These days, rappers are spending more time in prison, than they are on the stage.

By: Amanda Anderson 

A couple months after rapper Clifford T.I. Harris and wife Tameka “Tiny” Cottle were arrested after being pulled over and caught with drugs in their rented vehicle, T.I. finally learned his fate for violating his probation. And while it could have been even worse, 11 months away from your new wife and kids is long enough to put a dent in anyone’s heart. We may want to feel a little sympathy for T.I. since he comes off as a genuine person who just can’t get his ish together, but when he can’t manage to stay out of prison for longer than 2 years at a time, it’s gets harder and harder to understand nor sympathize with this dude. Does he just have a thing for the prison life, or is he really just another unlucky rapper that will continue to see the prison cell more than he will see his own wife and kids like fellow prison addicted rapper DMX?

When you look closely at T.I.’s image, it’s clear that there are many of us who support his criminal, southern gentleman, type image. We can’t be too surprised when he ends up in prison every other year when he continuously raps about violence, drug dealing, and taking out haters with choppers, and slow creeping old school style Chevy’s. This is the T.I. we’ve come to know, and this is the image he continues to push album after album. It sells, and millions eat it up like it’s some greasy ass combo meal from McDonalds. It’s not good for any of us, but it’s available, and out there to the masses. And homebody’s eating right? So what’s the harm?

Sadly, if he didn’t push that particular image, he’d probably be another Lupe Fiasco: a great talent, with incredible word play, but can’t manage to sell records because he opts out of speaking the hood rat language that sells million, but ruins our black neighborhoods.

T.I. may have came off like he was trying to change, but his last bust on the West Coast shows that not only is he foolish, but change is something that he and his wife refuse to embrace, or let alone, allow. Some grown folks ain’t grown, and have no desire to grow.

I’m not trying to rip the brother to shreds, but why won’t he just get his life together? The man has a wife and kids who depend on him. He and Tiny may have all the money in the world, but the frequent absence of a father does something to kids emotionally; and it will stay with them for a long time.

But one has to ask, what on earth are we cosigning? Why is it that every successful and mainstream rapper has to be an ex drug dealer, be in and out of prison, and have a boat load of kids (and wife) that he rarely takes care of besides dishing out a couple of millions?

And why the hell is a wrap sheet the rite of passage to manhood in black america?

I ask this because this is somehow the mentality and understanding of most rappers. Besides the fame and close by microphone, they are still black men with the power of influence, and they continue to lead the blind. We could attempt to shrug it all off, but somewhere out there, there’s a young aspiring rapper building up his street cred so he can rap about it, and make millions. Meanwhile, he has kids he can’t even care for, but T.I. felt the urge to save a man who was willing to jump off a building? Why not save all other little brothers who are willing to jump in front of bullets to be in your shoes T.I.P.? Why not save them?

I honestly hope T.I. changes after this time in prison, but part of me just doesn’t expect him to. We have to get to the point where we understand that the street life shouldn’t be glamorized, and rappers shouldn’t earn millions for being selfish bastards who choose crime over their wives and kids. I’m ready to get to that place, how about you?

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