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17.
The origin of the "gansta" credo, which is akin to many resistance movements
that have sprung up around the world is precisely defense of one's own
community. Notions of community sovereignty and self-determination are the core founding principles that uphold the "gangsta" philosophy. Of course,
notions of sovereignty, self-determination, and autonomy are closely tied to the principle of a self-sustaining economy, which in a capitalist context such as the U.S., requires all gangstas to find a way to provide for themselves and for the gangsta unit. The most common resource that is utilized is of course commerce in contraband: illegal drugs, prostitution, and firearms. Because
illicit commerce requires the gangsta to work outside of the law, a law which
the resisitance movement often does not recognize as legitimate because it
was imposed on them by an outside conquering force, different norms have evolved that regulate transactions and behavior between "gangstas". Among those norms are the "pass" and the requirement that one "keep it real".

As the gangsta subculture was incorporated into American Pop Culture, and inevitably purchased and reformulated for mass consumption by corporate interests, certain principles were exaggerated in order to sell the danger and excitement of the gangsta lifestyle without giving the public any reference to understand gangstaism as a holistic set of principles. Of course those who have been the poster-boys for mass media consumption of gangsta life or "thug life", often find themselves the target of those who are "true to the game" for "selling out", a phenomenon characterized by the term "player-hater" or "haterism". A sentiment personified phrase "don't hate the player, hate the
game", an astute observation on the morally relative position of those who
have profited from their assimilation into the popular culture which is the
larger game that most gangstas revile, but those who are "true pimps" are
currently forcing to "turn tricks" in a manner of speaking.

There is a conflict between those who consider themselves "true to the
game" or "true" and those who are "big pimpin" or the "pimps". Each has its own interpretation of the gangsta principles - one that holds the values and foundational principles as absolute and controlling, and those who take a
moral relativist approach and seek a favorable outcome on behalf of "gangstas" with little regard for the gangsta process. The not so invisible hand of market forces that exploit the gangsta in a quest to pimp the American
consumer is an aberration to those who are true, but a natural consequence
and in some ways a vehicle for gangstas to "pimp" the system.
"Gangsta, gangsta, it's not about a salary it's all about reality."

--N.W.A. "Gangsta, gangsta"
by El Nacote December 06, 2004
 
1.
A sociopathic member of the inner-city underclass, known primarily for being antisocial and uneducated. Also known for ready access to illegal drugs and weapons, and staggeringly poor marksmanship.
"Yo, this gangsta loses his cheeba out his jeans, an' he thinks somebody snatched it, so he tries to cap my holmes wit a 9 and miss all 10 rounds. Killed two girls in tha' playground, though - that nigga be gang-sta as fuck, yo."
by charlie January 24, 2003
 
2.
One who willfully promotes and participates in destructive and self-serving culture in an effort to project a particular image of 'toughness' or to make oneself intimidating. Willingness to blatantly and horrifically misuse English is a necessity, as is a low IQ and sub-par education (or at least the appearance thereof).
"I'd love to be a gangsta, but I fear I'm not stupid enough."
 
3.
A perversion of the established title given to the early Italian and Irish mafias, used haphazardly today as a self-described social label on mostly young people, generally black, in a far-flung game of make believe. These "gangstas" being entirely incapable of coming up with original ways of finding their identity, like to adopt Italian names from famous mafia movies as well as Italian mobster clothing. (I.e. Irv Gotti, who should have been killed for the affront to the Gotti family of the 90's, and the claim of 99% of moolies, or blacks, that The Godfather is their favorite movie (if not Scarface)). This is when, in fact, the mafia and its gangsters were built around organized crime of racketeering, protection, and highly intricate systems of providing what the people want while benefiting the immediate community, as well as adhering to codes of honor established in medieval Italy. Blacks consider wildly running around in ridiculously baggy clothing, listening to music that has to bearing on reality, and selling crack because it's cool while refusing to allow themselves to climb up in society, like the Italian mobsters wanted their children to be able to do, as "gangsta". It is a disgrace to everything the mafia established.
Salvatore: Vedi, Paulo, il fesso.
Paul: One of those "gangsta-ass niggas." What a fake. Let's teach him a lesson.
by Terry Balducci May 24, 2005
 
4.
Something that it is NOT good to be, despite people seeming to think so. Basically, this generally refers to people forced into a harsh life due to their low socio-economic status, who probably feel forced by circumstances beyond their control to live a certain lifestyle and commit crimes to get by.

As far as I can say, any "real" gangsta would either be dead, or in jail serving a life sentence for murder. People like to praise gangstas, but what's praiseworthy about commiting murder?? I don't think that committing crimes is a prerequisite of gangstaness. If gangsta is to be used as a positive term, it should be used to describe people who successfully and legally make their way out of the ghetto and improve their status in life. We should pity those who live in dangerous areas and constantly have to watch their backs, but we should not praise them for committing crimes.
Yall know
by Thierry February 07, 2004
 
5.
There's nothing "cool" about being a gangsta. It ain't cool to pose in front of the camera with a gun in your hand pretending to come from an environment you know nothing about. Especially if you're a White boy from the Suburbs. Has anyone ever told you that you look like a complete moron with that rag top over your paled-out face? Yes, a mutant buffon who generates hysterical laughter, amongst the real criminals of this world. Not only are you a disgrace to the Caucasian race, but the human race too.

On a personal note: I know people who have been shot at. I have friends who have died on the streets. There's nothing "cool" or "hard" about that. Do you think the people who live in the projects and have lost a relative/friend to gunplay are going to look up to a gangster? No. As much as you want to believe that gangbangin is a tough career move, it ain't worth shit in my opinion. It doesn't help much when you have guys like 50 Cent around either. Here is a man who endorses reckless violence and immoral animalism amongst today's youth. His gangsta posturing fulfils the stereotypical image, in which every Black man in America is trying to get away from. His "bad ass" roleplaying is responsible for perpetuating the already grim reality of black-on-black violence in America. All that talk about "killing a motherfucker like it ain't no thang" is nothing but a fucked up tool, which corporate record companies like to sell off for stupid, young, impressionable surburnanite teens who don't know the first thing about living in a harsh, dangerous environment like Compton or St. Louis. I'm sure even less have actually experienced the sudden murder of a young relative or friend . Because here's the reality: when someone you know's dies, its not like in the movies. You can talk all you want about street credibility but don't say shit if all you know about the "hood" is what you've seen on the cinema screen or listened to on your stereo system. When somebody gets shot, they don't struggle for air and say something witty and dramatic before they go... they just fall on the ground, shit their pants, and have their brains gone to the back of their fucking heads. But hey, I guess that would be considered "cool" and "gangsta" in your little make-believe world, right?

"Stop the Violence, Increase the Peace."

Gone but not Forgotten...

O.J.(1979 - 1996)
Sly Dee.(1987 - 2005)
Lil Curb aka Kayon Williams.(1985-1999)
Marvin R. (1982 - 2005)

- R.I.P
"A Real Gangster never brags about being a gangsta"
by J. T August 20, 2006
 
6.
a person who is glorified for hurting people.

even in a thousand years this will still not make any god damn sense.
He's gangsta. He brought a shotgun to the playground to kill another gangsta and ended up missing and hitting a child. What a fucking shame.
by zombieone May 05, 2005
 
7.
Real Gangsta - someone who lives in the projects, is ususally in a gang, not very wealthy--often, but not always, black

Fake Gangsta - most males who attend North Warren (thank god i don't go there anymore). White kids from a rural town who listen to so much rap that they think they're black, act like they "slang dope" all the time, and would have no idea what to do if in a real projects. Yet, they still think they're hardcore gangstas.
John lives in the projects and is a Crip; thus, he's a gangsta. Eminem, though white, is also a gangsta, since he did grow up in a poor area and had what would be considered a gangsta life.

Kevin lives in an upper class white neighborhood in rural western New Jersey. He's never seen a housing project, except in videos on MTV, and probably has never even met a black person. This does not prevent him from acting like he's 50 Cent, however.
by Ryan May 14, 2004