If you haven’t heard Atlanta rapper, Bankroll Fresh was shot and killed in an Atlanta studio Friday night. Since then members of the Atlanta Hip Hop community such as Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, T.I., and 2Chainz have shared their condolences. Hip Hop Heads, this is a story we all know too well. From Biggie and Tupac to Freaky Tah and Jam Master Jay, cold cases are somewhat of an indicator of a few things in our society. Yes, race plays a role in how the police department will go about handling your case. In major cities like NY, LA, Atlanta, and plenty of cities in the South the race of the victim holds a lot of weight and being a prominent member of the Hip Hop community is also a drawback for those attempting to solve a crime. In a lot of these Hip Hop cold cases the crime almost always happens at night resulting in less witnesses and an even lesser chance that there is a working camera in the vicinity of the crime that actually caught the crime on video. We know the history of police departments in this country and that too plays a role on how crimes are solved.
No matter how risky a job or career field may be people need income and will do what they have to do to feed their families. So just because a few Rappers get gunned down in cold blood doesn’t mean that young people won’t want to be an Emcee. There is no better way to remind a young Black man that they are second class citizens than to put the face of a “success” story on a R.I.P. t-shirt. Somewhere, there is a young Black man out there that was ready to get out the game and go straight but after learning about the murder of Bankroll Fresh they have come to the conclusion that they’re going to be murdered by 30 anyway so why not ball til they fall? In 2015 NY Rapper, Chinx was killed and in 2014 South Carolina 19 year-old Rapper, Speaker Knockerz was also found dead from an alleged heart attack.
We as the Hip Hop community need to provide support for the families of the deceased and their friends. (The people who actually knew them and not the performer) We need to support their coworkers in the game as a single tweet isn’t enough to give them peace in their time of grieving. The silencing of the lambs is a way to keep our community in line and in need. If we don’t have a visual of what success looks like then we model what we see in the community. I probably didn’t hear Speaker Knockerz’s “Lonely” until after his death which I literally found out about yesterday as it was the second anniversary of his death. We can’t let these young men’s memories be forgotten and granted the music they put out may not have been critically acclaimed they were able to support themselves and their families and make a living. Just because someone has a song on iTunes does not mean that they are rolling in the doe and just because someone is a member of a legendary Hip Hop group doesn’t mean that they carry enough money that’s worth them being robbed for. These people are someone’s child, someone’s parent, or someone’s sibling and people should respect their grind and get on theirs instead of looking for a quick come up because I’m sure if they were murdered in cold blood someone would miss them too.