We saw Snoop try and test D Smoke’s gangsta during their first introduction on the hit Netflix show, Rhythm and Flow.
“Where you from homie?” Uncle Snoop asked the junior emcee.
“I’m from Inglewood.” D Smoke confidently replies.
“Nah, where you from homie?” Again pried The Doggfather of Rap Music; said with a little more aggression … stern and with familiar and intentional intimidation.
“I’m from Inglewood.” Rock steady and poised. Nothing was going to shift the bi-lingual lyricist’s posture. Clearly, he had been here before … he knew the game and wasn’t going to wince. Wincing was for suckas and communicated fear. You can’t be a freedom fighter and be afraid of confrontation.
The moment was tense, so tense that you could cut it with a knife. California street codes often trickle into Hip-Hop, but never like this. So public. So raw.
And then, both emcees started smiling and the crowd cracked with a series of nervous, yet grateful giggles. This Rites of Passage is the backdrop for a musical mentorship between one of the greatest O.G.’s in the culture, and he who many are banking to share in his Golden State legacy.
Out of their bond, germinated from this exact moment, comes “GASPAR YANGA“ off D Smoke’s Empire debut album, Black Habits.
Directed by Sergio Maldonado, responsible for the classic videos from the late Nipsey Hussle, he miraculously encapsulated the energy of that moment to pushed forward a brilliantly complicated depiction of a modern-day, Gaspar Yanga.
Who is Gaspar Yanga?
In the late 1560s, Prince Yanga was kidnapped from the African kingdom to serve as a slave in what used to be called New Spain and now called The Gulf of Mexico. His name was changed to Gaspar (which means treasure) because he was considered a prized-enslavement because he was of royal blood. But the joke was on the Spaniards.
In 1570, he was the first liberator of the Americas of any color after leading a slave revolt. The group of maroons grew to about 550 in 30 years. He intelligently strategizes ways to fight for his people against oppression— laying down traps for this who had hope to recapture them and put them back into the yoke of slavery. 1609 the Europeans tried to shake down Yanga’s people, and the Afro-Indio people bust back— maintaining their community from intruders looking to take their freedom again. But that was never the case and by 1618, had been such a revolutionary nuisance that the Spanish governor under pressure from plantation owners gave him and his people their freedom. They received land and created the town of San Lorenzo de Los Negros, the was first free African settlement in the Americas. By 1932, the town was renamed Yanga, after its founder and the man called the Nat Turner of Mexico.
So what does that have to do with this video?
D Smoke and Sergio set up a narrative that depicts the Inglewood native as a Yanga of his community, not allowing drug dealers (who serve as proxies to those who have a desire to enslave his people) to invade and take over. Violently, like Yanga did the Europeans who stole the land of Mexico, Smoke gets permission/ resources from Snoop to take down his enemies.
ANYONE THAT PUMPS DRUGS INTO THE COMMUNITY IS THE ENEMY.
Now that you have context, check out the video.
Damn, we love smart Hip-Hop. And we look to the West to return rap music to a thinkers sport.