E-40 and Too Short have offered their perspective on the rising rate of gun violence in Hip-Hop over the years. The successful West Coast veterans believe that rappers flexing their luxuries on social media is one reason why they are being targeted.
“Rappers are trying too hard to flex online to the detriment of their safety,” the rappers said in a Tuesday op-ed published via The Atlantic. They also acknowledged that Hip-Hop has become more lucrative, thus more dangerous.
“We’ve been to the strip club when a rapper was sitting with walls of money—like, walls: Each stack was three feet tall. How can you throw that much money in one night? We have no idea. Some of these artists spend thousands on an outfit and millions on jewelry, then jump in their Bugatti or whatever and show off so much money that they can barely hold it in their hand for an Instagram photo.”
The “Ain’t Gone Do It” collaborators clarified that they weren’t trying to bash their fellow wordsmiths, but rather bring awareness to the harm they can do to themselves by freely enjoying their lives in public.
“We love guys getting money. But with success comes jealousy and anger. Social media amplifies those feelings—a beef can start over an innocuous Instagram ‘Like.’ You might follow two rappers and innocently ‘like’ one of their posts without realizing they are beefing, and that can turn into ‘Man, why you like that nigga? I’m going to fall back, bro. You need to pick a side.'”
With having seen so much in the game, 40 and Short recounted what happened decades ago when Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G were killed. “When Tupac and Biggie were murdered, members of the Nation of Islam sat a lot of us down. We went to Louis Farrakhan’s house in Chicago, had a meal, and talked about the state of hip-hop, our responsibilities to the culture, and how we should fix things.”
This op-ed is appropriately timed as the rap community is still reeling from Takeoff being killed on Nov. 1. Popular artists such as Nipsey Hussle, Pop Smoke, PnB Rock, Young Dolph, King Von, and XXXTentacion have also died in recent years due to gun violence.
Another veteran, Ice T, tweeted in September that rappers should stop wearing chains in Los Angeles so they won’t be viewed as easy targets in rough neighborhoods. In a genre viewed as a young man’s game, it is valuable to have the input of its elder statesmen.