Hip Hop and Guns
The parallel between Hip-hop and violence has become increasingly synergistic in the past few decades. Hip-hop originally started off as a form of a new religion thanks to Africa Bambatta. The idea behind the lyrics and music was not violent, but inspiring in nature. He used his group called the Zulu Nation to educate young black men in his crime-ridden neighborhood about themselves. He taught them about their roots and how important it was to know that his ancestors were Kings and Queens and not just victims of the Politics of Abandonment. Bambatta used the DJ’s, B Boys, MC’s and Graphitti artists as his personal army that spread this reinforcing idea that we should not be killing ourselves and our neighborhood but uniting as powerful minority group that could not be annoyed.
To me, this was the golden age of Hip-hop. It was more about celebration and liberation. Fast-forward 30 years and the rules of the game have changed. You could argue that the game has changed entirely. I recall a video I watched entitled “Negroes with Guns”. It depicted how African Americans did not have many alternatives for self-defense when it came to the protection of their families from terror groups such as the KKK or even the local Sheriff and Deputies. Who do you call when the members of the local Fire Department are the ones burning down your house? The Winchester rifle held a place of honor in every black home. It was not used to intimidate or kill other black men, but to protect the home. In fact the black men of the community in many instances would join together and protect their community from hostile white terror groups.
In today’s Hip-hop world, we see an influx of hostility between black males. There is a black on black violence epidemic that is unavoidable to the naked eye. Instead of black men joining together and utilizing guns to preserve our community, they are being used to destroy our communities. It is almost impossible to listen to a mainstream rap artist that is not talking about violence but particularly, gun violence against other black men. How did this come to be? And the buck doesn’t stop at the artist because so many black youth share the him or me mentality. Why is the aggression placed on other black men when the very people that abandoned your neighborhood and pollute the airways have on suits, live in multimillion-dollar condos, and don’t look remotely like the ones dying on the street everyday. How did this seismic shift occur and who is to blame?