Say Hello to a Reality Within Ourselves


We ain’t thugs for the sake of just being thugs. Nobody do that where we grew at nigga duh. The poverty line we not above so out comes the mask and gloves cause we ain’t feeling the love. We ain’t doing crime for the sake of doing crime, we moving dimes cus we ain’t doing fine. 1 out of 3 of us is locked up doing time; you know what that type of shit can do to a niggas mind. My mind on my money, money on my mind if you owe me ten dollars you ain’t giving me nine. Yall ain’t give me forty acres and a mule so I got my glock 40 now I’m cool and if al sharpton is speaking for me. Somebody get him the word and tell him I don’t approve. Tell him ill remove the curses, if you tell me our schools gon be perfect. When Jena 6 don’t exist tell em that’s when ill stop saying bitch, biiitchhhh!!!!!

American Gangster

In the 2003 Fade to Black DVD, Jay-Z referenced taking time out in his music to address what’s going on in the hood, asking his peers, “am I wrong to do that, to have those feelings.” Well on the last verse of Say Hello from Jay’s latest album American Gangster, Jay addresses many inherent issues within the black community, its duality is indescribable, just vibe with me!

We ain’t thugs for the sake of just being thugs….. True but false, we live in environments where many feel that they have no other options but to resort to a criminal lifestyle because of the lack of resources to education, and job training to achieve that American Dream. However, we also live in a time where the commercialization of hard times has become intriguing to many youth. In fear of not being respected our youth are imitating thug lifestyles in an effort to replicate what they see on television and hear in songs.

The poverty line we not above so out comes the mask and gloves…….. True indeed, many of our families are living below the poverty line, suffering, living from check to check. So out comes the mask and gloves…. Wait a minute, who is this mask and glove being used to hide? Who is the victim of these tools the perpetrator you so vividly paint chooses to use while committing his crime that he’s not doing for the sake of committing crime? More than likely, people who look just like you, live in similar conditions as you, creating a vicious cycle of survival of the fittest in our communities!

1 out of 3 of us is locked up doing time…………. Oh I know what that type of thing can do to a brother’s mind, to a young man’s self esteem. When your peers are being hauled away in record numbers to institutions of enslavement, better known as prisons! However, thread this story together; already Hov has answered some of his own questions, showing you the circumstances which desperately rape our communities of our brothers.

Yall ain’t give me forty acres and a mule……….. So you got your Glock 40 now you’re cool. No….. Not cool, that’s misplaced anger. They did that to us, well who is they, is this “the proverbial man” who keeps his foot on top of the black man’s throat? No! This is a historical reference, reflective of the United States and promises that were made to people of color that were not fulfilled. Moreover, it’s institutionalized racism that Jay is talking about and how it affects the neighborhoods we live in. The lack of resources and awareness on how to achieve in this land of American opportunity. Back to this Glock 40, this gun, our anger and despair for a system that oppresses us is quite valid but to then take out that same anger on our own people only furthers a system of destruction upon us as a community.

And if Al Sharpton is speaking for me………. Say no more my brother; many feel that the Old Guard of leadership is out of touch with the issues of today’s generation. A few months ago I saw Sharpton attacking Nas over his new album title “NIGGER”. I thought, we have to get better communication within our community of leadership! Nas shouldn’t have to hear via MTV news that Al Sharpton has a problem; Sharpton should contact Nas directly and feed him some knowledge and wisdom as a younger brother. We should respect our elders and in turn they should respect us and what we are trying to create as an innovative and creative group of young people.

Instead, we need to openly communicate about issues respectfully and provide viable solutions to these problems. Because once again, I hear anger within ourselves when we truly should be coming together to fight against systems of inequality and their injustices. Sharpton can’t make the schools better and neither can Jay, but with an agenda targeting urban public school systems WE Can. Targeting legislation used to fund educational programs in underserved communities, using our right to vote, utilizing our freedom of speech against the ills that plague us, We Can. By reinvesting in our own communities and not spending our dollar in everyone else’s the minute it’s earned, we can create economic prosperity and create opportunity within our neighborhoods. Then the mask and gloves don’t have to come out because they are only hurting us. There’s an awareness issue in the hood, there’s misplaced anger in the hood, it’s time now that we unite together and build with each other to create an agenda and Make It Happen! 1
C. Shine


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3 Responses to “Say Hello to a Reality Within Ourselves”

  1. drea Says:

    great break down. Love Jay,true art of storytelling.

  2. Naomi Says:

    Excellent syntax, wonderful arrangement, thought provoking and very pleasing to read.

    And yes, WE can! Si se puede!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Excellent song to look deeper into. Definitely my favorite on the ablum.

    “I ain’t no ordinary nigga, look around this ain’t what ordinary gets ya.” – “Say Hello”, Jay-Z

    While it’s normal to jump right to the example that is J’s monetarily extraordinary life. Determination to NOT be “ordinary” it comes from within and the concept surpasses material wealth. We have to be able to look at our circumstances and see the potential. Even if you’re looking around and everything you see is negative, that’s all the more reason not to be average and not to be a victim to your circumstances, but to rise above it all and become an extraordinary figure in your character and otherwise.

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