Chris Brown's fight with Frank Ocean could end up violating his probation. While it's a laughable cliché that the mainstream media often confuses R&B singers with rappers, they could be given a pass in the case of Chris Brown—much like a few troubled MCs, he's managed to violate his probation by making some pretty stupid mistakes.

Let's be real: The U.S. prison system is...not the best. It's systemically biased, particularly against minorities. Non-violent convictions have put huge numbers of reasonably harmless "felons" behind bars. Rape in jail has been normalized; society looks the other way or makes jokes about it. The conditions are unsanitary, and, in certain states, a life sentence is not-so-secretly a death sentence.

It's a messed-up situation, and the odds are stacked against young men from disadvantaged neighborhoods. But sometimes, people just do dumb stuff, and while prison remains hugely problematic for our culture, it's really hard to understand why certain people choose to make certain decisions, knowing probation looms over them.

In some cases it's costs rappers years of their lives. In others, it's obvious that addiction was a driving force behind their bad decision making—but bad decision making it remains.

Written by David Drake (@somanyshrimp)

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