By Peter Bailey
On the hip hop landscape, a scene too often outlined in gimmicks and trends, a few artists choose to tread authentic terrain.
"For me to say I can't let you down means that I can't put myself in a situation where I ain't talking about the things that are culturally relevant to us," explains Plies.
Those things, which include racial and judicial injustice, have made the Fort Meyers emcee a cause célèbre for thousands living on the margins, whether they be prison inmates or single working-class mothers.
"I know what my purpose is and what I got in the game for and that's to stand on my square and to speak for the people who got a bad shake in the prison system that will never be provided an opportunity to be understood and have their story explained," says Plies.
One song, "100 Years", an unabashed assault on the prison system, prompted petitions for his use of the word "cracker".
"I got a call, and the 'cracker' word was asked to be taken out the song, and I said 'Damn, I just said 'nigga' 36 times in the same song, but no one asked me to take that out like it was cool," Plies remembers. "That term just means anyone dealing with law enforcement."
Then his song "Bruh Bruh" left some culture enthusiasts believing the Fort Meyers emcee was exploiting the inner-city's slang and its pain for his own gain.
Not true, it's his way of carrying his culture to the mainstream and merging conflicting worlds, a union that could have prevented the Trayvon tragedy, says Plies.
"Maybe if [George Zimmerman] had gotten an opportunity to know [Trayvon] we probably wouldn't be addressing that situation how we're addressing it," he explained.
With a new album on the horizon, Plies hopes to keep finding common ground.
Regardless, one thing is clear and it's that Plies won't be moved off his square -- and this sometimes jaded culture enthusiast finds that sort of conviction downright refreshing.
This article originally posted on IamPeterBailey.com.