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by Peter Moskos

June 29, 2016

Lor Scoota got killed

Yeah, I had never heard of him either. But apparently he was a big deal to a good number people in Baltimore. They liked his music. So what does he stand for? I don't know. Google and read up if you want. What's amazing is all the tears shed by some people who had never heard of him.

I wrote this in a comment to another post:
I'm not gonna lie. I never heard of Lor Scoota and don't really give a damn about him. With my bougie life, I may not be keeping it real. I've been out of Baltimore too long.

Artists and musicians should be cut a lot of slack. I mean, Willie Nelson is an unrepentant and repeated drug criminal! So yeah, do the bird flu dance all you want and have some fun. That said, I wouldn't my kids looking up to a gun-toting drug-dealing robbery-committing motor-dirt-bike-riding victim-of-a-targeted-shooting as a potential role model. But what do I know?
Clarence Mitchell IV, host of the C4 Show (which I've been on a few times):
asked listeners to look past Lor Scoota's past and recognize the difference he made in the community at the time he was killed.
But it's not at all clear his criminal past was behind him. Not at all. But one a drug dealer doesn't mean always a drug dealer. Jay-Z worked his way to respectability. I've had students who once slung crack. Maybe Scoota was targeted by a hater. Maybe by a criminal rival. Maybe both. But there's so much BS from people who don't live in Baltimore and don't have to be afraid of criminals. There's so much BS from people who are able to relax and take a nap in the sun in a public park without fear the 12 O'Clock Boys are going to zoom through on ATVs and run you over.

And there was a tense moment involving police.

(photo: Baynard Woods)

This is the best I've read, from The Baltimore Chop (worth reading it all, really. But FYI Bird Flu was Scoota's one big hit. In half of Baltimore.):
If Bird Flu was the sound of the streets, it is also an anthem of everything that is wrong with this city. It’s not possible to write a song like that without having lived the experience firsthand. Sure, you could try… but you’d end up sounding as corny and benign as the Beastie Boys did early in their career. It’s not possible to separate Lor Scoota’s life from his music. If he says in the song he was moving weight, he was moving weight.
And Scoota was carrying a gun, by the way. In this song he serves notice that he was in the habit of carrying a gun constantly. He was arrested with one at the airport a while back which had the serial number ground off. He also had a handful of domestic violence charges against him including a no-contact order. Personally, we don’t believe a serial woman-beater deserves much in the way of community support, catchy hooks notwithstanding. If you consider yourself a feminist, ally, or just someone who cares at all about the general well being of women, maybe sit quietly and think a while about whether or not you want to be the type of person willing to excuse violence against women because the perpetrator has earned some small measure of notoriety.
And lest you think Scoota was maybe some kind of lovable outlaw, some latter-day Billy the Kid or something we kindly invite you to pull your head out of your ass. Billy the Kid was certainly an awful person to be around, just like our neighbors have been and just like we imagine Scoota himself probably was. He wasn’t selling your cousin heroin or beating up your sister or waving his gun at you, but if it had been you you might feel differently about it, no?
There’s a wide gulf in Baltimore between people’s words and actions. That much is true of everyone; black and white, rich and poor. In the social media age everyone is hard at work spinning their own narrative every hour of every day but little of it has anything to do with the truth. In the Sun article about the speaking tour the author says Scoota and Moose ‘acknowledge an imperfect route’ to whatever ‘success’ they had achieved. Beg your pardon? What does that mean, exactly? An imperfect route? It means they were terrorizing their fucking neighborhoods and were dealing large quantities of narcotics. That’s not ‘an imperfect route’ it’s a goddamned life of crime. What’s more, it’s not clear that either Scoota or Moose have achieved real success by any measure. As far as we know they were self-releasing music, not exactly the fast lane on the road to riches. A little radio airplay in your hometown market and an Instagram of you with two or three actually famous rappers doesn’t amount to much in the great scheme of things.
But if you really want to know why the police came ready for trouble it’s because the likelihood of trouble starting was high. Grief does not preclude violence. After all, it was less than a month ago a West Baltimore man shot his father in a church at his own brother’s funeral. To assert that there were no drug dealers, no gang members, and no armed people in that crowd is either disingenuous or foolish. The police know, and the whole city should know that it only takes one half-assed gangster goddamned fool like Meech to turn up in a highly volatile crowd, discharge a gun, and cause utter chaos.
There are at least three official funeral related events scheduled to take place soon. All of them represent a volatile combination of grief, pain, hatred, resentment, ignorance and anger which could, if not very carefully managed, boil over into further chaos.
Maybe you think criminal behavior is "normal" for Baltimore, or somehow OK for "those people." You know, who are you to judge? Well, shame on you. Talk about the bigotry of low expectations! Criminal behavior is not normal; it's not good. Not even -- especially even --in Baltimore City. I say this in particular to my white liberal readers who don't know Baltimore and also to many of the journalists who just learned of this guy and managed to scratch off a quick sob story in his honor.

You think it's cool other people, poor black boys and girls in Baltimore are being told to emulate Lor Scoota as some noble role model? Are you out of your mind? "We selling scramble coke and smack (X7), keep them junkies coming back." This is the city of Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes, Vivien Thomas, Frederick Douglass, Cab Calloway, David Hasselhoff, and ten of thousands of regular people who have wage-paying jobs. They are the city's role models.


David said...

Also the city of noted grand larcenist Frederick Douglass. "I appear this evening as a thief and a robber. I stole this head, these limbs, this body from my master, and ran off with them."

Moskos said...

Thanks. I forget about Douglass. He's a self-boasting thief we can actually get behind. I added him (and one lesser folk) to my list above.