“So how’s that from the mind of a thug nigga?!”
– 2PAC – “Definition of a Thug Nigga”
PRACTICE?! Perfecting the practice of impassioned persistence
Penetrating paragraphs powered by plays prodigiously perpetrated
Iverson ingenuity instilled innovation irrespective of ill irritations of invidiousness
And you still talkin about practice? Not a game?! The God’s Almighty Mastered Excellence!
You ain’t supposed to—And still! The beauty of our Hip Hop counterculture countering with everything they wanted to subdue. Too many people’s representation of Hip Hop for us Black people’s of varying shades really is Shaquille O’Neal, an acceptable stylishly happy soulful model of excellence. A lot of subculture realness there but not quite there for me. Or anything I represent with my words building or etched with pen. For SkillastratorLO, this expressive force of our rebellion, that ought to lead the rare to revolution and even some to a greater enlightenment, Hip Hop, is epitomized by Allen Iverson. His career symbolizes the struggle and beauty of being Black for me. He will always relate because the technicalities of said rules to bind –Practice–are constantly used against us/we/me to preserve the imbalance of our oppression, the bloodsucking of our talents without the revelations of our supremacy that also sprout from them. The turning away from the Game–that actual life struggle that has forced our style of shot itself, the braggadocio of bounce, the deeper devastation in dribble, the rhythm in that subtle stall in the crossover–to the emphasis on practice–the preparation to conform our gifts of message to the other man’s acceptance. So AI has nothing to do with a stupid game that takes away every raw beauty with stories behind it to a mere awe of passing assimilation.
“With ease, and the ladies are swooning/Clocking my swiftness, while you’re drooling/You ought to practice up and get your game refined…”
- GURU (7 Remembered In Perfection) of Gang Starr – “Now You’re Mine”
I didn’t watch AI to watch hoops. I put him on because he was the only Black man on television. The Brown brothers in baseball are the niggas with bats today and they’re Europeanized, appropriated to assimilation while buried in translation so they are often all style with no substance. Just surviving as all Brown across borders be, formatted into usable excellence. And today’s basketballing brothers crossover the crossover, shuffle the shuffle and add two steps backward to the two steps. So I salute AI a special way because he was the naturally profound Blackness that Jordan left in the sneakers we blindly crave for.
Out in Gunset Park, Brooklyn, the lung of Medina, a strong breath from the heart, it was all Puerto Rock nigga shit, Iverson crossover. Poverty and welfare like the nothing they say Iverson came up from. With shit-is-real slang like the cheese you eat marks your booklet of stamps. They herald rings but never count the chips championed on our shoulders. I remember ammo was in me to equip just as there was Smo was in the air, just as we Are Why was the answer everywhere and just as we stood as Wise Kings fighting to Sunblaze it all. So the NBA I watched differently. Larry Bird was nice with it but they used his jumpers for KKK shots like you could take out the Black man. Magic Johnson oversaw it all with the no look so we’s don’t see no oppression, threw no looks to rebellion and kept blind passing over revolution. Jordan was perfected fame, the glory that Assimilation dreams of, the crossover that always goes left to right wing as it was once down then rises up. But this little G, the one that isn’t supposed to win, whose winning will always say more, was my hero. Isiah Thomas, whom I still work to write like he handled the rock, dribbling with any and all words, taking my understanding anywhere I wanna be at. As a little brown boy, I worked to play like him and moved like him as I saw it in my mind. All because his moves could be used to show discontent and disfavor. Fuck winning your game, the score is to be settled not just higher than others to be hired and straggled into putrid richness. I’d rather play to be free and strapped, armed with my own weapons. So Sunez, only standing at power foot and culture inches of fury but wearing LO and Timbs I’m 6 foot 5 and when my words move I’m easily 7 foot 7 inches. But my words don’t move in the pocket, they carry, dribble, parry, bob and weave motherfucka’s minds out of shoes and socks. The #PowerWrite way to give me space, embarrass the weak sliding on they ass off the punctuated stutter and breakin ankles off the foundation of these plus lessons. The AI way, another little Brown brother with the toughest weapons. The Hip Hop I see I make, the magic you thought it is was just be big bully heavyweight Kazaams sinking to the bottom of the wishing well.
“They even put a zone in the league to try to stop him/He’s the Answer and the problem, you don’t want it with/The way that boy go to the hole and take punishment/The young boss of the cross for four quarters…”
- Jadakiss – “A5 commercial”
Now take a knee, fuck oppression, NFL concussions and your fucking imperialist flag…and Salute. Salute the Almighty Iverson! The one who walked onto the court like Pac walked out of the courtroom. Remember he didn’t fuckin need your sambo satire practice but better players, media that didn’t meddle and no massa mandates meandering about. He don’t need to age into assimilation. All he’ll do is be himself and he may collide into a knowledge of self. The way we did imitating his dribble, disrespecting every last story told to us on how to practice in this game of life, just being pieces of oppression popping off til pistols of peace of mind light up. And you can’t puff and comb that, you need to zig zag zig the rows, hang the shorts low, accessorize the sleeves and bands–Word, the uniform really do mean a lot Raekwon. Then you tattoo memories, aphorisms and mantras on the flesh so they know Blackness means a mindful melanin thinking. And, these skin stories are honorably re-read in the mirror in this blue pilled fantasy of getting millions to shoot a pill. Allen Iverson representing all of us being only himself. He spoke sermons on the handle and proclamations when his shot miraculously flew through the longest arms in the world. Hip Hop lyricism like the sanity of sublime speech in Crazy Legs’ footwork, Allen Iverson left us a book of Blackness that signified our generation. All praises due AI!
“He got love for the game, his start was huge/And you seen him play hurt cause his heart is huge/Six foot 165/call Iso anytime he want he’ll split your 5/He play to win he don’t play for stats/Brought the hood to the game, and they love him for the braids and tats…”
- Jadakiss – “A6 Commercial”
“That nigga shit, Iverson crossover…Puerto Rock nigga shit/Yo, I’m out…”
- “Nigga Shit” – BIG PUN (Remembered In Perfection)