Trap music is special. All walks of life worldwide gravitate towards it because of its authenticity. It’s unapologetic style paints a vivid picture of the harsh realities that come with growing up in the trap.These men and women who get behind the mic and tell their stories are built differently. They’ve experienced things no human being should have to. At very young ages! They have an aspiring level of confidence and resilience that was necessary to triumph over their terrible conditions. They beat the odds. And they’re heroes for that reason.
Not everybody makes it out of the trap. As a matter of fact, most don’t. I read a book called “Born a Crime”, by Trevor Noah. A famous comedian from South Africa that made it out of the trap (Johannesburg township. Proper name, soweto). He describes how city officials designed the roads in a manner that if there were any signs of a revolution by black people who were sick of being oppressed, the ghetto could be blocked off. One way in and one way out.
America didn’t take it that far but I spent most of my summers in the projects of Atlanta where I was surrounded by black people and black people only. Housing units as large as four stories for big families like the ones my cousins lived in. Big, tall, steel fences surrounded the complex. When you entered the projects there was a gate that was manned by workers who lived there. And at that moment, it felt like you were a millions miles away from the city center of Atlanta. I couldn’t complain though, we had fun. We played sports just like any other kids would in the summer. I believe that’s where I developed my toughness for the game. I was a shy kid so my way of fitting in was to play harder than anyone out there. We made the most of our time and some of my greatest memories as a child are in Thomasville Heights Projects.
But I’m no longer that naive kid. I now understand that Atlanta is a tale of two cities with distinct differences. One set up for prosperity, and the other, well, to survive. My mom grew up in those inner city projects. Carver Homes to be exact where crime ran rampant. No dad around. Mom was out partying. She had to feed herself and take care of her younger siblings. There weren’t any tools for her to be successful. The only businesses around were the usual’s in any hood. Prostitution, drug dealers, fast food restaurants, and liquor stores. Oh and not to mention, black women were being kidnapped at an alarming rate during her teens. She spent her adolescence in fight or flight mode constantly trying to make sense of a world that didn’t value her existence. She couldn’t dream. She was worried about eating. Hell, she wasn’t allowed to dream and that type of resilience is why I say people from the trap who make it out are just built differently. They know how to struggle and they do it well!
And she got out of that cycle. That system, as Killer Mike puts it, “THAT SOCIETY WAS DESIGNED TO KEEP ME ON THE BOTTOM.” And because she got out, I was allowed to dream. My life could be about goals and aspirations and fulfilling my purpose. All because she made a choice to say no to her environment. When her circumstances could have easily defined her, she said no. I’m thankful and I’ll never take that for granted. Dream, somebody allowed it.