The hip-hop industry has witnessed a tremendous spike in violence over the past year. The Black community has lost too many talented individuals due to gun violence.
The death of the influential rapper, activist and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle devastated many people when news began to spread of his death. I recall the report vividly because I was at dinner with a few friends celebrating my birthday.
The Grammy-nominated rapper was pronounced dead on March 31, 2019, at a Los Angeles hospital.
Nipsey was murdered in a shooting outside of his clothing store, Marathon Clothing. The loss was extremely heavy for a lot of us.
The killer was captured and it instantly saddened me that it was another man of color. There were several theories speculating that the senseless murder took place as a result of envy and hate.
Additionally, earlier this year in February as I was returning home from a cruise I was updated about the killing of a popular upcoming rapper named Pop Smoke.
He was shot and killed Feb. 19 in his Los Angeles home by a group of five Black males. Not many details were released about the 20 year old’s murder.
Pop Smoke was expected to release his debut album prior to his death.
His record label was successful in delivering the album for his fans. I was highly impressed with the production and art of his music. I became a fan. The posthumous album has now been certified platinum.
I struggle to comprehend why such a young artist was violated and slaughtered in his own home. Everyone else seemed to be suffering once again from another sudden loss. However, no one wanted to address the issue head-on.
I would often see excuses pertaining to the matter. Statements such as, “That is what comes with the lifestyle of being a rapper.” I was not willing to accept that explanation.
Furthermore, on Nov. 6, reports were released regarding the death of Chicago rapper King Von. The up-and-comer died in an Atlanta shooting that included three others outside of Monaco Hookah Lounge.
King Von was only 26 years old. He left behind three children.
Social media appeared more vocal about this killing due to the recording going viral. We all watched him in the last moments of his life being shot on video.
It was painful to watch. I didn’t want to remember him like that but the video repeatedly played in my mind.
As I continued to mourn, a few celebrities were stepping up and speaking out about the killings that had been occurring between rappers.
There appeared to be a lot of controversy around the topic and I was confused about why? How could our community not want to discuss the root of this issue so that we can heal and evolve?
It is clear that this isn’t a subject that the Black community is ready to discuss with transparency and full honesty.
I truly believe that the lyrics these rappers speak have become death spells and curses. The lyrics too often are dark, violent and relate to death.
For the sake of the youth and next generation I hope that there will be some shift. Music can still be aesthetically pleasing while promoting positivity, unity and life.