People have gotten some real mileage
out of 'translating' hip-hop lyrics into 'proper' English. It can be funny, but it's an easy one-note gag, and one that can come off prescriptivist at best and racist at worst. Instead of doing some kind of 'Kind sir, might I request that you stop dangling, like a participle, from my testicles?' bullshit, I'm going to try to rewrite a hip-hop song as something more like hardboiled crime fiction. All credit and respect due to M.O.P.
and dbrush at New York's Suffolk County Public Library
. I must confess, it warms my heart to know that these lyrics were transcribed by a library worker.
I'll be honest--I carry a gun. And when it comes to murdering people, well, I guess you could say I've got a gift. I live in one of the worst neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Maybe that's why I sometimes have the kinds of problems that can best be solved by shooting somebody.
Most of the time, I hang out with some guys from the neighborhood. One of my best friends is a dude we call Llama. I guess that's kind of a funny nickname, but, then again, people call me Lil Fame. It maybe goes without saying that we all carry guns. You need a gun if you want to shoot somebody.
The other day, I was out looking for this guy I know. As it turns out, he was also looking for me.
Well, I saw him, and I shot first. Having done this kind of thing before, after I shot him once, I kept shooting. When you fire a gun, there's excess gunpowder, and it burns up inside the gun--hence, gunsmoke. This was a .45, which is a big pistol, and, as I was shooting the guy, flames were literally coming out the end of the barrel.
After I shot him, I was thinking about getting out of there. The gun was hot, really hot, but I tucked it in my waistband and ran. Maybe it was the running, or maybe it was the adrenalin, or maybe it was the man I'd just killed. Whatever it was, my heart was beating so fast I felt like I'd smoked cocaine.
I found a quiet corner, caught my breath and thought about what to do next. After I reloaded the gun, I went back to my apartment. I had a few beers, smoked some pot and, as the alcohol and the weed started to hit me, I thought about what just happened.
The man I shot, if he had the chance, would have murdered me. Death can come at any moment--it's a cold, cruel world, but it's the world we live in. Still, if someone tries to kill me, I will kill them instead. Like I said, I've got a gift.
My name is William Danzinie, but people call me Billy Danze. I was recently charged with murder. Fortunately, I was acquitted. The first thing you need to know is that I live in a bad neighborhood. About a year ago, for example, a man named Gonzalez was shot, just a couple blocks away.
After Gonzalez' murder, one of my friends told me that a woman told the police that, on the day of the murder, she'd seen me sitting in my car at the murder scene. Worse yet, she claimed to have seen me shoot Gonzalez.
That's ridiculous. For one thing, I didn't even know the guy. And when he was shot, I was home at my apartment. Therefore, I'm innocent. My man was skeptical. After all, he said, there was a lot of gunfire, and I know you like to shoot guns. While it's true, I admitted, that I am a firearm enthusiast, the word on the street is that Gonzalez was shot with a 9-millimeter. I prefer the venerable M-1911 pistol, which is, of course, a .45.
Even so, I was getting worried. Thinking that I could be arrested at any moment, I asked my man to help me get a lawyer.
I was right about the lawyer.
Although the prosecutors offered me a plea-bargain, it was still twelve years. I decided to take my chances with a trial.
After the district attorney introduced the first witness, I jumped across the table and lunged toward her. Before the bailiffs restrained me, I made a point of looking every member of the jury in the face.
Well, I can be an intimidating guy, and maybe the witness had seen me around our neighborhood. Her testimony didn't help the DA as much as he'd hoped. The jury didn't convict. A few days later, I was walking casually through my neighborhood. In my pocket? The pistol I used to shoot Gonzalez.