In case you guys weren’t following it, T.I. was arrested the other day after being caught with a bunch of machine guns and silencers. Yeah, I know.
Jay Smooth has a great video about it, actually, but what I’d like to talk about is the dichotomy between implied violence and actual violence in hip hop.
To give you an idea of how tame violence can seem in a hip hop track, I have never once considered Dead Prez’s “Assassination” to be particularly violent. You probably don’t either– and it includes the lyric “Fuck the Bible, get on your knees and praise my rifle.” Explicit, premeditated, praised violence, right?
The fascinating thing is that, when this implied (though explicit) violence turns to real violence, we all of a sudden switch from being really impressed to being horrified.
I’ll admit to being victim of it myself– multiple times, in fact. We think violence is cool and that a rapper’s a big man for talking about having a gun, not being afraid to use it, etc. But when we realize he’s telling the truth, and he gets arrested, he becomes the object of ridicule.
It seems backwards to me.
I mean, these were machine guns, for Christ’s sake. But let’s admit it– we all think the violence in music is fake. If it were real, we would be horrified… right?