Rappers making songs admitting to crimes they’ve committed, even murder is nothing new. Social media however, has taken these darker elements of the hip hop industry and amplified them. With the recent murder of King Von, adding to the growing list of rappers killed and shot in 2020, I can see a pattern of horrific behaviour within the industry which is largely ignored by the media. That’s the ridiculing of the murder victims. It’s one thing to tell a story about death and violence but the mockery is an added vicious element to the heinous crimes being committed. When violence happens and people die, it’s a sad thing, but the cyclical nature of the violence is what makes it even worse. The world is filled with underprivileged kids, lacking confidence, growing up in poor environments where crime is rife. The ‘hood’ gives an artistic way out to these kids through rap, which captures the depraved lifestyle many were growing up in.
Growing up, I enjoyed this about hip hop music, and latched onto it, first through radio, then CD’s then MTV but there was always a buffer between me and the entertainment world which was time. That time buffer has now been completely eradicated by social media and the god like speed of technology. People are addicted. Kids are addicted. Adults are addicted, it’s unbelievable how fast the spread of information has reached the crevices of the world. Now that same kid, who thirty years ago would be able to watch the videos of their favourite artists for maybe an hour total a day, can now have the videos, music and be part of real time conversations with their beloved artists 24/7. Phones are cheap, internet is everywhere and the artists play up to the media outlets to try and keep your attention. This is what’s changed in the world and not just in the Hip Hop world.
How has it become cool to mock your anybody’s death online. Ancient warrior code has often been the foundation for all aspects of protective nature. Seen from the Mafia code to the principles of old school hip hop, honour & respect are staples of certain aspects of society. Right now, these codes and principles have been eradicated from mainstream hip hop, with money being the motivating factor driving the music. It doesn’t matter if you laugh at dead people, shoot people or abuse women, if you have enough money you can do what you want. Popular mainstream artists collaborate with artists who carry out evil behaviour, and they all get a pass. I’m not sure where this started but I know that the gang life is merging seamlessly with the media world and it’s getting difficult to tell where one starts and the other begins.
Rap artists are making large amounts of money, doing tours and concerts whilst rapping about killing other men. Rappers will give specific details about killing someone and make fun of the families and friends experiencing loss, all posted on social media. Some people will be outraged and comment about how fucked up it is, and the media will support them. The rappers will then sell records, published and marketed by major corporations and everybody profits, whilst families weep What we once thought of as normal has disappeared down the drain because this is literally hell for some people. Mothers who will always see their sons as innocent, and some actually are, have to re-endure the suffering being shared across social media. Your son gets shot/stabbed/beaten to death in brutal circumstances, and then the video is spread throughout the world for everyone to see and have an opinion on. What was once a private mortality issue, becomes a media spectacle for people to drop their opinions on and then move on.
What scares me the most is, as a thirty year old who doesn’t come from that world I’m just as fascinated by it as everyone else. I recognise that I have become desensitised to the violence seen on the internet and I’m unsure of the subconscious damage that it does. Especially considering I look to sought it out a lot of the time, getting wrapped up temporarily with the madness of rappers lives. Some of the music is good, and many of the rap artist involved are talented, but the savage nature of their lives adds an extra enticing dimension to the art. They don’t seem like real people. Covered in jewels, portraying wealthy lifestyles with the typical cars, girls clothes etc, but at the same time they shoot at each other in the street. I know some of it is fake, but just like WWF wrestling the pandemonium is enthralling. When this was happening and the rappers weren’t successful it was being condemned by everyone. In the 90’s people warned about the foulness of the music industry, particularly the rap industry with the contracts, lies and major label corruption. The whole world was shocked when Tupac got shot, and then Biggie got shot and it changed the way we saw the rap industry forever. Realness became respected and the thirst to install fear became infectious with everyone wanting to showcase how tough they are because it made money.
Now rappers openly talk about summoning demonic spirits and measure themselves on the scales of evil and people buy, support and the music sells. Rap is absurdly protected by black. No other music sector in the world profits from overtly showcasing negativity. It does occur in movies however but we all know movie’s are make believe. If Brad Pitt and Edward Norton were street fighting every weekend, robbing jewellers and show boating on Instagram the industry would shun them. Imagine Robert Deniro and Joe Pesci smoking a spliff and laughing on instagram about how a fellow actor was cornered and shot to death on the street. Then 3 weeks later, Universal pictures announces that Deniro and Pesci are going to be starring together in a movie about a man getting shot and killed in the street. It would be sickening, yet in the rap industry and amongst black people the world accepts this as normal as long as it makes money.