“Clack clack pow, now he runnin’, ain’t nobody f*****g with my youngin’s.”
RapGenius.com translation: Don’t mess with my friends or I’ll shoot you.
Violence has always been a problem in our city, and although the murder rates are the lowest they’ve been in years, Chicago has still seen almost 2,000 shootings and 300 caskets in 2014.
However, what has changed is the music scene and its attitude toward violence. A new wave of rap music called “Drill” has taken over the rap charts, and its prominence could be hurting our city.
For the most part, rappers have always talked about violence, and that’s something that we as a society have been able to get used to, and even enjoy.
On the other hand, Drill music doesn’t mourn lost friends or challenge gun violence, like other rap artists have done. Instead, the belligerent lyrics seem to glorify killing, playing it off as a simple solution to almost any problem.
Chief Keef, one of the initial proprietors of Drill, is from the South Side, where he was brought up on violence, and his gang-populated neighborhood pushed him into the “drill mentality” early.
Here’s the thing: the seemingly casual murders and drug usage communicated through these lyrics are serious problems in themselves that are being ignored, and that’s not okay.
However, what’s worse is the fact that because Drill music has become so popular, it almost make it seem like everything that’s going on in these neighborhoods is ok. The mentality is that the people experiencing these almost daily tragedies really don’t give a damn about what goes on in their neighborhood, and therefore, we shouldn’t either.
The worst part about this is that for all we know, (and I say we as in people who don’t know what South Siders are experiencing) these Drill songs could be a cry for help. I mean, maybe the only way troubled teenagers from the South Side can expunge the fear and shock of what they go through every day is by making music.
Thus, because we play it off as “just being gangsta,” most of us don’t realize how hard it must really be to lose one of your best friends in the blink of an eye. For those of you who don’t know what I mean, let me give you an example.
Rapper Lil Jojo (a member of the gang Gangster Disciples) tweeted his location, saying that he was in a rival gang (Black Disciples)’s neighborhood. Fifteen minutes later, he was gunned down from behind and killed. Immediately after, Chief Keef (a public member of the Black Disciples) tweeted the following: “Its Sad Cuz That N***a Jojo Wanted To Be Jus Like Us #LMAO”
For those who don’t understand the implications of what you just read, this means that Chief Keef is essentially laughing at the death of another rapper, who was 18 when he was killed. Hilarious, isn’t it?
The music that these rappers are making is doing nothing but desensitizing us to the subliminal horror that is occurring less than 50 miles away from our front doors.
But, the music isn’t really the problem. The problem is how the public sees it and interprets it as a sort of free pass to ignore the truth about gang violence in Chicago, and not as a way to show the kind of things the people who live there go through every day.
You write what you know. Chief Keef may not be trying to write his lyrics to cry for help from the country, but all he knows is gun violence and gang activity, and that shows in his lyrics. Therefore, it is our job as people who have easy access to the information about the horror going on to actually do something about it.