Hired Gun speaks on the Violence in Music at Shoko Festival

Music | By Hired Gun, Rapper | 19 May 2013
PHOTO: © Baynham Goredema

When you look at what’s going on in the music or any music you know rock n roll has been as misogynist, as violent, as any music on the planet. If you actually listen to a lot jazz there is those elements in it, the drug culture within jazz. You hear it in music but it doesn’t get demonised in the same way in growing up in the United States, the sense that I always had was because unlike a lot of other music and a lot other forms of cultures, hip hop had a way of activating your, it had a way of making you start to look at the world in a different way. It had a way of putting your place in relation to the world in a different way. So, now you are looking at yourself not say through the lens of someone who was in a higher class or a different race, you were looking it at in your own but you were looking at it though your own history, you were looking at it through your own environment cause now you actually have somebody speaking about it. 

So, you have someone like Biggie who, someone will look at it there and go oh he's just you know, a gangster thug from Bed-Stuy but when you realise he's talking about the very conditions that exist in Bed-Stuy and how to live in those conditions and how to survive and thrive in those conditions and this some of the stuff that we talk about in the organisation that I work at. We kinda deal with narrative, you begin to realise, well if you really listening to Biggie, what you listening to is someone breaking down, this is what’s going on in Brooklyn in 1990 so and so forth, instead of taking this, I won’t say literal but I won’t because a lot of the stuff that Biggie was talking about was actually quite graphical but you know, the idea of like oh he’s just talking about guns  and he's just talking about violence, no, no, no he's just explaining the condition, he’s just explaining an environment. He’s giving you a picture or something that you wouldn’t even know existed similar to someone like Ice Cube and NWA way back in the 90s. 

No one you know, really cared about Compton until NWA came out and starts  talking about it and people are oh they trying to, they are glorifying gangs n-o no n-o, no, they are explaining to you why these things existed. You're listening to the songs they are explaining police brutality, they are explaining why these environments exist. It has nothing to do necessarily with the individuals that are in the environment  or being affected by those but that’s not the narrative that you can hear. So somewhat like you know going back and talking about the brands, someone who does not understand history might not look at it and say Ice Cube is a conscious rapper. If you listen to America’s Most Wanted, he’s clearly a conscious rapper even though he's highly violent but again that’s why it’s difficult to kind of like put one person in this box another person in that box. 

It is kind of interesting too being from the United States and specifically being in New York which is the birth place of hip hop. It's amazing to me and its humbling to a certain degree it’s almost embarrassing. We don’t have anything of this type of calabre, everything in the United States with hip hop is on a mainstream level largely its commercial. So to have like a festival its about social change, hip hop and social change, this is unprecedented and this is what is so amazing to me and it’s something that I've seen not only just here in Africa but I've been to South America and Brazil has a similar culture camprizmo and Southern Brazil. Just amazing how the essence and the core of what hip hop is, I see more reflected in the hip hop communities outside of essentially the birth place where someone like myself is really kind of a novelty now in hip hop in America.  Someone that might be speaking about this more conscious or addressing the actual issues of the day as opposed to just worrying about how many guns I have, I have none or how much bling I have, I have none, to come what ten thousand miles or 100 miles it is from America to continue to see the very roots, essence of what hip hop was about, thriving not just hear but thriving, it’s just amazing, it blows my mind every time I leave  the country and go somewhere and see that kind of just being just cultivated and just grow.