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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Live By Yo Rep

Live by yo rep

Things were done differently when I was younger. Of course, I have no way of knowing if my recollection is the product of a reconstructive memory that was influenced by what I now understand to be true.

What I recall was that during the year I graduated high school, Three 6 Mafia released an album called Mystic Stylez which featured a song entitled “Live By Yo Rep.” I recall that long before the passing of Gangsta Boo and prior to having won an Oscar—which arguably propelled them to hip-pop spring break rapper status, Triple Six Mafia had a reputation for being gritty.

Though Mafia member Juicy J later downplayed the matter, “Live By Yo Rep” served as a diss track towards rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (B.O.N.E.). To provide context regarding Triple Six’s beef with B.O.N.E., consider Lord Infamous’ verse:

Well, I shall take a thousand razor blades and press them in their flesh

Take my pitchfork out the fire, soak it in their chest

Through the ribs, spines, charcoal the muscle tissue

And send what’s left back to yo mammy

‘Cause that bitch might miss you

But first, I want to slowly peel off all your skin

Degreaser boilin’ hot, pour it on you and your dead friends

I probably oughta be not be so horribly slaughtering the body

I am so naughty, because I am moderately into photography

Following through the autopsy

But man, fuck it; pour some acid on them, too

That’s what I would do, Skinny Pimp, what would you do?

While some people born after 2000 may not be aware of the drive-by era, I remember when songs like “Live By Yo Rep” were played when putting in work. Talking recklessly in a song could result in street justice—including the loss of life.

I wonder if things have truly changed or if the passage of time and abstention from foolish behavior has distorted my perception. At any rate, there once was an unwritten street code by which people lived, died, and were punished.

I recall that not long ago, when discussing observed changes with nitape’skw—someone who also grew up adhering to inflexible hip hop cultural rules, I highlighted the curious case of Tekashi 6ix9ine. This rapper’s promoted lifestyle was nothing like the hip hop norms under which I was raised.

Whether it be allegedly claiming association with Crips, then reportedly switching up affiliation to Bloods, apparently testifying against people, or presumably bragging about being a rat, such behavior wouldn’t have been allowed on the blocc or the rez. One may have come up missing in the days of old.

Alas, now that I’m older, things seem to be done differently. However, things aren’t always as they seem.

I can’t tell whether life imitates art, art imitates life, or perhaps some other mechanism is at play within the universe. What is clear is that in 2018, on his album Day69, 6ix9ine released a song entitled “Mooky.” Lyrics included:

Don’t start no shit, won’t be no shit (What?) [x4]

Stomp that nigga out, stomp that nigga out (Stomp!) [x2]

Recently, Tekashi69 was apparently stomped out in a Florida gym. Suspects have been identified and are reportedly being charged accordingly. Though a woman said to have been romantically linked to the rapper purportedly described the attack as embarrassing, she also allegedly once assaulted 6ix9ine.

I don’t condone or take joy in any of the violence surrounding the rapper. What I find interesting is how Tekashi69 has apparently stated about the gym attack, “In the street there’s no rules so I can’t say they were wrong. Obviously it wasn’t fair but again the streets has no rules.”

When I was younger, those associated with street life knew the unwritten rules. Noteworthy, if you were doing dirt, you better have lived by your rep. Therefore, I don’t know about this no-rules standard.

It appears as though there’s a stark difference between the street code to which I was exposed and that regarding what 6ix9ine apparently addresses as being the current order. To better understand these contrasting positions, I turn to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

Rules to live by

When teaching REBT to clients, I focus heavily on should, must, and ought-type beliefs. These inflexible demands also take the form of unhelpful expectations such as, “Tekashi69 better live by his rep.”

Part of what renders our self-disturbing commands as upsetting is that when we, others, and the world inevitably violate these rigid directions an unpleasant consequence results. By “consequence,” I’m referring to thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviors.

For instance, if person A truly believes that “Tekashi69 better live by his rep,” and when the rapper behaves in an unconventional manner—perhaps switching gang affiliation, then person A may become upset (disturbed) by the belief about 6ix9ine, though not the rapper’s actions.

In REBT, this is referred to as the Belief-Consequence connection—whereby we disturb ourselves by our beliefs about various matters and not by the matters themselves. Hence, it isn’t that Tekashi 6ix9ine didn’t live by his rep that is the problem, though person A’s irrational demand related to the entertainer that causes an issue.

Let’s break down this unreasonable rule person A lives by. Using logic, here’s how person A’s demand works:

Premise 1: 6ix9ine will either live by his rep or catch a beat-down.

Premise 2: 6ix9ine didn’t live by his rep.

Conclusion: Therefore, 6ix9ine caught a beat-down.

This either-or dichotomous thinking isn’t entirely helpful, because it lacks nuance. All the same, those who are familiar with the streets have likely heard many variants of this unhealthy way of believing:

· You’re either down or you aren’t.

· Blood in or blood out!

· You’re either a real one or a fake ass.

· Ride or die!

Regarding person A’s illogical perspective, Tekashi69 deserved a beat-down, because the rapper perceivably wasn’t living according to his reputation. Even 6ix9ine’s “Mooky” lyrics support this unhelpful binary way of thinking:

Premise 1: Don’t start no shit and there won’t be no shit, or else you’ll get stomped out.

Premise 2: Person B started some shit.

Conclusion: Consequently, person B got stomped out.

6ix9ine’s apparent claim, “[T]he streets has no rules,” isn’t entirely accurate. These are very well-defined—even if not expressly written—unhealthy rules by which people live, die, and catch beat-downs.


Three 6 Mafia’s beef with B.O.N.E. was clearly expressed, though both groups were able to quell violent behavior explicitly described in “Live By Yo Rep.” During my wilder years, I observed tragic ends to some people’s tales who weren’t as fortunate.

For those prepared to challenge their unhealthy beliefs about themselves, others, and life as a whole, Tekashi 6ix9ine’s story is one by which you may learn. Understanding that rules of the street aren’t entirely helpful or logically-sound, catastrophe may be avoided.

So, reader, by what reputation do you live? Do you desire to appease the rigid demands of others? Do you want to inflexibly command that others pacify you? Or, are you ready to set aside bullshit street standards and lead a purpose-driven, meaningful life? I may be able to help with the latter.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, and hip hop head from the old school, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


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