He could hear the sirens wailing, the gunshots, the explosions, everything. He could hear the gangbangers screaming for blood, the ordinary populace crying for justice, little kids screaming for their mothers. And yet, there he lay, motionless, paralyzed, not being able to move worth a damn but sensing everything that was going on around him. He always knew that it was gonna come down to this, that the city was gonna melt down. He always knew that the people on the streets were gonna lose they minds and create riots that were gonna revolutionize the administrative and judicial system forever. He knew this because he was a part of the revolution- a soldier of the struggle. As he lay on the streets, gazing up at the sky, looking at the stars shining brighter than he had ever seen them before, he felt his pulse slow down. He knew he was nearing his end. He’d lost too much blood, but it wasn’t all for naught. The revolution had begun- the fight had been taken to the streets and the people on the streets were hungry for justice. They were fed up of the police brutality. They’d been pushed to the edge. Now, they were gonna strike back. He closed his eyes one last time amongst the noise of the glorious agitation and rewound to the moment where it all began.
He remembered being a young hustler, trying to make a living. He didn’t have no family- his parents died when he was 11 and he had no siblings. He grew up on the rough side of the grub, learning how to evade the authorities when they came looking for homeless children, stealing food to keep himself from starving to death, running from one back alley to the other, fighting to survive. When he was 15, he found some cats hanging in the back alley where he was taking refuge at one night, dope slanging. Curious, he walked up to the brothers and asked them what they was doing, because he could see that they had a huge bag full of something that smelled kinda funky and rolls on Benjamins stuffed in their pockets. Luckily for him, these cats were cool. They didn’t blow his brains out with the mac-11, they took a brother in. They taught him the rules of the streets, taught him how to hustle and make a living by slanging dope. After a solid 3 years with the gang, he was established. He had those rolls of Benjamins in his pockets and this time around, he was the one selling some of that funky stuff. The gang was family now. Everybody would put their lives on the line to save a brother’s neck. But then, he discovered the nasty side of the dope dealing business. His boy Jimmy got arrested one day on “probable cause”. They weren’t allowed to visit him in Juvie. Jimmy was sentenced to a 6 month term for finding marijuana on his person. When he got out though, the real story was revealed to us. Thing is, the police arrested Jimmy without any solid case. They planted the drugs and framed him and it was all because Jimmy was black. That’s when he realized that this type of police brutality needs to stop. The gang started mobilizing. They called in all the sets- friendly or unfriendly. The young hustler from the streets became the voice of these cats repping their sets. He was their speaker, telling the world about what goes down in the hood, giving them their side of the story. He came out as their leader, the voice on the street block. He heard about this one group who was repping the same story, but portraying it through music. Their art spread through the city like wildfire. Soon, all the sets were vibing to that record. This is where this movement turned into a revolution. This is where the beginning began.
Now, with his eyes closed and his heart full, his ears pricked up for amidst the gunshots and the ruckus, he could hear a car stereo playing some music. It was that very same song that had inspired the sets to come together in the first place. As his consciousness drowned out, the last words he heard, reaffirmed his faith in their struggle and made him crack a smile before his eyes went blank.
“Fuck Tha Police, coming straight from the underground. A young nigga got it bad ‘cause I’m brown…”