They're Killing Hip-Hop With Murder

Scott Hammond

Proof of  D12
Back in the mid 1990s, two of hip-hop's most influencial soldiers lost their lives in what turned out to be the most murderous rivalry ever between east and west coast American artists. But what has everyone learned from the demise of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace aka the Notorious BIG? Not much it would seem as in this year alone saddened fans have witnessed the fatal shooting of D12's Proof and more recently Philant Johnson, a close buddy of T.I.

These senseless and inhumane acts of violence were seen as 'glamorous' and indeed cemented rappers like Wallace and Shakur into the relms of hip hop history as the high priests of 'gangsta rap'. But what will it do for artists like Proof? Sure he was talented and I am in no doubt that he will be missed by his friends and family, but at the risk of sounding unpopular, what will his legacy in hip hop be?

This is just another futile case of artists leaving us before their peek and it's a damn shame. It is this type of mindless behaviour that is sticking the knife into the heart of hip hop music and bleeding it dry. In Britain, leading members of the chart-topping So Solid crew seemed hell-bent on following their fellow US performers down the self-destructive spiral of gun violence. In April, top US rapper Snoop Dogg and a 30-strong entourage made headlines after they had a violent clash with police at a Heathrow airport departure lounge in London. Snoop and five of his burly minders were arrested.

R.I.P Proof and all of the fallen talents of the past decade. As a dedicated disciple, I desperately hope that artists can start picking up the mics and putting down the guns to save hip hop from an apparent death wish.


5 Responses to "They're Killing Hip-Hop With Murder"


Thu, 05/18/2006 - 23:49
The death of hip-hop or at least the type of poisonous garbage exported from America that permeates and contaminates the minds of youngsters worldwide is not something I and I’m sure many others would shed any tears about. The glorification of guns, gangster activity and misogyny is passed off as an acceptable reflection of authentic ghetto life in the US. Tupac Shakur died trying to ‘keep it real’-unable or unwilling to break free from the gangland associations of his life before he achieved international success. Hip-hop artist 50 ‘I’ve been shot 9 times ‘Cent has built his reputation as a hardcore rapper on the back of a criminal past. Fortunately, the UK music industry rebuffs attempts by our performers to indulge their own ‘get rich or die trying’ fantasy and rewards, for example, singers like Ms Dynamite (in 2002) with the prestigious Mercury Prize for her positive lyrics. The unwillingness of proprietors in the UK to feature acts at their music venues who have a connection with gun violence will hopefully assist in breaking the self-destructive, life destroying cycle that hip-hop generates.

Ms Serwah

Sun, 05/28/2006 - 23:22
We need to support artists who put out music with positive and uplifting lyrics, and also put our hands in our pockets and buy their music. The Don't Trigger Anti-Gun campaign 'Why?' CD was brilliant. Unfortunately it was not very well supported. The CD was not stocked at some HMV shops. According to the retail chain, this was because people were not buying it.  I had to be pro-active and place orders at Brent Cross and other branches anytime I wanted to buy copies. Let's support positive music.


Wed, 05/24/2006 - 17:32
<p><strong>Guardian's Joe Harker writes:</strong></p><p>Black culture has been bought into by White entertainment executives, repackaged to make it look sexy, dangerous and exciting to the mass market (i.e. White teenagers) and then pumped back through our TV screens. We're told what 'real' Black people do: deal drugs and shoot anyone who crosses them, which leads to the teenage dream life (sex with lots of girls, fast cars). Is it any wonder so many may then aspire to this, rather than being, say, a bank clerk or retail manager? White kids, meanwhile, may love the idea of this lifestyle. It may lead to some rebellious behaviour. But ultimately&nbsp; they know it's not for them - that when they grow up, they'll be back in mainstream society. Black youngsters are told, however, that 'reality' is on the street, living eternally in the ghetto. Some say that it is up to Black people to stop it. But how exactly? We do not have the means to prevent these distorted and corrupting images being beamed around the world. Yes, the artists are Black. But the decisions are made by top executives in the music business who will sell anything that makes a fast buck. Their own racist depiction of Black people as street thugs leads them to excuse the violent, expletive-ridden language, the derogatory depiction of Black women, and, as with some reggae stars, the hate-filled anti-gay lyrics. It's about time the music industry signed up to Corporate Responsibily. Even McDonald's now seem embarrassed by films pointing out that burgers and fries make you fat.<br /></p>


Tue, 06/06/2006 - 13:06
<p>Can I ask where it is that you get off pigeon-holing black culture in todays society? You stated that we are told via our TV screens&nbsp;that 'real' black people do drugs, and shoot anyone who crosses them. Where? What TV channels are you watching? The fact of the matter is this. I am not ignorant enough to believe that black culture has not had an impact on society because it has had a massive impact. But have you ever listened to some of the lyrics on some of Eminem's latter work? Okay some of his songs do make derogatory remarks towards women and gays but if you notice, the songs that he has released into the market have had real meaning. For example, 'Toy Soldiers' and 'Mokingbird' are two beautifully written songs which make all the sense in the world. Now I know that this is only one example, but if young people were to take as much from rap music as your making out, I think it's safe to say that they are listening. As a rap fan myself, I have come to the assumption in this day and age that I am more interested in listening to rap artists who personalise their songs because it brings out a deeper meaning than just about how this 'bitch' and that 'hoe' belong to them. In response to your part about reggae stars and their hatred for the gay community, I cannot defend them in any way, although I know of whom you speak. Artists such as 'Beenie Man' and 'Elephant Man' are all associated with anti-gay lyrics, all I can say to that is because of their strong beliefs they obviously do not believe in same sex relationships. But I hope that's cleared a few things up for you, if you have anything else to say on the matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. </p>
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contribs editor

Sun, 05/28/2006 - 00:34
<p> The head of a government taskforce on school discipline has made a rallying cry for parents and schools to ban children from listening to &quot;offensive and horrible&quot; sexist and racist&nbsp; rap music lyrics.&nbsp; Sir Alan Steer was appointed by Tony Blair last year to examine initiatives to improve poor pupil behaviour. Poignantly, he is also the headteacher of Seven Kings high school near Ilford, Essex, where 15 year old Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death last week.&nbsp; Sir Alan believes that&nbsp; parents and schools have an&nbsp; unarguable duty to make it clear to youngsters that the messages of rap music are unacceptable. He said: &quot;If schools and parents are not promoting a particular morality, then they must expect children to absorb someone else's&quot;. <br /></p>