It ain't a dumb joke, listen to this young folk
Cause where I'm from -- you can choke from the gunsmoke
What Big L is talking about isn’t fiction. He targets this song at young teens, who may have potential, that are contemplating to start living a life of crime.
Big L says that “you can choke from the gunsmoke”, meaning that a lot of bullets have been fired making his area extremely dangerous, in a literal sense so many bullets have been fired that all the gun-smoke caused is bad for one’s lungs resulting in coughing lungs.
Additionally, he may be meaning that the youth can literally choke from the tension and pressure of his neigborhood or they can literally be shot in the lung gasping for air as they die.
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