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Gangs in Hip Hop Today

Gang violence in hip hop escalated in the 90s and ultimately lead to the tragic death of hip hop's two most respected artists, Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. After their deaths, gangster rap's popularity in mainstream culture diminished significantly as record labels encouraged artists to create dance friendly, content diluted hip hop music.

Until recently, gangster rap had become an underground genre listened to by gangsters and suburban white males with attitude problems. Now, there has been a resurgence in gang popularity with mainstream artists like Game, and Lil Wayne promoting their Blood affiliation.

Vlad TV, titled the "TMZ of Hip Hop," is a source for hip hop gossip, and particularly, hip hop beef. There have been several videos on Vlad TV, which have discussed the recent gang revival in mainstream hip hop. In a video with 40 Glocc, a rapper based in LA, Vlad TV followed 40 Glocc and his crew as they harassed Lil Wayne in his car. 40 Glocc is a member of the Crips, who are the long standing rivals of the Bloods. In the video found here, 40 Glocc asks Lil Wayne, "What's up with that Blood shit?"

In a separate interview with Jay Rock, Vlad TV asks Jay Rock about 40 Glocc and Lil Wayne's encounter, to which he responded he found it "funny." Jay Rock openly represents Bloods, having several videos with him throwing up signs and flashing red.

There is also a new video released with 40 Glocc claiming to have snagged Lil Wayne's chain. "We don't want to wear this, we want you to wear it, we just want you to come with it (money)," says 40 Glocc in the video. All this gossip has been swirling, with all of it focused on gang beef!

While Joe Budden's recent beef with Wu-Tang's Method Man and Raekwon isn't directly gang related, it has eventually lead to violence in a gangster fashion. In response to Vibe Magazine's recent article charting the The Best Rapper Alive, Joe Budden called Ed Lover on Power 105, and stated he was a better rapper than Method Man. The beef between the two was eventually squashed, but recently in Los Angeles, Raekwon and his crew attacked Joe Budden backstage of The Rock the Bells event. Last night, SFCritic spoke with Supreme, the manager for Raekwon, about the skirmish, to which he stated, "Joe Budden needs to respect his superiors, Method Man and Raekwon would never talk about Rakim that way."

What concerns me is the growing trend of violence in mainstream hip hop. As Lil Wayne states in an interview discussing Baron Davis' new film on gangs, gangs aren't going anywhere:

“When you sit down and watch this, you actually see it’s not ‘gangs,’ it’s deeper. What I take from it, I think, the gangs ain’t gon’ stop. They’re not gon’ stop period, but I think that they can become something different, because everything can evolve. I’ve evolved, we all evolved as humans as people period. The world evolved. I think that gangs can evolve into families, coalitions, committees, you know something like way more helpful to the world, way more helpful to the communities."

Lil Wayne is evolving without his chain, Joe Budden with his arm in a sling, and meanwhile, kids are growing to believe that gangs are cool, and people like Jay Rock think it's all just "funny."

Here is the video of 40 Glocc harassing Lil Wayne.

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