In the mid 1980’s, hip hop gradually leaned towards the emergence as an industry in art, music and movies. Today in society, Hip-hop has become the voice of the generation. The streets, ghettos, parks and clubs of New York are where it all began. As the culture transformed itself into mainstream America, it has become a source of escape for most inner city youth. The hip hop industry has brought up so many controversies along with its grime and glory. As “gangsters” depict their lives in the streets in their songs and videos, the youth, especially those whose parents are incarcerated or drug addicts are influenced by these style of living. With no substantial supervision in their lives, they are more vulnerable and exposed to hard and violent life with no idea of how their lives could mostly likely end whether it’s in jail or killed. The short story depicts a boy growing up in a less deprived neighborhood with little parental guidance. He wants to emulate the lifestyle which hip hop rappers incorporate in their lyrics, only to realize that once he becomes part of that lifestyle, he needs miracle to turn back. As his life crumbles to little pieces of rocks, he has to pick up the pieces quickly before it’s too late.

As I woke up in yet another cold sweat, I looked around my small room and took a deep breath. I thought “another day, another dollar”, got up and began getting dressed. I threw on my Max B mix tape – turned the volume all the way up as I got dressed. In his songs, Max B spoke about what every man wanted to hear – money, women, cars and the luxuries of life. I decided to wear a yellow and blue “rich young” shirt (brand name clothing by the rapper “Fabolous”), true religion jeans with tan stitching, blue Prada sneakers and a fresh fitted.

“Turn the music down!” My mom yelled. “Maaa!!! It’s not even that loud,” I yelled back. “Odalis, what did I say? Hurry up and get out so you can go to school. You’re not staying home one more day.” Damn right I wasn’t staying home one more day. Going to school was the least of the worries on my mind. All I cared about was making some money; I was saving up for a nice BMW convertible – with black interior. Even though I was only 17, I couldn’t wait to drive my car through the streets and have the attention of every girl on the block. Selling drugs just became a way of life for me; it’s the way I get everything I want. The last time my mother bought me something, I was still in diapers. It was my duty to stay independent; it was just in my blood.

As I listened to my iPod, I walked to the train station and observed what was around me; I saw liquor stores on every corner, drug addicts and teen mothers with baby carriages. I wanted better for myself like the rappers I listened to. They had everything I wanted and more. However they had to start somewhere and it was nowhere near a school building. That morning, instead of taking the train to 7th avenue in Brooklyn for school, I took the train to Jamaica Queens. There I would meet a friend, Derek – we planned to join a gang group where we would be exposed to a world of drugs and violence. Whatever we were getting ourselves into, it seemed to me like there was no turning back. However, looking forward was a positive at that point in time because it was a quicker way to making ends meet. Soon enough, Derek and I were already selling drugs every day and night. It might be a quick way to get money, but it was a hard job. You don’t know if you’ll survive today or tomorrow. Every time, I hear the sirens of police cars, I get this bad feeling something bad is bound to happen any moment from now. Nevertheless, we were enjoying ourselves from the money we earned. I was able to buy a car, not exactly the one I wanted, but it was good enough for me to drive around.

As I mentioned, Derek and I planned to join a gang group. It was a bad attempt for us. Everything involved in gang banging is very intense and once you’re in, there’s no getting out of it. Certain people get shot everyday or end up in jail. So I realized we should just sell drugs and see where it leads us. This way of living forced us to get guns for safety and defense from rogues. Derek and I were independent as far as I could remember. My mother was never home and my father, I never knew who he was or met him. One night I woke up with a terrible dream – Derek was shot after selling some drugs. I thought, “Behind every song by these rappers, there’s a story to tell"; but now I was in a delusional state of mind, now it’s very real. Quickly I had to reach Derek because he’s the only person I’ve got, only to find out he was dead. He was shot by a gang and left in bloodshed. I was very devastated with no one to turn to. My life was starting to crumble; this is not the luxury life I expected. Something had to be done before I ended up like Derek.

I rushed home quickly to my mother in need of advice. But before this, I couldn’t stop thinking about the gang I joined and, once you joined, it’s hard to get out of it. I needed all the help that I could get before it’s too late. Once I got home, I fell down on my knees to my mother hysterically crying about what had happened. Even though my mother was the best parent that a child could have, she was able to console me. My father was once a drug dealer until he was shot in bloodshed and my mother has tried to get over it. Since then alcohol became her best friend. However, she always feared that I would end up like my father. She also knew the consequences as she reprimanded my father during his drug dealing days. Now the only way for my safety is if we moved to another town and my mother thought of this idea when my father died but never acted upon it. Eventually, we moved to my grandmother’s neighborhood outside of the city. Upon our departure, I envisioned my life now and what it will become off in the future. I had big dreams for myself and I was ready to start over by going back to high school and obtain my diploma. The best part of my life had just begun.