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Another Rapper Gets Shot But That Has Nothing To Do With Guns. It’s Art, Right?

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              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?

Is This A New Way To Reduce Gun Violence?

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              Want the best and most powerful statement made about gun violence since the Pandemic began?  Click this link, which will take you to YouTube, then sit back, watch, and listen to a video, ‘Shiny Gun,’ which was first recorded and released by the NoSuga group in 2002 and has just been released again.

              The storyline is very simple. A young man points a gun at his girlfriend believing the safety is on, pulls the trigger and she’s dead.  The NoSuga band wrote and recorded this piece when one night they heard about a fiend who has just committed suicide with a gun, and at the same moment saw a TV report about a young guy who had accidentally killed his girlfriend with a gun.

              The reason that this video is so powerful is not because of the story it tells. We read and hear about accidental shootings all the time. We also read and hear about intentional shootings all the time. Last night there was a shooting in Queens, NY which injured three people, one of them an eight year-old kid. Last week, between May 10th and May 16th, at least 47 people were shot in New York City, including a guy visiting the Big Apple from Ohio. He’ll have plenty to talk about when he gets home.

              What makes the ‘Shiny Gun’ video important is not what it says, buy who will be watching and listening to what it says. Folks my age don’t connect to rap. Folks my age don’t download videos.  Folks my age or even folks twenty or thirty years younger than me don’t subscribe to websites like HipHopDX.

              All that stuff is for the kids. And who do you think we’re talking about when we say that men who end up committing gun violence first had to get interested at some point in guns?

              Our friend Al Lizotte has published numerous papers which show that kids start paying attention to guns and carrying guns in their adolescent years. The gun-carrying behavior among adolescents is found more frequently in gang members, but the word ‘gang’ doesn’t just mean organized, national outfits like the Bloods and the Crips. It can also be a group of kids in a particular neighborhood who hang out together, maybe do a little bit of drug, maybe get into a little bit of trouble with the cops.

              Remember when Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, got in all kinds of trouble with the gun ‘rights’ gang when someone dug up a speech he gave to a bunch of Democratic women when he said that gun violence could be curbed if we would ‘brainwash’ kids about the danger and risks of guns?

You think that rap music doesn’t brainwash kids to want to carry a gun?  Try this video, which was made, incidentally, by a very famous rapper, Nipsey Hussle, who was later shot and killed outside of his clothing boutique in Beverly Hills. In fact, ‘Bullets Ain’t Got No Names’ was the video which launched his career, and when he was shot, many of the gun-control groups who spend all their time and your money complaining about gun violence, jumped on the bandwagon and lamented the loss of a young man who had ‘given back’ so much.

Sorry, I don’t buy it. I don’t think we should be lionizing or promoting anyone, dead or alive, who contributes to a culture which has been spreading the gospel of gun violence through the adolescent population for at least the last twenty years. We are now into at least the second generation of boys and young men whose behavior is responsible for just about every fatal and non-fatal gun assault that occurs every year.

These shooters didn’t learn about guns from listening to Luther Vandross or watching Sesame Street. But who knows? Maybe rap music will take a cue from the new release of ‘Shiny Gun’ and begin to brainwash kids the way they should learn about guns.

Print edition: Welcome To The NRA: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798505387108: Amazon.com: Books.

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