Read In Your Language

Friday, July 10, 2009

GIDDY UP!




FLYGIRLS AND HUSTLAS, INTELLECTS AND DERELICTS, PLEASE WELCOME MR. TONY GRAND$ TO THE STAGE!!!

(APPLAUSE).............................

when i wrote the blog about my man B-Bill (A PO-LO LIFE), i decided to hit Dallas Penn up to check it out, being as tho he was thoro enuff to mention the passing of my legendary homeboy. i started leaving comments on his blog at XXlmag.com, and folks started comin to check the site out. one of 'em was my man Tony Grand$ who told me about a crew he used to run with on the West Coast that was sorta like the Lo-Lifes. so u know i cracked on him to pull my coat, cuz i like to b up on all that official street shit. not cuz i'm nosy, but because i value the history and it's effect on the people of the era and the area who make the moves that make the style that makes the culture. it's all symbiotic. and since i used to run with THE most official Lo-Life niggas ever, the fact that there was a counterpart out where the sun set made my eyes light up. so, without further ado, MR. TONY GRAND$.....



I've always dug New York dudes.

I think deep down, most Cali cats do. There's just something about the symbiotic polarization between the two that one would have no choice but to find the other intriguing. Those who are/have been a part of this Hip Hop culture (as opposed to just spectating) would agree that the semi-present day West Coast influence that eventually invaded NY is the grandson of the NY influence that affected the West in the 90's. It was that brief vacation that Gang-Banging took, around the Golden Era of our beloved culture. For real, back then, a lot of us L.A. niggas wanted to be East Coast cats. Just ask Xzibit.

In 1993, me & my crew were called "The Horsemen", because of the Ralph Lauren Polo logo, of course. All we did was sit at my dude's spot, blaze philly's & listen to NaS, Mobb Deep, Wu & anything else that was hot on the East or affiliated with those dudes. Ice Cube had already made it okay to fuck with the East Coast through "Amerikkka's Most Wanted", so that made it even cooler. Y'all youngsters do know nothing about pre-Eminem Hip Hop. Shit, you couldn't tell me anybody was nicer than Royal Flush & Mic Geranimo back then. We faced ridicule, mockery, shit, even a couple of fights. But we ain't care. These niggas wasn't up on the level of fly that we had ascertained. Camy cargo shorts, unlaced Timbs, any kick Nike dropped that everybody wasn't rocking, football jerseys, fitted hats, backpacks, baggy jeans, & more importantly, all the Polo we could afford (to steal). Those other cats had no idea. They could keep their creased Dickies, Levi's & Converse. Perhaps it was fate, but we even met some NY/Cali transplants who further schooled us on the art of New York City (RIP ReeRee).

We'd heard tales of a similar crew from NY, who we had heard about previously through all the East Coast culture we immersed ourselves in. They were called the Lo-Lifes. We admired what they were about; being fly no matter what. Even if it meant violence &/or jail time. How gangsta is that? They were before our time, but the same ethos still applied.

My high school was L.A.'s infamous Westchester High (alum includes Regina King & Trevor Ariza). Home of the pretty boys (shout out to 2CMob). It was mandatory that we stayed dipped. The rest of the crew went to Inglewood High (alum includes Paul Pierce). Same rules applied there, except they weren't as pretty as us Comets.

While cats out East were boosting, we were racking. We were already experts at petty theft, since we all tagged together since 9th grade anyway. From Pilots to Mean Streaks to Krylon cans, we stayed picking something up. It was this little mom & pop hardware store by the Fox Hills Mall, where dude was either stupid, scared or a touch of both, but they stayed getting got.

Wes/Disom was from the notorious K(ings)W(ith)S(tyle). So, by association, we were Dubs as well. Once taggers started to emulate the gang-bang lifestyle though, we knew we had outgrown riding grill on the RTD & etching office building windows. The Nothing But Trouble Gang was anybody killa's, & they hated anything associated with a K-Dub. I wasn't trying' to catch a slug over hitting' up a bus bench.

Me, Wes, C-Piece, Joshy, Ambush, & Carlos the Mexican would plan our attacks on a friday night, over 40's, stale weed & beedies for the following Saturday morn. Nordstroms at the South Bay Galleria was our spot. 4 exits & an escalator. Them motherfuckers wasn't catching' us! Back then, out in L.A. at least, the upper-scale stores didn't want to bog you down with sensor tags. They figured that young black kids knew better than to come into their stores. Ha! As if. Customer service-minded idiots.

We would stock up on the Polo pull overs, layer up on some khakis & jeans & whoever had the biggest jacket or the quickest legs that day would grab an arm-full of rugby's & break to the '89 Ford Bronco II waiting in the parking lot. Sometimes, we'd grab some Faconnable, Girbaud or Lucky Brand on the way out just because the displays were so neat. Until one day, a security guard got the license plate & informed the Torrance PD about our hustle. After a few hassles from the pig patrol, we know the jig was up. There, anyways. That's when we expanded to Macy's in the Del Amo, which was just as easy but not as exquisite as Nordstroms. Too much security, though. C-Piece got caught once, & his Moms had to go & get him from mall-jail. Dumb ass rent-a-cops never even checked the shirt he was wearing. The nigga STILL came home holding' something'.

We carried on for about 2 years, staying fresher than the duck sauce niggas who waited on their parents' paychecks & tax returns. We never got caught with too much, but we had our fair share of foot chases, which as any 'Lo Head knows, ain't easy in a pair of deck shoes on freshly waxed linoleum.

Once we graduated, cats got jobs & just started buying their clothes, except for Wes. This cat got hired at a Ross in Hollywood, & we'd go pick him up & eventually began to help ourselves while we waited. Needless to say, Ross' Polo is nowhere near Nordstroms', so it wasn't worth the risk, not as grown ass men.

I don't even talk to those dudes anymore like that. Long gone are those days. Occasionally I'll see one of them in traffic, but its nothing more than a 5 minute brag-fest about what our kids are up to. Never do we talk about how we lived the "real" hip hop life for that moment during it's Golden Era; stealing shit, taking drugs, drinking Old English 'til we threw up, defacing public & private property, the endless freestyle sessions. If we do talk about any one specific event, it's the time we snuck into the House of Blues in Hollywood to see Rae & Ghost perform. Sick. These niggas came out in darkness wearing miner's helmets, complete with working lights. A definite throwback to what it is nowadays. Hell, half the time I'm not even quite sure if the "Hip Hop" culture still even exists with these kids today. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

Sometimes I tell my son stories about growing up when it was okay to rebel against the system & shit. When everybody was scared to be the same, as opposed to looking clones & mini-them's on purpose.

Hopefully, I'm not filling his head with nonsense that he'll emulate. But, then again, I guess that wouldn't be so bad after all.

2 comments:

Ha! Much Cali love to all you cats! We gon' make it do what it do. For real though!!

Holla @ ya boy.

tonygrands.blogspot.com

I see my homies are linking up around here! I knew The Commission was a good ass idea!

Best wishes both of y'all. Gotta get "cult" on my e-mail drop list.

Peace,

$ykotic

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