Updated: Oct 13, 2022
"Getting out was harder than getting in, putting it down was more difficult than picking it up" STILL, THE AUDACITY OF HIP HOP by Juscallmedon
"I was onto decision to let her be, decision to let her go," Hip Hop that is!
My love comes from a place of survival and hope. When I recorded THE AUDACITY OF HIP HOP, all I wanted to do was pay homage from my perspective. I did that by giving personal accounts of what I was getting over, like a divorce told on BACK HOME, as well as loss of friends and friendships that I never forgot on STILL.
Hip Hop still means so much to me, even in a day where some consider it a dead art. When Nas said Hip Hop was dead, alot of artist took it personal, I felt them, but I understood by listening to his album with the same title, that his love was as deep as ours, but the art needed a lifeline or it would eventually die.
In the song STILL, my third verse was about someone that became like a brother to me for a short period of time. When you're young and successful, everyone wants to be part of your success in some way or another, so me calling him my brother fits in that narrative as well. The difference is, I wasn't the one that assumed the position of a younger brother. For as much as I thought I'd grown up in the streets, I found out I was green to the world that was beyond my understanding.
My big brother, as Kanye said about Jay-Z at one time, wasn't BIG's brother.. he had a brother that went to school with me, but was a year or two younger. He did his best to keep him away from the streets, which he also later tried with me. His younger brother hadn't followed in his footsteps, but certain things come with having somebody so close to you involved in so much. I found that out personally, the good and the bad of it.
As anyone whom you look up to, you study them closely. You learn their behavior, you get inside their head soto speak because you want to emulate them. For all what seemed to be good times, I began learning of the pressure that big bro was under. I began hearing whispers from everyone about his decisions, or what he did or didn't do enough of. From my view, all he had done was try to elevate people. Even then, I knew the difference from righteous judgement, and what was considered hating.
Because he was always generous, I did my best never to take advantage of the generosity, and I wouldn't let anyone else do it either. I started noticing how the majority of people around acted two-faced when bro was gone, but as soon as he showed up, teeth and palms out. I even noticed it from people I had respected, those that were part of his real crew. There were very few back then that I could say were really loyal. I recall one time he had to check one of the very members who's loyalty that I noticed was suspect. Although I hadn't weighed in, not yet and feeling it wasn't my place, because the guy presented himself to be a brother to me thru association. That's what I meant the good and the bad of being close to "the man!"
When it was said and done, bro's real brother and I were the closest and most genuine people around. He worried about his brother as I did, as I worried and wanted to protect them both. I don't claim to have fit into the lifestyle by any means. I was there for a brief time, and I do believe I made more correct decisions than I didn't.
When we'd link up towards the end of our time together, we did the smoke and drink thing at a grand level. By then, I wasn't the same kid that called Erl after a fifth of Hennessy chased by Sprite. I had been living a little bit more, but I still wasn't on the level that he was.
As I layed out in the song, I rode with him to a few spots that he controlled that were averaging one hundred plus a week. I also noticed that at one of the places we had stopped at, he'd taken longer to come out, and when he came back he was what ya call dusty.
I knew we from looking at his eyes, as well as his behavior that the Remy, nor Heineken, nor lime we had been smoking had done that. With all my admiration for big bro, I always knew my limitations, and mine was weed. I'd grown up in a house with a drug user in my stepdad, and I was clear on cocaines effect. Before we separated that night we chopped it up on a few things, always about life and where we wanted to go. He showed me a property he had bought in an up and coming area in Hyde Park.
One of my last memories of the night is of my brother telling me he wanted to leave the game!
He didn't have to tell me that though, I saw it in him as well as felt it. That was one of the early connections that we had, he always wanted to leave. His street partner had been killed years before we met, and I knew him to a degree. I wasn't a fan of niggas who was on the streets recklessly, but the guys who had a desire for something greater I could respect. We shared the love of Hip Hop for that very same reason, we were underdogs. That meant get it by any means, but with a code of ethics. That was what I grew up believing in, that and when it's time to move on you move on.
After recording STILL, I've gotten a lot of questions as to how it turned out for bro, and whether or not he was able to transition outta the game!?
Well, all I can say is, as many gangsta movies and stories thats been told, how many of them that you know have a happy ending.
"FOR SOME THAT B_TCH A GAME, FOR OTHERS THAT B_TCH A CRUTCH"
I STILL.. Keep my head up!