Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Words by PHLIP
Aside from snarky social commentary, a service I provide includes talking to kids who will listen about how to get through this life more easily than I had it…
4 evenings a week and some weekends, my brother and I work with our church non-profit that tutors 7th-11th graders in English and math. As the person tasked with transporting a third of them home in the church van, I get a chance to talk to them about real life stuff. Since my nephews are in the program and in my van, their respect (or fear… whatever) of my brother and I sets the precedent for the other boys to listen too.
With chance to observe the kids all together, I often had JUST the boys in the van with me a few times between the spring and now. Last week, they cornered me and asked me to re-share some of the stuff I shared with them over the course of those rides when they were having a hard time speaking them back to newer entrants into the program.
Hence, these lessons for my young boys…
Dirty Macking: it will seem the sample sizing of available girls to you are limited, when really they aren’t. As you do not have transportation to get out and get after them (yet, that is), know that you and other cats — sometimes your own friends — will be in competition for some of these same girls. Know that if you cannot talk TO her without talking ABOUT another dude, you’ve not yet learned to talk to her.
Know the cost AND value of things: My nephews get the illest of hand-me-downs from my brother, brother-in-law and I. It is often known what was paid for these items since they are with us all the time, but the value of them comes in the fact that we make sure they have done their part to earn the shoes, or the watch or the video games. Kep them grades up, get out there and cut the grass when I tell you to, take the trash out without me having to tell you. Having to get your hands dirty in order to earn your fly shit makes it worth having.
The “code”: Except in cases where she was nothing but a jumpoff, and even then only when he says to, your homies’ old chicks are off limits.
Wait, dead-ass, I told the girls this one too because someone apparently neglected to tell them this too.
At this point, only a couple of these kids are having sex (they apparently think that age 36 is when adults cannot hear what they’re talking about), so I have backed off short of telling them that once they DO start then that part of the code becomes absolute and fights have and will happen in cases of violation. I avoid having conversations about sex with kids I am not blood-related to.
The value of real friends. This is another one that I have given to both the boys and girls. Your friends are NOT the people you lean on to simply be nice to you in exchange for doing their goon work. If you’re in position where you’re the one doing dumb shit for your “friend” in exchange for them not picking on you in front of the rest of your mutual acquaintances, then you don’t have a friend in that individual and are better off without them. Step your comeback game up and let them be.
Your friends are, by definition and in action, the people you have in your corner due to a common interest and stay there due to common loyalty, none of that reciprocal benefit bullshit need apply. Sometimes you will disagree, but that is what makes you HUMAN and does not disqualify a friendship. None of that other shit matters.
In talking to these kids, it hits me that parents/aunts/uncles are NOT having them with their kids. Leaving their kids to the streets when I was their age meant that SOMEONE’S dad or uncle was around to teach us this shit, or at least we (“we” as a group, my brother and I had my granddad and a couple of uncles) would pick the jewels up from the ones among us who did.
As bothered as I want to be that they’ve been allowed to make it to 12-15 years old without having heard these conversations, I am pleased that I am here at 36 to be the one to pass them along, even if I can only be sure that two people are actually listening.
Words by PHLIP
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Questions, comments, complaints?