NB: Gangsta’s Paradise
I read this headline in the Examiner: Thug Haven! It converged, in my mind, two really different things: our Broadway late night issues, and elegy rap songs. Call me crazy.
Quoted at interdepartmental meeting on the North Beach “issue”: “We want to make North Beach the vibrant place that it once was, not the thug haven it’s become.” That’s right: he said thug haven. Far be it from me to make fun of poetic musings at otherwise boring community meetings. I actually attended the Tel-Hi meeting on similar “issue.”
(warning: long bit on elegy rap lyrics)
Is it just me or does Thug Haven remind you of Gangsta Paradise? Are we channelling Coolio?
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my life and realise there’s none left
Cause I’ve been brassing and laughing so long that
Even my mamma thinks that my mind is gone
OK I hate doing this, but once an English major always one: great elegies in poetry, the beauty of death and finding beauty in death. You can’t talk about good elegy rap unless you mention:
Local boy Tu-pac (though Oakland was where he ‘ran with the wrong crowd’): Thugz Mansion, he puts himself (RIP) in the company of the masters of almost everything.. not that these lyrics really inspire me to want thugs hanging out in my area to ball, it’s still a really sweet, peaceful song with acoustic guitars, no less.
I got a spot for us /
all, so we can ball, at thug’s mansion
Lastly, though, in the realm of rest-in-peace rappers writing strangely about death before they themselves die, is Notorious B.I.G‘s ready to die. A rougher song, kind of like a warrior’s battle cry before the war:
my life is played out like the jerry curl /
I’m ready to die
Back to the meeting: There are a few things I’d like to bring up that I didn’t read in the article, and it’s kind of the elephant in the room. Do you all think that the real issue here is that SF citizens want to have their pretty city, but don’t want to host the nightlife that pays for it? An underlying tone was, in my opinion, that tourists from the flyover states are OK (dine in NB, go back to the Sheraton at night!) but not those that drive over from Fremont and the San Jose and like to go to the dance clubs they don’t have all in one pedestrian area.
Another point was brought up by a friend: “Are you sure those cruisers aren’t just looking for parking?” Sigh.