Monday, February 20, 2006

The Infantilism of "Stop Snitching"

Yesterday the NYTs had an interesting piece on a shooting that occurred two weeks ago in Greenpoint, Brooklyn outside a recording studio, which killed hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes' unarmed security guard. The guard,Israel Ramirez, was killed accidently as an altercation between two acquaintances exploded into gunshots. A tragedy no doubt, but here's the kicker:
Among scores of witnesses, including the rap artist Busta Rhymes and a half-dozen hip-hop celebrities who were present at the filming of a video at the studio, the lack of cooperation has been stunning, the authorities say.

"We believe there were between 30 and 50 people on the sidewalk at the scene of a homicide, and no one has come forward to volunteer information," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. "It's challenging for investigators, and I find it disturbing."
There's no need to go into a long digression about the ridiculousness and immoral stupidity of gangsta rap and the inflated machismo that goes along with it. Events like this, compounded with the unsolved murders of Biggie Smalls, Tupac, and Jam Master Jay just go to show the anarchic world the darker side of hip-hop inhabits. What I do find worthy of comment on is this vacuous reply by Ms. Oh of Hot 97, a NYC hip-hop radio station:
What we're seeing is a head-on crash of art and reality," she said. "The concepts of snitching and justice have become open to interpretation, and the problem is that no one has a handbook on how to proceed."
You're kidding me. A handbook? How about personal responsibility and self-control. In a sense Ms. Oh is implying what I've always noticed about hip-hop, especially its gangsta sub-genre, and hated: the tendency toward lock-step cultural norms that attempt to make everyone look and act the same, whether you're black, white, etc.

It's amazing to see grown men act like such petulant little children on the playground. For all its claim to individuality, gangsta rap is just another expression of the herd silencing those who step out of line.