I haven’t touched on T.I.P. Gate, because I’ve been conflicted about it. On one hand, I want T.I. out so I can still see him in concert in two weeks. Then again, when I think about the preceding events that led to his arrest, I can’t help but think his common sense goes as far as his height, so my sympathy quickly wanes. I feel sorry for him, but I’m torn over whether or not I should feel sorrier that he’s in this predicament, or the fact that he allowed this to happen.
You’re a convicted felon who is still on probation, you know the law, so why are you channeling G.I. Joe in your closet? Are you trying to cash in on the bounty on Osama’s head? Are you heading to Iraq? Has someone in Tehran pissed you off? Even if you are just a gun collector, don’t you think it’s best to let go of that one hobby if it can lead to you losing everything?
Of course, some members of the hip hop community aren’t posing any of these questions to T.I. They are more concerned about the bodyguard that snitched.
Yesterday, David Banner released a song called “B.A.N. (The Love Song)” aka “Free T.I.” in which calls out all snitches, particularly T.I.’s bodyguard that cooperated in the sting that led to T.I’s arrest, and Michael Vick’s friends that testified against him over bankrolling the Scooby Doo vs. Droopy dogfight operation.
In the song, Banner warns: “You ain’t have to run to the feds, we don’t do it like that. … But I got a remedy for these snitches at the crib, you can never come home, I know where you live.”
David’s never been known for subtly.
“For the most part on the song, I’m saying we gotta take responsibility in our own community,” Banner said.
And how do we do that?
“Tip was feeding this man’s family. We don’t do it like that, dog. We don’t talk to them boys. However it went down, we sit down [and do the jail time,] where I’m from. Dude, you don’t tell it. You hope the people you holding down is man enough to hold your people down. [The bodyguard] wasn’t a convicted felon, my dude. He could have held [Tip] down. We gotta start making the environment in our neighborhoods not conducive to snitching. How I’m doing this song, I’mma make it uncomfortable for snitches.”
We take responsibility of our communities by turning a blind eye to all the activities that destroy it. That makes sense. I understand the notion of not snitching when your life or the lives of people around you are in danger, because people like David Banner encourage it. Way to make difference, David.
I also get the code, and that’s how many dudes on the street think: That you should never snitch, even if that means the smaller person goes in over the one at the top, but yawn all the same. Especially when this logic is coming from rich people who don’t have to deal with any of that anymore if they choose not to.
Banner admitted that he does not know the specifics of the case but supports his friend regardless.
Of course, David’s not the only rapper to use his ass as a speaking tool. Wyclef called T.I. a prophet, likening him to Malcolm X.
I watched him on ‘Hip-Hop vs. America,’ and I saw the way he was talking just like Malcolm X. The conversation started getting deeper and deeper. And I think he has influence. When he speaks, it moves a whole generation.”
Any day now I expect word that the spirit of Malcolm X came back to bitch slap some sense into Wyclef.
Free T.I.org has much better excuses.
“T.I. is a little dude, and he’s skinny as hell. He needs a gun. The silencers absorb shock so he doesn’t get knocked over. Duh.”
“When you wear a pink shirt you are a target. And it triggers a bull like response in shooters and they just go crazy.”
These are obvious jokes, but I’ll go with these over Banner’s comments any day. By the way, who dipped T.I’s elbow in ash?
In the new issue of Complex, T.I. was asked about his thoughts on the current state of hip hop.
When I saw Tupac talking that “Thug Life” shit, getting locked up for shooting police, and getting shot and living, that’s when I was like, Damn, them niggas is really about that shit. Now you’re just let down. This ain’t this guy that he was on this record. And nobody seems to have a problem with it. It’s a lot of fake shit in it. I like to consider myself an intelligent person, and this shit is not something of intelligence anymore. It’s getting real young and stupid, and that ain’t me.
And when asked about the incident with Ludacris’ manager, Chaka Zulu, he said:
I got a great life and wonderful children, and I do intend to be here to guide them for the rest of their lives, and that’s what’s most important to me. Maybe when I was 18 or 19 runnin’ the streets and shootin’ pistols, but I’m not gonna blow that for one of these cats who don’t happen to live by the same principles as me.
Yes, he was set up. Yes, the bodyguard snitched. Still, in the end, he knew where his career was going, he knew every decision he made affected his life and the lives of his children.
People can create all the songs they want to help keep the stop snitching movement alive. But that’s only going to lead to more people not letting go of a mentality that keeps them locked up — be it in their minds or behind a cell.
Ideally, I’d like him out, though I’m not going to forget that it’s his own fault he’s there in the first place.