A n**ga try to play me/I’ma blow em off the map, A.S.A.P./

So goes the chorus to one of my favorite songs ever; “ASAP” by rapper, actor & activist, T.I. As a young teenager filled with testosterone and surrounded by perpetrators of hypermasculinity, this song was a go-to jam.

13 years have passed since the song’s release and ya boy has evolved; much like the performer of that catchy little ditty. With this growth, it has become harder to vibe to and recite music that at times, feels like a soundtrack to genocide. But I still do.

Right or wrong, this is not an outright denouncement of gangster rap. Having lived in some of the conditions that foster these themes of murder, ruthless capitalism and misogyny, I understand their prevalence in the music of young, black and often fatherless males.

As long as that 808 is banging, who cares about lyrics championing the very thing we’re protesting against (black murder)?

This is just a realization that many of us, myself included, may not be as “woke” as we’d like to think we are.