Hip Hop @ netweed Update in Progress

Over at Hip Hop Logic:

Hip Hop @ netweed Update in Progress

Hip-Hop Opera Targets Gun Crime in London

A new project out of South London is using a cinematic opera theme to dissuade youth from gun crime.

Urban Concepts are a project founded by the Safer London Foundation to reduce crime and promote collective education and safety. The Don't Trigger opera weaves dramatizations of gun violence interwoven with footage of actual gun violence victims and relatives of gun crime victims.

The Safer London Foundation partners with London's Mothers Against Guns to produce and promote its message, and has also produced an album featuring some of London's biggest hip-hop acts denouncing gun violence.

Kudos to the BBC for reporting on efforts to curb gun violence rather than just reporting statistics on gun violence.   

Memorial Day Shooting in Miami Beach

Interesting post this morning concerning a shooting that occurred outside of a Miami Beach restaurant early Monday morning, leaving two men dead.

What makes it interesting besides a broad daylight double homicide in a busy part of the city during one of its busiest weekends, was the parallels that the reporter drew between this crime and Memorial Day hip-hop activities and events that are annually held in the area.

Police confirm they have no motive, and only suspects for the crime. Towards the end of the article, however, an entire graf is dedicated to the multitude of arrests that are customarily made during the popular weekend in and around urban and hip-hop themed concerts and events.

While its possible for them to be linked, it's always best to paint a picture like this with a slim brush, particularly when the story involves families now missing loved ones.

Gun Imagery: Prodigy's Mac 10 Handle

Prodigy - Mac 10 Handle

In thinking about hip hop and guns, I'm regularly conflicted in various ways.  On the one hand, I like gun imagery, especially when it's woven into a narrative.  On the other hand, I'm repelled by gun imagery, cause it helps create an emotional context in which guns and violence feel like a necessary part of being alive.

Prodigy's Mac 10 Handle is exactly the kind of video depicting violent behavior that draws me in regardless.  I'm drawn to the style of the video, the cinematic references, the tale of the twisted, drugged out loner who only hears the voices of his friends inside his head.  What's not to like?

I feel I should have more to say here.  Something meaningful.

I've played this video a lot.  Is that meaningful?

Rappers Aid in Minimizing Gun Crime

In the face of controversy surrounding police cooperation and snitching, here's a story on how a five-year-old program in Baltimore City is working to curtail gun crime.

The Precision Youth Power Program was started in 2002 as a program to help at-risk youth value education and professional development. The program has now turned into a vehicle to assist the U.S. Attorney's office get the word out on gun crime.

Members of PYPP have begun recording several hip-hop public service announcements to inform viewers about Maryland Exile, 'a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat gun crime that combines local, state and federal law enforcement efforts; community action and revitalization; and public awareness.' Artists' lyrics will warn about the automatic jail time that awaits felons who carry guns, or use guns in violent crimes.

In a city that is infamous for drugs and guns, this is a bold move on the part of the participants of this movement, many of whom still live in the same neighborhoods where trouble led them to PYPP. But if these young people are willing to take the issue of gun violence and crime to the airwaves, perhaps it will be an effective way to get the attention of its target market, just in time for the usually crime-ridden summer.

And hopefully, the attention of the national media.