This weekend is the forty-first birthday of one of Hip Hop’s greatest emcees who lost their life to gun violence, Big L. There are always a lot of ‘ifs’ in Hip Hop when it comes to artists who’ve passed on too soon but if Big L hadn’t been killed I’m not sure if Jay Z or Nas would have gotten that push from the streets to get them to where they are now. People say the game wouldn’t be what it is now if Biggie and Pac were still here. Would you like Eminem if Big Pun was still alive? There are too many what ifs to look into so I’ll just leave those there for debate over weekend but recently another Rapper, Chinx, was gunned down in the streets just like a lot of our fallen Hip Hop Soldiers. Jam Master Jay was shot and killed just like Freaky Tah, Biggie, Tupac, and Scott La Rock. Some of these murders have gone unsolved while some of the others have included arrests but suspects were later acquitted or released.
Although some of the deaths were prior to 2006 their names still hold weight in Hip Hop. Now fast forward to 2015 where most Rappers are about having fun and fashion. There may be a disagreement every once in a while but nothing major sparked off like it did in the nineties. With social media and the increase in cameras and paparazzi who would want to be caught doing some of the things that went down back in the day? There have been plenty of altercations go down *cough* (Hot97) but there’s no video. There are things that go down now where video doesn’t immediately surface but may come to light later on. Not too long ago Lil Wayne had his tour bus shot at by who we now know to be Young Thug’s manager. We are going to look at the bare bones of this situation and the effect of violence within Rap music.
Let’s start off with the what-if, what if Young Thug’s manager had been successful in killing Lil Wayne how would that have gone over? Would the police even care and leave it unsolved? Probably the only reason we know who did it is because there were no casualties. How much money would Birdman have made if Wayne had been killed? Wayne’s music would have crashed iTunes with all the downloads people would’ve been doing. Baby could come out and say ‘even though we disagreed I still loved like a son’? People would have looked at Birdman with a serious side eye of suspicion. Promises of Birdman taking care of Wayne’s family would have been broken and the finger pointing would ensue. Wayne would have left a great legacy and I guarantee Birdman would have released ‘Carter 5’ posthumously. Birdman would have turned into the 2015 Suge Knight because nobody would believe him not having played a part in the shooting. Reminder this is all hypothetical. Baby probably could have hit billionaire status with the death of Wayne having Young Thug take his spot and release ‘Carter 6’. This is no illuminati this is just a bunch of greedy and selfish people willing to kill someone for some bread.
Newsflash, you are not in the streets anymore! You are grown men with families! Grow up! Birdman stays with his business mindset on at all times. Even when he’s talking to Wayne, Thug, or whoever every move is a business move. We cannot keep losing talent to gun violence when some of the artists are felons and shouldn’t have them or be around them in the first place. Besides Big Pun all of the people mentioned at the beginning were gunned down over jealousy and envy. This is why Hip Hop needs to get active in politics and lobbying so we can do something about our environment and keep ourselves and the future of Rap music safe. Remember, the only people that get harassed about what they put in their lyrics is us!