Monday, May 9, 2011

Remaining “G" Until the Moment You Expire by Kyle George

Last week on Twitter, @CheapSeatFan posed the question: 400 Degreez or Ghetto D? I mean, both were classic albums but the overwhelming favorite was 400 Degreez. This led to my man Kyle sending me a paper he wrote back at Morehouse about the song Ha. And it's actually pretty dope read. Check it out in its entirety below:

Kyle George
February 23, 2009
CSE #2
HAAS 210
Dr. Wilson
Remaining “G" Until the Moment You Expire

The idea of “realness” is depicted in an unique, and in some ways, sarcastic manner in Juvenile’s entitled song “Ha,” hailing from his 1998 album, 400 Degreez . This song gives an accurate testament to the fallacies within the mindset of black males in urban communities. The satirical “realness” in the song relates specifically to the misconceptions of success in the minds of young black men in the projects of New Orleans, Louisiana. The major themes found in the song relating to “realness” are: the male’s domestic role, drug dealing, and the idea of toughness.

Juvenile uses the term “ha” at the end of every statement to pose a question to the character being described throughout the song. The subjects of infidelity and the absence of black fathers are introduced in the first verse of this song. Infidelity is prevalent in the lines, “That's you that can't keep yo' old lady ha/ cause you keep fuckin’ her friends ha.” This statement holds true to the idea of being a so called “player,” or a man who finds difficulty in staying loyal to his monogamous relationship. Juvenile questions the male’s priorities by stating, “That’s you wit that bad ass Benz ha…. You got served a subpoena for child support ha.” This depicts the strong reality of a male having expensive possessions such as a Mercedes Benz, when they have failed to provide financial support for the children whom they have fathered.

Juvenile also describes the perception of drug dealing as a means to gain success and respect in this environment. The mentality of a young black male who aspires to sell drugs as a way to gain notoriety is illustrated when Juvenile proclaims, “You know who got that fire green ha /You know how to use a triple beam ha/ Shit ain't hard as it seems ha.” Juvenile is stating that just because a person may know a drug supplier or know how to operate a scale for measuring the substances does not mean they are built for that particular lifestyle. Further questioning this reasoning, Juvenile continues, “You want to run the block ha….You countin money at the end of the night ha….You duckin them people ha.” To speak to an urban crisis, a young man aspires to govern his block by being the superior drug dealer, which is rewarding financially; however, now they are faced with the challenges of dodging the police and jealous individuals that may want to rob him of his possessions and power. This previous statement is also in line with the theme of living up to the expectations of being a “G.”

Juvenile speaks to the idea of being “real” by questioning the toughness of an individual, “You don’t go in the projects when its dark ha/ You claim you thug but you ain’t got no heart ha.” According to Dr. Wilson, one of rules of hip-hop culture is “keeping it real,” which means not to portray false images about your situation and be true to yourself. In Juvenile’s example, this individual has not been “true” to who they are by claiming they are a “thug,” yet are scared to visit the projects after nightfall. This element of the song provides an idea of the survivalist reality in which they are apart of.

Pretty good read. And just to refresh your memory...

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