After the riots that rocked Baltimore, voices are rising in the rap world. First to be outraged at the event that triggered the violence in recent days, the burial of Freddie Gray, this young black man of 25 years who died after being arrested by the police. But also to attack, vehemently, the system that has engendered such violence.
Killer Mike, one of the rappers of the duo Run the Jewels, who we saw with the Outkast band in the 2000s and whose Twitter biography describes a “Pan-African gangster, rapper, civil rights leader and activist” let out his anger on social media:
“Repression feeds rebellion. Do you want to stop the riots? End poverty. Stop systemic racism. Stop the police. Stop the war against blacks! This is what causes the riots! Built with anger and rage! # TheWirecestmorequedelatélépourme #Lemalengendrelaviolence # Lapauvretéc c’estlemal #lapolicequiassassinecestlemal #leshommenoirssontprisenchasse #ourdroitssontenjeu »
Repression breeds rebellion. U wanna stop riots? Stop poverty. Stop systemic racism. Stop Police… https://t.co/SbcukUCCuX
— Killer Mike (@KillerMikeGTO) April 28, 2015
The rapper, who said in December to Release “People are not going to allow themselves to be oppressed indefinitely by the government. It will end very badly if something does not happen ”, also posted on Instagram this sentence by the poet Langston Hughes, one of the figures of this African-American artistic movement of the interwar period, the Harlem Renaissance: “The negroes – tender and docile, gentle, humble and kind / Watch out for the day – when they will change their minds”.
He is not the only one to express himself this way. Chuck D, co-founder of Public Enemy and tutelary figure of American hip-hop, also chose to speak with virulence, also evoking the anthological television series The Wire, whose action takes place entirely in Baltimore.
“HBO embellished this one-sided view of BMORE [Baltimore, ndlr] in The Wire. It was shown and broadcast nationwide and fifteen years later, ((((BOOM)))) ”
HBO pimped that 1-sided view of BMORE in THE WIRE. Show & spread it across the USA , and 15 years later ((((BOOM))))
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) April 27, 2015
Californian rapper and producer Bus Driver, for his part, has just published this little text on Instagram:
“It’s not a race war during Reconstruction [ce moment de l’histoire américaine juste après la guerre de Sécession, ndlr]. Nor a clash with the police during the civil rights movements. It’s a big American city, chock full of second-class citizens called blacks. The city is tearing up black bodies at its whim, and people then have the audacity to be condescending by asking these good people to respond to this CRISIS. People who are crushed and erased by the police should not be NORMALIZED (…) “
– Driver (@Busdriverr) April 28, 2015
Ice Cube, a former member of the gangsta rap group NWA, draws a parallel between these riots and those that affected Baltimore in 1968, just after the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Then and now. pic.twitter.com/3uDnTqWwYZ
— Ice Cube (@icecube) April 27, 2015
As is often the case, American popstars remain discreet on the issue, with the exception of Rihanna, who posted on Instagram a photo of a black policeman in tears. Kendrick Lamar, whose latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, tackles these questions head-on, has not said a word since.
Meanwhile, rapper and businessman Jay-Z is still promoting his music streaming app, Tidal.
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 27, 2015
Some of his fans reproach this rapper, whose fame has gone far beyond the borders of American rap, for his silence every time his country is rocked by race riots.
This Internet user thus notes:
“Jay Z got into a Twitter rant on Sunday about his business but is unable to make 140 signs in Baltimore on Monday?” “
Jay Z went on a twitter rant about his business Sunday, but couldn’t give 140 characters about Baltimore on Monday?
— Corey Johnson (@coreymaurice) April 29, 2015