Featured Story, Hustling & Hip-Hop

Blame it on the System

blame it on the systemThroughout history there has been countless movements that swept through the world making an impact. Movements that are deep-rooted and stemmed from a progression of actions and events that developing over a period of time invoking change and even revolution.

YNT Incarcerated is just such a movement, one built on solid principles and firm ground. That is because the movement’s core representatives are all incarcerated.

Tea Mack, one of the founders of YNT Incarcerated has been incarcerated going on two decades. He has found a group of men with unlimited skills and talents, men that society has totally ignored. Due to this, he has created an innovative platform designed to let society see and feel the positive impact of these men’s creative talents.

The men of YNT Incarcerated refuse to view their incarceration as confinement, (as the Webster Dictionary defines incarceration.) They view their incarceration as a learning experience, and from their unique and individual experiences, they’ve found the strength to unite as one.

Gorilla Convict sat down with Tea Mack to talk about where he’s from, what he’s doing, and the positive and productive changes he and YNT Incarcerated has made from inside of prison walls. This is the exclusive interview, enough said.

Tell everybody what city you’re representing?

You already know its “Chi Life, My Life” but 4-real bruh, the entire earth is ray turf and YNT Incarcerated is representing incarcerated men and women worldwide.

Why are you incarcerated, and how long have you been incarcerated?

In 1998 I was indicted on charges of conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping. I went to trial, was found guilty at trial and I was sentenced to a thirty year sentence that I’m currently approaching my sixteenth year.

What led you to living a life of crime?

I would have to say that it was a combination of the poverty that I was born into and my lack of knowledge most importantly.

How has being in federal prison all these years affected you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

With sixteen years under my belt I can honestly say that prison was the best thing that happened to me. The reason being, it literally tore me away from the false ideas, people and things that I had not the strength to tear myself from that had become my false reality.

What kind of mind-set must a person develop to deal with the daily rigors of prison life?

The mind-set of an extreme realist, who sees and accepts things as they are, and not as our emotions often paint them to appear has been the frame of mind that has carried me through some of most challenging moments during this journey.

Discuss your views on the one size fits all federal mandatory minimum sentences?

It’s become increasingly obvious that the mandatory sentencing practices of the federal government were designed to terrorize the black, brown and poor-whites of this nation. But fortunately, over the last decade we’ve been witnessing a gradual change. Nevertheless I look forward to the complete dismantling of these destructive sentencing policies.

What’s your position on grown men serving extremely long prison sentences running around horse-playing, chasing each other like children?

Now that’s a sad but true reality that I’m glad you’ve touched on, because it’s truly an embarrassing picture for our family and supporters to imagine. And it disrespects anybody who’s out there fighting for prison reform on our behalf.

What are your views on seeing so many black men spending the majority of their sentences playing sports, table games and watching television?

Well, after spending so many years inside the system, I’ve gained a genuine respect for the many different ways that men use to get through their ordeal. But with all due respect what I would do is strongly urge them to get better at channeling their energies in those directions that give them the greatest return on those days of their precious lives spent inside a prison.

What’s life really like growing up in Chicago?

Competitive would have to be the one word that sums Chicago up for me. Everything is fast and in your face. But on the
flip-side, being accustomed to that kind of pressure on a daily basis prepares Chicagoans to be able to survive in some of the most challenging environments in the world.

It has been reported that 75 percent of the citizens in Chicago has some form of affiliation with street organizations. Are you affiliated?

Ain’t no question – me, I joined Mr. Walter Wheat’s [Four Corner Hustlers] at 12-years-old, and I’ve been a [4CH] for 28 years. Now as a veteran member, I was motivated to bring some sort of positive and productive energy to the organization with my books and the YNT Incarcerated movement as a token of my appreciation for Walter Wheat being there for me when no one in the State of Illinois, or the world for that matter cared if I lived or died. And for that I’ll be a [4] until the world blows!

Would you please set the record straight concerning the reports about the gang violence occurring in Chicago?

The reports of violence are true and absolutely embarrassing for older brothers like myself. And as a solution, myself and several men throughout the system have joined forces for the creation of our up-coming project titled 21 Messages 2 Tha Streetz. And with this book we intend to reach those youth like the ones in Chicago who have been persistent with the violence.

What advice can you give to your young brothers and sisters that would help them unite and stop killing each other?

My message would be, to let’s not continue being puppets on a string killing one another, when it’s our unity that holds the solution to all of our problems in the first place.

turkOk, let’s get down to business and discuss {YNT Incarcerated}. What does YNT Incarcerated mean?

YNT is an acronym for Young-N-Thuggin, and it’s Hot Boy Turk’s signature brand. He and I linked up shortly after he arrived at Forrest City, Arkansas’s federal prison and we quickly vibed. Through our connection we were able to complete his autobiography and screenplay for his biopic. Impressed with what we accomplished, Turk expressed his desire to do something for the rest of the incarcerated community. And just like that the idea for an YNT Incarcerated Magazine was born.

Can anybody incarcerated be a representative for YNT Incarcerated? If not, what are the qualifications?

Everybody interested in supporting us by purchasing any of our products/merchandise, or by providing donations they’re welcomed. But in order to become one of our (representatives) individuals with that potential will have to be thoroughly interviewed by our staff.

The streets and social media are talking about Blame It On The System. What’s the concept behind Blame It On The System?

The concept is exactly what it is – it’s us making mockery of the government and its reckless and broken system. What we’re saying is, since the government is gonna continue to fuel this now obvious destructive system of mass incarceration. What we’re about to start doing is calling for convicts nation-wide to unite with us as we work to single-handedly dismantle this system by becoming economically conscious and productive.

tea-mack1I read your book Chi Life, My Life – Don’t Get It Twisted it’s a great read, vividly detailing the Chicago lifestyle. I strongly recommend that people read it. How can your book be purchased?

Currently it’s available at Amazon.com

What made you start writing books?

I started off just searching for a way to keep my mind from getting burnt-out from all the frivolousness of prison life. Then as I began to reflect on my young life, and recording certain events the whole process became therapeutic.

What other projects have you completed, or are currently working on?

Well, like I said there’s our highly anticipated 21 Messages 2 Tha Streetz, there’s also our next book In Prison With The Rapper T.I., then of course Turk’s autobiography Autothugography, his biopic Reckless, and the follow-up film Khaki Suits.

What does the future hold for YNT Incarcerated?

Well, with Turk recently securing a label deal with J-Prince and Rap-A-Lot Records, YNT Inc. has finally gotten some muscle behind it. So I’ll just say that the future for YNT Incarcerated looks bright!

Thank you, Tea Mack it has been as honor and a pleasure. Is there anything else you would like to add?

You’re welcome Fam and I just want to remind everybody to check out our latest YNT Incarcerated (flicks) on Instagram @Turk_Emani, and don’t forget to grab a copy of Chi Life, My Life at Amazon.Com.