When the f##% we start bouncin?
Man I seen em comin. I didn’t know how to prepare for em. Didn’t know how to fight em. I ain’t know yo, word. Came claimin blocks. 114th st between 7th & 8th looked like Hamsterdam. For years. DT’s use to just park on the block. We had nicknames for em. I’m sure this isn’t unique to Harlem but just giving you some context.
90% of the youth on that block hustled or they stole cars or they boosted or something that could land them in Spofford or worse — Rikers island.
Ima keep it Andre 3000 wit you, I ain’t never been in either of them spots or anything else like em. I just knew people that racked up frequent flyer miles at them airlines, feel me? And they were different. Their entire outlook on life was different. Shortsighted I would say. And because the most volatile is often the most respected in the hood — that mindset was something many of us adopted. Shortsightedness. No knowledge of legacy or anything of that nature.
Nevermind crack and the effects it had on these here youth whose parents got sucked into that vortex but let’s no negate it either. If one man, just one, can make $15,000 in a single day by selling something that cost $3 a pop… How many people is that? Sure you’ll have some that’ll go and come back a few times a day but ask anyone that lived in Harlem during the 80s and they will tell you: I can stand on one corner of the block and not be able to see the next corner because it was so many people out in line waiting to purchase crack.
So called sneaker heads — this shouldn’t be hard to imagine.
But yo. Gentrification. That thing came upon us. I’m writing you from a garage in North Lauderdale, Florida right now. Them people will move you with a smile.
“Oh living this surburban life isn’t practical. I’m in a car for 30–45 min each way, to go sit at a desk for 8 hours then back home and I sit there for 3–4 hours with a TV dinner…. I sit and eat — I have a pool, but I also have heart disease. Ok back to the city.”
And we occupied that useful land they wanted and now have. So many harlemites I know living elsewhere now. BUT and this may be hard to take, BUT we did it to white folks in the early 1900s first. We moved them outta Harlem. The Great Migration was real. They fought but fighting a person that’s fighting their way outta slavery… Good luck. Allah hears the prayers of the oppressed a lot clearer than the oppressor.
But then why we gettin pushed around now?
Simple answer to that. If you don’t cultivate the land, someone else will.