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Biologicals That DID Bother: Gucci Mane & Rich Boy

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About half of the children in the U.S will live in a single parent household at some point in their lives…somewhere around 25 million kids live apart from their biological fathers…that makes up about 1/3rd of the children in America.

These are the kinds of facts spit-up at you to mean this or that (and they do mean this or that) but it’s worth noting that the pervasive asides to absentee dads in hip-hop specifically are less a sign of something wrong with rap culture and more a sign of hip-hop’s ability to hone-in on the real-to-life details that most pop product glosses over. A list of Dad’s Day “appropriate” raps would be heartwarming but inaccurate.

Still, there are a few heartwarming homages to dads, most notably and really damned touching are the “Pop’s Raps” and then, simply album-ending spoken-words from Mr. Lynn at the end of Common’s albums. But the most affecting tributes to dads in my opinion, are rappers Gucci Mane and Rich Boy, who both took on their father’s name as their rap moniker.

Gucci Mane’s name stems from the nickname given to his hustler step-dad, often called “Gucci Man” for his presumably stunting ways. Rich Boy, born Maurice Richards, was referred to as a child as “Rich’s boy”–pronounced with Alabama dialect like “Rich boy”–because of his liquor-store owner father’s nickname of Rich, obviously “Richards” shortened.

What’s interesting about both of these names is how they stem from regional (personal, rarefied) pronunciation and essentially flip the expected wealth-grabbing origin of the names. And so, two rap nicknames that from the outside seem pretty standard and even downright stupid, bring with them layers of personal and regional history, tying community and growing up and true, fatherly influence together.

Hardly a strict “like father, like son” type influence, but certainly there’s a consistency in the low-level glory of Gucci’s rhymes and fashion sense, and his step-dad, the most stuntin’-est guy in the direct vicinity–Gucci’s a true character as I imagine “Gucci Man” was– and there’s a kind of wage-earning sincerity and passion to Rich Boy’s work, that goes right in line with being the child of the local liquor store owner.

Written by Brandon

June 22nd, 2009 at 2:13 am

Posted in Gucci Mane, Rich Boy

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