Rap culture and its costs

May 13, 2016

Trentavious White, better known by his stage name Bankroll Fresh, was shot and killed at 11 p.m. on March 4, 2016 outside of the Street Execs studio in College Park, Ga.

The Atlanta based artist, White’s death shocked the city, even though he rapped about the “gangster” lifestyle,  he was not a rapper who was known to be affiliated with dangerous people. Hip Hop artists around the country such as T.I., Future and Metro Boomin took to the internet to speak out.

Fellow Atlanta artist 2 Chainz responded to whites murder, calling attention to the bigger picture with a tweet on his Twitter.

“I’m in shock at the moment,” he said. “Senseless deaths we got to stop it, I’m speaking up now.”

Sophomore Coby Webb also feels strongly about the death of White and other artists.

“The problem is it isn’t just Fresh” Webb said. “[There’s] Capone, Snupe, Yams. It makes me so mad because it’s always over stupid beef.”

Over the past two decades more than 150 popular Hip Hop artists have died and nearly 80 of them died of gun shot wounds. Six percent of dead musicians have been murder and, 51.5 percent of deceased Hip Hop artists have died from homicide, according to a study from Berkeley College.

“It’s a very, very horrible epidemic, and it’s starting to spread faster than cancer,” Jacoby Hudson, a local criminal defense attorney said.

Hudson feels that the situation is tragic and that there’s an issue in the urban community.

“We have to learn how to start using our brains and not our armory,” he said.

Teenagers listen to an average of two and a half hours of music a day, one out of three songs mention substance abuse and violence, according to the Washington Post. There have also been multiple reports of violence committed as a result of rap, rock and other types of music.

“People are trying to live these lyrics,” Hudson said. “The rap music of today is corrupting the minds of the youth.”

White’s music glorified the stereotypical “thug life”.  Violence, drugs and degrading women were all topics of his music.

“Adopting that ‘gangsta’ image is the only way [rappers] can sell,” Hudson said

This, Hudson said, is because being a “gangsta” is what the rap culture has adopted.

Plenty of artists recognize the downsides of promoting the “gangsta” lifestyle or “thug life,” there’s a lack of respect for those who don’t promote the “gangsta” lifestyle within their lyrics and the character they promote.

“It’s a lose-lose,” Webb said.

Artists likeTyga, Chris Brown and Meek Mill have all attacked Aubrey “Drake” Graham, and their barrage of insults all focus on his middle class upcoming claiming he is “soft.”

Rap beefs are feuds, disagreements and competition between two artists, or more, in the Hip Hop industry.

Rap beefs and the diss tracks that coincide with them, play a big part in the deaths in the Hip Hop industry. Rappers such as LA Capone, 2Pac and Biggie Smalls’ deaths have been suspected to be results of rap beef with other artists who took their disagreements to an extreme.

Though there have been killings in the Hip Hop industry as a result of the music, Hudson sees a consistency in the occurrences.

“I think the problem is more profound in the black community and urban areas,” he said.

There is a 28.9 percent higher chance of violent crime taking place in urban minority areas than anywhere else, according to the National Crime Index. Multiple artists’ recording studios are located in these areas. The Street Execs studio is located in College Park where the crime index is nearly 300 percent more than the U.S. average, according to the National Crime Index.

Despite the danger, multiple artists have been sighted in College Park such as  2 Chainz, Bankroll Fresh and Future 2 Chainz grew up there.

“You can’t leave,” Webb said. ”It’s where all your bros and fam are. It’s all you know.”

Many artists, despite their success, don’t see the necessity in leaving their hometown, even areas such as College Park. This is evident in some artist’s choice of residency.

However, the factors of the location don’t change for those who decide to stay. Violence and the “street life” are still a part of their life.

“If we don’t do something now more lives will be lost, senselessly,” Hudson said

Bankroll Fresh was 28. He was known for his singles “Walked In” and “Hot Boy,”. In an interview on Hoodrich Radio, he said all he wanted was to keep the love and unity in the city.  He continued saying that he wanted to “blow up” solely so that he could give back.

“Fresh was a promising artist,” Hudson said, “and eventually black on black crime must stop. It must end.”

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