Yesterday I received my weekly newsletter from The Trace, an online publication which says that it “investigates gun violence in America.” So much for what it says, okay?

              One of the stories in this week’s newsletter concerns the death of a rapper, Young Dolph, who was shot and killed on a street in Memphis, TN. Following a brief description of the shooting itself, The Trace then quoted a statement from the Mayor of Memphis, who said that Young Dolph’s death was a “another reminder of the pain that violent crime brings with it,”

              Isn’t that so touching? Isn’t that such a compassionate response of the mayor to yet another death from gun violence, in this case the death of a ‘deeply skilled’ musical artist, a quote lifted by The Trace from The New York Times.

              If The Trace wants to get serious about investigating gun violence, perhaps they might do a study of how rappers consciously promote guns and gun violence, rather than just lamenting how another contribution to American art and culture ends because some dope pulled out a gun and shot some other dope.

              Since March, 2019 at least four well-known rappers – Young Dolph, King Von, Pop Smoke, Nipsey Hussle – have all been shot and killed. Every, single one of these guys made lots of money by talking or rapping about guns.

Young Doplh – ‘100 Shots.’ “I told you fuck nigga stay out my way, but you didn’t listen. Big rock in my watch. And we put extensions in all of the Glocks.”

King Von – ‘Fuck Yo Man.’ “See, I’m a killer. But I got feelings. I catch you with him. I just might kill him.”

Pop Smoke – ‘Better Have Your Gun.’ “Disrespect the gang, better have your gun. Talk down on my name, better have your gun.”

Nipsey Hussle – ‘Bullets Ain’t Got No Name.’ “Why you niggas outside without no gun? You think this shit is a game? I’ll hop out gunnin’ and show you niggas I ain’t playin.’ Pull the trigger, shoot that nigga.”

              After Nipsey Hussle was killed, you would have thought that he was in some way an advertisement for gun control. Stevie Wonder showed up at his funeral and called for stricter gun laws. Various public officials went public in thanking Hussle for donating time and money to neighborhood anti-violence efforts. He even once marched in an anti-violence parade.

              You think the kids who get interested in guns in their early teens, then go out and get a gun in their later teens and then either get shot or shoot someone else with their gun before the age of 30 are at all aware of Nipsey Hussle’s commitment to neighborhood safety and peace? Are you serious?

              And these kids aren’t sitting around in some upper-class White neighborhood listening to rap and playing video shooting games. They are inner-city kids who have no trouble getting their hands on real guns.

              I once asked a bunch of inner-city kids, ages 14 – 17 who were in a youth jail for serious crimes (murder, arson) how difficult it was for them to get a gun. They laughed. Every, single one of them thought my question was very funny, okay?

              Want to accuse me of being a racist because I believe that Black kids who listen to rappers are more likely to want to commit violence with a gun? Want to accuse me of being against ‘free speech’ and ‘artistic freedom’ because I would like to see the recording and video industry exercise some self-control and stop glorifying guns?

              You go right ahead. Accuse me of being a racist and anti-artistic expression all you want. Meanwhile, yesterday at least eight African-American men and women between the ages of 16 and 35 were shot to death on various streets in various American cities, according to the Gun Violence Archive.  

              That’s a pretty slow weekend so far, don’t you think?