"Your always a target if your making money in the streets..."

I am Dre

03.12.2015

Hey whats up? I just sent you a letter yest. That’s like my 3rd one in the last week. Lol. 

You asked bout my experience in the streets and if there was any significant moment, events or people that shaped my life & the person I am today. First I want you to know that you can ask me anything you want and I’ll give you an honest answer. Nothing is off-limits except for certain details about my case. I don’t feel uncomfortable talking bout anything else and if I do, I’ll let you know. Don’t be afraid to ask.

I really don’t know where to start. Its usually easier for me when you ask more specific questions but I can’t really think of any specific event that happened that made me the way I am. I guess just all of my experiences as a whole made me the way I am. Every diff experience had an affect on me in a diff. way. I learned something from all of them.

Prior to me going to the residential home, I was just a kid being a follower. I seen a lot of things like guns, drugs, gangs & all of that stuff was what surrounded me. I thought that’s what life was about until I went to the residential home. But anything outside of my neighborhood or the towns that surrounded mines was too diff. & I was never completely comfortable.

Once I made it back to my neighborhood, everything was diff for me. It was summer time & instead of going home, I was dropped off in the neighborhood. I was only 13, but I felt like I finally had some freedom & could do anything I wanted. I was always with people older than me, and for some reason the older crowd accepted me.

Age never meant anything to me. If you could do something, why can’t I. You know? I always paid attention to things going on around me & I never spoke much. I watch how certain people act and I learn from them. I might see a guy that’s respected by most of everyone or who had all the women attracted to him & I would take certain characteristics that he had & make them my own if I felt like they were good. Kinda like how you might give me your perspective on something & I might’ve never seen it that way because I never really paid any attention to that issue. How passionate you are about certain issues makes me wanna be the same because it makes me a better person. Does that make sense?

Like, I always have been quiet, but a good friend of mine showed me how to really pay attention to everythin and everyone. How not to say much, but always know whats going on around you. And how not to fear anyone or anything. I learned a lot from a lot of diff. guys that I grew up with & in a way, they had a part in why I am the way I am.

The rest comes from me believing in the things that I stand for and my principles that I have. Just from the way that I see the world in my eyes. I learned how ‘not to be’ from paying attention to guys too. I also treat people the way I want to be treated. When I put my trust in someone & they break that, they fuck it up for everyone. Its hard to find people that’s as loyal as I am & share the same principles that I have. Most people just don’t make an effort. They only care about their own personal gain. Know what I mean?

But I guess guys that I grew up with that were good guys helped shape me into the person I am today, along with the way I see the world through my own eyes & experiences. Going to the residential home really played a big part of who I am too. It opened my eyes to a lot, it just couldn’t compete with that feeling of freedom & excitement from my neighborhood. And I was familiar with it.

The lifestyle in the streets opened my eyes to a lot too, society is so diff. im the types of neighborhoods that I grew up in compared to towns like where I lived in the group home. I seen how guys in the neighborhood weren’t really amounting to nothing. And I seen guys in the neighborhood who were damn near rich & living a good life; they just sold drugs.

I knew I didn’t want to be like the guys on the corner, but I also didn’t know what I wanted to be once I grew up if it didn’t involve getting rich from drugs. Like, I didn’t know much about working a regular job or having a career in a field. That all seemed boring & it still didn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t have to struggle. I struggled enough growing up & fast money made me feel like I could take a lot of those struggles away.

Money don’t bring happiness, but to be able to have food to eat; to be able to pay the bills and to be able to afford the simple things that a lot of families outside my neighborhood don’t have to stress about, helps. You know? Im not using that as an excuse, im just saying how I felt.

I think its sad that there isn’t a stronger presence in these types of neighborhoods trying to inspire the young kids to become someone, and letting them know that they could be more than what they see around them. They’re simply overlooked, like I said before. I was lucky to have been able to go to good schools my whole life. I went to a school in a diff. district when I lived in my old town. The elementary school was right down the street from my house, but I was lucky enough to go to the school in the nicer area. That’s not fair how better and effective the school was that I went to, compared to the school in my neighborhood. Not for me, but just seeing how diff the 2 schools were. I never really paid much attention to it back then, but it all makes sense to me now.

Music & the media also played a big part in my life. You want to be like the artist that you listen to and live the things they talk about. I wanted to be like the rapper “Lil Boosie” and also “Yo Gotti.”

I listened to these guys and I felt like I could connect with them because I felt like they’ve been through the same things that I been through. These are guys that really were in the streets & a lot deeper than I was. Especially Lil Boosie. He was my favorite. In many ways he taught me how to understand the guys in the streets that I would come across & in some ways taught me how to survive.

Kinda like if I put all of my experiences & emotions that I felt from being in the streets into music. All of his music are of his life. He calls it his “Life Story.” People who can’t relate may have a negative opinion, but the things he raps about are things that go on every day. They may have an opinion because they don’t agree or like his lifestyle, but they act like these communities across the U.S. aren’t fucked up. They ignore the real problem & they don’t have an opinion on how messed up these neighborhoods are & how to help. You know?

But yeah, Lil Boosie was probably the biggest influence in my life. He was Derrick Rose when I was out. I already told you how dangerous the streets are. Anything can happen at any moment. That’s part of the culture. So being in that culture, I learned how to survive, I guess.

Your always a target if your making money in the streets and doing something that most guys aren’t. If a guy looks at you a certain way, he wants something that you have or he could be planning to do something to you. Even if he don’t know you. I was young & I always stood out because I dressed nice & because I had green eyes. So a lot of guys hated on me. So I had to deal with that.

That only made me want to have respect from everyone no matter who it was or how old they were. I did get a lot of respect cause of the type of guy I was & a lot of people wanted to be around me because I treat people the way I want to be treated. Also cause of my age.  There wasn’t any other 15 year olds or younger guys that was doing the things I was doing and a lot of young guys seen me doing things that they wanted to do and that made people follow me & also hate me. I also got a lot of respect from fear.

I was really young, but I never joked around or smiled much. I knew how dangerous the streets were and I knew I had to be the most dangerous just in case. And what I mean by that is: You have to be willing to do anything to protect your self & the ones you love & not have any emotion at any moment. A lot of guys in the streets imitate what they hear in music, but they mean no harm. It’s all a front. But there are people that actually live the stories that these artist talk about. If your one of these people, guys will fear you & respect you and they wont try and do anything to you for their personal gain.

That’s one thing that guys do; they prey on your weaknesses; no matter what it is and how simple it may be, you never know when someone is trying to take advantage of you or set you up. You could think your friends with someone, but the whole time that person is setting you up for a guy that don’t like you for one reason or another.

All of this is why I don’t trust anything, for the most part. And I think seeing all of the things I’ve seen & all of the people that I’ve come across makes it easy for me to understand people. Its easy to understand people like you cause your genuine, and you don’t have any hidden agendas.

But yeah, some of the things I’ve experienced or seen are: I’ve experienced women; I’ve sold drugs; I’ve been in shootings; I’ve slept outside or in abandoned homes; I’ve been in gang wars; I’ve experienced drugs; and I’ve been through all kinds of stuff that made me the way I am today. Most of this stuff I can just not think about, and forget, but some of it will be a part of me for a long time.

I think the influence of money & power is what drove me to go down the path I was going down. Or it played a part. That’s why its so easy to be myself when im taken away from the streets. I felt the same when I was in the residential home, but I wasn’t ready yet. Im ready now though.

I don’t mind talking about any of this, but i feel like I didn’t give you enough clarification in this letter. I feel like I was just bragging. I don’t like that. I think it will be easier if you ask more specific questions, and I’ll have no problem answering them. I feel like I spoke a lot about the culture of the “streets” and more about the danger of it and of certain people. But the people & the danger had a part in why im such the strong and smooth guy that I am today. I was really dangerous out there, but I never ever meant anyone harm unless I felt like I was in danger or someone provoked it. So yeah, that’s that, I guess.

Well, I hope this helps you. If not, please let me know & ask me anything you want.

I’ll send you another letter in a couple of days. I need some time to think. Lol.

Take care. Until next time.

-Dre