guns and death and violence. I am not that familiar with his life. I cannot say for
sure that he was deep in the mix. Sometimes it’s just an act. Either way, it does
not matter. I mean Juice WRLD just died of his OD, I’m still not over the killing
of The Jacka or Nipsey Hussle and it feels like these younger rappers seem
to be dying faster and faster. Very painful stuff.
gang affiliated. Some of them really were in the streets. Some were not but had
family and friends who were and it helped their image. When this kind of strategy
becomes desperate you end up with Tekashi 69 kind of situations. When you
really look at Tekashi and some of his early video interviews before a really
blew, you could see he was not a killer. This was a kid looking to get famous by
any means necessary. That is a popular phrase originally coined by Malcolm X
(using it to describe the dedication of the Black socio political agenda of the time)
used in Hip-Hop because of rappers like Public Enemy, KRS One, Paris and
other rappers of the late 80’s and 90’s.
to the street life. Tekashi wanted to be down so bad, he betrayed his own
non-gangster nature to get money. He got famous by any means. Unfortunately
it was at the cost of that which is priceless- his freedom. He lost his lady, access
to his kids, the ability to make music and he still has a long way to go because of
what he did. The gang pushed aside their normal vetting process to get money
from a dude who was not built for that life. They all got ruined.
of money, gold cars, etc. on social media is like throwing blood in the water at real
sharks. Real street people are starving out here. They shoot people for a lot less
than you show on the screen. These guys are desperate. If they want something
better and if you get online telling them you got it and you down to kill for it- you
might come across someone more hungry than you.
before the home invasion. When you tell people you gotta lotta money and or run
with killers it can be very dangerous business. That is just solid advice. Especially
London. You see me in London, I’m back in The Bay. One of the things that social
media does is it gives you the illusion that everybody who watches you like you.
They don’t. I mean, I don’t even like me that much sometimes. How unrealistic is
it that a certain amount of folks out there might have bad vibes for you- let alone
willing to put bad intentions into action? I did a short video on the reality of
having enemies in your life and how to deal with this reality.
mom and pop stores to promote shows and album releases. Because Hip-Hop
is close to the streets a lot of these artists created solid connections with other
people in the know. Not only was it smart (ie keep you from being a victim of
attack and robbery (in the Bay Area Nas, 2Chainz and once even DJ Quik
had rowdy experience). I don’t say this to embarrass anybody. Look, the streets
are dangerous. Anybody can get it.
were very well connected to people from Fillmore District in SF (very reputable
are for art, music and street violence). They never had problems. San Francisco
was always like a second home to Gangstarr. Chuck D of Public Enemy, X-Clan,
KRS One, and others were well connected to the people and artists in the
community. So they never had problems.
but they wanted to be connected to the local fans. As rap went more and more
mainstream label folks intervened for control as they tried to do more lucrative
deals with radio stations. Little by little artists were cut off from the local fans and artists.
Brand Nubian for The Source way back (Mary J. Blidge was on the cover) and a
big part of my story was how well Lord Jamar and Sadat X were connected to
the Grape St. Watts Crips. Brand Nubian never had a problem in LA. This was not
long after the LA Riots and the unity vibe was big between the coasts.
preferred to look into connecting with anyone who was dope and respected The
Bay. Immortal Technique, Andre Nickatina, Dilated Peoples, and Master P are
also great examples.
were doing a show at San Jose State. The same day, there was a Hip-Hop
Conference that dealt with police brutality etc. on the same campus. But there
was not connectivity between Cash Money and the local artists and activists.
Both were well attended but in the old days the rappers would encourage their
fans to go to both. Those days are largely gone now.
exemplify the idea of staying connected to the beats and the streets. They have
such a good network individually and collectively. This is one of the reasons they
are so successful.
eed to be doing better work on reconnecting artists to the communities they tour in
. It is good for the community and it is good for the monetary bottom line.
out the same way. Tupac used to talk about all the cultural conflict rappers go through
between being the neighborhood guy you used to be, then going to the suburbs and
those folks don’t want you as a neighbor. I cannot imagine what the weekly pressures
like that can deliver so many of these young Black men without solid family’s, mentors,
financial friends who are not predatory etc.
person they are is another stress in itself. At the end of the day as a Hip-Hop OG
writer and lover of the subculture, as a father seeing how he died really troubles me.
The main concern I have right now is that if his killers were not a targeted non gang
affiliated scenario that we could end up looking at West coast rappers getting hit up
while in NYC or whatever as a form of retaliation.
It looked like it might get intense for a minute. Within a few days though, things were
measurably better. They met, squashed it and worked it out. Go look into it. That is
how OG’s do it. They deserve to be on the frontpage of all kinds of websites and
magazines. But they are not. What I am sure of is that if one of them had tried to
kill the other it’d be all over the news. This is the America we live in now. This is
the world that builds up a rapper like Pop Smoke, watches him die and then you
see all the media vultures circling the drama. Another Netflix fim in the coming
years I’m sure. I bet nobody makes a film about 40 and Rich though. That is the
deeper crime. But this ain’t healthy. This ain’t good for Hip-Hop, America or the
world at large.
never ever thought it’d be like this when I got into the subculture back in 1982.
To all the OG’s in the rap game, no matter what you do you matter. Your wisdom
matters. We can’t let these our kids go out like this. I pretend to have no answers
at this time. But I’m tired of watching these young brothers die on the dope and
the gunplay. Much love to the family of Pop Smoke.
Adisa the Bishop is the host of the Bishop Chronicles Podcast. It focuses on west coast Hip-Hop, MMA and health and fitness trends. Listen now on www.bishopchronicles.com or follow him @bishopchronicles on IG.