Black men, from the worst neighborhoods of America, often shirtless, screaming war crys of death and destruction over some of the most haunting beats hip hop has ever heard.
Seems like a avid Hip Hop listener’s wet dream huh?
But this isn’t a dream, this is real life for many of the youth who reside in these neighborhoods of Chicago. In reality, this isn’t “cool”, or “gangsta”, or “real”,this is scary, sad, and borderline inhumane. Yet if you were to go on a random Drill artists YouTube page you would see hundreds of comments; some racist, some comedic, a couple random “SQUAAADS” and “300s!!“, some even asking questions about Chicago gang ethics like “who belongs to what and what belongs to who”. All from people who probably don’t live 1/100th of the life these young men have to face on a daily basis. People who live comfortable lives in the suburbs and city’s that don’t see this type of madness (which is about 75% of America). Some kids even pretend to be Chitown gangsters online who speak on inner city beefs and sets of a place they will never set foot in in their entire life.
With all of that said, the real issue is, this fascination with the lifestyle creates a commodification of violence and destruction. Artists like Chief Keef and the various stars of GBE/300 and their rivaling sets, do indeed posses a certain talent for making songs. These songs are banging as well. There is also no problem with liking any of these songs. There is no requirement for you to be from the hood or slums to enjoy drill music or other gangster type of music as well. The issue here is, these major labels and other media publications are facilitating and exploiting the act and image of ignorance and violence from these young men.
Drill artists are being “paid” not for their music but for their story. They are not being paid based on their skill or song making abilities. They are being paid to be savages, to be gangsters, that’s America’s real fascination with them. Think about this,if Chief Keef decided one day to give his life to the lord and start rapping along the lines of Gospel music, would his fanbase stay with him? When you see a Chief Keef interview or a Chicago documentary are they about the creative process,or the music at all? Or is it usually centered around the violence and gang culture they are involved in?
It’s because America doesn’t like Chief Keef just for his musical output, we like the story, the character, the backdrop, the soundtrack to the movie that is his life. Since the Drill scene bursted into mainstream America in 2012, over 50 members between each respective rap crew and their rivals have been killed. But do we care really? Or does that just make it more authentic? Does that make them more “real”? The Drill scene is indeed a vile and dark place, but perhaps America’s fascination of it reveals a more darker truth. That life and death is simply a game to some, that young urban life is nothing less of a video game or a action movie that we can watch from a far. Speaking of video games did you know they are making a computer game based off of Chicago Gang violence? (http://www.polygon.com/features/2014/3/27/5518268/we-are-chicago) *For all intents and purposes, the developers of this game are not trying to glamorize the violence, yet help teach and empower the youths of these environments. But lets be honest, do we really think modern American society is gonna look at it this way? Or just another way to vicariously live through the lost youth of these hoods * Like many other fads in hip hop. The Chicago Drill scene is starting to die down for the average listener. Yet the lives of these rappers don’t stop. Chief Keef doesn’t disappear just because you stopped listening to him after Finally Rich. He still has to deal with the hate and jealousy of his peers and has to live constantly with the threat of violence and retaliation for the rest of his life. Same goes for Lil Durk, same goes for Fredo and the rest of the original GBE/OTF crew. But hey as long as that 808 knock we don’t really give a damn do we?