I Want to Get High with Clarence Page

I will only buy my drugs from Clarence Page. He is smoking the best dope on the planet – and I’ve got to get some. “European-American gangs had the decency to hide their shame.” How was this done – if at all?  There are two scenarios.  In the first instance, when gangs compete internally (power struggles/gang wars) or externally (intra-ethnic) for finite resources (territory, extortable businesses, etc.) body counts rise.  In the second instance, during Prohibition when “white” gangs were required to conduct street level trafficking (during that era – operating a distillery or speak-easy) in a BANNED INTOXICANT/NARCOTIC, they built up tremendous body counts in the streets of New York, Chicago, and Boston. Why? Competing gangs were not operating with the partial protection of the police to shield their respective operations.  Eventually, the police and politicians bought in – and then the law changed.  They were doing what corporations do – aggressively trying to capture market share. Insurance companies pound the pavement and pass out flyers.  Gangs pound the competition and pass out bullets – and the collateral damage is considerable.  European-Americans are no longer in that phase of their economic life…but Black and Latino gangs are – and this looks an awful lot like a new Prohibition – except that instead of moralizers shutting their phat pie holes and ponying up two bucks (then, $15 now) to see a mob movie, they’re focusing on lyrics and videos. And these contradictions and distortions of the historical record are too much to bear.

Decent European-American gangsters like Joe Masseria, Salvatore Maranzano, “Lucky” Luciano, Carlo Gambino and others were choir boys compared to the niggahs out here in these mean streets.  And didn’t James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart do more for bad guys than anyone else alive or dead?

clipped from www.chicagotribune.com

Rap is big business. Giles, for example, is distributed through Asylum Records, a division of Time Warner, the world’s largest media conglomerate. Rhymes is distributed through Interscope Records, a label of Universal Music Group, one of the largest companies in the recording industry.

Other music forms also were created out of painful circumstances. But pioneering blues singers, for example, did not strive to return to the cotton fields. Gangster rappers, by contrast, milk the gangster pose, the appearance of keeping at least one foot in the criminal underclass. Hip-hop gangsters model themselves after white mobsters whom Hollywood glorifies. But the European-American gangs had the decency to hide their shame. The lure of big bucks removes all shame from hip-hop’s gangster game.

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Sammy “the Bull” Gravano and Richard Kuklinksi

Paul Castellano…shredded in front of Sparks Steak House.

Happy Valentine’s Day

I could keep digging for images, but that’s not the point. The point is that the resident doper on the Tribune staff has ascribed decency to pathology killers like Capone, Gravano, Gotti, Kuklinski and others. Clarence is far too soft to stand the company of these men – and they were not decent men. They were pathological killers who sought to profit from a life of terror. For Page and his editors, these men were a moral cut above hip-hop artists who use uncomfortable words. Didn’t Martin Scorcese just win a damn Oscar Award for depicting some rogue-ass, thuggish Irish phuks up in Boston? Wasn’t he celebrated for a lifetime of larger than life demonic characters? I guess the difference is that Italian and Sicilian kids didn’t actually join the mob after Martin made his movies. Black and Latino kids didn’t create STAGE PERSONALITIES with names like Gotti and Capone and Tony Montana and Scarface and The Don. This is a tangled web – and mere demonization will not release any of us from the ties that bind. If you don’t like it, you can always go back to Sicily or Italy or Ireland or wherever else you introduced gang banging to America’s ignorant, lazy, docile children of slaves who knew nothing of this murderous lifestyle until your arrival. Can’t have it both ways.

Besides, I can smell bullshit from clear across the country, and I have the decency to say so.

7 comments

  1. Hey Temple.

    Let me say up front that I’ve got all kinda problems with Gangsta rap. Just to get that out of the way. Having said that, is Clarence serious? European American gangs had the ‘decency’ to hide their shame? What shame, Clarence? You need to rent Godfather again and put the popcorn down. These guys have absolutely no shame about being thugs and have never had any shame about it. Remember Gotti? And that lame TV ‘reality’ show built around his wife and kids?

    In no way can any sane – and informed – human being with a straight face compare gangsta rappers to the mob. Gangsta rappers are entertainers, for lack of a better word. Sure, some of them have criminal records. But name me one rapper who has members of the police department on his payroll.

  2. The U.S. bombarding Noriega’s compound in Panama with extremely loud rock music is the only analogy that I can reasonably make to parallel the stuff that this same U.S. government, by way of the FCC, allows on the airwaves. When I hear things that I deem offensive, I always think back to Noriega and I ask, “why?” What purpose is it serving to bombard certain groups with certain messages? In an empire where the mass dissemination of information is as tightly controlled if not more tightly controlled than any allegedly repressive regime, does it make sense to think that the broadcasting of music (and their accompanying videos), inappropriate for public consumption, is solely an economic consideration? Or, are two birds in fact killed with one stone? Even if one wishes to dismiss this empire’s tireless efforts in repressing or destroying the descendants of those it once considered chattle, one has to realize that the problem is not with the music, but rather those who are in power, who decide to force certain music upon it’s captives. From my vantage point, the music/video is but one point of an ongoing, protracted assaut or siege. Proof positive of this, in my mind, is when those powers-that-be slipped up in that tightly controlled effort and let who they thought was a safe negro in Kanye West get on the mic. And everyone knows the result of that?

  3. Page and Whitlock and McWhorter all write as if Black folk don’t have any collective memory and no rational thoughts – as if we’re always reacting to other people. A trenchant critique of gangsta rap emerged WITHIN the hip-hop community more than a decade ago. Artists with memory have been complaining about this since before Biggie and Pac died. The Native Tongues were on this in 1992. Dela hit this topic in 2004. And people my age actively boycotted hip-hop for years. I’ve seen two videos in the last 10 years – so in many respects, we have not been the catalyst for this. These rappers are like mercs working for a foreign government.

  4. The aforementioned writers are in the mold of the character, Sarge, in “A Soldier’s Story.” They are sick and twisted and, once again, the powers that be give them the floor because they know that they will cleverly, speciously spew bile and self-hating rhetoric, which they do well.

    The mercs are also the Black folk who are A&R’s for the labels.

  5. I know this post went up in May but I don’t know how anybody living in Chicago could possibly assert that white gangsters “hid their shame.” Sam Giacana hid his shame? Where? And how could Br. Clarence pass over the still unsolved gangland killing of a black alderman in the 1970s?

    I don’t want any parts of what Br. Clarence is smoking. It might tear my head right off.

  6. Page’s writing, like Whitlock and others, is an example of the type of gymnastics (okay, lying) required to single out Black behavior. I’ve gotta find out where he gets his stash. XXX-plosive!!

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