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    Takeoff: Gun Violence, Hip-Hop Culture And Its Disservice

    Gun culture in America is a disparaging ill taking the lives of both the young the old,  without remorse, guilt, and the aim of stopping anytime soon if the necessary precautions of transforming laws are not effected soon. Rapper Takeoff is the latest rapper affected by the tragedy.

    On the morning of Nov. 1, rapper Takeoff, a 28-year-old member of the Migos trio, was tragically killed in a Houston bowling alley. Takeoff was noted for being kind and compassionate throughout his brief career, never engaging in needless, mindless violence.

    But alas, gun violence does not care if you are the most loving or peaceful person, performing good deeds and loving your neighbors more than yourself. This circumstance affects all without discrimination, as demonstrated by its universal impact.

    No matter what one’s age or motivation may be – whether it’s a child beginning their education journey or an elder traveling long-distance to visit family again, maybe they’re out grocery shopping for necessities or racing to make their flight- the event occurs when least expected and can leave behind distressing outcomes.

    Since 2018, at least one rapper has died from gun violence each year, including XXXTentacion, Nipsey Hussle, Pop Smoke, Young Dolph, PnB Rock, and Takeoff. Whenever this tragic event occurs, there is a Twitter discussion on whether rap is to blame for its culture of violence.

    Yes, that is the answer. Engaging in gangsta rap may not directly lead one to participate in a bank heist. Yet it is essential to recognize the correlation between this music style and firearm aggression.

    Rap Music and Rap music, a subset of hip-hop, encompass all facets of our existence, including graffiti, street entrepreneurship, and how we interact and dress, before N.W.A entered the scene and changed the direction of rap into nothing more than a violently misogynistic genre that glorifies murder, robbery, drugs, domestic violence, and gang activity; this genre began with marginalized groups, especially black people, singing about social exclusion, poverty, and racism.

    The conversation concerning rap’s contribution to a culture of violence can be contentious. Still, rather than deflecting responsibility onto other societal factors, those within the hip-hop community must acknowledge their pivotal role in shaping public perception surrounding issues such as gun violence.

    Studies have long shown that the messages conveyed through music can significantly impact impressions on topics beyond just entertainment. Considering that firearms continue to claim an unnecessary number of lives daily.

    It is frustratingly evident that thoughts and prayers alone aren’t enough for progress toward real change. It is incumbent upon those with influential platforms — especially rap celebrities and artists–to prioritize generating positive change by promoting values like peace-building over irrationally violent rhetoric.

    We need to see more children, adults, black people, and rappers with grey hair growing older and wiser.

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