The following is a glimpse into the lives of those who give in to the influence of American Rap culture. The characters of these stories are fictional. However, the stories ring true and can be related to many.
Michael is 29 years old and lives in the city of Detroit. Michael always said he’d make enough to move himself out of the hood one day. So far, he’s made a huge difference with his loft-sized apartment and his first car, a Hyundai Elantra. He goes to work every day as a paralegal for an all-black law firm. His boss is a walking reminder of his goals to one day make it to the top. His boss drives a Maybach and owns at least 3 Rolex watches. He brags to the firm’s male employees about the number of women who flag him down on the street daily.
Michael is secretly in competition with him as he knows that one day, he can be even more successful than he is. But it is taking forever; he’s been at the firm for five years and still hasn’t made significant progress. Michael likes to pass the time by writing rhymes and studying the career of his favorite rapper, Yeezy. He has so much potential to be like him but needs the right connections. He has a minimum of 5,000 plays on his SoundCloud tracklist. People comment on his tracks with so much love for his music, encouraging him to keep chasing his dreams. One night, Michael lay in bed and thought about how he could draw more attention to himself and convince people that he was the man so that he could gain the kind of exposure he needed to blow up in the industry. He thought about Kanye’s early music-making days and what he would do. The lyrics from his favorite song ‘”All Falls Down,” rang in his head as Yeezy expressed his need for material things to feel successful. Michael thought about his boss, how if he were more like him, he’d have no issues getting discovered and possibly becoming a star. He felt that if he possessed more luxury, he’d somehow attract it.
The following day, Michael calls his job to tell them he won’t be able to come in because of an emergency. He puts on one of his best suits and gets a haircut. He then sits on his laptop and searches for loan banks in the city in hopes of getting a loan approval for at least a quarter of his annual salary. Michael had a plan he thought was gold. He’d get approved for a loan and combine that with what he had in his savings account; he’d be able to finance a new car and purchase a new iced-out watch to impress the ladies and flex on his boss. He would draw just enough attention to get respect and admiration from those who doubted him.
Michael’s plan had worked, and he could upgrade his Hyundai to a Mercedes. He showed up to work the following day in a Tom Ford suit and Rolex watch. His coworkers gazed at him with disbelief as just two days ago, he was like them, and now he was even flier than their boss. Michael soaked up the compliments and stares. Women in the office even flirted with him and laughed at his lame jokes. He felt more confident than ever, and on his way home from work that night, several women flagged him down, impressed by his new car. He retrieved all their phone numbers and even shared his SoundCloud and Instagram accounts with them. Now, all he had to do was wait for time to pass, and his name would begin to ring bells to those he encountered.
Several months later, Michael’s boss called him into the office to speak with him regarding his recent performance. He had given Michael an urgent assignment the previous week, and Michael did not complete it. Michael was so busy editing the content on his social media that he completely forgot to do what his boss had asked. This would cause a setback for his boss and possibly cost him financially. He had no choice but to lay Michael off until further notice. Michael began to panic because how was he supposed to pay for his brand-new car and the rent for his apartment? Michael pleaded with his boss and even offered to stay and work overtime to make up for his mistake. His boss was furious and quickly dismissed his offer. Michael went home and prayed that he would not lose his job, for it was all he had that was holding his life together, and now he had even more significant commitments to uphold. The next day, Michael got a call from the firm, and he was fired. Michael was now worried about where to find work. He started his job searching immediately as he couldn’t afford to lose everything he had. With the money he had in his savings account being all gone, he had nothing to rely on. A month passed, and Michael wasn’t very successful in his search. His resume has been flagged since he got fired from such a respected company. He began working as a delivery driver to afford food and his monthly rent. However, he couldn’t juggle all this and his car note for his new Mercedes. Unfortunately, he would have to sacrifice something. He stayed awake all night, thinking what his favorite rapper would do in this situation. Michael wished he could profit from his music or social media content somehow, but it still had not become relevant enough. From the beginning, he wanted to follow his dreams and experience the luxurious life advertised all around him.
Another month passes, and Michael realizes he cannot make the payments on time. With his unemployed, the dealership does not trust him to pay the money they owe. His car gets repossessed, and his credit is ruined. He now has no vehicle to do food deliveries. Without this, he now cannot afford his rent, and he must depend on government assistance to eat. He moves back in with his mother until he can start from scratch. He sits at dinner with his mother and is ashamed of how he feels that fancy objects would make his life happier. He goes to sleep that night with tears as the words from the song that inspired him ironically are clearer than ever. “ When it falls down, who you gone call now? ” – Kanye West