Aound the turn of the century 50 Cent rejuvenated the word “gangsta.” It had fallen into disuse until he dropped a song that would breathe fresh life into the phrase. The name of the song was “What Up Gangsta?” It was with this abrasive inquiry that Curtis Jackson opened up his magnum-opus Get Rich or Die Tryin. To lesser degree, Fabolous arguably rejuvenated the phrase with the song, “Keeping It Gangsta.”
In no time the word “gangsta” was back on the lips of people from Washington, D.C. to Washington state. People of all ethnic and economic backgrounds began using the phrase “gangsta” to define everything from getting another dude’s girl pregnant to violent shootouts with rival gangs. Sometimes the word was used playfully, sometimes seriously. The word “gangsta” has been appropriated by many different people and for many different reasons. However, one thing that was consistent is that the word “gangsta” could never be used in association with the word “snitch.”
If snitches were a species in the Hip-Hop community they would be vermin. Repulsive creatures, scouring the streets for information; spineless beings informing the police whenever a crime is committed. There have been countless songs and movies made portraying snitches as yellow bellies that will sell their homies out for pocket change. For this very reason snitches and those associated with snitches have become pariahs in urban communities.
It must be asked however; who is more gangsta? The gangbanger who mistakenly shoots a young child while attempting to murder an adversary or the person who risks communal exile to bring the murderer to justice? Is the very concept of gangsta not entrenched in a brash, ‘I don’t give a f*ck attitude’? Is that not what it would take to stand up and say this person has murdered an innocent person knowing there may be life threatening consequences? Now that would be gangsta, but how much more gangsta would it be if the murderer you implicated was yourself? What if the consequences were 25-to-Life?
For rapper G-Dep this conversation is far from hypothetical. As a 17 year-old stick-up kid running the streets of New York he shot and fatally wounded a man while trying to rob him. He fled the crime scene without looking back and never knew if the guy he shot was still alive.
G-Dep really never stopped running from the incident. Even as a rising star with Bad Boy, that night still haunted him. Fast-forward to the present, G-Dep is 36, married, and has children. He also has a conscious plagued with memories of the shooting. He does the unthinkable: he snitches, on himself.
I have had more than a few conversations with friends about G-Dep’s stunning cold-case confession. Almost without fail they all say, “G-Dep is an idiot.” Who confesses to a crime they got away with? Turning yourself in is something bail-jumpers do because they know their mom will lose her house. It is not something an ex stick-up kid does when they have a bit of shooter’s remorse.
Whatever your thoughts are on G-Dep’s music career or confession, you MUST have respect for a man who did what he felt was right even though he knew their would be consequences. Many people, especially black males, have difficulty doing the right thing when it is not the easier of two options. Hopefully, his hard choice will encourage many to take a look at their actions past, present and future and atone wherever possible.
G-Dep snitchin’ on himself may not do for the term “snitch,” what 50’s”What Up Gangsta?” did for the word “gangsta.” However, the most important trends are the ones not created on Twitter but in our own lives. Right now G-Dep is trending a clear conscious, and that might just be the most gangsta thing of all. Word.