Reading the headline of another rapper shot dead has become as common as checking the weather or hearing uproar about Kanye West’s latest free thinking tweet. All of these stories could be considered “newsworthy” but only one will be prayed about in the moment and forgotten by next week. For the people who don’t live in the dangerous parts of Chicago or Detroit and don’t have to worry about their children coming home before the street lights go off, we often lose sight on how precious our lives truly are. We also don’t consider how quickly we could leave this earth by the pull of a trigger.
Over the weekend a young artist named Smoke Dawg lost his life in a nightclub in Toronto. It’s crazy thinking how fast I processed that news and was almost ready to move on to the next story. It’s become a routine. Hear about something tragic. Offer your love and support to what sometimes feels like an empty void (aka the internet). Repeat the first two steps when another headline comes flashing on your iPhone screen.
But Smoke’s parents can’t turn their phones off and move on. A 21 year old artist who worked hard to share the difficult parts of his life through his music led him to work with some of the biggest artists in the world (Drake, Skepta, Murda Beatz). A few years from now he won’t get to bask in the peak of his career. Smoke won’t get the chance to see his debut album come to life and push the project, touring everywhere to make millions so he can support his family and friends in Toronto. Boy Meets World tourmate, Drake shared some beautiful words about the “blessed souls and inner lights being extinguished lately,” in an Instagram post and I can guarantee that most people who saw the post acknowledged it because Drake was in the title. We’ve lost many “inner lights” over the first half of this year from XXXTentacion, Jimmy Wopo, Monte Wayne and a number of other artists who won’t get to evolve past the moment they had on this earth. Our grieving default has become sharing R.I.P posts on social media even if we have no idea who that lost soul actually was.
I don’t want to just read a hundred more “rest in peace” and “sending my love to the family…” posts like we all have the same copy of a depressing Mad Libs book. Where’s the call to action? We need more open dialogues on the senseless killings of our youth, whether it be community based or streamed online. We need to realize that the rise of shootings in this country isn’t going away without a change in gun control laws (not gun ban, GUN CONTROL). How many lives have to be gone too soon? How many loved ones have to bury their family knowing their deaths could’ve been prevented? Some of us may love reciting the catchy lyrics of trap hits with gun talk laced throughout but don’t forget some people really live the stories within those songs. When will the latest dead rapper be the last one?
Article By: Marcel Jeremiah