R&B Singer Rico Love once said that contradiction is “a part of human nature” and everybody has “a little bit of hypocrisy in them.”
This sentiment could not be more true when it comes to Hip-Hop’s relationship with guns. Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 students and faculty killed, gun control has once again become the topic of discussion. Many on the liberal side of the issue say to raise the buying age of assault rifles, and ban the AR-15, the weapon of choice for the Parkland shooter as well as many others like the Newtown, Connecticut school shooter.
However, on the conservative side of gun rights, there is hardly any advocacy for reforming laws, and rather the argument has been made by the President and others to arm “gun adept” teachers to prevent future shootings. But The Source covers Hip-Hop, and we want to know where does the culture stand on this issue?
Rapper Killer Mike took a stand, but not the stance that was popular and immediately regretted it. The Run the Jewels rapper sat down with NRA TV (a television outlet created by the National Rifle Association) for an interview that revealed Killer Mike’s position on guns.
Despite being a Bernie Sanders supporter and advocate, the Vermont Senator and Killer Mike seem to disagree on this issue and Killer Mike revealed that he did not support the March For Our Lives that took place in Washington D.C. this past weekend. The rapper also told NRA TV that if his kids were to walk out with the other students they might as well not return home.
Killer Mike got a ton of backlash on social media, and voiced his regret for even taking part int he interview because of the perception that he was just another puppet for the NRA. However, he stands by his strong belief in the Second amendment.
The interesting thing is, Killer Mike’s beliefs may not be far off from what the rest of Hip-Hop feels with the exception of XXXtentacion (who made a song dedicated to the students of Parkland), Kanye West, Common, and Vic Mensa all of whom attended the March For Our Lives rally. In these days where everything seems politically motivated, a lot of rappers who tout gun violence in their music have been largely quiet about the issue of gun control and for good reason.
Hip-Hop has never shied away from getting political at least to some extent.
George Bush was a popular target during his stint in the White House a lot of which related to his lack of support following Hurricane Katrina. Ronald Reagan was criticized largely because of his role in the HIV/AIDS and Crack epidemic of the 1980’s that largely affected black communities. So it seems when it comes to issues that largely affect African-Americans, as gun violence does on a daily basis, rappers want to get their voices heard. But when it comes to guns… it’s different.
If they voice support for those on the right, it would truthfully be in line with what they rap about but at the same time they could lose a lot of their fan base in these politically charged times. If they take the liberal side of the issue, they can be viewed as hypocrites because the music won’t reflect their actual views, which brings us back to the Rico Love quote from the interlude on his I Sin mix tape that it’s human nature to have a little hypocrisy within you. In rap music, the last thing you want to be seen as is a hypocrite.
So where Hip-Hop largely stands on the issue of gun rights and gun control, we may never fully understand — but these kids from Florida, Chicago, and across the United States are not letting this issue go and if this continues it’ll be hard not to take a position on the issue.