Add the title of Takeoff, a member of the favored rap trio Migos, to the ever-growing record of rappers, current and previous, tragically and violently killed.
The preliminary response to the Nov. 1, 2022, capturing demise of Takeoff, born Kirsnick Ball, was responsible rap music and hip hop tradition. Individuals who engaged in this sort of scapegoating argue that the violence and despairing hopelessness within the music are the reason for so many rappers dying.
Even inside hip hop tradition, the continued violent tragedies have led some artists, like Jim Jones and Fats Joe, to go as far as to say that rap is probably the most harmful occupation and rappers are an endangered species.
It is troubling. As Lupe Fiasco raps in “On Fake Nem,” “Rappers die an excessive amount of.”
However as a rap artist and scholar, I all the time really feel compelled to push again on the notion that the plague of American gun violence is exclusive to hip hop tradition or rap music. As a professor on the College of Virginia, I dwell in Charlottesville, a spot that has not too long ago been besieged by gun violence.
Like many locations throughout the nation, town has seen a rise in shootings, and on the evening of Nov. 13, 2022, the college campus was locked down for 12 hours, with college students, college and neighborhood members sheltering in place as police looked for a gunman who shot 5 individuals, killing three.
Throughout the lockdown and for days afterward, I endlessly scrolled social media for updates. My telephone chirped incessantly from textual content messages and the college’s emergency notifications.
I discovered myself frantically partaking in a ritual too acquainted to far too many Individuals of studying the texts and alerts and scrolling my telephone for information. A part of this ritual, too, was sending college students a message to allow them to know I am out there to speak or hear or attempt to reply questions. I shared the numbers and hyperlinks of the skilled counseling providers supplied by the college.
The lockdown was lifted Nov. 14, shortly after police arrested the suspect within the campus shootings. On the identical day, one other man was arrested in Charlottesville for “regarding and threatening social media posts” in opposition to the college. The person, a convicted felon, was arrested on a number of weapons fees and possession of a managed substance.
All-American sufferer blaming
Violence is the American ardour.
Gun violence is in every single place, on a regular basis, and as unpredictable as it’s predictable. We Individuals anyplace, together with on the College of Virginia, shouldn’t be stunned that it occurs right here so typically. But when we’re stunned, it is solely as a result of we’ve not been paying consideration. In line with the latest statistics, the US murder charge in 2020 was over seven instances higher than these of different industrialized economies, and weapons accounted for 80% of these homicides.
However when gun violence occurs to rappers, it is as if individuals imagine they can not be victims, too.
After every of the current deadly shootings of rappers, the dialog has predictably veered into blaming the sufferer.
Some stated 30-year-old Rakim Hasheem Allen, professionally often called PnB Rock, mustn’t have been sporting his jewellery within the Los Angeles restaurant the place he was robbed and killed in 2022.
Apparently, Adolph Thornton, Jr., 36, whose stage title was Younger Dolph, ought to have recognized higher than to return to his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, which had 346 killings in 2021, a file quantity.
Some believed the 2020 killing of 20-year-old Brooklyn drill rapper Pop Smoke, whose authorized title was Bashar Jackson, was a product of him unintentionally divulging an excessive amount of data on social media.
Some thought Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, who was 33 on the time of his demise, was lax on taking sufficient safety measures, which led to his being shot and killed in entrance of his Los Angeles clothes retailer in 2019.
Even after the horrific capturing of 27-year-old Megan Pete, professionally often called Megan Thee Stallion, who survived the incident, the informal condemnation of her – the sufferer – has clouded public dialog.
On Twitter, she took rappers to job for utilizing her violent assault for consideration. She implored them to cease utilizing her de ella capturing “for clout.”
Particularly, on his new album, “Her Loss,” Drake hints that she lied concerning the incident, rapping, “This b–ch lie ’bout getting photographs however she nonetheless a stallion.”
Cease utilizing my capturing for clout bitch ass Niggas! Since when tf is it cool to joke abt ladies getting shot ! You niggas particularly RAP NIGGAS ARE LAME! Able to boycott bout sneakers and garments however canine pile on a black girl when she say certainly one of y’all homeboys abused her
— TINA SNOW (@theestallion) November 4, 2022
An American plague
No matter their social environments or felony backgrounds, all of those younger rappers, 28-year-old Takeoff included, had been victims of a standard American destiny – gunfire.
Within the days earlier than Takeoff was killed, there have been 9 mass shootings within the US. A type of incidents throughout the Halloween weekend was a drive-by capturing close to a Chicago park the place youngsters had been trick-or-treating.
Blaming the violence that happens on rap musicians depends on a round logic: rap is responsible as a result of the one that was shot or murdered was a rapper.
The truth in America
All of America resides with the normalization of gun violence.
That does not cease politicians from making an attempt to tie occasions like the college capturing in Uvalde, Texas, or the mass capturing in Highland Park, Illinois, to rap.
You possibly can’t escape gun violence in America irrespective of your occupation or the place you hang around. You possibly can’t escape it in class. You possibly can’t escape it in church. You possibly can’t escape it in a synagogue.
You possibly can’t escape it in a park. You possibly can’t escape it in a grocery retailer. And even on the nation’s Capitol constructing. Wherever you go in America, even on campuses just like the College of Virginia, you may be a sufferer of gun violence.
Gun violence casts a perpetual shadow over the US, just like the star-spangled banner flying excessive within the sky. It ought to be a reminder that the victims of those tragedies, together with rappers whose lives are taken, are additionally threaded into the material of America.
This text is republished from The Dialog below a Artistic Commons license.