Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Does Atlanta Have A Gang Problem?

Ok so. I'm surfing the web and decide to stop by Zach Wolfe's spot to see if he'd gotten around to posting any of the goodies I've seen him capturing over the last few weeks that I've seen him out. I didn't see any of the recent Mike Bigga, Slaughterhouse, A3C Festival performances...but I did stumble across this Jody Breeze joint he shot recently...

Now, before I get into my little rant, I was very hesitant to even speak on or post this. One, because I found it to be pretty stupid. Two, I'm not all the way aware of what I'm watching. Three, I didn't want to feel like I was spreading ignorance, which is pretty easy to do on the internet. Because I mean really, half the dumb ish we complain about on the net grows legs because we post it, retweet it, email it, etc.

But yeah, this is a video for Jody Breeze's latest freestyle that he did over Drake's "Uptown" beat. In it he's going at Young Jeezy as well as spitting about about the things that the ATF make a living off compensating.

Dissing rappers, not new. Rapping about firearms and drugs, not new either. But what did catch my eye is all the flashing signs and flying colors in this video. Aparently the Atlanta Blood Gang (ABG) is starting to surface beyond the Southside and East Atlanta into rap music and now onto the internet.

I heard about this "gang" a while back but didn't really pay it no mind, because hell, Atlanta gangs never get payed attention anyway. They usually disappear within months, if that long. But then when I started hearing The Dirty Boyz start shouting them out on the radio as if they were the new rap crew or something, I started worrying a little bit. Well, not worrying, but moreso wondering. Did these niggas really just shout out a "gang" on the radio, during a show that targets an audience below the ages of 21-23 for the most part?

Then I started noticing how alot of the rappers and random cats in the street started wearing red all of a sudden. Gucci, Waka Flocka FLAME and the cats that run with them mainly. In seeing this I started asking myself...when the fuck did gangs become cool in Atlanta?

For as long as I've been living here, I don't recall too many times when gangs neither existed nor were cool here. The "gangs" here have always been neighborhoods or high schools. Colors? No.

Sure, everybody wanted to rock blue flannel shirts back when Snoop Dogg first came out, but were niggas really banging like that? Nah, not really. Really, only time I can remember a gang really making an impact here was when the Folks came here in around 93-94. And most of the cats that got involved in that shit got into it because it was "different." They didn't wear blue or red. Niggas liked throwing up pitchforks because it looked cool. But after enough niggas got sent to jail for banging, peoplel left it alone...the shit wasn't cool anymore.

Notice I keep saying the word "cool." Atlanta folks have always been too "cool" for "that gang shit" as we used to call it. Gangs scared girls off, fucked up the party and always carried themselves as they were too "hard." Them niggas was always mad, weren't popular and were never fresh. Nobody here wanted to be like them. Plus, there was never a gang culture here. The culture here has always been one that revolved around hustling. If you was worried about getting picked on didn't join a gang. You just hit the weight room and learned how to fight or tried out for football or something.

So that brings me back to asking, when did this gang shit become "cool" in Atlanta. From the looks of this video and what I'm noticing out in the street, cats are really thinking this shit is cool now. They've found a reason to wear red bandanas, red t-shirts, red G-shock watches, sunglasses, designer jeans and red Crooks & Castle hats (which ironically have a big ass C on them, smh).

I talked to a couple friends who I thought would be able to fill me in more on this "epidemic" I'm missing out on. The consensus is pretty much that joining a "gang" in Atlanta has become convenient. I mean besides the fact that cats in Atlanta already love the color red (UGA Bulldogs, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks), it seems like associating yourself with ABG is the thing to do now.

One, because its different from the Crip influence that Jeezy and BMF brought to the city a few years back. Just like most social phenomenons, followers seek to be carbon copies of whatever is in style at the time. Jeezy and BMF wore black and dammit, we are too. Same shit as when Snoop Dogg, MC Eiht, Dogg Pound, etc were the coolest rappers walking. Wasn't nooooooobody trying to listen to or be like DJ Quik at the time. Hell, even after their popularity waned you still saw rappers rocking blue bandanas. It wasn't until Dip Set, The Game and Lil Wayne started claiming Blood affiliations (and selling records and making hot music) that you saw everyone else wanting to look like they were Bloods.

Couple their popularity with their ability to make being a Blood look fashionable (red glitter belts and such) and now you have a bunch of people wanting to look like them.

Another reason I'm guessing ABG is the thing to be down with nowadays is becuase there isn't much of an alternative. Shit, ain't no Crips around (yet) to bring any opposition, so you can just fly your colors at will with no worries.

Then hell, what community organizations are there to counter it. From what I see Fraternities/Sororities rarely extend beyond the college campus anymore. Church organizations be on some "don't call us, we'll call you...after you tithe" shit. Little league sports are still here, but parents aren't. Plus I see them on the highway shoulder asking for money more than I see them actually playing. Can't remember the last time I bought a Girl Scout cookie off an actual Girl Scout. The community is losing businesses left and right so these young cats can't even get a little job like breaking down boxes at the store or sweeping hair at the barber shop.

So...what can we do for these cats before they get themselves killed either by their peer or by the police? I'm dead ass serious.

But yeah, back to this video. Honestly, I'm still perplexed as to what I watched. Of course it looks "nice" because Zach Wolfe is good at what he does. But still, what the fuck shawty? Really? Tell me if im thinking too hard but this was more than just a cool video to go along with a random freestyle to put on the net. This shit is damn near propaganda.

Its a trip how lenses and filters work. Through this lense, this "freestyle" actually kinda looks like a work of art...almost dismissing the sign flashing and color flying. But if it was on Flip cam, this shit would like like exactly what it is...some stupid shit that will get somebody hurt.

I don't know shawty. This obviously set something off in me. Like for real, gangs in 2009? Who does that besides lame ass rappers trying to look cool? Like the big homie said, if gangs aren't here to evolve into social organizations of influence like the Shriners...get the fuck on. If you're going to start a "gang" in 2009 are you going to wield a voting base in local politics? If you're joining a "gang" in 2009 are you doing it to lead it into being an effective/profitiable organization that offers anything other than destruction and rap songs?

This the thing that makes me say that Black folks need to leave gang and crime alone. We aren't good at it and we never evolve. We start gangs and they turn destructive. White folks start gangs and become organizations. Black folks do illegal shit and go to jail. White folks do illegal shit and start NASCAR.

And let me say I'm kinda dissapointed in young Jody. I just interviewed him not to long ago and it sounded like he was trying to be somewhat of a "positive" influence. He wanted me to make sure that I told readers of the intervew, specifically younger people, that all that trapping and stuff he used to rap about was for the birds and that they need to find something better to do because it only leads to death or jail. Last time I checked...gangbanging does the same thing.

But yeah, I'm kinda rambling now. If you have a comment, you know where to leave it. If you feel you can educate me as to what the hell is going on around here, feel free to do that as well. For real, how real is this ABG thing and is it something we need to handle before it gets crazy? Because for now I mean, it really just looks like a bunch of C-level rappers wearing red with a few nameless goons rolling with them. Let's "build" as the 5 Percenters like to say.


Mr. Grand said...

I think it's a mix between a fad and folks doing something cause someone "famous" co-signs it. Co-signing ignorance is stupid for one. As for myself, I refuse to settle for just one color I can wear anyways. I never got the whole gang thing anyway. Glorifying crime has never been cool in my eyes if you ain't giving 2 sides to the story anyway. Niccas need to wake up for real.

Anonymous said...

Man I totally agree. Gangs have never been part of our culture. Miami Boys, Down by Law yeah but that was the 80's and that was really the extent of it. I think gangs in Atlanta is the DUMBEST thing these new cats could have done. And these cats promoting this garbage should be ashamed of themselves. Really, how is this cool?? Besides the obvious dangers and problems gangs present for the community...THIS SHIT AINT COOL, DUMBASS!!!!! Man I'm like you MG, I'm starting to ramble....

Anonymous said...

fuck a gang. i always liked jody's flow but i dont like this flow at all.. he is much better spittin instead of this bs.. oh and isnt he from griffin? we need to get some scared straight type stuff going round here.. get some former hardcore bangers from crenshaw and east la (those mex dont play) and show these kids it aint "cool" to be in a gang

atlanta gangs=posers

FireBrand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FireBrand said...

By appearances, I think it COULD be a growing problem.

I'm not police officer, Gang afficionado or crime expert.

All I know is what I see.

I've been talking to cats for a minute down here on the westside and it's been a growing problem.

The tags have been increasing. I've even seen Ms13 tags over in East Point just east of Lee Street and that really was weird to me, but there is a growing Latino/a population here on the westside, so I guess it makes sense.

It is what it is. If it isn't neighborhood gangs, it's Folk, Crips and Bloods. I'm not certain about affiliations or who is cliqued up with whom, but it's there.

Are they active? Yes. They aren't just tagging. They are robbing, they are fighting.

What I don't know is if they are trapping. If that is already happeneing, I can't tell by the colors I see in and around the westside.

I was telling an eastside friend back in 2006 that this was a growing problem. I don't think y'all have it like that out there.

I can't speak on the suburbs, but in S.W. Atlanta from 166 out to Mayson Turner, etc...I see them.

I recall not buying a home out near Adair park/Sylvan Hills because of the amount of Bloods we saw out.

On MARTA you see them physically late nights, you see the tags on the buses. On neighborhood days you see them, At the park on Sundays you'll see them.

L.A. cats will say all sorts of things about how the "thugs" here aren't real or whatever.

What I know is that most people I know within a 5 mile radius from MY home grill their steaks outside with a glock on them.

Robberies and assaults in broad daylight are not uncommon at all.

I don't know if I need it to be more "real" than that.

Mr. DDR said...

Honestly I think Jody & Jeezy got some things that they need to work out because as u can see by the visuals that this is obviously bigger than rap. Of coarse Gucci nem arrived on the scene a few years back & they had a song called ''Gangs'', So this is something thats been goin on in the streets but it seems as if so many street cats are surfacing on the rap scene, Its kinda to the point of where you cant tell whats real & whats not but what you do know is that it will get the police watchin & talkin. Jody Breeze has an interview w/Hood Affairs where he talks about the whole situation between him & Jeezy but we probably will never know the real reason behind it all.

[FADIA] [KADER] ™ said...

the thing that ,makes it worse is all these budding videographers basking in the ignorance and capturing these elements and making it look good, i guess everyone needs to eat eh!

dam,n these french keyboards 1 sorry guys

Rashaan M. said...

I live in Chicago and I grew up in College Park so I have a good understanding of gang and non-gang culture. Here, its a way of life - you got people who are in the same gang as their grandfathers and grandmothers. When gangs pop up in Atlanta its sorta funny because the people banging have no history or any sense of belonging. How can you truly claim a set that on the other side of the country? Even if you broke it down to them joining because of the beliefs of the gang, what kind of codes are they going by? Or is it just because niggas like wearing red?

For the record though, Jody Breeze isn't a blood. He's a Blackstone Ranger (aka a Mo or Moorish). They heavy in Chicago and the midwest and red is one of their colors. They have alot of similarities to bloods (P-Stone, 5-point stars, etc..) so that's why they might be clicking up.

Anonymous said...

Well, I understand where your coming from, but I'll be honest, it sounds a bit naive in my opinion. Heres my perspective, Im a guy, who works in the hip hop industry and before that I grew up slanging, associating with bad dudes, stupid shit all my life. Anyways, my point is, I've always seen the gangs here. Ill give you a quick breakdown off the rip, when I think, for example, most of the latin gangs tend to operate just outside the perimeter, alot of ppl who live in the city, don't even realize the HUGE fucking gang population that resides just outside the perimeter, where its safer, easier to operate, 2nd, alot of the black gangs operate in neighborhoods, just your average hood gang serving up boy or girl, whatever, grabbing there nuts clutchin their lorcin. Youve got alot of robbing crews/gangs in ATL, they tend to be small, tight knit, don't last long. Based off my own knowledge, I know alot of GD's congregate near zoo atlanta area, cyclorama, hate city area. Now when you talk about bangers though, real bangers, they do exist in ATL, but because our city sprawl really keeps them contained. One thing I do whole heartedly agree, dudes down here tend to focus on hustling rather then banging. Most of the time, its hustling first. But make no mistake, the gangs are huge, but they tend to keep the violence down and the hustling first. Just my perspective anyways. Also on a side note, Russian gangs are on the rise in Atlanta, very smart operations, businessmen, smart with technology, and they seem to have money, because I see their businesses, of coarse the Mexicans are always king shit in the gang world, and I swear theres gotta be some Mexican chuckling when your talking about Atlanta not having a gang problem, you just dont see it ya know. Hmmm, white gangs seem to be near non-existent in Atl or nearby, as far as violent ones, especially relating to race hate. Asian gangs are huge in ATL, they are responsible for alot of good indoor grown weed, they tend to operate in the suburbs just outside ATL, and are big in areas such as Lawrenceville and Acworth, Kennesaw. So basicly, the most prevalent, prolific gang in ATL is the various Mexican gangs...

Anonymous said...

if yall aint into gangs why the fuck yall so concerned with what go on in gang life the way i see it all gangs are real its the people in certain gangs that make certain gangs fake just because the gang didnt start here dont mean nothing you have gang members that go state to state looking for new gang members and new places to make money just because you not into the gang life dont mean the people who is into it fake or lame thats only your opinion and to let it be known i am from atlanta and i am a bloodgang member and it aint a bone in my body thats fake or lame i bang for my fallin brothers money power respect and brother hood so dont judge people you never know whats a person reason for joinin a gang but that shouldnt be your concern anyway and most of the people who have something to say about gang members know nothing about gangs and often never know what the hell yall be talkin about anyway so a good word of advice:worry about your damn self im sure you got enough problems of your own why worry about somebody elses (9-tr3y yo-yo)

Moncler said...

Shawty this goes to show that white folks can get away with anything.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Watts and I just recently moved to atlanta trying to get away from that lifestyle and to see it in ga blew my mind its a lot of oppurtunity out here so for these youngsters to be running around flyin colors is crazy to me I grew up in a blood neighborhood but our gangs have been around for decades with multiple generations of bangers in atl there are no roots to that lifestyle. The youngsters just got life all messed up thinkin that its kool to be apart of that kuz of lil wayne and the game basically ppl that ain't put in no work on the turf and they idolize these ppl not knowing what comes with this life but they gonna wake up when they start losing homies and catching time smh out of this life all I got is a bunch of dead homies a doc number and a gang of war wounds this shit ain't kool ppl need to wake up and do something positive with they lives. And OYG BHrayZ Hunna said errbit of dat

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