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Prison Rap: January 9, 2013

caines | 1/10/2013, 4:30 a.m.

Play a clean game in order to win big

If you know anything about hustling in the streets, then youre probably familiar with the slick old saying: Game is meant to be sold, not told. The translation is that useful knowledge, especially where there is a potential profit to be made, costs a fee it wont be passed on for free. But what if you dont have anything in equal value to exchange for important information? You learn through intense observation and persistent questioning until you have figured everything out on your own. Thats called stealing game. Were been stealing game since day one, paying close attention to our flesh and blood first, and then emulating everyone else around us to some degree. Since nobody came into this world already full of enlightenment, its only natural for a child to monkey-see-monkey-do their way through its only natural adolescent years, at least until they manage to find their own niche in life as an adult. What path each person is led to depends on what kind of game they sponge up early in life. Shining a flashlight into the dark corners of my past would reveal a young man whose direct exposure to the streets of Miami had taught him a game that would eventually lead to a ruinous end. Unlike those who were sent off to college to learn how to mimic doctors, lawyers, politicians and entrepreneurs, I found myself edging out into areas of the ghetto where a fragile thinker could easily be influenced by crooks, thieves, robbers, killers, drug dealers and drug addicts. With so much real prosperity to be gained in the legitimate world, I havent the foggiest idea why I chose to play in such a dirty, cut-throat game a game where there are no rules and everybody is playing for keeps. What I do know, though is that instead of snatching me out with a tag attached to my toe, the good Lord and decided that I should make my exit dressed in prison blues, giving me another opportunity to absorb an honorable, more respectable way of living. Feeling like a grown newborn baby, my watchful eyes are now noticing law-abiding successful people, soaking up ideas and peeping game on how to succeed at everything ranging from entrepreneurship to personal goal-setting, while incorporating some of their habits into my own without compromising who I am as an individual. In doing so, Im almost certain that it wont be necessary to fling bricks at the chain gang upon my release from prison; and if humanitarianism is possible for a convicted felon, then maybe someday Ill be lionized for deciding to copycat those who are desiring to make the world a better place. By Arthur Lee Hall, Jr.