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Murdered While Rapping


   Since the beginning, the Hip-Hop community has had its share of untimely deaths and all too often those deaths are murders of young people in the Hip Hop community. The latest murder was of a young 20-year-old up and coming rap artist Jahseh Onfroy aka.

XXXTentacion as he was known to his fans. His death was something that started me thinking about the amount of violence in Hip Hop and people take the gangster role to heart. When in fact Hip Hop is just music just like an action movie is just a movie; something we do for entertainment. What in the world is prompting people making music to act out what’s being said in the music in ways rarely seen in other genres of music?


  I don’t believe Hip Hop music is any more violent than the latest Hollywood action flick, yet the young people making the music are being murdered at an alarming rate. I mean, everyone knows Al Pacino plays the infamous Tony Montana in the 1983 movie Scarface. The movie was extremely graphic with lots of violence yet we didn’t see anyone gunning for Al Pacino after the film debuted. For the most part, people understand that Al Pacino and Denzel Washington are actors playing the role of the bad guy in a make-believe world.  In Hip Hop there seems to be a huge disconnect between what’s real and what’s fake. I wonder why Hip Hop artist aren’t seen as entertainers like any other group of entertainers.


   I personally didn’t listen to

XXXTentacion’s music but from what I have heard and seen he had lots of influence with his peer group. While XXX was not as big as Tupac or Biggie he did make an impact on millions of fans. However, just like Tupac, Biggie, Big L, Scott La Rock and so many others, he is another young rapper lost to gun violence. At some point, we have got to give young people a proper understanding of why Hip Hop was created in the first place. Hip Hop was the independent movement by inner-city youth who wanted a future without violence and murder. They came up with Hip Hop as a means to end violence in black and brown communities of America. Yet here we are today steeped in negativity, hatred and violence.


   The culture was born to liberate young people from the woes of society and the death traps in the streets. I often wonder how the founders of Hip Hop view these incidents of violence that destroy the true meaning of Hip Hop which they helped to create. What would DJ Kool Herc one of the leading pioneers of Hip Hop have to say to this generation of artist? I can’t imagine him being happy about where Hip Hop has been over the last 25 years or so. The music used to be very diverse with rappers speaking on a number of topics including street life. Back then the rappers told the stories as warnings or cautionary tales to give people thinking of following the street life something to think about.


   Not saying this generation is any more lost than was my own but I feel their lack of understanding of what Hip Hop is, has allowed them to be lead astray by the music industry. In the good old days of Hip Hop even west coast power group N.W.A. started out wanting to kill the dope dealer but nowadays it seems anyone want to live the dope boi-life. Even some pro athletes want to put forth an image of the bad man on the block. This whole thing has gotten totally out of hand and I wonder if it’s too late to pull Hip Hop back from the edge of destruction. Now back to XXX, I surely hope this is the last young entertainer lost to senseless violence. In fact,


   I hope his death sparks a movement to end inner-city violence and make the world safer for all of our young people. As of late in America, black men and women have been under attack. Our young people are being murdered for driven while black, walking while back, selling cigarettes while black, selling CDs while black and any of the other silly reasons society has been given as a cause to murder black youth. When will we say enough is enough and how long will we sit on the sideline while our future is ripped away from us. We need to do something now before all is lost.


           People are murdered in this country every day for a number of reasons but there no good reason why so many have to die. I surely hope that XXX’s parent’s family and friends can find some peace in the coming years even though you never really recover from something like this. My thoughts and prayers are with XXXTentacion’s loved ones at this time. I didn’t know the young man but I feel his life needs to mean something and no one should be murdered for being successful and trying to escape the hell-holes of America. Most certainly no one should murder for rapping while black. For the good of our people and the Hip Hop community, let’s work together to end violence in our communities.

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Sengbe Ben Yosef

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