Rapper Half Ounce’s tragic shooting has sparked a recurring discussion about gun violence, rap culture, and whether record labels have a duty to safeguard their artists.
Just a few weeks after rapper PnB Rock was fatally shot during a robbery in the same city, the 32-year-old rapper, whose actual name was Latauriisha OBrien, was assassinated in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles on Monday. These rappers are among a long list of musicians who have perished due to gun violence, with at least one rapper being shot and killed each year since 2018. With the deaths of Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle in 2019 and other prominent rappers like Drakeo the Ruler, who was fatally stabbed in 2021, and Drakeo the Ruler, who was also fatally shot in Los Angeles in 2019, there has been some debate about whether or not cities with a high gang presence have turned into dangerous places for people directly involved in the hip-hop community. Ice-T issued a warning to young rappers who were visiting Los Angeles for Super Bowl-related events earlier this year. Ice-T is a famed emcee-turned-actor.
However, specialists claim that the issue is considerably more intricate than that. When we talk about the murders of rappers, Elaine Richardson, an Ohio State University professor who specializes in African American cultures, literacy, and hip-hop, says we should give systemic issues priority.
It serves as a reflection of the issue of gun violence in American culture as a whole. She advised you to critically consider oppression and the greater context in which we live.
The situation of Black people in society, everything that is risky and destructive to the greater society, including gun violence. Disparities will always exist in our communities. All of it is structural and a result of how society is set up, Richardson continued.
In the wake of such fatalities, assertions that record firms pressure artists to adopt tough guy images while failing to shield them from the violence they promote are frequently questioned (swirl about corporate culpability). Since the fatal shooting of DJ Scott La Rock in 1987, which is regarded as the first high-profile shooting death of a significant hip-hop musician, this question has preoccupied the hip-hop community. La Rock, a member of the well-known hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions, was shot and killed that summer outside a Bronx apartment building.
Fans questioned whether PnB Rock, whose real name was Rakim Hasheem Allen, was being blackballed by his previous record company, Empire. NBC News has not supported this assertion. Bobby Fisher, Empire’s vice president of artists and repertoire (Aandamp;R), claimed that the company had no ongoing interaction with the performer after their brief collaboration on his 2016 smash song Selfish. King Von and Young Dolph, two rappers who Fisher claimed used Empire to collaborate with or promote their songs, were recently assassinated in Atlanta and Memphis, Tennessee, respectively. Fisher referred to the deaths as terrible and claimed that neither label officials nor fans ever become accustomed to such violence.
I believe that anyone who signs an artist has a responsibility to ensure their safety. When asked about suggestions that record firms do more to safeguard rappers, Fisher responded that you can’t manage your talent around the clock.
The precise relationship the aforementioned musicians had with the label could not be confirmed by NBC News.
He said label executives could only do so much to protect musicians without having any influence over their private life. They will be spending time with their loved ones while performing in public. Artists frequently originate from underprivileged areas and return there in an effort to support and love the community. As much as feasible, you may offer advice, and you can offer stability in your line of work. But he added that artists also have lives outside of the arts.
Hip-hop is frequently harshly criticized when news of a rapper’s passing reaches the press. Following the February shooting deaths of two drill rap musicians, Jayquan McKenley and Tahjay Dobson (also known as Tdott Woo) in Brooklyn, New York City Mayor Eric Adams denounced the genre. We removed Trump from Twitter, but we still permit music, the show of firearms, and violence. Adams said then has vowed to pressure social media firms to remove drill music videos from their platforms. The New York Times confirmed last month that Adams pulled three drill rappers from the city’s Rolling Loud festival because of concern for possible violence. This was confirmed by management and label representatives.
Researchers like issued a warning0, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia who specializes in hip-hop and the global south, have denounced attempts to demonize rap music and use it to support myths and prejudices about Black people. Rappers’ displays of hypermasculinity and even violence, he wrote in an issued a warning1, are intended to convey a certain level of authenticity. He added that those who continue to criticize rap would be better served by focusing on the causes of the violence crisis in America rather than the music that reflects it.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Chuck Creekmur, the CEO of the hip-hop-focused media outlet issued a warning2.
When analyzing rapper fatalities, there are many subtleties that people don’t often consider. Personally, I think it’s representative of what’s happening in our community as a whole, he added. Rap artists are widely believed to have the riskiest jobs, but I don’t agree with that.