Add the identify of Takeoff, a member of the favored rap trio Migos, to the ever-growing listing of rappers, latest and previous, tragically and violently killed.
The preliminary response to the Nov. 1, 2022, taking pictures loss of life of Takeoff, born Kirsnick Ball, was accountable rap music and hip hop tradition. Individuals who engaged in this type 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’s troubling. As Lupe Fiasco raps in “On Fake Nem,” “Rappers die an excessive amount of.”
However as a rap artist and scholar, I at all times 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 lately been besieged by gun violence.
Like many locations throughout the nation, the town has seen a rise in shootings, and on the night time of Nov. 13, 2022, the college campus was locked down for 12 hours, with college students, school and group 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 cellphone incessantly chirped from textual content messages and the college’s emergency notifications.
I discovered myself frantically partaking in a ritual too acquainted to far too many People of studying the texts and alerts and scrolling my cellphone for information. A part of this ritual, too, was sending college students a message to allow them to know I’m accessible to speak or pay attention or attempt to reply questions. I shared the numbers and hyperlinks of the skilled counseling providers provided 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 costs and possession of a managed substance.
All-American sufferer blaming
Violence is the American pastime.
Gun violence is all over the place, on a regular basis, and as unpredictable as it’s predictable. We People anyplace, together with on the College of Virginia, shouldn’t be shocked that it occurs right here so typically. But when we’re shocked, it’s solely as a result of we haven’t been paying consideration. In keeping with the newest statistics, the U.S. murder fee 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’s as if individuals consider they will’t be victims, too.
After every of the latest deadly shootings of rappers, the dialog has predictably veered into blaming the sufferer.
Some mentioned 30-year-old Rakim Hasheem Allen, professionally generally known as PnB Rock, shouldn’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 identify was Younger Dolph, ought to have recognized higher than to return to his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, which had 346 killings in 2021, a document quantity.
Some believed the 2020 killing of 20-year-old Brooklyn drill rapper Pop Smoke, whose authorized identify was Bashar Jackson, was a product of him unintentionally divulging an excessive amount of info on social media.
Some thought Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, who was 33 on the time of his loss of life, was lax on taking enough safety measures, which led to his being shot and killed in entrance of his Los Angeles clothes retailer in 2019.
Even after the horrific taking pictures of 27-year-old Megan Pete, professionally generally known as Megan Thee Stallion, who survived the incident, the informal condemnation of her – the sufferer – has clouded public dialog.
On Twitter, she took rappers to process for utilizing her violent assault for consideration. She implored them to cease utilizing her taking pictures “for clout.”
Particularly, on his new album, “Her Loss,” Drake insinuates that she lied in regards to the incident, rapping, “This b–ch lie ‘bout getting pictures however she nonetheless a stallion.”
An American plague
No matter their social environments or legal backgrounds, all of those younger rappers, 28-year-old Takeoff included, have been victims of a typical American destiny – gunfire.
Within the days earlier than Takeoff was killed, there have been 9 mass shootings within the U.S.. A kind of incidents throughout the Halloween weekend was a drive-by taking pictures close to a Chicago park the place kids have been trick-or-treating.
Blaming the violence that happens on rap musicians depends on a round logic: rap is accountable as a result of the one that was shot or murdered was a rapper.
The fact in America
All of America resides with the normalization of gun violence.
That doesn’t cease politicians from trying to tie occasions like the college taking pictures in Uvalde, Texas, or the mass taking pictures in Highland Park, Illinois, to rap.
You may’t escape gun violence in America regardless of your occupation or the place you hang around. You may’t escape it at school. You may’t escape it in church. You may’t escape it in a synagogue.
You may’t escape it in a park. You may’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 is likely to be a sufferer of gun violence.
Gun violence casts a perpetual shadow over the U.S., just like the star-spangled banner flying excessive within the sky. It needs 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.
A.D. Carson, Assistant Professor of Hip-Hop, College of Virginia
This text is republished from The Dialog underneath a Artistic Commons license. Learn the unique article.