As Trick Daddy said on “America” (one of his best songs):
When it’s time to be a man/ Do all you can/ See other lands/ And
don’t be livin’ for the other man/ Take time out and settle in/ Be the
better man/ …But on the other hand/ You so goddamned stubbor-ran!
Here’s 11 ways to get out of wherever you’re at and do just that…in order of their effectiveness and practicality.
1. Do Music. Hah! You musta been watching too much BET. For every 2,000 artists with some decent talent, only about 5 will turn their talent into their career. Out of those 5, 3 will be what they call “starving artists,” meaning they’ll do music for a living, but they’ll stay pretty broke. Out of the two that are left, one will do real well, and the other will think they’re doing well, though they’re really getting scammed and shorted until they’re bankrupt.
2. Sell Dope. Right. You might move your mama out the hood (though most don’t), but when the Feds indict, it ain’t bout what you got, but what you can keep. Most drug dealers never make it too far out of their neighborhoods anyway. Either they stay at the bottom levels of the game, or they become so caught up in their hustle they can never take a vacation from the streets. Either way, you’re stuck in hell til you’re stuck in the cell.
3. Play Ball. The odds of making it to the pro leagues from a high school position are 7,600 to 1. Playing ball is yet another pipe dream that we’re sold, and it’s not realistic to plan on playing ball and nothing else. Even the athletes who do make it often don’t have back-up plans in case of injury, or a game plan to invest their earnings. That’s why you can find former players pawning their championship rings on eBay.
4. Win the Lottery. If you just read the last three, and you think the odds are better for you to win the million-dollar jackpot, I can’t help you. You’re pretty f*cked up. Sell this book to someone who can use it. You can use the cash to buy 10 magic scratch-off tickets out the hood.
5. Get Discovered. There are other talents besides rappin, singin, and playin ball. You might be the best undiscovered artist in your city. Or you may be a champion bowler. Who knows? If you keep developing your talent, and putting yourself in the right people’s faces, it will eventually pay off. Keep in mind that some of the most famous painters, poets, computer programmers, and skateboarders actually came from the hood. (see “If Einstein was Black”)
6. Marry Up. Of course, I don’t literally mean that you should marry a rich girl and “move on up” like the Jeffersons. But hey. What I really mean, though, is that you can change your surroundings just by changing your social group. Keep the right company and eventually you’ll be right where you want to be. Just keep in mind to keep your own mind.
7. Join the Military. Ice Cube’s song, “I Wanna Kill Sam” begins: The army is the only way out for a young Black teenager. We’ll provide you with housing. We’ll provide you with education. We’ll provide you with everything you need to survive in life. We’ll help you to be the best soldier in the U.S. of A. Because we do more before 7 AM than most niggers do in their whole lifetime.
Of course, I don’t support the U.S. in their plot to take over the world through military force, but I’m somebody who says you should use whatever resources you can, as long as you use them wisely. If you are hard pressed for what you’re going to do with your life, and you need an “out,” the military is one way. You’ll gain discipline, learn how to do all kinds of things the average person can’t, and see the world…BUT you better join the right branch.
If you want to be a tough guy and join the Army or the Marines, just kill yourself now. Because you’re going to get put on the front lines, fighting people who don’t have a problem with you, risking your life for a country who won’t give a f*ck if you live or die. Even if you make it out of that hell, you’re gonna be all screwed up mentally once you come home. Did you know that 1 out of 3 homeless men in this country is a military veteran? Right. So instead of trying to test your nuts on the battlefield, join the Navy, the Air Force, or maybe even the Coast Guard. More education, less amputation. Just don’t forget what W.E.B. Du Bois said long ago about Blacks joining the military:
We are cowards and jackasses if…we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land.
8. Start Your Own Business. Okay, this sounds more like reality. Being an entrepreneur is hard work, however. It requires planning, ambition, and discipline. You’ve also got to find a market that works for you. If you do it right, however, it will pay off. Continue to expand your business – whether it’s lawncare or selling socks – and soon enough you’ll be able to hire people and sit back.
9. Go to College. You know I’m a fan of this one. (see “10 Reasons to Go to College…and 6 Not To”) College won’t work for everybody, but if you know how to make it work for you, it will.
10. Get a Job. I don’t mean a French fry hustle with a side order of floor-sweeping. Then again, some people have enough hustle to move up from the very bottom to the very top. My brother Born King Allah went from delivering bread in a truck to managing other drivers to damn near running the company. When he was promoted to the director position, they paid for him to relocate and covered every expense. So it can happen. Just look at Kevin Liles, who went from intern to Def Jam CEO. Short of that, you could get a job as a truck driver or for an airline and start seeing the world. Eventually, you might find a place you want to be, and something you want to do there. Short of that, you buy a Greyhound ticket and go places until your ass gets tired.
11. Read a Book. Short of doing everything else, you can always escape into a book. I know it sounds corny, but you can find a lot in a book. Not only can you take your mind to different places, times, and people’s lives, you can learn the way other people have accomplished the same things you are trying to do. Anyway, if you got a problem with reading, what the hell are you doing now?