When I say it's embarrassing, I don't meam I'm embarrassed for myself, I mean I'm embarrassed for them. I don't feel even slightly embarrassed that I used to think all that gangbanging stuff was cool during my younger years, because I look back, now knowing that I was still growing up through adolescence. This may come across as pretentious, but I feel I'm a little too mature to find all of that stuff something to show even an ounce of respect for. I mean, we've got guys in their forties still rapping about doing drive-bys and hustling during their younger years. Maybe we share differing thresholds of growing up, but don't you find a little ridiculous and juvenile?
Okay I fine.
Do I find it a little ridiculous and juvenile ?? Hmmmm, not easy to give such a straight forward answer to that. Let me just break it down like this......
No I do not find it juvenile or immature, I don't view it in a way to think something like that. To me, it is just a real-life subject and theme that I find very interesting - the harsh, challenging realities of gang culture, the drug trade, and the impact it has had on many African-American urban communities across the United States. It's just a part of real life, whether I think it's juvenile or ridiculous is largely irrelevant. I just find it fun and interesting to play all this out in a video game, just like I did with Mafia, mobs etc. Hence, why I'm a huge GTA fan in the first place.
But I will still cover the 'juvenile' and 'immature' part. Some aspects of gang culture (namely LA-based or influenced), is indeed stupid. To kill each other purely over gang colors is a very ridiculous thing for sure, and it does sometimes get out of hand in a very silly way. At first I did think, "are these brothas that stupid to be killing each other over colors ?". Then after extensive research and learning, I finally understood the much deeper reasons behind all this gangbangin' stuff, there is much more to it. Most guys into gang culture are either born into it, or from a young age they are bred in a socially and economicaly deprived ghetto environment that is surrounded by it, so it always starts from when they are young. For many of these gang members, it is not just about joining a gang just to side with a color - it's about seeing close family members, relatives and friends being killed by rival gangs, fueling a burning desire to get revenge, it's about coming from broken homes, dysfunctional families or no family support, and wanting to finally feel like they belong a 'family', it's about finding a way to make decent enough, but dangerous living making quick money selling drugs in the street. These street gangs are not a bunch of local toughs who think they are untouchable or invincible bullies, they have evolved into complete criminal organizations - they number in the thousands, they have a structured chain of command in many instances, they are well-armed and equipped with the best guns, they make huge amounts of money from the drug trade at retail level controlled in their territories, they invest in legitimate business, they have links to corrupt law enforcement officials and judiciary, and some even have a great deal of influence politically in their localities. There are many things that can be understood and make sense about gang culture, regardless of how 'immature' or juvenile' it appears.
I have never pictured or thought of gangbangin' as being anything 'cool', even from when I was much younger. Never. I listen to gangsta rap, but I have never dressed like a gangbanger, I have never wanted to be like one, or emulate the lifestyle in any way. I was simply just interested and fascinated in gaining an insight and understanding of how the gangsta culture worked, it's influence, and what it was like via hood movies, gangsta rap and much later video games (GTA obviously), but I was never like, "ah this is so cool". To me, it is just a subject I had found interesting, it is no different to my similar level of interest in the Mafia, Hispanic drug cartels and other criminal organizations. I'm just a guy who has a general interest in gangs and organized crime - including gangbangers, whether you think they are 'organized' or not.
I don't care to have strong judgments on the impact or influence that gangbangin' has had on popular sub-cultures, fashion, and music genres. Yeah, gangsta rap has been criticized for it's recklessness and immaturity in promoting and glorifying gang violence and the lifestyle, but that is a whole separate thing entirely from the actual real gang life and culture itself. That is just purely business and entertainment. Like I said, gangsta rap is just a form of musical entertainment that struck big - people found it so cool and it sold massively - a business that accidentally became prosperous and thrived majorly, that is it.The way I see it, many young people find gangsta rap cool for the same reasons they find other sub-cultures cool that are symbols of outlandishness, rawness, deviance, rebelliousness, and corruption. Younger people just tend to think stuff that is very different to the norm and made out to be notorious and 'bad' is cool. It's as simple as that. As for the fashion with baggy pants, big tee-shirts etc ? Again, to me it's just fashion trends. I could not care to much about the dress sense of crime groups, I more interested in how they work and what they do.