So my family moves to California the summer of ’87. This move gave me access to more rap music than I knew what to do with. And that was great. The albums came and went. Some I’ve forgotten, others I’ve memorized for life. The music was a backdrop to my education in social nastiness. We moved to California and I learned about gangs.
The most notable gangs where I lived weren’t black or latino – they were filipino, samoan and guamanian. The most fearsome gang in my neighborhood was the Bathong City Jailers, the BCJ. The BCJ wore black clothes, grew their hair long and swept it back (not unlike a pompadour mullet, now that I think about it) and sold drugs and the like. The BCJ scared me and the other 12-year-olds. ‘Nuff said. We heard stories of the trouble they would get into and those stories were vivid enough so that when we were out skateboarding we’d always keep one eye open for those black trench coats and long, flowing, black hair.
About the same time as I was learning to avoid local gang members, a movie about gangs dropped and with it came a song that hit home with me. The movie and song: Colors. Dennis Hopper directed the film, which isn’t all that great. Ice T rapped the title song, which I think is a work of lasting art.
When that movie came out none of my friends or I were allowed to go see it. People were getting shot in and outside of the theaters (or so the rumors went) and the Bloods and the Crips became household names. And when I heard that song…the opening synth, the gunshot, the drum…it held me rapt. Ice T’s portrayal of a young gang member’s psyche seemed so spot on to me (and, in hindsight, it was)that I latched on to it as a way to understand the gangstas in my neighborhood. Now I didn’t run out and embrace the BCJ and offer them some gummi bears or anything. But when I’d see them from then on, I’d think to myself, “Pyschoanalyze try diagnosin’ me why? It wasn’t your brother that brutally died,” and it would remind me that some people have more on their minds than finding the best parking lot to skate in.
I was a fan of Ice’s for many years after that – all the way up to ’91’s O.G. – but none of his songs has stuck with me like ‘Colors’ (well, except for maybe ‘L.G.B.N.A.F’, that’s a fun one).
Posted by: Death at February 9, 2005 10:12 AM
(The following disclaimer, stolen by me from Zombie and by him from Bob Mould, slightly modified to my purposes, will be standard for the BB! Presents: Rap Music History series unless otherwise stated.)
MP3 files are posted for evaluation purposes only. Availability is limited: one week from the day of posting. Through this series, I’m trying to educate, share my passion for good music, and promote that good music to others, who will also hopefully continue to support these artists. Everyone is encouraged to purchase music and concert tickets for the artists you feel merit your hard earned dollars. If you hold copyright to one of these songs and would like the file removed, please let me know.