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    Rappers Who Look Gun Violence In The Face

    When it comes to staying safe, most rappers go big or go home. Even considering the harsh realities of survival, rappers are unfortunately criminalized for their lifestyle. This is despite laws like the one California Governor Newsom recently signed, which limit the use of lyrics as evidence in state court. Even still, Federal and non-Californian courts stay using hip-hop to persecute artists!

    YNW Melly’s “imagery” and lyrics in songs like “223’s” to “make a case” could potentially be weaponized against YNW Melly in his up-coming trial. The rapper had turned himself in and also been arrested for his alleged involvement in a 2019 murder of “best friends”. Melly directed the music video for the song from prison.

    Footage at the end of the official music video reveals YMW Melly’s vision. Considering the associated viral TikTok dance that is also included in the music video, the social media platform continues to be linked to prison in strange and often unflattering ways!

    Though hip-hop has always been connected to criminals, fans of old-school rap are extremely divided when it comes to new-school “mumble-core” rap songs like this one! Hip-hop culture of the previous century was always about eloquence. Songs were jam-packed with complex rhyme structures. The rappers of yesterday probably felt like they weren’t being listened to, but they were also committed to being heard. It is understandable how mumble rap developed from the same feelings of hurt, but some call it a victim mentality. Of course, mumble rap is one of the most popular subgenres with the young people of today. Another example is Tech N9ne’s “No Gun Control”. Arguably, the introduction of the song misses the point of the gun debate entirely. “First off, I’m tired of being controlled!”

    Of course, not all young rappers carry themselves in such a way. Lil Tjay’s music video reflects the real-life pain he went through. He recorded the track after personally getting shot. “Grateful for the shit I got ’cause I come from a hard life!” Gratitude is everything. Many artists are only able to find peace outside of their art in religion. Ye is a controversial yet great example. “Jonah” is a collaboration with Lil Durk and Vory, and it was intended to honor an indie artist who passed away.

    The sentimental lyrics draw a parallel between the betrayal of violence and the pain of losing a significant other. The chorus asks, “who’s here when I need a shoulder to lean on?”

    Like Christianity, Rastafarianism has also been a source of solace during times of oppression. Zion Albert’s 2022 song, “Put Away the Gun Violence” speaks to this spirit.

    The track features Low Rider, and it makes ending gun violence seem like the right move. Albert sings like someone who has lost a lot of friends to guns and is finally ready to put the issue to bed.


    1. Oh My Golly!
      I LOVE LOVE LOVE that YNW Melly video. AWESOME and creative! And FUNNY!
      Great social media strategy too- bravo!
      By the way…. Thank your for explaining the whole genre of “mumble-core rap”… I was wondering about that for awhile.
      Also, LOVE LOVE LOVE the Zion Albert tune!
      “No Control” had something extra going on cause as I listened to it the room started spinning (blame it on Saturday night).

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