Combat Jack: This Can’t Be Life

 |  February 10, 2010


This can’t be life, this can’t be love
This can’t be right, there’s gotta be more, this can’t be us…

Lil Wayne might be a lucky dude. He was supposed to go into Rikers Island yesterday. To serve an 8 to 10 month sentence for a gun charge that he caught in New York back in 2007. For having a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun on his tour bus. For dental surgery. Maybe he had to get his shit fixed, or some golds removed. Or, contrary to how he feels like how jail might be a great thing, because his god wants him locked up, he’s realizing that Rikers Island is no effing joke. This can’t be life.

I just read an article yesterday that fucked me up, in the Huffington Post, that points out how “there are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.” For real? In 2010? Happening now in “post racial America? Damn. So shit for Black men is more effd up now then when cats were rocking slave chains. This is a problem. And it’s not like I didn’t know the system had it in for us. Or that a great number of us (Black men) live the fantasy narrative of thug life, “what’s really hood, gat in the holster, no snitching” creed, all that. I get it, I romanticize about being a rebel to America, not taking shit from white, living by my own rules and such, but seems like most of us got it real bad. I understand the struggle of having no positive role models in our homes, my pops wasn’t around either, but B, that being incarcerated at some epidemic type proportion, to the point that our numbers rival those of slaves, that’s some wake up shit. This can’t be love.

We know the enemy. What I’m not understanding is how we continue to give them what they want. By playing into steroeotype, we satiate the system’s need for indentured servants of a darker hue. And it’s not just the common man. Lloyd Banks, Jayson Williams, Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Plaxico Burress, Gilbert Arenas… every week another one us, from all rungs of the social ladder, going all out to further prove to ourselves that life carries an all too real glass ceiling. Breaking all limits to further our dreams in all things, reaching the highest point we allow said dreams to take us, only to, like a Black Icarus given license to soar the heavens, hit that hot spot of self-destruction, that zone of self hatred that emits noxious heat, heat that instantly sears our wings of talent, pride, determination, discipline, self-perfection clean off our backs. Clean, like a surgeon, off our backs. And we all continue to fall. There’s gotta be more.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Our stories don’t have to played out like this, the same ending for every movie we live. I’m tired of losing, and I’d hope we all were. Wasn’t that what that Million Man March thing was supposed to be about 15 years ago? Knowing the enemy, understanding how unlevel the playing field is, but at the same time taking full responsibility for our actions, no matter how effd up shit be. Seems like years later, we never got that memo. How, after all them centuries of them saying how bad everything Black was, we’re finally believing it. Black man’s karma. The meaning of karma is eternal habit. Our lives moving to the effects that our causes bring. The thoughts we think, the words we say, the actions we take. Moment to moment, day by day, year after year. We’re killing ourselves B. By our thoughts, our words, our actions. Bad habit is a fucking understatement. No matter where we are either, from corner to corner, to prisons bursting ripe with us, to the heights of business, politics, sports, entertainment, them eternal bad habits lay in wait, waiting for when they will spring out, take control of the wheel, crash us into that tree, and leaving us broken, dazed and confused, waiting for them police officers to roll up and access the situation, the ambulance scooping us offa them sidewalks, bagged up and tagged like dead meat. This can’t be us.

In about eight months, Lil Wayne will emerge from Rikers a hero reborn. He dropped that ‘Rebirth’ album last week, shot a shit load of videos to be released during his time behind bars. I even heard he also wrapped up recording of “The Carter IV”, so we can expect that to drop by the time he’s released. He will continue to be a role model for millions of Black kids. Other than Obama , athletes and rappers, what other role models exist for Black men? I do notice that here in New York City, there’s a gang of posters featuring RuPaul for that new show of his. So yeah, other than entertainers and Barack, Black men can look up to growing up gay (no shots to my Gays. [||]). That’s cool though, because I we already know the enemy. So we’d be stupid to buy into all that effery. We’re better than this, them thug rappers is cartoons, like in not real. There ain’t nothing ever cool about being locked up. I’d rather be out here struggling to drop these posts, pay my mortgage and raise my kids right. I once heard a quote that read “a man should have the bearing of a king.” I believe that 100%. That’s my problem with this fugazy ass Black History Month racket. We can talk about the great MLK all day, but nary a mention of how we come from a line of kings. Like how every other race does. And as my peoples continue to sign up for the modern day slave program, I will continue to do the little things that nourish that king inside. Becoming, living like, being a king is habitual. From thoughts, to words, to deeds. I’m a king. There’s kings everywhere. We need to start building as such. Kings recognize kings yo. In any walk of life. Wherever there’s people on this planet. This madness cannot continue. We’re better than this. All of us. Universal mind state on the Internets, each one reaching one. We’re not alone. Never that. This is the best time ever to be alive. We can allow our kids to emulate the Lil Waynes as they wish. Or we can, in our own little way, begin/continue to show them otherwise. Kids is the future. This can’t be life.



  • iHipHop


  • Sibu

    I am from South Africa and today its the 20 year anniversary of Mandela's release from prison and I can honestly say the issues you highlite in this post are the same we grapple with in the “rainbow” nation

  • OOG

    What people seem to forget is as bad as things may seem for black people every nation has the exact same problem. The Italians have been killing each other for years but it has never been presented as them hating themselves as a people, in fact to a certain extent its celebrated as something good. When a rapper writes about the things going in his community there always seems to be a problem, but for some reason stories about the mafia win awards. How come? Are we just too cool? Think about it, we seem to be the most imitated people on earth and rap music for one has made many people rich and famous, and has opened doors for many people. Until now that seems to be the only image being pushed to the main stream audience. So is there any surprise that the majority of rappers come from where they do get arrested every now and then? And as for men such as Professor Gates and the like getting dealt with the way they did by the police, is this also so surprising? Stop being so naive people the civil rights movement was just the other day in terms of history and apartheid in south africa was only yesterday. Remember that when God freed the slaves from Egypt everyone over a certain age had to die before they were allowed to enter the promised land, and I'm afraid the same has to be true in for a certain generation of people still alive today.

  • iHipHop

    Good points. But Rappers are one thing. What about Gilbert Arenas, Plaxico, Tiger Woods, michael Irving, Marvin Harrison etc.

    When you combine Sports and Entertainment the level of recklessness makes no sense.

  • 00G

    Tiger is the only one I can comment on as I'll need to do more research into the others, but is he not human? When dealing with a person with his level of celebrity I'm surprised there are not thousand of women with a few love children thrown in for extra. Lil Wayne had two women pregnant at the same time and them girls had some level of fame in their own right. When you're stinking rich with women throwing themselves at you and if your not a strong person your going to slip. Look at the stupid mistakes tiger made it makes you laugh. Listen, Tiger Woods does not represent me and we need to stop putting black people we deem to be successful on pedestals. This is why there is this “get money” epidemic within our communities, with our women prostituting themselves and men killing each other for what they see as the American dream (I'm from the UK). When bad things happen to the rich and famous it should put life into perspective in that they are just as vulnerable to the same shit we are. There seems to be an element of fear about the level of success coming from us, and that's why we never get to hear about the good that some of these people may have done.

  • iHipHop

    How is Tiger Woods not reppin you? I'm assuming you are a person of color. Tiger Woods is the most recognizable person on the planet. Yes he made some mistakes as a human, but without question, he had the potential to help erase psychological barriers that prevent people who are not of color from seeing people of color as legitimate leaders, role models and people of authority in general.

    Barak Obama has the same potential right now. He will have to go to grave mistake free in order to fully bring that potential to fruition.

  • OOG

    We see white fuck ups daily on the news how come there mistakes are not laid at the door of white people? One thing you can not stop is people preconceptions of you if that's how they think. Most stereotypes are born out of ignorance and a lack of education, so until people chose to educate themselves what can a brother do except live his life? People will never be satisfied with you until you act like they want you to, and that's the plain and simple truth. Now we have leaders, and the vast majority of black people are law abiding God fearing people, but this isn't enough in this age of sensationalism. I repeat Tiger does not represent me because that's not his job. Maybe all he wants to do is play golf.

  • iHipHop

    I actually agree with you–philosophically, one Black person's actions should not make a statement about his entire race.

    BUT, I just don't believe that is how it plays out in real life.

  • getthesenets

    The stat quoted by the Huff. Post is disheartening…..but if you put it in perspective, what was the population of African Americans in the South in 1850?

    Certainly today's population of Africans in america has to be at least 10 times greater than what the total population of Africans in america (north and south) was 160 years ago.