The news is that Freeway Ricky Ross is out of jail. The news behind the news is that he intends to go big and go legit. The expectation is that he will succeed. All it takes is for the current tangent of decriminalization of marijuana to continue.
I knew only that Freeway Records, on Western and King, was run by drug dealers during the 80s. There wasn't much going on South Central that wasn't cousin to that business in that crazy period. I remember the time well. It was the last gasp of my generation's battle for the hearts and minds of South Central and all of our hoodrat inheritance. It was back when Spike Lee movies mattered, when hiphop had something new to say. It was the moment of decision. Culturally, the choices seemed narrower, and for the younger me and my peers, they probably were. How could we visualize ourselves in a new class of America given where we came from? Everything was promised, nothing was guaranteed except the backdrop of black love and self-destruction. We were the New Jacks and this was our city.
The hustlers survived.
I wonder how far that old drug hustle dream has gone. Is South LA still home to it? Could the legend come back from prison and find open arms waiting to reboot the network? Can YouTube and a new domain name serve as vehicles for that same old refrain: "Where's that bad bo?" Is that the medicine the millions still crave?
I'm tempted to crack wise or speculate about the potential cultural nexus that the likes of Freeway Ricky Ross is apt to exploit. But I don't know where the heart of the old hood has gone, or why so many gave in to him in the first place so I leave it as a question. I know a hustle when I see it. The bigger question is whether or not the monkeys in Sacramento will continue their farce in licensing this retarded business. Considering what they've done with the lottery and gambling, the answer will be yes, of course.
Not with a bang, but in a purple hazed whimper.