Sunday, October 02, 2005

From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens by 50 Cent

I’m a big 50 Cent fan. I know, I know, very irresponsible of me. I’m supposed to be this hardcore militant feminist, but I listen to rap music. Shame on me. I’m also old enough to know that just because I like listening to someone sing about doing drugs or shooting people doesn’t mean I have to go out and do those things. For the record, I listened to some fairly unsavory stuff when I was a teenager too, and I didn’t turn into a promiscuous, drug user. So I’m thinking if kids are so weak minded that they do everything they hear about they had problems long before they listened to “bad” music.

Anyway, point being I like 50 Cent’s music quite a bit. Don’t know much else about him, so I was eager to read this autobiography. For the most part, this is an interesting book.

I realize that he probably had someone else write it, he tells his story, someone else crafts it into readable form maybe. I also know that famous people don’t always tell the truth. (Big secret here – non-famous people also tell lies.)

Basically this book is about 50’s drug dealing. He’s pretty detailed about the dealing. Preparing the product, marketing the product, the various means of working a corner. At first it was intriguing, after a while it became a bit repetitive. Not being all that versed in the drug world, some of it was a bit over my head. Also, being that some of the information is so detailed and delivered in such a matter of fact, non apologetic way, I began to feel a little dirty reading this – and not the good kind of dirty, it was as if by reading about this I was somehow agreeing that it was okay that he was selling drugs. It’s not, 50, drug dealing is bad.

50 seems like a smart, clever guy. Like I said, I don’t know if some of those statements are from him or he had a good writer, who is credited (I believe his name is Kris Ex, or Kris X). But, just so you know, it isn’t like 50 is claiming he wrote this all by himself.

A few things bothered me though, such as the suggestion that he had no option other than to deal drugs because he couldn’t ask his grandmother for money. It isn’t like he needed this money to survive. I got the impression that his grandparents provided him with a decent home and put food on the table. He wasn’t lacking in essentials. He dealt drugs so that he could own 9 pairs of $100 sneakers and wear super expensive clothes and jewelry and have a dirt bike and some kind of fancy motorcycle. As a teenager he was driving SUVs that he paid for in cash, but had to park around the corner so his grandmother wouldn’t find out. I guess dealing is the easy way to get this stuff, but it isn’t necessary stuff, it is, in fact, quite excessive stuff. Stuff that a lot of us are never going to own, at least not through legal means, unless we want to drown in debt, and there are plenty of people okay with doing that. Seems to be a values issue more than a poverty issue.

Also, he refers to a girlfriend of his as a ho because she sleeps with someone else. But a paragraph before that, he admits that he was seeing other people on the side. So technically, wouldn’t that make him a ho also? Okay for him to mess around, but not his girl? Then there is the bit where he’s so annoyed about being sent to a drug rehab facility and keeps saying, “I don’t use drugs, I sell them.” Um, dude, maybe you should keep that info to yourself because wouldn’t the punishment for dealing be worse than using? Should be, if it isn’t. And while he’s ticked off about getting caught, he does seem to acknowledge that what goes around comes around. He knows he broke the law and I think he knows that he got away with quite a bit and got off fairly easy.

And the other thing that upset me -- again, this would have to do with his relationships with women. He’s always buying his girlfriends stuff – expensive stuff and letting them drive his expensive cars. As a woman, I’m going to say right now, if you have to buy a woman something to keep her happy, then she’s really no better than a prostitute. Women like that give the rest of us a bad name. He mentions one woman who he seems to have some respect for, probably because she eventually becomes the mother of his first son. When he meets her she’s working, going to school, acting like she intends to support herself and you get the impression that he’s attracted to her independence. But then he mentions that things are good between them when he’s got money and not so much when the money is running low. He seems to accept this and feels like things would have worked out if only he’d had the money to keep things going. I am no expert on relationships, but if she lost interest because the money was running out, then you’re better off without her. You shouldn’t have to pay to keep a relationship healthy – that’s not healthy. But what do I know about this stuff? I don’t let people buy me stuff, and I’m also what you might call chronically single. Maybe guys like paying for women… maybe this is why I don't like guys.

Overall, it was interesting read.