This story is a work of fiction, a
product of the author's imagination, any similarities to actual characters or
events is purely coincidental.
LIVIN MY LYRICS:
BY: MYRA PANACHE
Three brothers, Python (he
loved snakes), Kartel (he loved drug-related movies) and Danny-boy answered
to their street names while growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn in the
Bed/Stuy borough, they were nine months apart and they lived in the Medgar Evers
projects with their mother Lucinda. They were pretty boys in the neighborhood,
their mother and their estranged father were Creole. They all had wavy hair, green
eyes and beautiful teeth and they identified with their blackness. Lucinda did
not want any illegitimate grandchildren therefore the boys were insistent about
using protection with their girlfriends, Python preferred black girls, Kartel
liked Latino girls. Python and Kartel were active in gang activity, in their
downtime they worked out at the Medgar Evers boxing gym to keep in shape and
to keep the haters at bay, the brothers got a lot of resentment and jealousy
due to their good looks, they also got all of the girls.
Although Danny-boy was the
oldest, his brothers were very protective over him, he and his girlfriend Janet
were often teased and threatened with violence by the neighborhood bullies because
they were considered square, these same bullies would try to holla at Janet
when Danny-Boy wasn’t around, she was pretty and resembled the actress
Gabrielle Union. After Python and Kartel beat the bullies into submission, Danny-boy
and Janet were never confronted again. Danny-boy was academically inclined but
street smart, he was a computer geek and wanted to be an entertainment lawyer,
his spare time was spent on the computer, with his girlfriend or reading books.
He was wise and mature with a high IQ.
Kartel and Python shared three
interests, the film Scarface, Jennifer Lopez and the rap industry, Python wanted
to be a rapper, Kartel wanted to be a music producer and they worshipped Tupac
and their hometown heroes, Jay-Z and Biggie. They caught a glimpse of Biggie’s
funeral motorcade on St. James Street.
To earn extra after-school
income, Kartel and Python decided to promote parties, Kartel was the mixer,
Python was the rapper and lyricist. The parties were off the hook, Python could
spit lyrics, his brothers were impressed and so was the crowd, the parties rocked
with tight lyrics and bomb beats until a fight broke out and gunfire erupted,
the cops shut the party down, people were arrested and assaulted. Python and
Kartel stopped giving parties.
Kartel and Python decided
to sling crack, they used the money they made from the parties to purchase a
bulk of crack, they sold it at their high school and in the projects, Danny-boy
was embarrassed and disappointed in his brothers. He got into a screaming match
with them, told them that they would either end up dead or in jail, do something
positive with your lives, pick-up a book, they laughed at Danny-boy. The following
week, Kartel and Python dropped out of school to fully concentrate on their
crack business. Danny-boy graduated from high school and received financial
aid to attend NYU.
Kartel and Python were rolling
in Benjamin’s, they both purchased Beamers, they were street flossing
all over the neighborhood blasting Funkmaster Flex at full-throttle. They rented
party boats stocked with Cris, Dom, drugs and women. For Python’s birthday,
they rented out a nightclub, hired strippers and invited the neighborhood ballers,
the party was off the hook, Python rocked the party after he took the mike.
Life was good until the cops started cracking down on local drug dealers.
Danny-Boy called a meeting,
they agreed to meet at a local pizza parlor. Danny-Boy got to the point, it’s
only a matter of time before you two get busted, I have a solution, you two
always wanted to be in the rap game, now is your chance, take advantage of it,
Python, you can rap, the crowd went wild at your birthday party when you rocked
the mike, both of you should take the money you have accumulated and launch
a hip-hop label, Kartel will be the CEO and handle the day-to-day operations,
I can supply self-help business manuals, Python will be the artist and lyricist
and I will take care of the finances between classes, many rappers have started
their labels with drug money, it will keep you out of jail, get out of the drug
Danny-boy also stressed, keep
your shit above board, operate legally like Diddy and Russell, avoid trouble,
many of these rappers go from platinum to jail, their earned income is eaten
up in lawyer fees, I saw a hip-hop documentary where a label paid a law firm
15 million dollars in fees to represent several of their artists for gun possession,
drugs and assault, lawyer fees will drain your income and you will end up broke.
Rappers have it hard, record companies make their money on the artist, the artist
makes their money on tour, most promoters will not book hip-hop concerts for
fear of violence therefore rappers have to find other ways to make income, many
turn to illegal activity just to stay afloat. We will not fall into this trap,
once enough money is made, we will diversify into clothing and films, all three
of us will own a equal share of the company, we will be self-contained, all
of us will participate in the songwriting and producing. Danny-Boy looked at
his watch, said his goodbyes, asked them to think about his proposal and left
for class, the brothers stayed behind, they had a long discussion and came to
the conclusion, Danny-Boy was right. They decided to launch an independent label,
“Black Underworld” records.
Python and Kartel were excited
about getting into the rap game, they wanted success like Jay-Z and Biggie.
They leased office space and hired a local hip hop producer who showed them
how to create a beat and lay down tracks. Python made a demo, Kartel mailed
it to all of the rap labels with no success. The connections were not in place,
they went to a few industry events and started networking, at one of these events,
Kartel met a major drug dealer named Dyson “Dy” Larson, he gave
Dy one of the demo tapes.
Dy called Kartel the next
day and requested a meeting at a local soul food café. Python and Kartel
met with him, Danny-Boy was in class. After lunch, Dy got directly to the point,
he looked at Python and said, nigga, you got skills, I am always willing to
help a talented brotha or sista, my way of giving back to the community, I am
going to put you on and set up a meeting with Big Wally (a major rap mogul)
I’m also going to overnight your demo, he may have you audition so be
prepared, Kartel and Python could barely contain their excitement, Kartel asked,
what can we do for you in return? Dy brushed them off, don’t worry about
it, like I said, I like helping my brothas and sistas, I will call you in a
few days and let you know the day and time of the meeting.
Kartel and Python went home,
they were ecstatic as they shared the news with their mother and Danny-Boy.
Danny-boy didn’t appear happy, when the brothers asked him why? He motioned
for them to come into his bedroom. This sounds too good to be true and Dy’s
reputation proceeds him, he is a major drug dealer, he is also known as being
very brutal, are you two comfortable accepting a favor from him? Kartel interrupted,
man, I have been sending demos out for weeks, my only responses have been, not
interested or no response at all, Dy has us half way in the door, I say we take
advantage of this opportunity, Danny-boy shook his head, I don’t know,
he will try to collect on this favor, regardless of what he says, let’s
take a vote, Kartel and Python voted yes, Danny-boy was the lone no vote.
Kartel, Python and Danny-Boy
arrived at Big Wally’s estate, Python and Kartel were impressed by the
cars in the driveway, a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls, Lex, Benz, and a Navigator.
Kartel said, this nigga is living large, mark my words, we will obtain this
type of shit within a year, Danny-Boy was not impressed as he reminded his brothers,
I will handle the negotiations, Python answered, just remember, our deal is
on the table, don’t make any outrageous demands and fuck it up.
They had the meeting near
Big Wally’s indoor pool, surrounded with video models, all of the models
were admiring the brothers looks, some openly made passes at the brothers. Wally
greeted the brothers, introduced them to his soldiers and had his maid bring
lunch and drinks, after lunch, they got down to business. Big Wally looked at
Python, man, you can rap your ass off, you a good writer too and you a pretty
mothafucka, a triple-threat, the hoochies will keep you on top, not to mention
your mixture, you crossover automatically.
I ain’t even gonna have
you audition, I know true talent when I hear it, I’m interested in signing
you up, Big Wally pushed the contracts towards Python, Danny-Boy picked up the
contracts, Big Wally raised a eyebrow. Danny-Boy said, allow me to introduce
myself, I am Danny, Python and Kartel’s older brother, I handle the contracts
and finances in regard to our label, I will look this contract over and we will
get back to you but let me state this before we leave, Python will remain on
our independent label “Black Underworld” records, we are looking
for a distributor only, with a 60/40 split, we don’t need a advance of
any kind from you, as you know, our company is already started. Python will
continue to write and produce his material along with me and Kartel under the
publishing arm of our company, if I have to, I will adjust the contract to reflect
this, we will be getting back to you, the brothers got up to leave. Big Wally
was upset, who was this upstart mothafucka?
Danny-Boy made the necessary
changes on the contract, he and Big Wally went back and forth and finally came
to an agreement. Big Wally’s distribution split would increase to 50%
and he would receive 10 percent of all publishing royalties, the brothers would
reap 90 percent of the publishing profits and all of the songwriting and production
royalties (unless they hired outside producers). This type of deal was unheard
of for an unproven artist. The hip-hop grapevine buzzed, other artists were
trying to hire Danny-Boy for representation, since he was in law school, he
agreed to be a legal representative and consultant. He made a nice side profit.
Kartel and Python began working
on songs and laying down tracks, Danny-Boy also contributed to the songwriting,
they were in the studio 24/7, they often spent the night there, the CD was ready.
They had a meeting with Big Wally, after he listened to the CD, he was silent
for a moment, he broke into a huge grin and said, that shit is off the hook,
raw and edgy, obscene and gritty. I am going to put a rush release on it and
get marketing on it right away, congratulations.
Python decided to name the
CD “BLACK OPS,” he also used a snake as his logo. Due to the marketing
campaign and advertising push, the CD debuted at number one on the Billboard
Pop Charts and sold 1 million copies in it’s first week of release. The
CD would go on to sell 8 million units. Python appeared on the cover of all
the hip-hop publications, he also won two Grammy’s for Best Rap CD and
Best New Artist.
Overnight, the brothers became
extremely rich, Python wanted to gain Big Dawg status, he purchased a silver
Corniche and Kartel purchased a Ferrari, they also purchased a large cache of
weapons, had to stay true to their image, everywhere they went, they were strapped.
Danny-Boy invested the majority of his money in annuities and real estate. They
moved their mother out of the projects and bought her a home in Manhattan. Python
appeared on MTV’s Cribs and How I’m Living, by this time, he had
acquired several luxury automobiles including a Lamborghini Hummer and a TVR
Tuscan. He was living large as he strutted around in fur pants and smoked Cuban
cigars. He also became a sex symbol, young girls covered their walls with his
poster and wrote him fan mail, a national publication named him ‘The Sexiest
Rapper Alive,” he was known as the 'pretty thug.'
The brothers got a surprise
visit from their father John, they hadn’t seen him since they were 7,
8, and 9. They led him to a conference room. He tried to hug his sons, high
five them and congratulate them. They were non-responsive. They all sat down.
Danny-Boy asked him, why are you just now showing up in our lives? You never
sent us birthday cards or Christmas cards, you never even called us or even
checked on us, never took us to ball games, fishing, nothing. Let me guess,
you are here because we have made something of ourselves, you left our mother
with three sons, she had to work two jobs to support us because you never sent
any child support, how could you desert your children? What type of man are
you? John tried to justify his actions by saying, I was no longer with your
mother, we divorced, Kartel angrily interrupted, but you were not divorced from
your children, that is no excuse, you are a deadbeat. Python stood up and said
“you didn’t want us as kids and we don’t want you as an adult.”
The brothers left the room.
Python and Kartel were fixtures
on the New York party scene, they got more than enough groupie love. Python
left a recording session because he had an appointment with Jacob the Jeweler,
he came back draped in white gold. The brothers purchased a family home in the
Hamptons and went to Freaknik where Python performed in front of an enthusiastic
crowd. Kartel and Python became cocky and arrogant, started doing ecstasy, drinking
heavy and staying up all night, partying with Pimps and drug dealers, flying
to Vegas to play blackjack, attending industry events with Jay-Z and JLO in
attendance, the brothers had arrived and everyone wanted a piece of them. Danny-Boy
suggested that they distance themselves from these Pimps and Drug Dealers, brings
to much unwanted attention especially from the authorities, Python and Kartel
were flying high, what did Danny-Boy know.
Python and Kartel sold their
publishing rights to an entertainment conglomerate, they both received seven
figures, Danny-Boy hit the roof, he asked them “have both of you lost
your mind? Why wasn’t I consulted, the brothers rolled their eyes, do
you realize what you did, those publishing rights will be worth millions, you
were paid a fraction of their wealth. You will regret this decision in the future,
both of you have sold your pensions for practically nothing.”
Money was running low due
to excessive spending, the brothers were also in a high tax bracket. Time to
go into the studio and record another CD. Kartel and Python sobered up to work
on the new project. The lyrics for this CD were more derogatory and offensive.
Every other word was bitch, slut, cunt, ho, whore, trick, hoochie, Python also
rapped about capping niggas for the fun of it, encouraged drug use among teenagers,
he boasted about carrying concealed weapons, beating bitches, condoning rape
and he encouraged his male fans to stop paying child support.
Danny-Boy was so busy with
school and consulting clients that he could not participate on this CD, when
he heard it, he was not impressed, he thought the lyrics were too harsh and
offensive, he realized that negativity sold in the rap industry but he felt
that Python had crossed the line, way too much anger and negativity, it was
so vulgar and violent that the listener would be turned off, he voiced his opinion
and tried to urge Python and Kartel to use the formula that made the first CD
a hit, his complaints fell on death ears. The CD was released and sold 3 million
units, a noticeable sales drop. The following year, Python released a third
CD, it barely reached gold status.
Danny-Boy had a solution,
he had put some of their earnings aside, these earnings would launch a clothing
line, from there, they would do independent films, this would get them out of
the red and back into the black. His girlfriend Janet was studying marketing,
she already had a marketing plan laid out. A press release was written out and
announced on all of the entertainment shows, Python and his brothers would be
launching a clothing line and would be branching out into film.
Dy got in touch with Kartel,
he scheduled a meeting at “Black Underworld” records. Danny-Boy
would not be in attendance, he had to study for finals.
Dy arrived with two of his
soldiers, the brothers hugged him, Kartel said, man, without you, none of this
shit would have been possible, we have much love for you. After pleasantries,
Dy got to the point. He looked at Python and said, man, I noticed a dip in your
CD sales, competition can be tough but I have a solution because I know ya’ll
don’t want to go belly up and lose all of your shit, nice homes, cars,
bitches, this office building, I know how to keep ya’ll niggas afloat,
I am like your guardian angel, always coming to your rescue. Kartel and Python
didn’t like his tone, they kept their hands on their guns in their waistbands,
what was he up to? They would soon find out.
I need you niggas to launder
my drug money through this record company, I will give you 15 percent on every
$100,000. Kartel and Python loudly protested, the soldiers pulled straps out
and told them, sit the fuck down, Dy aint finished talking and take your hands
off your straps or get smoked, they complied as Dy continued, ya’ll niggas
will do this, cause if you don’t, I will make sure ya’ll will go
out of business and lose all of your shit, your moms will be thrown out of her
Manhattan house, your cars will be repossessed, ya’ll dumb niggas will
make the news for bankruptcy, both of you will be embarrassed and humiliated
and I will personally make sure that no motherfucka will buy your clothes or
go see any movies associated with your company, I have the power to blackball
you or have you killed. It’s better to never have it than to have it and
lose it. My men will drop off $100,000 in cash for you to launder next week.
Kartel and Python were devastated
and scared shitless, Danny-Boy was right all along, they talked it over, realized,
they didn’t have a choice, if they went to the cops, it would be career
suicide snitching out a homeboy and they would lose their street credibility
and a contract would be taken out on their lives and they did need the 15 percent
that Dy was paying. They decided to launder the money discreetly without telling
Over the next six months,
Python and Kartel laundered Dy’s drug money on a weekly basis, it became
second nature and it kept their pockets flushed with cash. One evening, Python
and Kartel were watching an entertainment program when a ticker tape ran across
the bottom of the TV screen: Major West Coast rap label busted for weapons,
drug dealing and money laundering, a few East Coast rap labels are currently
under investigation. Python stood up and said, that’s it, let’s
get out of this shit before we go down with Dy, I ain’t going to jail,
Kartel agreed, call him right now, schedule a urgent meeting, Python called
Dy on his cell, they agreed to meet at a BBQ joint. Python put his strap in
his waistband, Kartel followed suit.
Python and Kartel arrived
at Ribs, Dy was sitting in the back with his soldiers, he got up to greet them,
Python pushed him back, man we need to talk privately, Dy motioned for them
to sit down. It’s all over the news about a big bust that went down with
a L.A. rap label concerning money laundering and drugs, the Feds are currently
investigating a few rap labels on the East Coast, how much you wanna bet that
one of those companies is Black Underworld Records? You ain’t taking our
company down like that, we ain’t going to jail, me and my brothers worked
too hard, we came to tell you, our business arrangement is over. Dy stood up
and said “mothafucka, I say when it’s over, punk ass, has-been nigga,
you will continue to launder my money until I say so, I never could stand you
pretty mothafuckas, all up in the rap game like you own it, both you mothafuckas
work for me now, don’t forget it, punk ass bitches, you two the only niggas
I know come from the hood and aint got no kids, I think you faggots, take your
whiny bitch asses out of here.” Kartel pulled out his strap, you don’t
talk to my brother like that you fat tore up mothafucka, just then, one of Dy’s
soldiers came out of the bathroom, saw the situation, pulled out his gun and
shot Kartel twice, Python rushed to his brother, the gunman took aim and shot
Python in the back.
Danny-Boy and Lucinda were
the first images Python saw when he awoke. He smiled weakly and commented, I
can’t feel my legs, just then, the doctor entered the room, he avoided
eye contact, Python asked him, give it to me straight Doc, the doctor took a
deep breath and said, the bullet severed your spinal cord and paralyzed you
from the shoulders down, you will never walk again and the extent of your injuries
will prevent you from having sex. Python turned his head and stared at the wall
as tears rolled down his face. His mother held his hand and Danny-Boy tried
to console him. When he turned his head back around, he asked, where is Kartel?
Lucinda and Danny-Boy shot each other nervous glances. Danny-Boy struggled to
get the words out, Kartel didn’t make it, Python started crying uncontrollably.
Danny-Boy rolled his brother
onto the auditorium stage, Python was scheduled to speak at a New York High
School. Danny-Boy adjusted the microphone, Python took a deep breath and began.
I lived the bling-bling lifestyle,
I made seven million dollars in my first year and blew it all on drugs, fancy
cars, homes, jewelry, tailored clothes, gambling, furs, women, and weapons.
I co-owned my own record company, traveled the world in my private jet, slept
with celebrity women and won awards. It doesn’t mean shit, I lived my
lyrics and look where it got me. I sold my soul.
I degraded my own women for
the almighty dollar, called them hoes, bitches and tricks, I asked another rapper,
why are we the only race of men that refer to our women in derogatory terms?
He told me, because those kind of women exist, I responded, those kind of women
exist in every race BUT we are the only race of men who degrade our women in
a public arena, he had no answer. Most rappers come from single-parent homes,
raised by their mother, as soon as they hit the rap game, they put down the
very women who raised them, fed them and clothed them yet they don’t put
down their absentee fathers.
Rappers need to take more
responsibility for their negative lyrics, the younger generation emulates our
language, our attitude, our dress and our manner. We are their voice.
I met a beautiful woman who
was smart and wealthy, her family had more money than me, we dated on the downlow,
I was so caught up in the playa lifestyle, being a playa with a passport, the
playa president, living in a playa paradise, this attitude and my infidelity
contributed to our breakup, I had sex with many women but I made love to her.
I drove away the only woman that I loved because I tried to maintain the lifestyle
that I rapped about. I miss her but I don’t blame her for leaving me.
I also glorified drugs and
black on black crime with my lyrics, encouraged men to beat women and to carry
weapons, I also encouraged them not to pay child support despite the fact that
my father never paid child support and I condoned rape in one of my songs. Guess
what? God took away my ability to write lyrics that will further corrupt and
destroy young minds because I cannot move my hands due to my disability.
As they were leaving, Danny-Boy
leaned down and told Python, I am so proud of you baby brother, he hugged him
tight. Python had tears in his eyes, that is the first time that you ever told
me that you are proud of me big brother, I wish I could have felt that hug.
The local newspaper did a
write up on Python, a public speaking agent contacted him and wanted him to
go on a tour of the East Coast high schools, he would be paid $3,000 per speech,
Python would have done it for free, he wanted to get the message out.
Python would not make any
of those speaking engagements, he would die due to complications caused by his
paralysis. Thousands would attend his funeral, he reached martyr status like
his idols Biggie and Tupac. Danny-Boy was devastated, he could barely function,
he lost both of his brothers within 18 months. He was inconsolable.
Dy would be killed by a rival
The killer of Python and Kartel
would be murdered in a shoot-out.
Danny-Boy would shut down
Black Underworld Records.
Danny-Boy would eventually
marry Janet. Due to his publishing/songwriting rights, re-issues/unreleased
material of Python’s recordings, merchandising and real estate holdings,
Danny-Boy became a multi-millionaire. His mother would move with him and Janet
to Switzerland. Within three years, Janet would give birth to a son and a daughter,
Danny-Boy immediately set up a trust fund for his children. Lucinda was overwhelmed
with the birth of her grandchildren.
Danny-Boy opened up a foundation
in memory of his brothers, he gave free law advice to up and coming black artists
and entertainment executives, he also donated a million per year to inner city
schools and he supported anti-gang warfare.
Danny-Boy never got over the
deaths of his brothers, he would often stare into space or wander the grounds
of his estate, he was functional but he would never recover, the wounds were