The reaaaal tragedy is that Tragedy Khadafi literally exploded onto the conscious hip-hop map when I was in grade school. His debut record, 1990’s Marley Marl-produced Intelligent Hoodlum on A&M, made a serious dent in the burgeoning politically charged rap genre. I was the baddest kid on the block when I brought this gem back into my suburban neighborhood. Trag, fresh off serving twenty months at Riker’s Island for robbery, dealt with the disasters that he faced on his streets daily as well as corruption in politics and racism on a national level. Nearly 15 years later, Khadafi’s platform has changed slightly, as to perpetuate some sort of bloodthirsty John Gotti imagery: “Fall back / Have you talking out the side of your neck / Fall back / Don’t play with your life like that / Coward asses get killed like that.” Petty thuggery has taken priority over his former straight street chronicles, and what used to set Trag apart from most other emcees seems to have all but disappeared. He’s still a master in his game. But I would have rather seen him drop the “hoodlum” and keep the “intelligent.” Instead we have sweet R&B-laced beats backing rather gruesome and typical gangsta verse. Bring back “Arrest the President” Trag; this gangsta stuff is soooo 2003.