It probably applies (the trash-talking, that is) to every small community where a few early pioneers enter a new market, whether it’s gangster rap or SEALs writing books, making TV shows, and acting in movies. The SEAL brand since 9/11 has become a household name.
Gangster rap was pioneered in the early 1980s by the likes of Army veteran Ice-T, Schoolly D, and N.W.A. I can still hear the “Easy E” rhymes in my head, and imagine I’m back in school hearing every other car blaring N.W.A. from my high school parking lot in Ventura, California. For those that know my story, this was before I left traditional school for my floating home in the South Pacific at age 16 (another story for those who aren’t familiar).
So what the hell am I getting at, and what do gangster rappers and SEALs have in common besides a .45 in your face? More than you might think. (FYI: We call our groupies “frog hogs” instead of “hoes”).
I watched the movie “Straight Outta Compton” (save the judgement; I have fond memories of listening to rap and surfing and skateboarding with my punk friends) and couldn’t help but to see the similarities between the rap artists and my fellow SEAL authors who are expressing themselves through writing and creating in the media today.
The movie showcases the early days, when gangster rap was exploding, and the key artists that contributed to the success. Then all hell breaks loose. Gangsta friends turned on each other, their community is tossed in turmoil, east versus west coast rap, and soon it’s scorched earth—until the dust settles and shit starts to work itself out. Something happens when you get money and bitches I guess.
I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to what has happened to the Navy SEALs (and special ops as a whole) since 9/11 propelled the community into the hearts of modern Americana. In 2011, it was the Wild fucking West for sure—SOF gunslingers everywhere. I saw guys trash-talking others and me for starting SOFREP, east coast versus west coast SEALs, Team 6’s “Deed not the glory”; it was straight-outta-Compton crazy. One of my main critics was a SEAL who I later learned ran a fucking blog on active duty! I wish I had known that when we were exchanging words a few years ago. Blogging on active duty? WTF, over.
“We put it all in the music, all our frustration and anger, our music was like our weapon…We kicked the door open for a lot of artists.” -Ice Cube
Now that the dust has settled, and natural selection has run its course, there are many military guys doing great stuff in the media. I’m proud of the books I’ve written, and what Jack Murphy and I have done with SOFREP. It’s also great to see a lot of other dudes build incredible businesses, pursue creative outlets, and take their rightful place at the table. Men like our friend Marty Skovlund, or the guys at Ranger Up and Article 15.
Leading up to New Year’s eve I got a call from a long-time Navy SEAL teammate and close friend over the holidays who recently published a book. “I lost my first Team Guy friend over this,” he said. I replied, “Then he wasn’t your friend to begin with.” I think he finally understood.
When you write a book about your life experiences, and if you happen to be from a small unit like the SEALs, there will be some unhappy campers, some of them will hate openly, it is what it is. I knew this when I signed up for the gig. Marcus Luttrell warned me of it, I had conversations with Chris Kyle about it, and more recently, my friend Dakota Meyer and I discussed it. Dakota and I have both been publicly attacked by former teammates regarding the roles we played during our military careers, all in true, straight-outta-Compton fashion.
Success, in any format, brings about the best and worst in people, and I used to lose sleep over it. That was until I realized what a gift it was to have a system that actually forced true friendship and loyalty to the surface; no “Game of Thrones” here. I know who my true friends are, and that’s an incredible thing.
So the next time you are scratching your head at why some “legit silent professional” is talking trash about a fellow operator on his own blog, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook account, now you know why. Just don’t forget to ask them about the silent professional part. Ask them why they’re on social media where privacy is signed away in the use agreement if they truly subscribe to that mentality in the first place. I think you’ll find the biggest irony of all, is that most of the true haters have had their own blogs or tried to write a book once, they just didn’t have any success at it.
Jealously, envy, and misery fuels this type of behavior. Successful and happy people don’t have time to worry about tearing people down. What the professional haters also don’t realize, is that isn’t about them anymore, they don’t matter nor are they the audience.
And to all the haters out there, I’ll leave you with a nice rap from Ice Cube that sums it all up for you…
(Featured image courtesy of wired.com)