See also: Keeping it real.
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 with a brother".
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...