Music genres have unique stories as to how they came to be and have various inspirations that keep them going. In particular when you look at Rap, Hip Hop and Dancehall the one common feature which is at the core is gangstersism. The iconic artists who defined the genres have identified themselves as gangsters and glamourize the lifestyle in their music. Unfortunately their lifestyle has a way of catching up with them. Live fast and die young so to speak. Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls are perfect examples of that anecdote as they were both slain at a relatively young age. Dancehalls’ poster boy Vybz Kartel is currently serving a life sentence following a murder conviction in 2014.
It is no coincidence that the disenfranchised people are the major proponents in the genres which makes you want to delve into the roots of the genres. Dancehall and Rap have both had their share of violence and you canâ€™t help but wonder is there a way for the genres to continue without the proliferation of gangster behaviour.
Unfortunately, the latest form of violence that has shocked the music industry is the death of rising star Pop Smoke. Born Bashar Barakah Jackson, the Brooklyn rapper was shot and killed by 4 masked gunmen at his Hollywood home last week (19 Feb 2020). Reports and autopsy results revealed that the rapper died in the hospital after sustaining numerous rounds to the torso. Los Angeles lawmen are yet to find the suspects but reports say the attack was done by four men, who fled the scene on foot at 0430 in the morning.
What makes this situation even more sad was Pop Smokeâ€™s age. The rising star was just 20 years of age and was a year into his career. While others like Koffee are celebrating their 20th birthdays. Pop Smoke will now just be remembered for his handful of hits which include â€˜Welcome To The Partyâ€™ and â€˜Diorâ€™.
His friend Popcaan recently posted his condolences on his Instagram. Other dancehall artists to express their grief and condolences are Kranium and WorlBoss Vybz Kartel. Despite the fact that Vybz Kartel had never met the artist he expressed his condolences to the family saying,
â€œJah know youth mi feel away condolences to your family. We never met but you fully Gaza n we fully smoke!â€
A very unfortunate incident and condolences to the Jackson family. Last year the world saw the death of Nipsey Hustle and a year before that XXXTentacion was needlessly shot. Is there a way to reduce these ridiculous crimes? Something clearly has to change and I suspect it starts with the content the genres support.