IS THIS WHAT SUCCESS IS ALL ABOUT? There's a knee-jerk fear in America that someone- especially someone young and black- is coming to take your shit, fuck up your brand, destroy the quality of your life, tarnish the things you love. But in hip hop, despite all the brand shout-outs, the truth is, we don't want your shit. We came out of a generation of black people who finally got the point: No one's going to help us. So we went for self, for family, for block, for crew- which sounds selfish, it's one of the criticisms Hustlers and rappers both get, that were hypercapitalists, concerned only with the bottom line and enriching ourselves. But it's just a rational response to the reality we faced. No one was going to help us. Not even our fathers stuck around. People look just like us were gunning for us. Weakness and dependence made you a mark, like a dope fiend. Success could only mean self-sufficiency, being a boss, not a dependent. The competition wasn't about greed or not just about greed. It was about survival. There are times when it gets exhausting, this focus on constant competition. There are times when it gets boring, especially these days when people use beef as a marketing plan. There's something heroic about the winning boxing standing at the center of the Ring alone with his opponent sprawled At his feet, roaring "what's my name?" Like Ali. But it's tough never being able to let your guard down.
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