Former Gang Members Explain Hip Hop’s Influence on Chicago’s Violence
Eddie “Caine” Everette and Zlato “Marz” Hukic, Christian hip-hop artists who are former Chicago gang members, recently told Wade-O Radio about hip hop’s influence on their city’s violence.
Chicago led the United States, suffering 506 murders in 2012 despite a population which is one third the size of New York City’s and one with over a million fewer people than Los Angeles. This past July 4 weekend alone, 12 people were killed and 74 were wounded.
“Hip hop has a heavy influence on the violence,” said Caine. “French Montana has a song right now that’s been playing on my block all the time. It’s like, “I ain’t worried about nothing.” … I’m not worried about anything because I know Christ got me. You should be worried because Christ doesn’t know you right now.”
Montana repeats the phrase “ain’t worried about nothin’’ 47 times in the song.
“You’re programmed,” said Marz. “They’re rapping these songs—that’s getting into your subconscious, into the fiber of your being.”
Caine has seen the song “Ain’t Worried about Nothin’” program immature listeners to think with a “shoot me, I’m ready to die” mindset after they’re drunk and start fighting.
“It’s been ingrained and conditioned into people’s hearts and their minds to live a certain way and to listen to stuff a certain way,” said Caine, “even to the point where women have picked up the B-word and started calling themselves that because it’s been OK for so long.”
Marz agreed that hip hop has a heavy influence on Chicago’s violence, but he stressed that it isn’t solely to blame—referencing when Bill O’Reilly linked youth violence, among other things, to Lil Wayne.
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The problem is a lot bigger than Lil Wayne,” said Marz. “Music disciples people. TV shows disciple people. Hollywood is discipling people.”
He threw broken homes into that mix as well. A Chicago hip-hop artist who comes from a broken home and has heavy influence is Chief Keef.
“Go to any high school,” said Marz. “Everybody’s rapping Chief Keef songs. Everybody’s got those dreads now. Everybody’s sagging their pants by their ankles.”
Keef’s most popular songs are laced with lyrics about murder and shooting. His most well-known ad-lib is “bang bang.” Keef was even involved in a quarrel last year with fellow Chicago rapper Lil JoJo which allegedly led to the murder of the latter artist.
“If we don’t have men with wisdom to step in and do something about it,” said Marz. “That’s our future.”