I'm a hustla, I'm a, I'm a hustla
Cassidy - I'm a hustla
Nope today I cant knock the hustle but lately it seems like the hustle just cant stop wont stop. In fact its increasing. I mean T-dot wasn't really the spot for in your face hustling as long as I've been here but lately it seems like the underground market has really picked up. Yea you always had a few questionable characters trying to slide you a deal that seemed way too good to be true but it wasn't like every other day someone was trying to offer you some underground stuff or the other. Its way more in your face now. We aint reaching New York style proportions yet but the hustle is definitely in full E.F.F.E.C.T these days.
Now City TV did a little consumer special about bootleg products yesterday and how purchasing rip off merchandise may be secretly benefiting the mob to the tune of billions of dollars yearly worldwide. I really didn't think about that connection until they mentioned it.
Still I didn't need them to tell me that bootleg stuff was increasing on our streets. All I had to do was go outside and walk around. For some reason I'm a magnet for hustlas from guys selling knock off bus tickets and fake transit tokens to dudes trying to sell me leather jackets out of the trunk of their car (yep this happened to me a few years ago). I figure I either look gullible, rich or somewhat shady or maybe all of the above who knows.
Anyway I've just noticed in recent months that the hustling game has stepped up a notch in the T-dot. A dude walking around with like seven shoe boxes tried to sell me work boots the other day as I was just casually strolling down the street. Word is born! Unfortunately he didn't have my size. lol!
I've even been hearing the rumors about the folk who will take orders on stuff. "Yo you like this outfit, what size you want? Alright give me a week and I'm a hook you up." Then they go and probably through nefarious means they will obtain that item for you. Whoa that's deep. Its like boosting with a shopping list. I mean yea, I heard those types of stories coming out of NYC for like the longest but T-dot. We on the come up it seems. Damn!
And my view on the surge in this underground economy or this surfeit of hustlers is a signal of the way things are going in the land. First its just too easy to copy digital stuff these days with the internet, color printers and high tech computers. I mean cats got the bootleg DVDs and then they got the portable DVD player so you can preview the movie before you buy it these days. Yo that's gangsta son! I almost copped Fantastic Four last week and it wasn't even out yet! That's crazy!
Secondly a lot of desirable authentic items are just too ridiculously priced. Because a dude puts his name on an item that entitles him to sell it for 4 times what it really should cost? Yea Sean John I'm talking to you and some of those other cats who market your gear to young kids who cant afford it. Yea you make nice stuff (well aside from the fact that I don't like having your name plastered all over my body like I'm a walking billboard) but its just not worth the price you sell it at.
Then there is the haute couture stuff like the Gucci, Louis, Fendi (me and sexy Cindy driving down the block like if I was at the Indy! Lets see who gets that line) Dolce Gabbana, Versace and the like. Everybody be sporting those bags these days and I know a lot of them have got to be fakes. I remember a friend showed me how to spot fakes back in the days when he complained that even some legit malls where we were hanging sold a lot of bootleg ish. (Ask me about the bag of watches under the counter, the fake not so good rollies but the amazingly accurate TAG-Heurer replica watches that he hooked me up with another time.) Unfortunately as time has gone on fakes have gotten amazingly realistic and its far more difficult to spot them now than it was before. Still if a dude is selling them out of the back of his trunk or the price is too good to be true odds are dude is on the hustle and that ish is a knock off.
Thirdly everyone is making something on the side these days. I guess most folks have wised up to the fact that the only way to really make money is to go for self. You may survive on a 9 to 5 thing but you aren't getting rich off that stuff. Not when the man is trying to make a profit and will keep his boot heel on your neck for as long as he possibly can. (Rise up people rise up!) Got to hustle to get ahead I guess. Yea you may not think about it as much as the bootleg guys but the dudes selling the little oils and musks and the hand made tams and jewelry are also on the hustling too. They just set up a little table somewhere or the other and are trying to get paid. Yea its not that the goods they're selling are bootleg, illegal or stolen but do those cats pay taxes if they are set up on the street (I'm not talking about the legit craft sellers at spots like Harborfront now)?
Dudes trying to sell me their little locally made CD promoting their new hip hop or funk sound. Its not even hood promotion cause they are on main thoroughfares doing that. Seems like the underground is the way to get the product out there and bypass the majors. Seems like cats are really taking this entreprenueralism thing to the next level. By any means necessary said Malcolm, The Streets is watching say Jay-Z. Street Entreprenualism is one of the 9 elements of hip hop after all.
'I'm in factory working hustling on the side
I see the informers lurking
Trying to break my stride
How you fi stop man hustling
Trying to swallow my pride
I gat picknee fi feed an a woman a breed
An you nearly mek me loose my life'
Wayne Wonder - Informer
I think that this more visible profile of the underground economy here in the T-dot is a signal that the everyman just isn't making it these days. Like Wayne Wonder said in the above quote man have pickney (children) to feed and with inflation and gas price so high and just basic living being expensive sometimes people just go for a route where they can make some cash on the side. Its been happening since long time gwan! back in the day moms would work her 9 to 5 at the factory or working for some rich folks but on the side she'd have her little needlework thing going or make pudding and souse on weekends or bake or whatever. We do what we do to stay alive right?
And so the hustle continues to increase.
Yo a brother got to get his blog hustle on. Where's my street team? Anyone want to cop this new Doan Mind me blog, its by this local brother Jdid (ask about me, ask about me), Diddy, J-Deniro, the Jdid One, ya heard! Yo word is born son, that ish is the illest, son he gets crazy with the wordplay. Its the truth, you'll laugh you'll cry, you'll say word! Canadian made, support homegrown talent, T-dot represent knowahatimsaying! nahmean? I'm a even hook you up with a two paragraph preview. Yo I'm just trying to pay some bills son, come on hook up a copy of this joint right here. Yo I guarantee that you'll love this.
I don't think that going to work. Got to find another hustle.
I'm a hustla, I'm a I'm a hustla, homie,
I'm a hustla, I'm a I'm a hustla homie
ask about me, ask about me!