American Gangster


“I think I’m George Bush, Ronald Reagan
Corrupt the world, get elected
One Nation, Under God
Real Nigga’s know it’s rigged from the fuckin’ start”



What would Bill O’Reilly or any other pundit have to say if those were the lyrics to Rick Ross’ 2011 smash “Blowin Money Fast”? Could any politician legitimately object? I could see Joe Biden awkwardly shmoney dancing to it in the privacy of his home. Chances are no major label would allow that song to be released though, and that’s a shame.

Gangsta rappers have long romanticized the criminality of the Italian Mafia and the Mexican/South American Drug Trade, but to this point none have ever characterized themselves as the biggest gangsters: the US Government. Artists like Chuck D of Public Enemy and Immortal Technique have made a career of calling out the hypocrisy and systemic oppression of the United States, but no artist has turned the discussion on its head and taken pride in America’s gangster like they do the crew up the street. We have Nas Escobar, Freeway, and Yo Gotti but where is Cheney Da Don?

Perhaps narratives of invading countries and dictating worldwide oil pipelines won’t crank out of a trunk or resonate with 15 year olds, but they’d probably be based in more truth than your top 5’s catalog.

Aside from insulting Barack Obama and demonizing Islam, bashing Hip-Hop is one of the mainstream media’s favorite pastimes. It’s not because they care about a warped image of blackness being perpetuated by hyper-masculine caricatures, it’s just the easiest means of pushing their subliminal racism with little objection. Nancy Grace recently held a condescending debate with 2Chainz about marijuana. Bill O’Reilly is a candidate to be in Beef 6, having taken on Common, Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Young Jeezy, Jay-Z and more because of their lyrics.

O’Reilly hates when “vile rappers“ such as Jay-Z create records like “Niggas in Paris” because he believes they’re destructive to unsupervised children (as if it’s the artist’s fault anyone is unsupervised) and the black community as a whole. What would he say to a full frontal glorification of the United States tactics that are destructive to the world as a whole?

I’m sure as you’re reading this the US military JUST CAUGHT A BODY BOUT A SEC AGO! And what for? It’s in part furtherance of a plan Oliver Stone plainly laid out in his movie W about the Bush administration, to get a bigger handle on world oil supply and maintain the United States’ inordinate amount of energy consumption.

Along with oil, drones were dropped in Afghanistan, killing whole mahfucking families, destroying hospitals and schools just for control of the Afghan poppy fields that now account for nearly 90% of the world’s heroin supply. The government told the public that terrorists tried us, tried us, but now they’re turning a $4 billion dollar annual profit by churning out 5,500 tons of Opium. Is that not colder than any play Marlo made on The Wire? POPPY FIELDS, WE GOT POPPY FIELDS!

Our mainstream media demonizes rappers like Jay-Z and Young Jeezy for speaking on their domestic drug dealing but turn a blind eye to what amounts to a drug war in Afghanistan. Jay-Z once theorized “whoever said illegal was the easy way out couldn’t understand the mechanics and workings of the underworld.” The US knows about the inner workings firsthand. Bill O’Reilly and ilk ignore the kneedeep drug politicking of the DEA/CIA/FBI, characterized by Iran-Contra and allowing the Sinoloa Cartel to push drugs into the US for information on rival Cartels. This is essentially entrapment considering the amount of young black males being arrested for drug possession and conspiracy charges.

Writer Ivie Ani says “like any other artists, rappers should be allowed to both reflect and distort reality.” Gangsta rap artists are seen by some as the scourge of the black community for their narratives. While some of it is textbook glorification, many speak of being in the throes of a system sociopathic elite created specifically for our destruction. The fact that this countries’ elite is committing the same misdeeds on a much larger scale gets lost in the shuffle.

Rick Ross specifically confounds some Hip-Hop fans, occupying a music persona somewhere between method acting and dissociative identity disorder. After he was exposed as a correctional officer the resulting controversy engineered a debate about authenticity and identity in Hip-Hop. Perhaps an artist who plays on the links between corruption and policy by government officials could engender a similar public forum about the hypocrisy of our country and the ignorance of our mainstream media.

The roots of criminality go back to the inception of our country, but the misdeeds are cleaned up in textbooks and cinematic portrayals that amount to white fan fiction. In a country where most holidays have blood behind their creation, the tradition of vilifying victims and painting America’s victories in patriotic hues of falsehood reigns. As the movie American Sniper attests to, running into a territory, killing whoever’s there, taking corners and profiting from product isn’t exclusive to people of color in the United States. In Chris Kyle’s memoir, he notes that his unofficial rules of engagement in combat were “if you see anyone from about sixteen to sixty-five and they’re male, shoot ’em. Kill every male you see.””

Should the movie be called American Sniper or American Gangster 2? If only it could have an accompanying soundtrack by a Hip-Hop artist, to see if O’Reilly or any other member of the mainstream press would condemn those talking points. Why rhyme about taking a block when the US takes whole countries?

Andre G is a freelance writer, poet, music producer and co-founder of, a platform for young artists of color. @melaninaire