big. I also have to worry about my reputation out here. Reputation can mean everything out  here in the streets. But there's a part of me who likes the liv i'm living but I liked the life as a lone wolf the best. Make me feel like I can relate to Tupac's song “Me against the world”. If i'm in a gang that just ups my chances of getting poped out here by rival gangs flamin gats because of something some other people in my gang did. I can't have that happen. I just hope for whatever i decide I make the decision fast before it's too late and im not around to make that choice anymore.

Comments (4)

Messele Asfaw (Student 2019)
Messele Asfaw

The descriptions, the atmosphere, the senses. All of those things helped bring this character to life. I could feel Tupac's hand on the character's shoulder as he tried to solve his internal struggle.