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  • Writer's pictureChris Siders

If I Die 2Nite, Me Against The World

I bare my grandfather’s bloodstained shotgun for the first time yesterday.




On my way to the bus stop to head to a Buddhist temple in Santa Monica to meet with my friend, a man harassed me and followed me with the intent to kidnap me.


Around 7:30am in the morning, a car was following me. Looked like an 1997 chevy or maxim bucket. He honked at me. Flicked me off. I flicked him off. Pulled into a lot next to me. Waved for me to go to the car. I kept walking. Then keep following me down the street, pull in front a driveway in front of me. I took off running, still followed me for a few blocks. Even ran in the middle of the street to dodge him. Running home I frantically called my mother and father. No one answers until the 5th call. I’m yelling and holding my hand out for cars to stop so I don’t get hit. My father’s health is still poor. He jumped out of bed and grabbed his father’s old shotgun. Running up the street he sat on the porch with my older sister and mother as they was ready to ride out find the guy.


Helping my father back inside the house due to his bad back. I had to carry the shotgun back inside the house.


Felt weird carrying that shotgun from Alabama.


Street politics in Los Angeles is tricky. Reactions are death sentences, even responses. As I reflect on it, maybe that’s what adds to why some of us stay quiet under distressing times. Being distressed and showing emotion in the street can get you killed. The same notion of don’t show blood in ocean waters can be applied here. I should’ve known better to not flick that person off in response to the harassment. Grudges and beef don’t get let go that easily in street culture.


Back in 2018, my little brother got robbed in Inglewood. Rightfully so, he was upset and angry. If the response turned into retaliation that could’ve beget an endless cycle of violence. They rob us. We hit back. They shoot us. Someone dies. Then we kill and it continues til everyone is dead.


Same year, in 2018, my father told his mother that when he was in the 7th grade a man held a knife to his neck stealing goods from him. He never told anyone out of fear of retaliation.



11 years old with my dad


When I got to the Buddhist temple I was still extremely triggered looking over my shoulder. I had a mental breakdown screaming a few times to the top of my lungs outside while on the phone with my friend Megan. I wanted to talk, but I can only scream. Didn’t have the words. Security was being assholes and not trying to figure out what’s wrong. My body was shaking uncontrollably. Even through out the entire day it was shaking uncontrollably. Security just kicked me off the property. One of the heads of the event being held at the temple calmed security down and invited me back in. I decline and left with my friend.


I was birth out of a history of violence unfortunately. My grandfather was involved in shit. His son, my uncle was a crip, his son, my brother was a piru (a blood.) Father’s side of the family got chased out of Alabama from KKK members. It was weird at my brother’s funeral during covid to see a bunch of people waving red bandanas using gang slang and lingo.


When I was 12 years old, he was 13. He used my computer to talk to someone via myspace asking for a gun and how he felt paranoid walking around without a gun. He was 13 years old. 13.


When claiming the set he was playing our favorite mixtapes talking about killing people and gang shit. What the hell we know about that type of lifestyle? We had a conversation one last night, about what set we would join when it came down to it. Crip or Blood. As if it's inevitable. Again pre-teen years. Admittedly the gang ties caused a strained relationship between me and him.


Months later I got robbed at gun point. I was 12.


A group of grown men approached me outside of a liquor store asking me where I’m from. In case you don’t know, when someone asks you “where you from” that means what block or set you claim. Damn near every street in Los Angeles belongs to some gang. Whether known or unknown it’s wise to understand the politics and colors at all times. Sometimes avoiding blue and red clothing isn’t enough. During this incident I was wearing white and blue. At the time lacking street smarts I said where I was birthed, Harbor City, California. They proceeded to surround me. Told me to run my money, iPod, and other things I had on me. As one of them got in my face he had an imprint of a gun on the waist of his pants. Terrified I gave them everything. As they walked away laughing, the one with the gun said, “No police.” When they was far enough I somehow got a hold of a phone and called my parents. My older brother Paris ran up the street with baseball bat and went on a hunt. I was crying because I was fearful of the potential violence they can spur up. I didn’t want any my folks to get hurt over bullshit. We called the police. They was late one hour. Didn’t do shit and told me they was going to my family updated on leads, and whether or not they catch them. We never got an update. I stayed inside the house for years. When i did come outside neighbors would tell me about bodies found at the train tracks down the street. Drive-bys around the corner. Who took whos life and went to prison for what.


This was in my own neighborhood. This day my entire life changed.


That same year, I got into tons of fights. Fighting people with 2x4’s, getting into fights with my brothers on other people’s blocks. Same year I survived my first drive-by shooting. Same year, I damn near got expelled from school and sent to juvenile hall for damn choking a classmate to death.


This birthed my anxiety and PTSD. I watched every gang culture documentary I could find. Even to this day I educate myself on where I should stay out of in LA. I publicly denounced God several times. My depression hit a low. I was an asshole towards my friends and love ones. Again I was 12 years old. Now as an adult, gaining the tools to deconstruct what happened back then I now know how that affects how I maneuver in the world. How I interact with friends. How I love romantically. I look over my shoulder at all the times without people knowing. That’s how I was able to catch that guy following me.


I remember I was visiting Monterey County for a couple shows I had scheduled in 2021. I spoke with some close friends of mine who have their ear close to what’s going on in the community and I was told a group of 15 to 16 year olds was shooting each other car to car in broad daylight.


Let that sink in.


In Monterey, as rich of an area it is, just the mere fact there are KIDS aiming to KILL each other. That’s a huge problem not being addressed. There’s not enough enrichment programs for youth flourish. Love to the village project, youth NOW, Palenke Arts and others programs doing the work. I am speaking on the investment in young minds that isn’t properly cared for by those in power to change things. In 2021, I heard that Sand City mayor got upset over rap artists hosting a hip hop show in the city.



Brothers and sisters. 1997.

Once again, as I stated in the previous blog, speaking as a black man a lot of us live off survival mode. Some of us love out of survival. We are fucking tired. Tyre Nichols died at the hands of police. I watched my big brother get hauled off to prison for a year at 16. There’s no such thing as protection or defense. We live on the offense all the time. First thing my little brother told me when I told him the news this morning he said, “are you opposed to carrying something on you?” To which I responded, “I am definitely not opposed.”

There’s a term used called “Stay Dangerous.” Staying dangerous is another way of telling someone to stay safe. However in Los Angeles there’s the belief that there is no such thing as Staying safe. So we say Stay Dangerous. Live life on the offense. Whether it be watching the ones you are close with, people you are just meeting for the first time, loved ones romantically. It implies there’s a heavy sense of paranoia.


At 17, after visiting my mother at work, my dad took the wrong turn and we ended up at a crip gang terrority stronghold. If you pay attention to everything around you, you can see people hiding behind buildings, tinted windows, and feel all eyes are on you. They know everyone who lives in the neighborhood. So locals know if you not from there or not. My dad told me, "okay look straight forward. Don't turn your head. Don't look anyone in the eye. I'll get us out of here."


When I was 19 years old same night I opened up for poet, Rudy Francisco at CSU Monterey Bay, same night my older brother survived a shoot out walking home from school. This was 2013. I written a song about the experience of being away and his perspective. Its off my first album, The MisAdventures Of Chris Siders. It's called, "What Dey Hittin Fo?/War Cries Faith."





Same year, 19 year I had my first stalker. I had multiple. At 21, in college I had one know where I lived on campus. Room number and everything. I have some to this very day. I spoke to some friends about specific instagram account, "heartbreak sundays." While speaking to one of the friends, they face looked extremely pale. That's been having me on edge. It's like whats going to where you can't tell me straight up? I have nothing to hide with anyone.


We love ourselves too much to have our hearts broken through attachments or people we pour so much into. I can see why some of us aren’t so quick to forgive. Whenever I speak to my mother about things I’m going through in my relationships her first instant response to always cut the person off and tell me to find new friends or a new partner.


Admittedly, this experience of being followed has put me in a very strange place with the current relationships I have with people. I haven’t heard from some friends or some willing to go deep with the check ins. I am a bit hurt by that. I don’t know if my expectations are too high or what, but an extremely traumatic experience such as that, I don’t know.


Maybe this bleeds into this whole thing in my head that people career about Chris Siders, the image or hard worker, rather than the person. Chris Siders the artist that would like help others ascend than the exhausted human being writing this out. There is a very clear distinction between on-stage/business Chris and off-stage/interpersonal Chris. I gained so much experience what it means to be Chris in business sense, because out of high school I jumped into the poetry business and doing everything I can to elevate my career and my fellow group members at the time. I sincerely mean when I want to see everyone around me elevate and success in desired career. If I can support I will.


Clear and blunt reminder, I am NOT a superhero. I am human. I deserve a right to my emotions of depression and exhaustion just like everyone else.


I am aware that this could, indeed be all in my head. However it feels too real. I was in a recording session recently and it felt people wanted to collaborate with me based off what I got going on. These days sometimes, no lie, I don’t like my name ringing off in people’s mouths. Chris Siders.


There are days I want to be reminded that I can be just Chris or Christopher. Or shit even Christopher James Siders. My full name. Some of those days feel they are long gone. This is not to say I don’t appreciate the love given. I receive wholeheartedly. I accept, just understand I love someone more for putting me in check or calling me in rather than the person praising me for work. There’s a big difference.


That love is different.


The world around me is cruel enough. I want to live and experience, however, it’s NEVER that simple. I'm sick of feeling I'm alone emotionally.


Someone I dated last year during the summer, asked me if your life was a book what would be the title? I said Me Against The World named after the 1994 2Pac classic album.


Sadly i think im still there. Maybe just a different song.

“I feel like the whole world want me to pray for em, but who the fuck praying for me?”




Resources for education on gang banging and its origins:


Menace II Society (1994 film. Movie is available on Netflix)

Boyz in The Hood (1991 John Singleton film)


Introspective/Reflective accounts via music:


Books:

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