The Post-Derrion Renaissance?
It’s been nearly two months since the brutal and senseless slaying of 16-year old Derrion Albert.
In the time since his death, we’ve seen and heard a lot from prominent (and lesser-known) people in hip hop.
Is it enough?
Nas wrote his “Open Letter to Young Warriors In Chicago.”
Rapper Add-2 recorded his song, “Chicago Kids” (it’s probably the best song I’ve heard on the subject).
The ever-outspoken David Banner recorded the anti-violence anthem, “Something is Wrong.”
More recently, DJ Kay Slay put together a remake of the 1989 classic positive posse cut, “Self Destruction”, which featured KRS-ONE, Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh, and Chuck D just to name a few.
Just in case you don’t remember it, here’s a flashback.
KRS-ONE put that super group of emcees together, collectively known as the Stop The Violence Movement, to record this song after a fan of his was killed during an audience fight at a Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy concert.
20 years later, Kay Slay’s new cut – the aptly-titled “Self Destruction ’09″ – features Busta Rhymes, Bun B, Sheek Louch, and Papoose, among others. It also features the same chorus as the original and was inspired by the death of Derrion Albert.
Having just written an article about the negative messages in hip hop and the need for those at fault to take responsibility, I wonder if this man-induced tragedy may be the turning point for the entire culture.
However, I must say that I would have appreciated these songs and efforts a great deal more had they come before we got to this point. Proactive measures are always better than those which are reactive.
Also, a few songs with a message will not do the trick. In fact, it may all turn out to be for naught if the same rappers who recorded the positive songs eventually go back to the murderous and vengeful lyrics which helped to get us to this point.
As KRS says in another song,
“Rappers spit rhymes that are mostly illegal,
MC’s spit rhymes to uplift they people”
The rappers and musicians, of course, are not solely to blame. The solution is a complete shift within our culture – away from violence and toward peace, unity, and brotherhood.
Nevertheless, it seems that we may need to usher in a new Stop The Violence Movement. I’d put Nas, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Joe Budden, Common, Ludacris, OutKast, and Immortal Technique in the studio together and have them record an anti-violence song if I could.
At any rate, awareness is always good. Maybe with enough of that and some corresponding action, we won’t be heading for self destruction after all.
Is there a post-Derrion Renaissance occurring in hip hop? Do we need a new Stop The Violence Movement? Which artists would you choose to make a positive record for this generation? Let us know in the comments section!
Main Image: WHWweb