The Poetry of Gangs

With gang membership in the United States augmenting, gang members long to escape. Those consumed by the gang lifestyle, are initiated and can become actively involved in violence, drug use, or distribution. My research has suggested those affiliated with gangs can find a pathway in the arts, providing them with an outlet for their creative minds. American gang members have a gift in their rhetoric; it is a gritty, real, and powerful, as means of telling their story. I explored three different poets, all of whom, gang lifestyle had immense impact on. Gang members fit like a glove as poets, depicting the world unseen by conventional or classical poetry. Gang members throughout history have been romanticized, demonized, and even made into heroes. The hip-hop industry glorifies the gangster as a true “thug” with wealth and status, and many successful rappers including, Snoop Dog, and Biggie Smalls were actively involved with gangs. Modern mainstream media’s depiction of gangs rarely examines the true culture or hierarchy within American cities coping with gangs. There have been real gang members who did unspeakable crimes, which are remembered forever, unspoken again. Poetry is the medium of the outlaw, catered towards the anti-conventional; serving as catharsis, poets require a style or wit equivalent to Shakespeare or Tupac. It is appropriate and just that gang poetry possesses the ability to combat gangs within the United States.