MILWAUKEE’S GAT TURNER PENS AN OPEN LETTER TO RICK ROSS AND HIP-HOP’S SO-CALL BOSSES
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.
May this letter find you in the best of health and spirit.
I felt compelled to write this letter because it seems that everybody is screaming that they are a “Boss” in the rap game today, & some of the brothers (and sisters) have become quite clever & adept in their declaration of this title. Dons, Bosses, & Generals are just a few of the titles that these kinds of rappers claim, denoting their authority, leadership and ability to call shots and command allegiance by an untold amount of soldiers, both seen and unseen.
I am an admitted fan of gangsta movies like the Godfather Trilogy, Scarface, Goodfellas, Casino & even “hood” favorites like New Jack City, Paid In Full, and Belly. I study these films, not because I enjoy the sex, profanity, & violence, I am a fan of these films because I like to study the underlying principals in the movies.I like to analyze the principals behind of the rise and fall of the protagonists in these films.
In The Godfather I, it was fascinating to me identifying the intangibles that made Don Corleone powerful. It was not just his wealth that made his network viable, but it was also how he leveraged his money to work for not only himself, but also his “Family”. His power was also in his political contacts, his sacrifice and his charity. Interestingly, both Godfather I & II opened with a wedding scenes, that were also obscure invitations to those in the family, (or close to the Family) to petition the Don for a favor. These favors ranged from monetary loans to political accommodations. These scenes showed how when the Don bestowed his benevolence upon you, there was also an unspoken understanding that in the future, there was a possibility that you may be called upon to reciprocate his graciousness. The Don sacrificed for you, and because of this act of beneficence, you felt obligated to be at his disposal. Many people misinterpret this type of loyalty solely as fear.
With just minimal study of the Godfather Trilogy, I recognized all of the principals of Kwanzaa displayed throughout the stories. I could easily demonstrate how every boss/don commanded Unity (Umoja), had Self Determination (Kujichagulia), inspired Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima), pooled their resources for Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa), had a single driven Purpose (Nia), then demonstrated Creativity (Kuumba), & showed Faith (Imani) when pursuing that purpose. These principals are all active ingredients in the recipe of any Gangsters’ success story, and the violation of these principals is always the undoing of not only the protagonist, but also the entire Family.
Gat, why are you talking about this “gangsta shit”? I am talking about this because it is all that I hear on the radio stations, it is all that I see on the rap video shows, & this is all that I read about in the Hip Hop publications. It seems nowadays that as soon as we gets a cash advance, we are screaming that we’re a “Boss” & promoting this so called gangsta culture! Well it’s time for us to examine the people who are claiming to be “Bosses”, and see if they really are.
It is common knowledge that many rappers and record execs do live lavish lifestyles. As the late great Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Money, clothes and hoes is all a nigga knows…” It is also common knowledge that many of these so-called “Bosses” place hefty bets well into the 100’s of thousands of dollars on boxing bouts, Super Bowls, & NBA Championships. I’m sure that there will be some mind blowing wagers on this year’s Final Four, but before you place that bet let me have your attention for just a second. If it be the will of Allah, you may have a change of heart with what to do with your money, by the time that I’m finished this letter.
On February 26, 2012 a young man named Trayvon Martin was murdered in cold blood and his known killer remains at large. There have been a number of substantial demonstrations in the streets across America in protest of this injustice. Our people are outraged at how this travesty has been handled. The New Black Panther Party even scraped up $10,000 and offered it to anybody who had knowledge of the killer’s whereabouts so that they could make a citizens’ arrest.
Well, most of the “Bosses” trick that measly amount of money off at the strip club in one a night “making it rain” or “buying the bar out”. Many underground artists have made songs, written poetry, used their cameras, pencils and paintbrushes in tribute to our slain brother. As much as we rap about killing each other in the mainstream, it seems that at least one of you would have had the courage to make a “Kill George Zimmerman” song. The fact that no one has done this, shows me that we aren’t as ignorant as we pretend to be.
Gat Turner, are you advocating that someone kill George Zimmerman?! All of you scared to death Negroes calm down. No, I’m not advocating the murder of George Zimmerman… not yet at least. My point is simply that we are very vocal, bold and careless with our speech when it comes to “Beef” with each other, but we are very cautious, fearful and reserved when it comes to “Real Issues” that affect our community, our people, and our fan base. I would like to see some of these “Bosses” or “Dons” offer some form of support to Trayvon Martin’s family, whether financial or even just a comforting word would mean a lot to a mourning family in their bereavement, & it would make a tremendous impact and statement to your fans. I will acknowledge that some of these so-called “Bosses” have donned hoodies in solidarity with Trayvon’s family and their supporters, but hell even babies & puppies have done that.
Gat, why are you calling out these so called “Bosses” in general, and Rick Ross in particular? I am calling them out because it’s time. I can’t say this for sure but I wouldn’t doubt that Trayvon has purchased at least one record by a so called “Boss”. I singled Rick Ross out in particular because he is actually from Florida, the state where Trayvon’s murder took place. He is probably the most successful of all the rappers that come from there, & many would argue that he is the most talented. He is also most known for being a “Boss”, or at least proclaiming to be one.
Gat, do you expect Rick Ross to become an activist? No I don’t. I wouldn’t expect to see Don Corleone holding a picket sign yelling, “No Justice, No Peace” either. Do I expect him to give a damn? Yes I do, if he’s indeed what he proclaims to be. A true “Boss” is always concerned with that which is not in order around him, because it affects him, it affects his family, and affects his business. There is no way that Don Corleone would allow some Blackman to wander into his neighborhood/territory and kill some Italian child for nothing & that crime go unpunished. He would be involved. (I will leave the level of his involvement to your own imagination.) If one is truly a “Boss”, everything that happens in his jurisdiction has to go through him. Any criminal activity taking place in his territory, he has knowledge of, because it first had to go through him. Any politician seeking office, first sought his endorsement. Even religious leaders and activists have to seek his blessing, in order to demonstrate or officiate in an area that he has carved out as his own.
If you are not garnering this type of respect from your followers, fans, and communities please stop false flagging, because you are confusing the people. Hell, even the poet/emcee/spoken word community in my hometown (Milwaukee, WI) can call on a hundred men for a worthy cause. How much more should a “Boss” be able to do with millions of dollars in his war chest, and millions of fans at his disposal?
To be a “true” Don or Boss requires tremendous sacrifice.
Before I continue, I think that this title does deserve a little clarity. It is important to note that just because one has sold dope before he/she made a record, doesn’t make him/her a “Boss”. It makes you a former dope peddler. Just because one has excess money that they choose to squander on loose women, expensive alcohol, & drugs, this doesn’t make you a “Boss”either. It makes you a trick, an alcoholic, &/or an addict. If you have killed someone that looks like you and gotten away with it, that doesn’t make you a “Boss”. It makes you a murderer and an agent in your own genocide. Finally, nice clothes, cars, homes or material possessions don’t make you a “BOSS”. It just makes you a nigga with a lot of expensive toys…
I am not disillusioned. I know that we have come a long way from the likes of a Nina Simone, Paul Robeson, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, and a Tupac. There are indeed those of us who are out here striving to follow in there footsteps, but you may never hear us on your radio or see us on your television. The enemy has gotten much wiser in his efforts to keep the people focused on filth and indecency so that they remain ignorant. Perhaps it is not even fair for me to expect today’s “mainstream” artists to pick up the torch and carry on where the aforementioned artists left off. It is however fair for me to expect them to represent the Truth in their music, & to step up when the opportunity presents itself for them to be what they claim they are. In this case, many are claiming to be “Bosses”.
Though I admit to admiring some of you self-proclaimed “Bosses” for your lyrical creativity and swagger, there is one thing that history has made very clear and very evident…. YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME! This is the Smokin’ Gat! #
written by Gat Turner