Street life is all I know...

This past week, my hometown, Trenton, NJ, has been turned into a warzone by members of the Bloods street gang. Now mind you, when you hear about street gangs, you hear about Bloods Vs. Crips. No, we have separate factions of the Bloods warring - the Sex Money Murder Bloods and the Gangster Killer Bloods. In 2 days, 6 people (gangstas AND bystanders) were shot. Rumor is more have been shot today. I've grown up around this all my life, but it wasn't always this bad. And it doesn't always happen around my moms house.

A guy I work with had an interesting theory on this: back in the 80s, when
Crack flooded the streets like 50 Cent mixtapes, this turned the ghetto on its ear. We started seeing the birth of crack babies, or kids born to crack addicted mothers. Now, when you have a crack addicted mother, its more likely that she will leave you with grandma or someone else who will take care of you. Without proper supervision, that crack baby will more than likely turn towards the streets for love and acceptance. Now, when these crack babies have kids, they don't have the proper parenting skills to handle the babies the bring into the world... which leads us to 2006, where these babies of crack babies are turning towards the streets, serving D and having absolutely no respect for street codes or innocent people. Interesting right?

Now look at our media outlets - TV, newspapers, etc. Whenever we see crime, we see the ghetto. We are told that the ghetto is NOT where you want to be (hell, I moved out of there... but I've got kids who need good educations). Without the right parental guidance or proper teaching in the ghetto schools, our children are left to tote shotties and blast off at people who they feel disrespected them.

My main question is, what the fuck are they banging on each other for? I mean, forget for a 2nd that it's mainly Young Black Males who are murking each other on the regular... me killing a member of my gang is just confusing. When do you see Jason Kidd smacking Vince Carter in the face or kicking him in the ass? If you are on a team, you stay a team. You almost NEVER hear about Bloods Vs. Crips these days, and the Latin Kings are just running around doing dirt.

I have no real answers for any of this, just a lot of questions and theories. And the most fucked up part is, most of these kids aren't bad. I mean, peer pressure can be a bitch, especially when some heartless older head is putting a gun in your hand and telling you that you will be a big man if you go rob a corner store, only to end with the young man getting killed by the shop owner. What the fuck is going on in our world?

And don't get me started on this Ignorant Rap shit, the Juelz and Clipse tracks that only speak about cooking cutting and selling weight. At least Jay-Z said he did it and tried to steer kids to do other things. His shit wasn't glorifying, but his life. These niggas these days are just showcasing ignorance for ignorance's sake. That's another post though.
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DJ Green Lantern "Alive On Arrival"

Alive On Arrival might be the mixtape of 2006, and it's only fucking April. If you guys aren't up on Green Lantern, here's a cliff notes edition on his career: rising to prominence on the mixtape circuit and on Hot 97, Green is a producer as well as a DJ. He has blessed the D-Block crew, and most recently hit Billboard status with Ludacris' "Number One Spot". He was accepted into Eminem's Shady Records fold, but due to a miscommunication, was featured on a DVD where Jadakiss was airing out his beef with 50 Cent. Once this hit the streets, so did Green Lantern. Flash to November 2005, and the Evil Genius has found a new home with Russell Simmons' RSMG (Russell Simmons Music Group). Since then, things have looked up for Green, and this mixtape is his resurrection.

This mixtape showcases his dynamic mixture of sounds. His impressive productions (I currently have "Get Ya Pay" by T.I. & Bun B on constant rotation), always have a distinct theme, whether it's the samples in "Shotgun Season" to the overly depressed mood of "All I Know", you never know that he laced the beat, they all sound different and fresh. In a recent interview, he speaks on his versatility on styles of production and sounds. He also has the ill exclusives, with Pharrell rocking over Raekwon's "Ice Cream" (peep the Eddie Murphy samples on that), Juelz (A?) over EVERYTHING, even Mike Jones coming correct (well, as correct as he can come) over Juvie's "In My Life". You get a good balance of what Green Lantern is working with production wise, as well as the regular mixtape exclusives. Here's how raw Green does it: you get him "flipping" the beat under Remy Martin's "Bronx Blocks": he takes the bassline to the classic Eric B & Rakim track "Juice (Know The Ledge)" with the Busta Rhymes club banger "Touch It", well one of the beats underneath it. Thing is, he then FLIPS THAT BEAT BLEND, to like a few simple bass hits and drum taps... it makes Remy's boasts that much iller.

It's just hard to find such talented DJs putting out quality mixtapes. Hip-Hop's own dubplate culture, the "exclusive", is basically either an advance track from a forthcoming release or a track made specifically for that tape. Problem is, most mixtape themes only exist on the cover of the package. Once you get into the tape, its not mixed, its not original, its just the same boring spitters over weak tracks. Green Lantern fixes that, and showcases his many talents with other talented artists. Hell, the last 2 tracks even feature winners of various contests he has put out, which just goes to show you that its not just about getting a rep for himself... he's pulling others up onto that platform. Hopefully, his long awaited Invasion album will not be delayed much further.

To sum it all up, you are playing yourself if you think that Green Lantern doesn't have that fire. He is in a New York State of Mind (shout out to Billy Joel), but has enough pull to feature Immortal Technique, dead prez and others rocking "Impeach The President", Juelz, T.I., Dem Franchise Boyz, Ghostface Killah, the underground wonderkid Papoose and many other heavy spitters on one tape. INVASION!

Be on the lookout for his collabo with Ghostface Killah, the "Internet Invasion" mixtape, which can be heard
here. Exclusives and album cuts for your pleasure. Don't say I never gave you nothing.

And before anyone even says, no I'm not on salary, no I don't know Green Lantern personally... I just like shining light on hot shit. To quote Clinton Sparks, "GET FAMILIAR!"
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