While working on my assignment about Chicago hip-hop shows reflecting the city’s rise in violence, the topic of gang violence and affiliation came up.
It’s obvious that the Wicker Park area is no stranger to gang violence– the area’s Alderman, Scott Waguespack, recently announced his plans to combat gang violence in the community, in spite of Rahm Emmanuel’s “business as usual” plan.
While I don’t want to sound stereotypical, it is true that a lot of hard-core rappers from Chicago have some affiliation with gangs. Maybe they have a friend that’s a gang member, they were former gang members, or they themselves are still gang members. The two that I’ve come in contact with the most are Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords.
My experiences in this industry have helped me understand is that while gang violence and hip-hop music are interrelated, one is not sparked from the other. That is, rap music doesn’t encourage gang violence, but it does speak on the issues as they relate to it.
What I’ve also learned is that Chicago has a wide range of hip-hop aesthetics–there is no one way to describe Chicago hip-hop. Think about it like this, the same city that made Chief Keef is the same city that produced artists like ProbCause, and the same city that gave us Common.
With all this said, what makes the hard-core, gangta theme so popular in Chicago?
It could be the fact that a lot of gangs reside in the area (CVL’s were founded here in the late 80s to early 90s). Also to note that the theme represents a type of authenticity and credibility.
But is that all?
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