Nonviolent Rap Song of the Week #2 Dead Homiez by Ice Cube

      Ice Cube was one of the most polarizing solo artists in Hip-Hop in the 1990's. 
Dead Homiez showed his softer side.

In the mission of HHCF to promote nonviolence and show the history of Hip-Hop as a nonviolent artform, we look at the work of the one and only Ice Cube from the Kill at Will EP. The song is one that served as a turning point for me as young Black male in America at the time.

My goal is to drop these every Monday and Friday. I will do all I can to hold to that. If you want to email me suggestions (though I cannot promise to honor everyone's request) hit me on twitter @hiphopchess !!

Rap had indeed taught me many different things by the time this song was released in 1990. I will do some more research, but I think it may be the first rap song looking into the psychology of HOW death affected what we were seeing on the streets of LA, NY, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco.

I remember feeling like I had never ever felt like I felt when I heard this song. As suburban as I was, being in Hip-Hop, you just know people who are connected to the reality of the streets. One of my boys was a lightweight drug dealer. He and a friend were tied to the car seat his Cadillac and shot in the face with shotguns. This was a childhood friend.

Not long after, another friend shot himself in the head. He was a good friend and very skilled artist. But he came from the deep streets of LA. Word was he had killed someone who tried to kill him. It was self-defense he was never caught but it appeared that he could never recover from taking someone's life. One day, he just killed himself. No note, no sense of closure.

I never went to the funerals of either of them. I felt like a coward for not going. I still do. I never understood it. I used to play this song on repeat. The second verse always haunted me:

Another homie got murdered on a shakedown {3 gun shots}
And his mother is at the funeral, havin' a nervous breakdown
Two shots hit him in the face when they blasted {2 gun shots}
A framed picture and a closed casket
A single file line about 50 cars long
All driving slow with they lights on
He got a lot of flowers and a big wreath
What good is that when you're six feet deep?

I look at that shit and gotta think to myself

To me, this song opened the door for a lot of the others songs that come out of Hip-Hop that share the trauma of the victims, friends, and families of those who were front row to the Black death of the 80's and 90's. I'm not alone. Just look up the statistics online. Gun violence was as common as rainfall back then. It may even be worse now. I cannot tell and I'm not sure I actually want to know the answer.

Dead Homiez was a cleansing song as necessary as any Gospel song my granny would have played after her friends died. It may not have made sense to anyone else, who was not young and Black at that time. But I needed this song and all those like them.

WATCH: Dead Homiez by Ice Cube

Read the annotated lyrics to Dead Homiez at Rap Genius to soak in the wisdom. There is a parental advisory on this one. A few curse words are in the track. But I never saw it as gratuitous in nature.

To read more about nonviolence in Hip-Hop read Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess in

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