An Open Letter to Bobby Shmurda

By Imani Brammer

Dear Bobby Shmurda,

I have danced to your song “Hot Nigga.” It’s on my iPod and I love when it plays. What does this mean? It means that I enjoy a catchy beat, a nice flow and even better, a fun dance to complement it. However, for a while, I didn’t know that you were rapping about murdering people. I was simply lured in by your beat, flow and dance alone. The lyrics were dissonance: mere noise that did not register in my mind. Though mainstream rap is often frowned upon, not all the time am I compelled to listen to politically conscious music like Common and Mos Def (though I adore them both, and also have them on my iPod). Sometimes I want to simply hear a beat, hear some words that flow and dance without digesting or internalizing the lyrics. However one day, when I was listening to your song without dancing, I actually heard what you were saying and it disrupted my fun. I can no longer listen to your song with a clear conscience. I try to deliberately block the lyrics, but hearing myself say, “errbody catchin’ bullet holes,” is just not OK. I am too well aware of your mental disease to even enjoy this track like I want to. Not only are you spewing disease, but also you are spewing self-hate and in the words of a Caribbean: fuckry.

Recently you performed in a conference room for Epic Records. I watched as you danced and lip-synced to a song titled “Computers,” running across the room, pulling up your pants (that were deliberately seated low) and shooting an imaginary gun. As the song finished, you stretched out both arms and looked to the sky as if you were king. You were proud, and they, (who I assume were the executives of Epic Records), were proud as well. They watched you in silent perplexity and dry clapped in unison, palms lightly patting the other, just enough to make an audible, “this will do” sound. It was cringe-worthy. Just so you know, the “civilized” claps are the worst ones. That’s how you know people ain’t really feelin’ it. They do it out of social obligation. Your lyrics re-affirm your inferiority to them.

You see, your ignorant performance is not only a mockery, but it is their money. It is their testimony that the mentality of the black race is emblematic of disaster. Essentially, the circumstances of what you considered your stage in that conference room looked oddly familiar to an auction block: black man on top, baring himself to that of the highest white bidder. The thing is, they don’t care about you. They sat at a table listening to you rap about killing people and they gave you a petty clap.

Please realize what you are depicting. In essence, you are representative of a slave. You are willing to work for The Man, as long as he’s reciprocating a couple of dollars worthy of bragging rights. Though financial freedom is something we all strive for, your freedom is at the cost of you, as well as the race you represent. You see, the inferiority of the black race was built upon the idea of criminality; we were always criminally responsible even when we weren’t. We only held value when we represented money for our owner. We were only property that produced cash. Right now, you Bobby, are representative of property, rapping about everything that criminalizes you, like killing your kind. In case you haven’t noticed yet, they’re paying you because you are upholding the black narrative: “Blacks are wild. They’re monstrous. They’re criminals. They must be tamed.” The more you uphold this, the more white supremacy perpetuates. They depend on you to remain at the top of their Eurocentric hierarchy. Perpetuating this hierarchy does absolutely nothing for you. Blacks have fought hard to not be depicted as villains and here you are with lyrics like, “we droppin bodies bitch. They say shootin is my hobby bitch. And I’m a problem kid.” You are blatantly telling them you are a problem. This is how it translates: “The black boy has said it himself! He’s telling us to be afraid of him! It’s best we stay alert and take pre-caution: shoot first, lie about it later,” re-affirming that the recent white police on black male homicides were “just.” You basically just told the system to shoot you because you are wreaking havoc on their “good” society.

Moving on, the cover of your EP shows you wearing a ski mask with wide eyes and tongue out, looking wild, disheveled and suspicious: the perfect formula for the perception of the black man in a white world. Your cover is reminiscent of a minstrel show. Bobby, please don’t allow yourself to be a mockery. There are young black men who die because white society deems them to be uncontrollable nuisances. Don’t be that confirmation.

Bobby, you need to be freed. When slaves sought freedom, they taught themselves how to read. Please seek your freedom by way of knowledge, because performing in a conference room full of white business people who can care less about your well-being isn’t it. I understand that you represent Brooklyn, well, Brooklyn has plenty of public libraries. Utilize them. It’s knowledge for free at your own discretion.

Concerned,

Imani

P.S: This part of the letter is dedicated to racist police and the American government:

Please do not shoot this young man. He’s already dead. His hands are already up in surrender to white supremacy. He does not need to be in jail; he has been imprisoned his entire life. His music is emblematic of this. Instead, treat him like a white criminal who just shot a couple of schools: place him in therapy. He needs a therapist who understands the evils of the American system and who could help him to fight through this. Again, Bobby Shmurda has already surrendered. Someone. Please answer his SOS.

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505 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Bobby Shmurda

  1. Why are you placing all the blame on Shmurda, though? And on consumers like yourself who decide to listen and enjoy his music? This is a structural problem: Shmurda is probably singing about his life, and the realities he faces as a result of where he’s been placed and the decisions he made. And partly as a result of structural inequalities that you seem to be well aware of. He made this song…and WE bought it! And enjoy it. And dance to it. The entertainment industry cares less about content than fun — heck, many of us care more about fun than content. To attempt to ‘call out’ Bobby shows a pretty limited perspective. Yes, the song is problematic, yes dancing for white executives has its issues, but it’s ridiculous to place the blame on him.

    1. I agree and wonder where the open letter is for Rick Ross. Where was the outrage when he rapped about spiking a female’s drink, taking her home, and raping her without her knowledge? I am tired of people picking and choosing which people they call out, call out all of them. Bobby Shmurda is a small fish and just entering the industry. What about the people who have been in the industry for years and have made millions off of the same thing Shmurda raps about?

      1. Where were you? There was plenty outrage – letters, articles, news reports, response songs, it was covered in documentaries, etc. , etc., etc. . . I taught a Hip Hop unit and we covered the topic under misogyny in hip hop. What did you do about it?

    2. Imani Brammer I’m sorry one his performance for epic records was recorded secretively, you have no clue what other artists had to do to get their deal, because their video didn’t get out, your letter is pure fuckery, what about the fact that every rapper raps about demeaning women, and killing, and drug dealing, and this go all the way back to the 90s, you thought it upon yourself to write a letter because you thought that since his arrest went viral then maybe your opinion will go viral too, fuck your opinion, your part is null and void, it’s not one artist that is the problem it’s the record labels that are owned by rich white CEOS, that want this type of music to be played to destroy OUR communities and our race, please stop it’s a way bigger picture than you think it is.

      1. Can you even comprehend? That’s exactly what she said. It’s the musicians fault for being willing to perform these toxic lyrics. Not just this one musician but all those who are willing to promote this sort of behavior. One more thing if it wasn’t for people’s opinions what would this country be? We are in a free country last time I checked. If you don’t like other people’s opinion why don’t you ignore them?

    3. Isolating a popular and trending musician gleans the audience she needs to get her point across. Very obviously, Shmurda is being used an example for failing lyrics in the black music culture

    4. It is not his fault that he was brought up in that type of environment. It is his fault for choosing not to refuse to live by the same means. It is his fault because he polluting the minds of the kids out here that thinks it’s cool, it’s his fault because as a musician you learn how psychologically the type of a music a person listens to takes a toll on how they think. It is his fault for making african American men look as if they are all criminals it is his fault that he is choosing to criminalize himself. And the writer of the letter is a conscious person one that can listen to music for entertainment only, one how knows the system and is aware of how music and media depicts african Americans in a certain way. So do not get upset at the writer. The writer is aware that bobby is a pig to the system, that he is oppressed so then again is it really his fault? He does not know that he is a puppet. And as a ppl we should stop entertaining these entertainers that promote these type of things but then they would mean consciousness and most people are still pigs or “puppets” to the system and don’t realize the real issues.

    1. It goes beyond that. Black folks are quick to criticize others without looking at themselves. He is going to rap about whatever he wants. This piece should have been written about the author, herself, being ignorant. Instead she chose to point the finger at someone else.

      1. Yes, there are too many self-hating negros who are furthering the white supremacist agenda and are too blind to see it.

      2. You’re ignorant for not seeing: A) her constitutional right to write
        B) the brilliance of her many points, especially about furthering the image of black inferiority

      1. It aint hate bro. Its all love for our people. Thats why we so fuckin tired of being caught up in this system. Our mentalities been poisoned. Its no accident whats popular is guns, drugs, cars, clothes, and hoes, Its all by design, just not ours. Don’t take my word, go educate yourself bro. Google the shit, Willie Lynch, New Jim Crow, Economic Inequality, Entrepreneurship, Kemet, Olmecs, Black Wall Street (Oklahoma). Just a few bread crumbs. We are waaaaaay more power than certain people want us to think we are, they’ve been overwhelmingly successful at fooling us, no more. Always remember: the key to brainwashing is a false sense of freedom.

  2. Excellent article. The only problem is, the “bobby shmurda generation” are too far gone to understand your concern. Their response would probably be, “fuck dat, we gettin money”. It’s clearly by design. American media rewards negativity in this day and age. We gotta save our babies, even if it’s only one at a time. I’ve already started with my nephews.

    Again I say excellent article.

    1. U are absolutely right this generation is just terrible and the way society is now everything is guns smoking killing and shooting and all negative things and it’s terrible ppl would rather be on the streets selling drugs vs getting an education and a job

      1. It’s not only this generation, it’s been going on for a long time. They just don’t attempt to hide it or cover it up. There are too many of us who don’t have a clue about our true heritage, who we really are, where we are really from, or who our true higher being is. We question things with tangible proof, but believe what the racists who murdered, lynched, and enslaved our ancestors version of HIStory. It’s full of lies and BS to make us feel inferior to them. T.I. said it best in the song “New National Anthem” from his new album.

    2. Yes it’s all about saving your own directly. Instill a honor system in your family. The ones that go left like bobby have to make their own way. It’s not our fault they push for stuff like that. It’s all business in America. Make it your business to makes sure you family achieves the best side of business.

      1. I don’t know who this rapper is but I know truth when I read it and yes this rapper apparently is a savage and those who support him………

      2. Really??? You have no understanding at all then.
        Your probably just saying that because you don’t care about the issues but you only jus wanna have fun and listen to foolishness that will lead your soul to an eternal hell.

    3. Yall hating on dis man people make music to entertain other people just cause yu understand wat he was say dont mean u gotta judge dis man cause Everybody catching bullets holes so wtf.. yu just need to sit down before you be the body mitch caught a week ago fu fu ass lady..

      1. Don’t confuse hate with truth. That’s part of the illusion. It’s all love for my people but Its deeper than entertainment, this go back hundreds of years, and certain people pay GOOD money to keep us fucked up. Shit aint cool

    4. I think you’re wrong. Sooner or later they do recognize that there is something wrong with telling their white crowds and their concerts to shoot niggas. They feel it. Will they do something about it is another thing.

    1. Great read Imani. I have to agree with Jae Supreme, the other two comments already prove this generation and others don’t care and are too far gone to even get it. keep doing what you’re doing… the conversation has to start somewhere.

    1. So you recommend that the death continues unabated and no one raise concern you must live in a bubble with no air in it brain dead to say the least…..Sad

  3. stfu U dumb EDIOT when other rappers are signing about substance abuse and domestic violence no one says anything !! You people have no life cause weather he reads this article or not HES STILL GETTING PAID AND YOUR STILL BROKE !!!! He’s a music entertainer and that’s what he’s doing entertaining us and we love it so stfu and just don’t listen !! You wasted a whole hr or 2 hrs just to write this smh get a life

    1. You are the reason why we will have thousands if not millions of Micheal Browns shot down in the coming years…….Your support for Niggerdom will lead to your ultimate demise DEATH FROM UNCONSCIOUSNESS! I wouldn’t want anyone who think like you at my dinner table unless you agreed to therapy for low self esteem……..

      1. Lmao “ediot”… Yea young kids are lame brain fake azz yung thug faggits that listen to rap lyrics and think thats there life…yo ass been in the house behind the computer screen u aint do no shooting n u ant move no wieght…ima 80s baby we didnt have computers n smart phones we was face to face hand to hand gram for gram…bitch made pussy azz kidz piss me off i stay ready to sumurder one of these est. N 1997 Ass niccas baby nuts havn ass balls havnt even dropped yet

  4. well done. from the title I was a little put off, like why are you writing to Bobby Shmurder and not the white people who are directing him. After reading it, I feel you 100% keep doin what you doin.

  5. This current generation of rap culture is really disheartening as a black male. Every one wants to get money, but no one wants to put in the effort to rise above white privilege, subjugation and stereotypes. We need more Obamas and Condoleezza Rices and Clarence Thomases, not uneducated rappers as heros.

    1. Not everyone can be an Obama or Condolezza
      Bobby Schmurda is young and inexperience and loves what he’s doing whether it be making money as well
      Sometimes the objective is not always focussing on lyrics etc. it is entertainment

  6. If he chose to rap about that then so be it. You know how many rappers rap about those things. You waited until now to care when over the past years/decades its been rap about. I’m not saying promote violence but its just a song.

    1. You need to be more informed music lyrics are used as a method for mind control! Look at Niggerdom all around you and it works. Study your ancestors so your ass will let go of your head……..breath now!

  7. I am Owner of YD Entertainment and have worked for a few major labels and one reason I don’t now is because talent like Bobby receives the budgets. Imani you can’t blame Bobby or The Labels. Bobby’s goal is to become successful with his music so he can better his situation while the labels goal is to make money, and it’s because of people like you who respond positively to his music is why they continue to get the funding. The Lyrics and Flow along with the beat is what makes a song. Music effects the brain on so many levels why would you want to be blindly subjecting your mind to what ever catchy rhythm you hear. You can’t be mad at him he has a freedom to make what ever music he pleases, but you and millions of other people have that same choice to or not to listen and support violent subject matter in music.

    All music doesn’t have to be conscious rap like Common but there are tons of artist making commercial records with better messages in them that you as a listener can decide to tune into. This has been going on for years in urban music and it’s because the public is so easily convinced that gangsta is cool and that’s what sales. If the listeners began saying “it’s not cool for young black men to still be killing each other over gang violence so we wont support music that speaks on it” than more people will start making conscious music because that is what is currently receiving the budgets.

    Also I’m sure you didn’t purchase Bobby’s CD, Mp3s, Merchandise, etc either and that is because you aren’t absorbing his music as a whole and falling in love with him as an artist. My company catered to violent urban music at one point and one of my artist who I considered a brother was murdered in West Petersburg VA. So many stories like this in our industry and as a whole our culture continues to support the very music which helps fuel the violence. Instead of bashing Bobby Shurmurda just put your support else where and encourage others to put their support else where.

    Demonstrate as a consumer of digital content that you are willing to purchase content and merchandise from artist creating particular kinds of genres of music. It’s a lot of rappers out there making a ton of music you would love including in our company so start surfing and listening to indie music as well. It’s free most of the time with options to buy, and you’d be amazed at what you will find. Bobby Shurmurda as a man wants money to better the lives for him and his and his style of music is how he did it the labels fund what ever has the potential to make the most money, get the most views, etc.

    #MFPYD

    1. Bitch get yo hatin ass song u aint lived his life u aint Neva watch yo home boys die you ain’t Neva been shot at numerous of times fuck mos def and common fuck that peace shit the strong survive hatin ass mf always tryin to pull a nigga down mad cuzz u ugly and they boy made a million off that song if u don’t like listen to something else and close yo stankin ass mouth I fucc wit shmurda because ima hot nigga to I bet u got done in by some hood niggas talked about bad fucked and left now u gotta grudge fuck on WE CAUGHT A BODY ABOUT A WEEK AGO

  8. It appears that you need to grow up and not just dance to a hot beat. You’re no better than the music executives who you write about. There are PLENTY of positive songs with hot beats so open your mind and branch out. Don’t blame him for your ignorance. He’s going to do what he does if it continues to pay.

  9. That’s my little cousin, blood cousin…. He don’t mean no harm he made that song when he was fighting for his life on the block surviving. Excuse him

    1. He’s excused!!!!! Real talk there is only one judge!!!!! No one, I repeat no one, will ever know the steps you’ve taken the walks, the journeys, the pain, the struggles, of the next person throughout their life!!!!! “Who are you to judge???!!!!” You’re not God!!!! Keep ya head up and your FAM!!!! Everyday struggles!!!!

  10. Wow. Well said. I too am a victim of being mesmerized by the beat to a song without listening to the lyrics. Honestly, I did not know

  11. Girrrl shut up ! Its not that serious .. People make songs about stuff like this all the time . but it doesn’t actually mean they’re doing it ! They just talking

  12. What I find interesting about this article, is that one person wrote this consciously and realized something was wrong with us and about the times we live in. We got all the “Mike Browns and Crooked Cops” scenarios and yet we allow it to exist because of ignorance and pride of things that don’t have substance. We have to change…

  13. Seems pretty harsh. I mean the guy is a product of the environment he grew up in, one he did not himself create.

    And to Bobby his success feels more like a fuck you victory than the submissive signing of a contract. The music has allowed him to escape that environment and move away from the violence.

    Sure the lyrics may be perpetuating a certain image, but he’s rapping about what he knows. As any lyricist would. Just seems a bit overly judgmental. He’s only 20, give him time to develop.

  14. I understand where you’re coming from and it’s true. But music has tons of this, not even just rap. But agreed , just look up the book ” Flows : Verses That Count”, it touches deeply on stuff like his and how most of the top rappers stay on top. It’s some scary shit. We as black people march for peace, but yet love this violent rap

  15. Your argument might as well apply to every black musician that signs to a major record label, not just bobby shurmda..
    Don’t waste time pointing fingers at individuals, this is a systematic phenomenon. Bobby shurmda is a product of his environment. These lower-income environments that are overly-competitive and results in this survival mindset of “I’m going to do what I gotta to do to make money.” You’re only itching at the tip of the surface here.

  16. I understand your frustration but bobby, like a lot of young urban adults, is just a child of America. Meaning that in America the army goes around killing people and glorifying it and say we’re doing good. Bush has done it among many other presidents. in our nieghborhoods we do the same because this is the culture of America. In our nieghborhoods its a war zone and all we want to do is survive. No one taught us any other way. Not saying its right but to write a letter to a 19 year old blaming him just doesnt make sense.

  17. “The lyrics were dissonance: mere noise that did not register in my mind.”

    sorry i stopped paying true attention after this line so i could see what it was like living life in your shoes.

    youre a real shmuck if you listen to anything and it comes across as mere noise that does not register in your mind. get your smartphone out of your ass and pay attention to life for christ sakes.

  18. You cant get mad that he’s rapping about what he went through his whole life. Thats what he seen when he was growing up in his city. Now he’s telling his story through his songs

  19. Very good, I’m so tired of my race, and the ignorance they portray everyday! They are living the stereotypes, and keeping them alive, they are giving people what they want, making themselves look like idiots everyday! Why is it that we don’t think before we speak? Why is it we always beat them to the chase? Show our asses before they even get a chance to mention them? God is coming and the black race needs to wake up or they will be left behind

  20. Well spoken….I too, watched that same video and came to similar conclusions….reminded me of the Medieval times, where the “jester” would would entertain court…They almost could be seen thinking , as he “performed like a sideshow monkey”, “Look this dummy!!!! I don’t care what he’s saying, they’ll like it and I’ll love it and i’ll be fucking rich…Hope the “hood” makes more of these idiots!!!” I’m doing my part the only way I can….I watch closely everything my young son is exposed to these days and teach him the PROPER things to glorify and respect. This will be our LAST and ONLY defense against what the media has deemed, “socially acceptable” Where did the standards go? We need to launch an investigation in to that……

  21. Ur letter is just plain fuckry mixed with a racist mentality…cuz i bet my last $0.50..you would neva write this fuck on Jay z or Snoop dogg album…bitch!! Leave the guy alone nd dont Judge him many came before nd many still to come…….Hater!!!

  22. This letter should have been written when Dr Dre and Snoop Dog was at their highest in their careers and Dej Jam was funding all this gangster rap bull shit to force feed our youth with gun talk and crack selling cocaine. I give much love and credit to Kendrick Lamar and Jay Cole. Dre and Jay are now seeing how they were used to destroy black America so they are signing artists completely different from what they were in terms of messages. It’s sad they had to reach that point to get it. Do you know how many people they killed or encouraged to kill in their lyrics? smh

  23. @Jay. Read the above responses and your point is proven. Chuck D, X-Clan & KRS-One predicted this at least 30 years ago. “Who Stole the Soul” as Chuck D would say. This now corporate tool called rap music is designed to consciously lure out youth in with the beat & flow but sub-consciously plant that self-hate seed in their minds. Dr. King is turning over in his grave. We see evidence of that today. I rack my brain trying to figure out how to reverse this trend. I really don’t think that is possible. Just like the Titanic that couldn’t save everyone from drowning, you CAN save a few that may spawn a new generation of intellect for ALL people. That will start from the untapped use and power of the internet. I do envision a bright future. I just may not live long enough to see it.

  24. Everything in this article is true, except the “white supremacy” part. Whites are going to be a minority in the blink of an eye. The KKK is meaningless in 2014 America and has been for some time. We have a black President, Attorney General (and the new one is black too), black caucus, black colleges, black only scholarships, black student unions (can’t have a white one), a black woman is among the richest on earth (Oprah) and there are countless black celebrities.

    The problem is not “white supremacy” forcing black men to behave this way for their own benefit. The problem is black culture. Black culture tells young black males that they need to be thugs to get respect. They need to go kill people. They need to go rob people. Just committing crime in general is “cool” in black culture but more specifically violent crime. No one holds a gun to a black man’s head and tells him to preach violence and racism (against whites). Black men do that all by themselves. It’s all about black values and black culture. They are the opposite of positive. 75% of black children have no father. THAT is a problem. Not white people. Young black males are only 5% of the population but commit over 50% of ALL violent crimes nationally. How is that a white man’s fault? It’s the choice of black people to behave this way.

    So I agree that this gangsta hip hop is rotting the black community. But the cause is your own culture, not white people. The black race is completely unable to look at themselves in a mirror and realize they are their own worst enemy. No one is holding anyone back. Wake up. It’s 2014 not 1812.

  25. I agree & disagree cause you really can’t blame the guy for his music because it’s entertainment it’s not his fault if someone commits a murder or any other crime! His job was done, he made a song that he felt ppl could get up & dance to true the lyrics are aggressive but that don’t mean he is living that life or telling the public to do the same! But like I said I do like the open letter but honestly u should of wrote that letter to the government or movie producers who depicts the same type of violence so I think it’s unfair of you to single out bobby shmurda who is just trying to make a dollar out here

  26. Firstly Bobby is not the first to make this kind of music, I don’t think all of this pressure should be put on him….weather there is a thug with a gun or a black male in a business suit a white man will look at them all the same. He should educate himself & yes they are making a mockery but to some people it’s either the option of death, jail or being famous & rich and getting to live a fantasy….people will judge him no matter what path he goes down….black men are born into rascism & inequality….if he’s not actually shooting other black men,& he financially stable leave him and let him have his fun! Who are you to tell him to quit go broke & sit in the library ? Judge a person only when you can HELP them

  27. Our generation is gone! They have no knowledge of what is going on around them! We are watching the book of Revelations come to life before our eyes! WAKE UP

  28. I’m tired of hearing every black person being “treated like a slave” it’s ridicukous. This guy his making a career for himself who are you to go judge it. You have no idea who he is or what he sees through his eyes. If he has a passion for doing what he does then why try to bring him down. Not to mention he has hard lyrics which the rap genre has been missing for a while. Can’t fault him for making good music.

    1. His music sucks and rap wasn’t missing anything he said. Its garbage music. Like Treach said ” the Hip in Hip Hop needs a Hip replacement!” Excellent article.

  29. I have been trying to explain this to my friends also. This generation is to far gone to understand that young African Americans are walking targets. Great article!

  30. This article is shaming him wrongfully. He is who he is. And he’s profiting from it. I understand the urge to hold every black person accountable for the image of all black people but that’s just unfair. The people who choose to support the blacks with behaviors and mentalities like bobbys are the ones at fault. Be yourself and let the pieces fall where they may. This self hate is enough. It’s meta self hate.

  31. The author was the only one to make the connection to slavery and “monstrous black people”. For some reason, the author moved away from the idea that humans are humans and desperate money hungry humans are different if they are a certain nationality. I don’t think Mr. Shmurda cares much about how others see him, he was brought up in a world far worse than your own and unlike you and your fellow wage slaves, he sought a different path. Can you really say yours is better? He isn’t killing your grannies but other competitors. You live under a government system that kills thousands of civilians as a natural by-product of their wars which are constantly being justified by various fear driven campaigns. You live in a sheltered reality that probably doesn’t have to worry about their families house being obliterated the next time you come to see them. Shmurda has to use his own means and powers of protecting himself. Something which you would probably be incapable of if the police take as long as they do to come to your aid. He also is a huge target for others to try and rob them so he flaunts his power unlike wageer and willingness to kill. He is most likely exaggerating but hey, if it came down to it, Im sure he would be able to protect himself in a everyday situation more than yourself. Do not talk down on him like you are asking the KKK to spare him or his evil ways, the idea of white supremacy is dead because we are now all the slaves in a gov where voting doesn’t bring results and economic freedom. And even if it were still lynching times, these people are used to angst filled people trying to take away the little they have accumulated.

    Don’t appreciate him if you must. You can see him as a horrible addition to society but it is the drive of those who take what they want that end up creating the future. And those that simply complain end up being the ones in the shackles. So respect may be required at the very least.

    1. Hey there RRR…

      So, I’m going to concede that the government is flawed, you know on the whole unjust war thing being driven by fear.

      But considering black “voters” are so few in number, we can’t say how things would go, if black communities really turned out in larger numbers. I’d love to see that happen. Because I mean, if you really wanna scare white people, VOTE!! The disappointment in one black president or the first black president should not discourage anyone from trying again. If you don’t work in and out of the system BOTH you will not be able to mobilize power. It’s not supposed to stay an us versus them. A high versus low. Rich to poor. The gap is supposed to narrow. A lot of our country’s ideas were formed on the ideas of Thomas Payne, and he was more than kicked around for concepts of revolution when a King gets too big. Common Sense is a famous essay for anyone interested. Sure he’s white, but he’s radical. And I don’t suggest reading to be condescending to people from different levels of education. It’s the opposite of condescending. What would be condescending for real, is if I only recommended Dr. Seuss books… assuming that’d be the only level to reach people on. It’d be condescending not to talk about what other books to reach for.

      So yeah, the author wants more libraries and less guns essentially. And maybe this sounds naive or out of touch or easy to say for a privileged person, right? But it’s nothing new… Books, I mean. it’s as old as dirt… to evolve towards taking care of the people and to reject greed and self interest as anything that garners true respect.

      It’s when you say, “Do not talk down to [Bobby] like you are asking the KKK to spare him and his evil ways, the idea that white supremacy is dead because we are all now the slaves in a gov where voting doesn’t bring results and economic freedom.” That I want to say, how about toning down the patriarchal tone? How about not “talking down” to the author, for example, like she needs to be schooled in respect?

      My latest meme is: There is NO such thing as a “common thug”. Which can be extended to include: There is no such thing as “monstrous black people” These are dehumanizing terms that erase the whole person/people(s) making them easier to shoot for the “someone” who fears the “other”.

      Like calling a woman a bitch or a ho. She’s not a person. She’s an object. She becomes easier to smack or rape.

      I felt uncomfortable reading the article because for example, I listen to Lil Wayne in both horror and honest appreciation. I’ve been told white people take rap and hip hop completely differently than black folks and what is just fun for them is taken far too seriously by white people. That white people don’t get the “exaggerations”. So, I’ve listened intently to what I hear is his pain and reality and poetic skill and then I listen to it like I’m not supposed to feel too hung up about it. When I play Drop the world… I’m wanting to do that because I’m feeling my own sense of disillusionment with the world, and also because the duet with emminem sounds good. There are other songs of his that I find worthless and offensive, but I don’t let them destroy my understanding of why I want his influence in my collection.

      I don’t censor art, lyrics, or creative expression as a rule. But I can see why the author is finding the current trend in rap harder to swallow because I do know the industry is REQUIRING black musicians to “gangster” and “slut up” in order to make it to the top and this is largely politically driven not “consumer” driven. There are so many business interests that I don’t even know where to begin to connect the dots. You spoke of the shackles on “complainers” as if they aren’t on Bobby because he makes “the money” but the money is the shackle. The money is the ho.

      You think the white man isn’t a whore because he has the money?

      Books are freedom. Because in a monied prison or a gilded cage there’s only one way to freedom and that’s the mind.

      Black history month is coming up… it’s been given the shortest month, February… and I’ve been asked to help recommend black musicians (all genres) for a corporate endeavor… that I won’t bother name dropping… but so what represents best I’m wondering? I mean I know what I like. I’m going with Lauryn Hill, Jean Grae, yes Stevie Wonder and yes Marvin Gaye…

      They aren’t going to take stuff with a bunch of foul language and shooting… so it cancels out a lot of good artists… but I’m open to your suggestions if you have any. Indie bands are already rejecting corporate sponsorship/association out of purist principles and I can’t really blame them… so those won’t be considered.

      And I’m particularly interested in the author, Imani’s recommendations if you want to reply!

      I love music reviews, Imani, and yours was worth the read. 🙂

  32. You need go back in time 20 years and write 10,000 more letters for the thousands of rap artist who put out the same lyrical content. Stop picking and choosing easy targets for click bait slacktivism articles. “I didn’t know that you were rapping about murdering people. I was simply lured in by your beat, flow and dance alone.” is a cop-out. DMX’s “lose my mind” is the same “murderous” content. I’m tired of people blaming music for community failures where there are far greater problems. No Home Ownership, no business ownership, no job growth.

    Stop the open letters and write more meaningful topic that inspire.

    1. 1. DMX’s “Lose My Mind” came out when I was a child, and I sure wasn’t writing letters then.

      2. You want me to go back in time 20 years. I’m 22. Imma let you do the math.

      3. I don’t exactly know how people expect me to write a letter to every. Single. Gangsta. Rapper. Out there– but that is ridiculous and I’m not doing it. Use your brain and apply this letter to the bigger picture. On a larger scale, of course, there are many other artists whose musical content also fits the description of Bobby Shmurda’s content, so this letter would apply to them too. I targeted a smaller, yet relevant issue to speak about the larger dilemma. I did my part. Now you do your part and apply it.

  33. It’s funny to me, because if you were as conscious as you appeared to be, you would’ve never been dancing to his negative shit! I never heard of this dude until everyone was talkin about him! I don’t listen to the radio! I don’t watch the news! Bobby Shmurda is garbage, and anyone liking his crap is just as backwards! But I agree with what you said the minute you came to your senses

  34. You didn’t know it was about murdering people…. Fucking poser u don’t get to write articles when ur as dumb as you. Listen to the music.

  35. This letter was cute but we have to stop pointing fingers. If “we” stop buying this music they (executives) will stop putting it out there.

  36. Music is like a movie, action, comedy, etc. you’re opinion is ok but you have to realize he’s saying ️facts that many people relate. Certain music isn’t made for everyone , like this song wasn’t for you but to say he needs help is ignorant just because of the the things he talks about that you don’t agree with

  37. We ask for equality but what do we want to be equal to exactly? Some White people are horrible even to their own. That’s why they embrace music like this. They are individuals and some like lyrics like this. A black dude will shoot a block up and a white dude will shoot a business up.they have heavy metal songs that talk about killing everyone. But rap is more popular somehow. Perhaps because everyone, black and white is constantly trying to make an example out of us. It’s all the same. We are all American. I think that’s what higher ups in hip hop realized. The market for this is great in America. People are fucked up.

  38. Good day to you Imani and I must say this is an excellent article filled with truth and well written Imani. I honestly am surprised that there are any negative responses to your article but not surprised that any of the negative comments were all less than 148 characters since that is the capacity of anyone that would challenge you while trying to defend Ackquille Jean Pollard aka Bobby Shmurda and his lyrics. I honestly didn’t even think that any of the people leaving negative responses would read your entire article yet alone understand it. The truth might be they only read the first paragraph,felt that it was “hatin” and skipped the rest in order to get their internet “gaygnster” points and proceed to dick riding on B.S. It’s heartbreaking to see what popular rap has come to now after years of the black man and woman struggling to have a voice that could be respected now only to see this wave of coons which many are calling rappers sell out their people for a little bit of money from the entertainment masters.They have the dance down now all they need to do is pick the cotton to take us back to the days that our ancestor were beat and slaves to their masters (Shrugs). Well… I look forward to reading more of your post Imani while you STFU as requested and “Sending The Facts Up” to the front for us to read and enjoy. Again, good day to you and thank you for an amazing article.

  39. This article was very well-written and articulate. I am curious to know however how many letters Imani has written to murderers. Because although Bobby’s music may provoke violence or glamorizes it, you saw him shooting an “imaginary” gun and making music. He did SOMETHING correct to have made it to the platform he has made it to and reach the success he has. I personally would make the recommendation to direct your displeasure to those that are committing the crimes or even try and touch on why in fact negative is so lucrative I’m the USA as oppose to bash a young man of color for acknowledging that there is a demand for the type of music he’s capable of creating and executing that as a means to better himself. Because I’m just going to take a wild guess and say that if he was not famous “for making music” and he was in jail for committing the crimes he “raps” about, you would have never heard of him and probably never sent him a letter. And that’s the guy who really needs it in my opinion. The guy in jail. The guy that someone has in fact been diagnosed with mental illness. That person would ALSO probably be more receptive as opposed to Bobby who has millions who actually enjoy it. So unfortunately in this instance your opinion is much like a raindrop in the ocean and will probably go unnoticed by him. But good job in your journalism pursuit. ☺️

    1. Hi AR…

      I think the Open letter format to Bobby was written more as away to express a music review of his rap and of rap like his, than as an actual letter to him. Although with social media, one never knows. He might read it. But anyhow, the whole unnoticed “drop” in the ocean doesn’t really apply… as this style of writing is a way of generating this discussion and feedback and as you have noticed, you have an opportunity to consider and put forward ideas.

      There are so many comments following her review… that we are the drops in her ocean more like.

      I can’t speak for her, but I didn’t get the impression she has an expectation that rap and industry are going to change, but I think she’s pointing out the perks or benefits that rappers like Bobby are enjoying at the expense of and paid for by black people. The same privileges that white privilege/supremacy benefits from feed Bobby. So he can appear to have made a great success out of his story and illness, but he’s in a predatory industry that is directing and using his predatory nature for sales and it doesn’t bother industry that it helps keep all blacks down.

      So in my opinion she’s justifiably imploring for a more visionary road for music and art and family and people… that she might agree includes a lot of speed bumps like Bobby.

  40. This article was absolutely wonderful. Now please, write an article or blog about your own faults. He’s a young man, and he will learn to be a better person if God pleases. You criticize him for his ignorance while you enjoyed his music in your own ignorance.

    PS
    Your government will shoot your ass too fool. Haha

  41. This is the most ignorant fucking article I have ever read. “White men rule the world” who the fuck believes in this shit. We live in 2014. If he raps about killing people, it’s because that’s what he was thinking about. Not because he is be controlled and is a slave. And if it happens to be a white cop that shoots and kills a black person then I’m sure that person (most of the time) did something to deserve it. Cops kill people every single day. Not just black people. And black cops also kill black people? How about instead of making this a race issue you focus on individuals. This is literally so fucking stupid. Ignorance like this article is why people still believe race is still a real issue. It’s not. Not shut the fuck up. Jesus.

    1. Really Cole?

      News flash buddy, racism is real because of comments like yours. The word your looking for isn’t “race”. It’s “racism”.

  42. The president is fucking black for Christ sake. Who is this white man? I don’t fucking get it. How about instead of trying to solve every other black persons problem you focus on your own. Stop blaming anyone but your god damn self and pull your head out of your ass. Smfh

  43. I love the way you added your personal experience to the article. There is a huge “generational gap” with the Bobby Smurda generation”. But as long as there are some who understand things haven’t changed just dressed up different, all is not lost.

  44. Dauyyyymn. The PS is so heartfelt. I appreciate your tone in that. This goes so much beyond the individual and for me personally is such a tough thing to be real and write about and analyze for the world to see while empathizing and not victim blaming with unawake POCs. ✌️💛 Imani, Bobby and the Shmurdas to shcome.

  45. This is a great article. I also see the issue as a disease within his mind but not just him, maybe the other white people as well.. Bobby may have just accepted the reality of his environment, if he lives it. Not only accepted it but has begin to celebrate it as well.Ending lives is just normal and somehow he thinks something ok to boast about. In defense of the white people in the room, just like Bobby Schmurda, they are human, which means they can equally be as ignorant, biased, immoral, even resourceful etc for the pursuit of a common goal, money. I don’t see this as a primary matter of race, it factors in of course but i see this as a primary matter of the heart. What the black man or a man who happens to be black desires may be the same as what the white man or a man who happens to be white desires. If they re not pointing fingers then why should we. I think everybody in that room was there because they were getting something out of that deal, some type of financial benefit. Everybody was walking out of there a little bit richer. Accept that one white guy bobbing in the back. I think he was only just there for the entertainment. 🙂 Bobby might not care that he looked like an asshole and the white people may not care that they may be judged as perceiving him as inferior. They were all really thinking, “As long as we gettin paid, that’s all that matters.”

  46. words of a conscious mind but they wont listen you will be told to shut up cause the light hurts there eyes. once, like you, they open the windows to there souls which has been closed for so long the brightness will be hard to bare and blinded shall they be. But they will see and they will look upon it and they will suffer the same trials. but will it be to late?

  47. It’s not anyone’s job to save “this generation” as most of this generations are a bunch of spoiled, overly effeminate, and self-absorbed consumers who refuse to think or see the world beyond their own Twitter-feeds.

    These kids (and the adults whom refuse to grow-up past age 17) are a bunch of soft, effeminate, and entitled brats. Most of the ones who glorify ” da streets” have probably never seen a single hard day in their entire lives. This generation was ruined the moment it came from the crack- infested womb of the previous money and sex-hungry “Me” and “Gen-X” generations.

    It is said that the arts are a prefect reflection of what is going in society at any given. While R&B and hip-hop use to have soul, uniqueness, and an eclectic flavor that greatly differed depending on the artist or where he or she was from. Today’s music,(if it can be called that) nothing more than a clangorous form of pop swill that populates the airwaves and television. “But iss like dat hot beet thouh..” say’s the feminized suburban net gangster that can’t decide if he wants to be like “Scraface” (probably over the heads of most dimwitted-millennials) or if he wants to have carnal relations with him.

    It is best for this society to let Darwinism go to work on this generation of doltish children.That means no bail outs, no more of daddies (mommie’s) money to fix their problems, and no second chances. Let them starve and rot in the streets that they glorify so much, that is if they can figure out where the “da streets” actually are.

    *awaits for an ill-worded net lingo fake “street” response from some 20 year old, that acts like a 16 year old, from the computer in their parent’s basement.

  48. “However, for a while, I didn’t know that you were rapping about murdering people. I was simply lured in by your beat, flow and dance alone. ” If you listened to that song without noticing the violence throughout it, you probably shouldn’t be writing opinion pieces.

  49. This is grammatically stimulating, politically correct, and just damn accurate. I love the way you write. It’s interesting, you make an argument and provide backing info. Your references to slavery and still more backing info and links to things like the “minstrel show”, just perfect lol.. I feel like an english teacher right now lol. I enjoyed reading this. It’s dope. -Ataah King

  50. Enjoyed your article, unfortunately you have small minded people who are just as caught up. Thee Ebonics and lack of respect also shows the maturity of your audience. The disrespect does not amaze me. The most intellectual conversing that your audience could spew was more disrespectful dialogue. The future of black kids is already dead because they do not have grown men in their lives to be the role model. To teach intellect instead of disrespect, they glorify the ignorance.

  51. Very True!! I have read and listened to every word. You have spoken nothing but the truth!!! Whoever doesn’t like or understand what you said is very ignorant!! To themselves and to US as BLACK PPL. Preach on sister!!!!

  52. I think this is just a little bit pathetic, why does it always come down to the race game. Fo’real someone Shmurda dance on her pussy yo!

  53. Wow, look at the mental slaves telling this sister to “make her own damn song” and “stfu”. It’s mind boggling how so many of our people hate knowledge and correction. Imani, keep spreading wisdom.

  54. It is only a song. The only meaning it has if what we, the listeners, give it. This man is not dead. You are just overly dramatic. This piece is absolutely absurd. He doesn’t sadden me. People like you do.

  55. you sound like bill Cosby yelling at the kids to pull their pants up. stop with the respectability politics. white supremacy will exist regardless of whether bobby shmurda raps about guns or not. gun violence will exist regardless of bobby shmurda getting signed. white cops will shoot unarmed black kids regardless of what bobby shmurdas mixtape cover looks like.
    sure lets tell bobby shmurda to act more civilized. let’s tell black second graders to stop acting so aggressive. let’s get the the black girls to stop being so sassy. then maybe the white man will like you.

  56. Here’s the thing though… as a Caribbean person familiar enough to cite terminology like “fuckry”, is there a stack of similarly themed open letters addressed to the COUNTLESS dancehall artists who built careers on “gunman lyrics”? As a resident of The 90s in East Flatbush, these lyrics would SURELY have played some part in informing Mr. Shmurda’ chosen theme. When the amount of shells fired off in dancehall music to date is so plentiful one could conceivably use them to construct a new Caribbean island into itself… making it exclusively about Shmurda rings a bit disingenuous at best.

  57. Imani,

    Ignore those who responded to this with “stfu” and “make ya own song then”. They are uneducated and do not understand. this is where the issue lies: there are so many uneducated, weak minded persons who were raised by uneducated, weak minded parents..There aren’t enough educated Blacks to over ride the “fuckry” these idiots spew. It’s a hard chain to break. But I’m with you! I completely understand your perspective, and I agree with it. Keep it up. Maybe when a white cop shoots their child down in the street and they’re begging for justice, they will remember this letter.

    -M.

    1. It’s not about dis agreeing with her perspective it’s about getting her and all of you readers to realize you are part of the problem IF you AIMLESSLY sing, dance, and support music of this nature.

      Music is more than beats and a flow the LYRICS are a key element of a song. If as a consumer all you want is beats and instruments listen to the instrumental, if not listen closely to the content you are listening to and then make the choice weather or not to support.

      You CANT sit here and blame white police, corporate media, and the rapper. If you as a consumer didn’t support it the labels wouldn’t fund it let alone entertain a meeting with artist like Bobby And Chief Keef. The consumer dictates where the market will go so an open letter to Bobby won’t solve anything.

      Encourage your readers to support better music

  58. I think the article is pointing a stern finger in the wrong direction. This music exists not because of what it reaffirms, not to perpetuate a “eurocentric supremacy” (not to say it doesn’t assist in any of the issues mentioned)… but it exists very simply because record executives are in business, just like anyone else, to make money… black, brown, white… we all like green… and the people who determine what sells… are the consumers not the executives. We take no responsibility. We take no initiative. We are a motionless vat of oil that keeps the 1% moving very effectively. We do not matter and it is NO ONES fault but our own. We have EVERY POSSIBLE OUTLET at our disposal and what do we do with them? Try to make money… or distract ourselves from our meaningless “jobs” that in no way align with our passions or true selves. We are drones… and every so often one of us wakes up long enough to point a misdirected finger until that next video comes on… or our phone “alerts” us that we need to be distracted again. Plain and simply, we suck. The people at the top are just people. Not any more or less capable of controlling our decisions than we are.

  59. Knowledge is power. Blacks, has to do better and come together as one. Whites are scared of a educated black man. Success is the key, but you have to be willing to reach every goal. Pick up a book and READ. Learn more about your history.

    1. In my experience, whites are not ‘scared of an educated black man.’ And if they were, why would you choose words like “scared of” rather than “respect” or “acknowledge as at least equal”… ?

      I agree with so much of Imani’s article above, except the part(s) that imply that Bobby Shmurda – and many before him – do not understand the dance they’ve joined with The Man. Since this kind of entertainment has been around for about 25 years now? I’m thinking the Bobby Shmurda’s know very well what they’re doing, and maybe even have enough insight to grasp long-term repercussions to the Black community and racial equality. But to some folks it just doesn’t matter, at least not as much as fame and money and looking like a bad ass.

  60. I dont like that after such a great article full of deep thought and concern, not blame, concern. two people felt the need to shit on you. its exactly what the second comment is talking about. the generation wont care and alot of young adults have grown down to join them, its a losing battle but you gotta keep putting things like this article out there. im sending it to bobby schmurda and maybe a few other, the older i get (23) the harder it is to just watch this shit happen. be a voice that inspires another voice to inspire another voice until were a crowded arena. If you do nothing because its “none of your business” or “whats really gonna change”, while all of this crumbles around you, then to me your worse then bobby schmurda and your definitely more brainwashed then then youth who are taking these sad songs as gospel.

  61. Do you know him personally to say he can’t read? Obivoursly that’s what sell these days……..don’t mean he lives that life…..look at snoop dog he raps about pimping and being a crip and he ain’t a crips anymore and he wasn’t even a pimp that what sold his albums so sthu about white supremacy

  62. Excellent article!!! I was amused and lost for words…. Realizing everything is true. After reading your article and I checked out Bobbie’s instagram page since I don’t have “hot nigga” dowloaded but it seems to be the song of the year. However, Booby clearly has mental health problems… He’s unable to answer a question coherently, he has verbal outbursts for no reason, unable to write a proper sentence, and he sometimes mumbles when singing his music. Bobby self-medicate by smoking weed all the time. All his videos he’s smoking, he glorifies killing the black race for no reason and sadly other blacks see him as a rising star.

    Sadly, Bobby would not read your letter because he’s unable to read, write and apparently speak English. I don’t believe he got past the 5 grade. He needs intervention for his illiteracy, anger, killing and drug use. I truly pity the black race of their ignorance, their willingness to glorify an opened killer and generational curses continues to flow

    Bobby, please learn to read and stop killing or promoting Killing!!!

  63. I hate when people paint a target on the latest song and artist and try to pick them apart. He is rapping to save himself and his family and friends. Not to save the world. Our people must do better Bobby is and his music have nothing to do with the problems our youth face. It’s the people who sit behind laptops and judge others actions all day. SHe never once mentions anything that he does positive in his community just judging him for want to get out of his old life and because he didn’t do it in a way Imani Brammer would like she had to write him a letter. Maybe next time she should write a song.

  64. That was a extremely poignant synopsis. Excellent article, its just said that so many people will not be able to see/comprehend what it is that you are talking about and will be more comfortable keeping their heads buried in the sand. Nevertheless, kudos to the author for writing.

  65. Well stated. We live in such a sick and selfish world right now that does not fear anything. I had never heard of Bobby nor of his songs. To say that I was disgusted by him and his music is an understatement. He and his followers break my heart. One man made a comment on his video that he “loved Bobby’s art”. I don’t call this art. This is a destructive lifestyle to himself and a lot of people around him. Bobby is very childish to flaunt such actions in a song. Never has it been or will it be cool to shoot people up, smoke dope, or sell crack! These people are very misguided and need a lot of education and have a lot of growing up to do. They are being pulled by strings like puppets all for money while being used, while children and humans of all ages are at risk of hearing this crap. I personally pray for the souls of the people that take this noise into their ears, minds and hearts.

  66. This was just reading into something that isn’t the whole story. Yes, he is cooning, but all artist are. The labels do not care about any of these individuals. Don’t single him out. Allow me to be the ladder that helps you off of your high horse.

    Saying that he affirms all the silliness that people may think about blacks has an air of truth to it. We also have to ask: When does context, personal accountability, and the recognition of obvious pandering to our zeitgeist come into play? Yes rappers get on stage and say some really silly things at times, but if we’re keeping score, they are less harmful than the politicians that do the exact same thing.

    Get up on a stage, in a room full of Caucasian faces and say things that they may or may not agree with four the sake of financial freedom and another term in office. The only difference is instead of sagging pants, gold chain and a fitted hat, they wear a three piece suit, wing tips, and a American flag on their lapel. There’s no difference.

  67. I agree with Wayne Summons on this one. People like you arre annoying as fuck. Like to make a point to complain about something so stupid as a loser rapper making a dumb song. This is literally nothing compared to the real problems in the world. You are just another dumb ass who would rather whine about something so stupid as lyrics to a fad song written by a man who will be forgotten in a few years after his one hit wonder gets old then actually do something that will actually have a positive impact on the world. You fucking SJW faggot.

  68. Good article, but the record labels only push what sells. If we don’t buy it, they won’t push it. The consumer is as much to blame as the artist!

  69. This was EXCELLENT. I sometimes sit and think is there hope for our generation and younger because they are truly “far gone”. People do not understand the importance of knowledge and where it can take you. Do they ever stop to think why are they standing there putting on a show for the white man rather than being the ones watching the performance. Let alone the type of performances and shows they are putting on…the things they say I just shake my head. We are teaching our youth to settle and they embrace it with open arms. Don’t be the one cashing the check, be the one writing it, with self respect and a real purpose.

  70. Get out of here with that nonsense…you yourself said you don’t always want to listen to socially conscious music so what is it that you listen to besides that…I’m sure at least some of it is other rap music that talk about all types of things that aren’t socially conscience. Where is your open letter to Jay-Z…Nas… Young Jeezy…etc…they rap about the same things…this is nothing new…so if he quits rapping about killing people and makes no money are you going to write an open letter to companies to find him a well paying job…doubt it. Did you yourself not just use Bobby…a black man…and crucify him publiclyso that you would have a subject to write about…something to get paid for…is that not in turn crucifying your own people. I don’t recall hearing him say he was only shooting black people…you’re assuming and we know how much ignorance assuming things can spread. At the end of the day next time educate yourself before listening to music repeatedly where you have no idea What’s said…they could have been saying all types of ignorant stuff if that’s the case…but again who doesn’t know what words are being repeated into their ears over and over again…that sounds crazy. Oh and your local public library also has Google I’m sure and there you can find lists of educated rappers who rap about killing people…college degrees and all…sorry it’s not about being educated… it’s about making lots and lots of money…just like you called Bobby out and put the spotlight on him and tried to make him out to be a devil in order to make yourself some money. ✌✌✌

  71. This was EXCELLENT. I sometimes sit and think is there hope for our generation and younger because they are truly “far gone”. People do not understand the importance of knowledge and where it can take you. Do they ever stop to think why are they standing there putting on a show for the white man rather than being the ones watching the performance. Let alone the type of performances and shows they are putting on…the things they say I just shake my head. We are teaching our youth to settle and they embrace it with open arms. Don’t be the one cashing the check, be the one writing it, with self respect and a real purpose.

  72. I understand where your coming from Imani…. But in today’s day and age, We have to teach our kids that everything… Everything we see on TV and radio.. Is apart of entertainment. Even the news to an extent. Bobby has to make a living.. And he happens to be hood. Give um a break! And the hott nigga song was very underground.. Until it took off because of Bobby’s fun spirit in the video.. You have great thoughts tho.

  73. Sad thing is, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM – not him. People like you, who buy shit ’cause it’s “catchy” and only listen to the lyrics after the first 100 times you hear it, are what made him “hot”. People like you, are what line those execs pockets. So before you sit there and get on your high and mighty finger pointing rah rah, remember that HE WOULDN’T MAKE A DIME if it wasn’t for ignorant sheeple like you.

  74. She couldn’t have said it better!!!!!! ✊👍👊👌👏👏👏👏👏 anyone who feels offended by this is blinded as well. Wake up People!

  75. Anyone who reads this and says “…The song still hot tho” is part of the problem.

    I’ll be in the club, and I’ll see people literally turn up when this man, Young Thug, or Trinidad James come on and that’s actually a problem. These corporations (among other agendas) want hip hop to die, point blank period. So they’re signing the worst of the worst and you’re all loving it, feeding into it, turning up to it. Please fight back and listen to good music. Good hip hop. #YouShouldKnowBetter

  76. I couldn’t agree with you more! Some of the music is just nonsense and it isn’t teaching the youth anything but it’s popular so it sells! Love this post! Keep it coming!

  77. Imani,
    You have to understand that Bobby is just rapping what he sees and experiences in his life. Yes he has violent lyrics and looks like like a fool but your article doesn’t address any solutions. It just points out something that is all over Hollywood, the media, and society. Minus well go a black strip club and tell all the women thay they are making ALL black women look bad, or go to a NBA game and yell out “you guys need to do more for your communities.” Its easy to point the finger and Judge someone for how they make money, but we as humans need to do is look it the mirror, improve ourselves, and then improve our own communities. Leave the judging to God.

  78. Sadly he really wouldn’t care if you wrote this letter. THIS IS HOW HE WAS RAISED. Why are you wasting your breath. Excellent argument but it really isn’t going to affect him or a lot of people.

  79. Man shut Da he’ll up. He making music he was in jail. Selling drugs,etc. He makes good money. Not harming anyone. Why not. He’s a youth.He could very well learn,and become a successful business man,and or mogul.You have a better opportunity for him?

  80. These folks make no bread if you don’t support it (record sales, concerts,etc)… just dancing to a catchy beat and not listening to the words is just as bad as knowing the lyrics…… we as a society need to change. People have always idolized the bad in our communities. I do like the fact the young lady has taken time to say something. ..

  81. lol he is already broke! Everyone else is making the money while he looks/sounds like a fool…
    If he made better music he might be relevant in three months…

  82. First I’m glad that you’re having this conversation amongst your peers. It’s crucially essential that this dialogue occurs! Thanks for posting this as it’s reminiscent of the many conversations I’ve had with the youngsters in my life about music in general and more alarmingly so the, the state of “Black” music and hip hop. It’s EXACTLY why we listen to ALL kinds of music together and why I push them to TRULY listen. Not only to the lyrics, but also to instrumental composition. Crescendos and decrescendos. Being able to identify the instruments being used. Vocal ranges, etc. What should NEVER be underrated or forgotten is that MUSIC IS POWERFUL!!! It’s not an understatement to say that music and or sound manipulation can promote and/or even directly save and end lives. Yes, it can heal or kill. It’s a universal language. I played The Fugees and Bob Marley for the native university students in Beijing in 1996. They barely understood the lyrics, if at all, but the intent of the songs as well as the melodic qualities made them first sit in awe of how much they were enjoying it. If they were first introduced to just the lyrics before hearing the entire composition they probably would have had a more tempered reaction to the songs being that they lived a communist country and the sharing of such material at that time could have been EASILY considered seditious. That SINGLE experience may have changed them and by extension, MANY others that they may have come in contact with as it led to myself making copies for several of them per THEIR request.
    Now using an experience in a COMMUNIST country may seem a bit extreme (lmao), but is it REALLY? Governments and their capitalist masters have been ACUTELY aware of the VAST power of music. Nope. Those emphasized words are no where near an overstatement. This wonderful thing that EVERY culture, and person has access to has even been militarized for war.
    What the article above is succinctly addressing is how hip pop (yeah, that wasn’t a typo. Shits become more pop than justin Beiber and Brittany spears) has become a social weapon and not just for use against Blacks. While I attempt to remain cutting edge and extremely knowledgeable about music, I have NOT listened to AMERICAN radio for YEARS!! More accurately, Black radio. It’s now a form of social control. The dumbing down of the masses. Let’s look at it from the eyes of those in power. Music is READILY and ABUNDANTLY available to everyone as we’re ALL capable of creating it in some aspect. Of course there are those who are naturally more talented than others or is just more inclined to Work harder at it. What a fucking product!! But wait, the masses are using it to tell the WORLD about ALL our dirtiest laundry. Shit!!! Their kids are now talking about Fight The Power. Now OUR children are not ONLY singing this, they’re calling ME out!!! This music can literally jeopardize my social standing and play a role in overturning the current status quo. I’ve tried to get rid of it and it just seems to continue to flourish. The most profitable way I can control this is to control what’s being distributed. So we’re NOT going to allow music that can provoke things like deep thought, TRUE JOY (no offense, but Pharell’s Happy just ain’t it), TRUE LOVE (giving NOT receiving and asking NOTHING in return) PURE fun, and respect. Instead, let’s inundate them with repetitiously thoughtless and mindless, destructively angry, self hating, hypersexualized notions born of ignorance and pervasively low self esteems, and other debilitating materials… But make it MARGINALLY funky. You know. Enough so that they can dance and our ploy won’t be that obvious. To solidify this let’s create/allow some puppet “moguls” like the Jays and Beys as well to show them how much money can be made IF and ONLY if you follow the “program.” It’s gotten to the point that the heinously poor quality of the compositions (that are VERY PROFITABLY) are being passed as good music on a LARGE scale has actually become the norm.
    Scientifically, music can directly impact the way your VERY brain develops. I would be curious to see the scans of people who listen primarily to compositions such as Shmurda’s Hot Niggae. Sorry Tori Small and the ever articulate Wayne Summons, who should probably take his own advice.

    Not wanting to blindly judge his music or those that listen to it, I’m listening to it right now. Yeah you may feel compelled to bop to it, but u can also bop to a nursery rhyme and they’re actually less mindless. As the author points out much nicely than I’m about to, this music is HEAVILY playing a role in the systematic “niggering” of an entire population.

  83. Imani,

    As someone who never lisetened to his material and never will; and while I understand your cry for him to be “helped” or “saved” due to his lyrics and how it might be degrading our race, I have one question to ask: how many times did you listen to his crap before realizing that it was derogative. In this day and age, the hip hop and rap industry has gone by the wasteland, and this Bobby Shumdra clown is the perfect example of how you can get away with saying whatever you want as long as you have a catchy beat, and a bunch of dum dums that’s stupid enough to listen to it. Great article but don’t be part of the problem and the solution.

  84. My reply:
    I have learned to understand to appreciate the positives of every situation. I agree that some rappers do present a bad image on our culture, however in the real world some things are significantly important. We need the streets. We need civilized communication and respect on all levels. Many people are chasing what they see on tv and in the music from bright lights of high society but there is also need for the respect and organized manner of minimum wage, low income society. The families in ghettos choose that area some criminals chose to stay in prison, why? Because its what they know, its their profession, is how restoration takes natural course. Even if your not happy at how Bobby Schmurda represents black people keep it real if you like it or if you want to put on a mask to hide it. Now with that mask you may not rob anybody else but most importantly your robbing yourself because we hide ourselves in our own truths.

  85. Great article. Unfortunately, as we can already see from a couple of the comments, the message is already lost on the ones who need to hear it the most. What bothers me is that the same ones screaming about Ferguson and similar situations are the same ones rapping along to Hot Nigga a few minutes later.

  86. A wonderfully, well written article indeed! I applaud you for not feeding into the ignorance that has invaded, eroded, & disintegrated most of our youth! You give me hope that it is not too late to reverse the brainwashing that has occurred to this “lackluster” generation through mainstream media. It’s also obvious that the ones who submitted the “make ya own damn song then” comment and the “STFU” comment have nothing intelligent or even slightly mediocre to add to society! Sad to say…but you two idiots helped to prove her point by choosing to stand by the lyrics! So SAD…

  87. As a white man, I have to say this. The article was well written, but you lost me when you referred performing for a contract with “the white man” as slavery. Everyone that goes for a job is performing for “the man” in the same exact manner. They make themselves out to be better than they truly are. It doesn’t matter what race, gender, or sexuality the person is. We all put on a dog and pony show for a potential employer.

    That being said, your article shines a bright light on the problem with the rap and hip hop of today and recent years. Many of the listeners are just listening to it for the beat without realizing the lyrics attached to the music. There hasn’t really been much broadly favored hip-hop/rap artists that are inspirational, whether it be in their lyrics, persona, or actions. Yet, most of the followers of these genres continue to idolize them for their negative influence. Ever since the deaths of 2pac and Notorious B.I.G., the messages sent in hip-hop/rap have been generally extremely negative, but yet the genre has gotten bigger.

    The consumers of the music are mostly to blame for this too. As long as we keep buying the songs and albums, they’ll keep putting the same kind of messages out there.

  88. You SAW the video. He is blatantly making the same gestures you now seem to abhor. I’m sorry. You getting your summer jam on then catching “conscious” fever wreaks of hypocrisy. Too late. You had your chance when the song first dropped.

  89. I simply loved your message. The ones on here saying”STFU & make your own song” seems to be on the Bobby Shmurda mentality” what she wrote was the absolute truth and being that the truth hurts, you reply to her advice with negativity. Well the libraries and schools aren’t just free for Shmurda. Look every piece of criticism isn’t always hating!
    Plus the schmurda dance is a stolen Mary J. Blige dance anyway!

  90. What do you expect a kid from east Flatbush to be rapping about. He didn’t fabricate subject matter in his lyrics. That’s what it is, stop worrying about words and beats and concern yourself with the circumstances that inspire these type of lyrics.

  91. I agree with Jae Supreme, it’s a shame. I do the same with my nephews and nieces, I try to educate them. And the people who don’t like what she had to say are the ones who are already lost in the ignorance. I wish there was more young people who could see it like this.

  92. “Like I talk to Shyste when I shot niggas”
    “Tones known to get busy with them Glocks nigga”
    “I been selling crack since like the 5th grade”
    “Everybody catching bullet holes”

    You really couldn’t tell this was a gangta rap song?

  93. Good article, but I think it unfairly singles out Shmurda. He’s only doing what 75 % of rap artists have done: rap about violence and sex. What about Jay-Z? Or better yet Tupac who is beloved and even worshipped by many politically conscious fans and artists? His lyrics were also violent – despite his occasional protest song. I agree with your critiques but I think your analysis would be more meaningful if directed at other, more popular artists.

    1. Pac’s were violent as a reaction to how he was being treated & what he saw and even in those songs he had some type of enlightening message.

    2. Like I said to someone else on here, I don’t exactly know how people expect me to write a letter to every. single. gangsta. rapper. out there, but that’s ridiculous, and I’m not doing it. Use your brain and apply this Letter to Bobby Shmurda to the bigger picture. Anything on a small scale always connects to a larger scale. So on a larger scale, of course, there are many other artists who’s musical content also fits the description of Bobby Shmurda’s content, so this letter would apply to them too. I targeted a smaller, more relevant scale to speak on a larger scale. I did my part. Now you do your part and apply it.

  94. As a 28 year old rapper I am shocked. Because your epiphany has inspired me to pick up a pen. Cause honestly I thought your generation didn’t listen to lyrics anymore.

  95. This is a must read!

    We need to help the youth even if they don’t listen, we musty not give up, and we must continue to try to educate them, no matter what color. The sad part is it’s not just the youth there are so many old cyattie’s it’s not even funny. Please I bed keep writing these articles!

    Love from your fan, Wil

  96. I just read your article on your like and dislike for the song hot nigga and wanted your thoughts on my artwork thats hiphop related and copywriten. Im going to mass produce umtil I read this and it made me think about what im feeding people. I truly just for a second in your life ,wish to hear your thoughts.

  97. and he would beat you to a pulp on sight. lol. plus he will make more money in his life than you can even dream about. that’s why you write whiny, annoying articles that make my stomach sick at how pathetic you are.

  98. It just…always amazes me how much Black media is blamed for our problems, while White boys can make snuff and slasher films all day and no one makes a connection between that and any of their problems. Don’t get me wrong, I agree the content itself is deeply problematic, and that, as you said, it is popularized specifically because it perpetuates a stereotype, but this?

    “The more you uphold this, the more white supremacy perpetuates. They depend on you to remain at the top of their Eurocentric hierarchy.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s simply untrue. The power of racism existed long before Bobby Shmurda, or rap existed…before Black people even lived on the land mass the United States now occupies. It didn’t need us rapping about violence to get started and doesn’t need us to keep going. To put the weight of racism and White supremacy on the shoulders of anyone but the perpetrators themselves? That is a pillar of perpetuation.

    Maybe one day someone will write a letter to the people who signed up to be at the auction, instead of the property themselves.

    Just remember…MLK had a doctorate and died wearing a suit. We can pull up our pants and whistle Beethoven from here until eternity…it won’t save one life when the objective of the system is impunity for Whiteness on the back of Blackness.

  99. Perhaps he understands the system so well, that he openly accepts the oppression and utilizes it to his own advantage.

    1. I really want to write a Letter to show how much you are wrong in your ideas but I dont have time. Just to keep it short, I understand many probably did not know he was rapping about killing people but sweety this is hip hop. Rappers rap about killing and violence all the time, that is just probably their life experiences and what they grew up seeing. Second of all, EVERYONE who is fortunate enough to get sign by any major label must present their music/talent to the label.(THERE IS NOT ONE ARTIST WHO DID NOT DO THIS) I can go on for days with disagreeing with you but I dont have time again. All I have to say is give Bobby credit and if you don’t like his music than what you can do is delete it off your Ipod. THANK YOU

  100. Very well spoken and I am impressed that you had the nerve to speak your mind and care less what others think, I applauded you. May you continue to grow and be an inspiration to those who are not lost in the society. God bless you.

  101. @tori smalls-Imani Brammer is more than correct in his expression. The letter is correct in every way, down to the last word. Yes, music can be entertaining but, at no point is music or any art ever ok when it insights violence. As a child I grew up on Hip-Hop and Roots music. NWA was and still is one of my all time favorites, it gets no more “gangsta” than that. Ask any gang members from LA or anywhere if they love shooting and killing…I’m sure the answer will be no. Musicians are artist depicting the news of their community. Ice Cube of NWA is making movies now, still the same artist with the same message. He has just elevated his game from basic survival. Record labels have to sell records to remain in business, consumers have choices and artist (should) have integrity. Anyone who paints pictures to destroy their own nation is no different from Hitler. Here in America we are free to listen to whatever we want but, when black, browns and poor whites are under educated. Don’t be fooled,lack of education equals lack of freedom, which intern equals no choice. Whoever chooses to listen to crap like that didn’t make a free choice, it was pre decided in the marketing plan. If you really care about music and artist and wish to preserve this along with any other art form, please feel free to contact me(www.talawaradio.com), I will gladly aid you in uplifting your soul. Let me prescribe two musical tablets for your mental stimulation …KRSONE of BDP “my philosophy” and to stabilize your body, GZA-Labels. Take those two and txt me after midnight. I well then hit you up with some real New York underground Hip Hop. Save the music, save the world.

    1. I am touched by your contribution to this article in commenting your honest feelings and sharing about what it is to reach people through music. I was moved to check out your radio station and I have bookmarked it. Might you correspond with me to contribute to my musical education?

    2. I applaud this writer. I beg my little brother to be aware of what he puts into his mind. Have to share. Peace & love to you

  102. Great article but it could’ve done without that last part. We need to own up to our actions entirely and not keep defaulting to “white supremacy” and the notion that whites are still largely responsible for our overall wellbeing in this country. In 2014, white supremacy as a major threat or hindrance to black people is a myth. We have majority control of our destiny like every other American. I don’t think Mr. Shmurda has surrendered at all. If anything, he hasn’t learned that there are major consequences for his actions. Your article illustrates that quite eloquently. However, I don’t think he needs an apologist.

    Statistically, if anyone’s going to shoot him, it’s probably going to be someone who looks just like him. Don’t lose sight of that reality.

    1. As an adult, I will agree with you… but most of us grew up with filters. Many of today’s kids don’t have that filter. So their actions can be directly tied to their HEAVIEST influence(s). Psych/Soc 101… it’s basic, we forget that easily when talking about society’s ailments.

    2. Yes. Statistically speaking, he would be shot by someone that looks like him which is the point of the article. The music. This music, which he is getting paid by white people to create, is full of hate and murder. The music is telling black youths that your life doesn’t mean anything and it is OK, if not cool to murder each other. It’s letting society know that the black race does not value itself so no one else should value us. The message is being played on repeat through the airwaves, on your radio and your tv. We don’t own that media. That media is owned by white people and is being used to poison us and this world against us.

    3. If you think white people still are not largely responsible for our state of being in this country you are apart of the problem and your last sentence proves so… no other race has completely turned a race on itself and others. he has not surrendered .. I agree but he has given up, sold out, been led astray, been told by people like you that the war is over when it has yet to be won. our music depicts it where we live depicts it what we spend our money on depicts it. A blck man can not and will not be given any power unless a white man gives it to him and dare not to think its by chance. We are carrying out HIS will on our own that we should feel responsibility for being so gullible we should stand up for us and when we do HE will shoot us down literally. And then thats when we will learn no freedom is won without blood. Thats what we need our bobby schmurdas for. He needs no surrenderance he just needs to be educated on his place as a soldier because he is fighting for the wrong team. With that being said … KILL YOSELF!

    4. It still does exist. Your points are valid and so are hers. I think what she is trying to say is regardless if you have a degree or not or come from the hood or not…to the majority race AND others…we are all black and there is no separation in their eyes.

    5. Jahvohn ,

      Your as much asleep as this rapper. Are you serious???? Man, you are the problem, period. You don’t think it exist, and that’s why we’re suffering. Put the crack pipe down.

  103. You’re so accurate. But bobby wouldn’t understand this article. His vocabulary doesn’t exceed this far.

    The thing is he does it bc that’s what most people like, and most people (myself included) are ignorant fools) Not white businessman, they should be listing to classical music or if they want good rap they can jam to outlast. I listin to this and other purposely ignorant music like waka or yung simmie because its purposely ignorant. “It’s hard” “evil sounding” gives me chills and i like it. Whether or not he kills people. I could care less. Like you said the beat is good. Educated music doesn’t do this for me. We need this ignorant music to make party’s fun and get a little ignorant our selfs. Act like we’re hard and would kill people even though we never actually would. But I can’t argue againt your point that he’s keeping the narrative of blacks the same and that whites should be scared or them. Blacks worked hard to be where their at and he’s just dumbing down society, hurting the Stereotypes of blacks. But like I said its for those special occasions when this music is acceptable. 90% of the time if you played this I’d say “turn this trash off and play something with more emotion and talent. ( like the acacia strain) ” but if I’m smashed faced I’d be like “this my jam” lol anyways good article.

    1. We need to realize that we are analyzing this from an adult’s point of view. What about the kids getting these messages from every direction with no filter. Meaning nothing positive is entering their MINDS at the same time. When there is no moral or ethical compass to guide a young man, his whims take over and does what seems to be natural, because he’s played it over and over in his head. It’s alright to him because it’s 2nd nature in his psyche.

  104. I agree with everything she is saying but she’s also judging b.smurda. It’s 2014 n everyone doesn’t have a an steady income a rapper will say ANYTHING to a fire azz beat to make $ so they don’t have to do the shit they rap about.
    PS I don’t even listen to that song or b.smurda

    1. I think that her main issue was to educate him on what he is portraying to the world, not that he is the only person doing this. I as well have not heard of him or his song, however I was able to very much appreciate what she is saying because it truly is a rapidly growing epidemic with most main stream hip hop artists. I believe that she was not apologizing for him but for this fact, that like you said, artist have been possibly forgoing their abilities as true lyricist and rather just looking for a paycheck without thinking about the true impact they have on the youth of this world.

    1. He IS better than this and the stuff he puts out. You are right. He was interviewed on Marc Lamont Hill’s show on HuffPost Live and was all right in a few other interviews as well…

  105. Bravo you framed my thoughts with grace and dignity, I’m making my 15 year old son read this NOW! Thanks for your insight and outlook! I’m a fan…

  106. Small minded people fascinate me lol. Why are some of you so upset by her personal opinion? She has every right to feel the way she feels. Name calling and being petty just shows your own ignorance.

  107. Thank you so much.
    The statements in this article were very well put. I totally agree with how we as black women and men are damaging our image for entertainment. We are much better than this and should pick up where the great black leaders before us left off. We were once brought up with dignity and class, I pray that we as a whole get together and wake up.
    Much Peace and Love to everyone.

    tHAdRiZ

  108. Great article! A lot of points you made tells me and your readers that u are in fact one intelligent black woman that cares about her race. However, your article is still irrelevant. Your talking to someone that most likely doesn’t have the “book knowledge” you have, doesn’t come from a place you cone from and simply has been a product of his environment. At the end of the day when you cone from the trenches, and had to kill or be killed, steal or starve, and make nonet any way possiblw , that’s all you know. Which will reflect in your music. He isn’t thinking about what these white folks think of us and how they choose to market us. He’s comfortable with knowing he Dont have to go back to the life he once lived. To someone who never had anything, this new found success means everything. Its all about he money at the end of the day. Until black people as a whole take a stand, this will continue. As much as the violent lyrics irritates your soul, you can’t deny the fact that this lifestyle he speaks about is being lived by many young african american all across the world. So he will always have an audience. In conclusion I feel you wasted your time cuz he will most likely read this and say fuck you.

    1. I understand what you’re saying and where coming from but many have gotten out and broken the mold that others in the same environment have succumbed to by the way of knowledge, you can always better yourself the way of life he came from still allowed him to find knowledge he can simply just go to a library read articles something anyone can do it he can’t have money and be blind. But you’re right he probably wont care.

    1. Amen. This article is garbage, and racist against their own kind, and especially against ” the man.” I’m guessing that means “white folk”

  109. Of course people are going to hate on this article. Those people are part of the stereotype that the author is talking about. They’re mad because he’s calling them out. “Write your own song” they say. Why? It wouldn’t be about getting money and shooting folks and fucking bitches, so it wouldn’t appeal to you.

  110. This was a great article. Despite the fact that I like the song and know the difference between entertainment and follow through on words provided by someone else who has no effect on my life. It’s the kids who don’t know the difference but regardless of what music is played…it’s the parents who are responsible for teaching their kids the difference.

  111. I saw the video and it was so painful to watch. This music is garbage for your soul. I saw the meme video of the kid dancing in school. I thought it was cute and the beat captured me. It was highly edited. Then, I heard the real one. Ump, OMG, WTF. It was over.” I aint got time fo that” I’m sure he thinks that he made it. I’m sure his contract is chopped and screwed against him , so he really hasn’t. The next letter needs to go out to the radio stations to stop playing this mess at least in prime hours.

  112. Your letter was excellent, but why put this on Bobby Shmurda, he is not the first person with these type of lyrics and performs regularly for crowds of white people whether in an office, or a stadium. I see where you were trying to go with this, but to attack this young man that has watched countless people reap enormous benefits from this type of music is a little puzzling. Maybe your letter should have been to the rap community??

    1. Exactly, why him? Because he’s they “hot nigga” right now, throw his name in your article and get people to read it that’s why. The letter could have been written to any rapper from the last 20 years.

  113. thank you for this! i had the same exact experience with the record. great beat that made me dance every time I heard it… until i really heard the lyrics. poor young brother. therapy (not jail) is definitely the answer!

  114. Imani

    First and foremost I would like to thank you. Secondly I’ve posted this message as much as I could in hopes it goes viral, I hope the Wendy Williams, Oprah Winfrey’s, Necole Bitchie’s Talk and Blog about it. I’m from St. Louis Mo ( I’m sure you are aware of the massive destruction thats plaguing our people there i.e FERUGUSON/MIKEBROWN) like never before I’m on a mission to understanding my history with the conclusion to past knowledge as such on to youngins my fellow brothers and sisters such as Bobby Smurda’s. I need you, the world need more of you. Thank You, again.

    #ddreams

  115. Why write this to bobby shmurda? Its bad but bro is trying to make money…how many other artists do the same thing? And for longer?

    1. He’s actually not making the money he thought he would from that single! He was all over twitter cursing those higher up for not giving him more money for that hit! So we can say that was a lose

    2. Like I said to someone else on here, I don’t exactly know how people expect me to write a letter to every. single. gangsta. rapper. out there, but that’s ridiculous, and I’m not doing it. Use your brain and apply this Letter to Bobby Shmurda to the bigger picture. Anything on a small scale always connects to a larger scale. So on a larger scale, of course, there are many other artists who’s musical content also fits the description of Bobby Shmurda’s content, so this letter would apply to them too. I targeted a smaller, more relevant scale to speak on a larger scale. I did my part. Now you do your part and apply it.

  116. Really I’m tired of seeing all this hatred to the young black men that do make it out , just let him live and support his family you’re looking to much into it..

  117. how you get “conscious” after admittedly partying repeatedly to this song and admittedly downloading it. Need to pay attention to whatever you listen to the first time around no matter what it is. Sitting here trying to bomb this young black entrepreneur with her educated rant. Just hating.

    1. This comment makes no sense. Yes, she used to like the song until she started to pay attention to the murderous lyrics. How is that hating??

  118. Mam, this is incredible. Very well said. I agree completely. I feel the EXACT same way about 99 percent of the fuckery thats polluting the radio & hip hop as a whole..even if he reads this…well, tries to read it & ultimately says fuck you….you’ve planted the seed and forced thought upon him. This is very much relevant and will always be so. If sir Bobby isn’t dead or in jail in maybe.5 years, we’ll see if he’s relevant as well. Thats NOT me wishing death upon him, that’s me being hopeful that he carefully reads what this young lady has to fkn say. Great job, once again. You are REAL MVP

  119. Heh, you talks about him like he’s really important. He’s another hungry little flash in pan kid from the poorest streets of America trying to make a quick buck. He’s more a symptom than a problem. Oh wait, he’s supposed to take responsibility for himself and his community, yeah right. And he’s supposed to know that how? Oh, this blog post is gonna teach him. It’s gonna undo years of environmental programming validated by a somewhat lucrative record deal (probably one of those soul-stealing 360 deals), and a little extra attention from some ghetto hoochies. I applaud you Imani, so willing to take up the fight to correct the entire ghetto one wanna-be, most likely un-fathered, street bred, poorly educated, wanna be rap superstar at a time.

  120. very well put… the scary part about this whole “Music industry” is the fact that the beat is too catchy to fully understand the picture the artist is trying to paint. and by time time you do hear the words, its already imbedded into your spirit subliminally, to the point were you automatically start dancing. we can take it 1 step farther. Lucifer aka Satin, was the minister of music in HEAVEN!!!! you dont think that he has to do with the music thats being played on your radio? all the hate violence, and pain that the little kids hear in these songs is teaching them and us (adults) that its cool to be a particular way when infact its nothing but the works of the devil. all im saying is this young man does not need therapy, he needs prayer warriors who obviously know the power of prayer. not to judge this young man or anybody at that matter. ive been threw hell and back. in fact still dealing with somethings, but all this to say instead of belittling anybody, we simply need to pray for others, SINCERELY Pray!!! these demons are real, and they will manipulate your mind body and spirit if you allow them too. we need to pray for this WORLD!!!!!

  121. We all know her opinion is valid and true but the insightful records don’t sell. Blacks have created a culture around this music, a never ending circle and the sadly we need more then bobby change that. We need everybody to change that.

    1. Thats so wrong its not even funny. It was written is talked about just as much as illmatic, mos def is one of the greatest rappers of all time, talib has been going strong for YEARS insight yields longevity which goes hand and hand with relevance. Thats why everyones a one hit wonder these days- lack of insight, but nice try

  122. It was a well written article and conveyed a very good point but it’s not just on the one artist it’s mostly the entire genre. They’ve pushed all of the artist out who elevated minds to a different level out of the industry. Willie Lynch program just a different variation.

    1. Although I agree with the analogies presented in this commentary to some extent. I fail to see how what Bobby is doing is more demonstrative than the 100’s of 1000’s of black men every day that do not simply spew hate, violence and murder in the name of entertainment. But participate (through employment) in the the educational genocide of our young black men by assimilating to an education agenda that excludes, excessively disciplines and ostracizes young African American men. Fails our African American men, wholesale. State, federal and local leaders (both school specific and elected officials) have for decades participated, hands-on, with an agenda intent on transitioning young black men from school to prison through a due process void pipeline, supposedly a school. For them its more like a juvenile holding center, a Juvie-Hall. A pipeline which essentially violates the child’s right to equally access the property right- we call education. And mind you, many of these decisions are agreed upon based on some uncle agent (staff member) being the primary communicator of an agenda he/she does not necessarily agree with, but is forced to execute in the name of “keeping their job”. In Fact, in my view, they are the examples, the ones Bobby looked up to and is presently attempting to mimic with his primary and sole focus being, as you so eloquently described it- to earn THEIR money. I suggest they put their hands down, get off the stage, stop acting like the jesters they are and then this generation will probably follow suit!😳

  123. This sounds so ignorant. You obviously knew the song was about murder. At least every single verse , every word said something about killing another person. Sorry but this doesn’t disclude you from the spewing disease you believe he is spreading. I guarantee that if this song is in your iPod you have many more songs that can be considered “relative” music. Equally, this is just an opinion and I simply don’t agree with the above statement “opinion” that you have submitted. You know what I think ? I believe that you knew all along the whole time that the song was about murder. Clearly, his name is “Bobby Smurda” infises on “Smurda”. Although this “rap name ” may not truly pertain to who he is as a person ,(or it may pertain I don’t know. I’m not Bobby Smurda”) it still gives you a very descriptive meaning to what his song lyrics may portray . Personally, You have listened several times and danced to the song . The point is it is not bad music, it is creative music made by talented people. That kind of music is for the mature. It can only be a bad influence or a influence that may cause people to act on those influences on immature listeners. That is why you have not out “bullets in errbody”. Even after you danced and enjoyed the music you still didn’t go start killing because you are capable of understanding that it’s not telling you what to do but simply making sells or using their talent however they like. The persons that knows something knows he knows nothing at all. My darling “you don’t know shit” neither do I ! To add the police enforcement racist crap thing is a strech and kind of a bit bitchy. No reason to add that part but you did because your batty argument was going nowhere and desperately you tired to support it with crappy blows. Point is your criticism is non compliant with constructive comprehension but instead shows you have none . Again, this is just my opinion . I have left a few things out for the sake of argument or immature , disrespectful disclosure .
    Sincerely,
    Erianna

  124. now you see now this is a woman I can respect for coming out like that and it’s true everybody wants to be hot nigga however there’s no cure for Stockholm syndrome In the industry you’re still a slave nigga. I say leave that bullshit hip-hop to the Whiteman make something about yourself. Let the truth be told I because a lot of blacks in the industry are now becoming gay for the love of money,been killing each other basically sellouts bunch of sellouts. I mean you never heard a white men rapping about killing amother white man. It’s always the Mexican and the blacks so call African-Americans or should I say so-called Negroes that’s making music about destroying his own kind. Read King James Bible for once.
    Hosea chapter 4 verse 6 “my people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shall be no priest to me: seeing that house forgotten the law of thy God,I will also forget the children.”
    Black people so call African-American so call Negros Hispanics we are destroyed for lack of knowledge until we wake up God will never deliver you from this evil.

  125. Nicely written but I’d like to share a few thoughts… The problems our communities face are waaaay bigger than bobby shmurda’s song..he’s just a reflection of that some of the same issues that we tirelessly have been talking about for decades. We also continually misdirect blame instead of understanding how bobby and many others like him could grow up in an environment where images (like the pervasive violence in rap music) like this exist. He didn’t wake up one day and decide to rap about what he raps about ‘just because’. Also, he’s a kid and is obviously perpetuating content that he listened to growing up. If we’re really about censuring rap why not simply stop listening to violent, sexist, drug promoting songs? If there’s no demand there’s no supply of that content..so dont put this all on bobby’s shoulders, he didnt make the song popular by himself..we all need to look at why something like this resonates (and the loooong list of other violent songs) with listeners. End of the day the problem is much deeper and wider than bobby and rap in general..

  126. Excellent article. These things need to be said in order to open the eyes of the so long gone youth. Brava, Imani. I say, Brava!

  127. Not once during this elegant rant was a suggestion proposed about how Bobby Shmurda might otherwise find himself on the path of economic upward mobility. Surely your argument that his ‘music’ is an embarrassment to the already disrespected image of the black male has significant merit, but it comes with a caveat. The greatest mistake that blacks of means have made in trying to establish social respectability for the “race”, has been to demand that members belonging to the lower classes simply “act right”. It is unfair to chastise poor blacks who attempt to capitalize on the sensationalism of their plight just because it detracts from the respectability of black culture and black people, especially in a society that indoctrinates all into the cult of material wealth accumulation.

    Ironic isn’t it, that we complain about poor black and latino people being addicted to welfare handouts but criticize and complain whenever they try to take advantage of the limited options they have out of poverty(i.e. crime, rap, sports). You can’t make a legitimate living without a good education, and as one commentator ever so graciously pointed out, Shmurda’s rap vernacular may be indicative of a subpar educational experience. Is that also his fault? Shouldn’t that outrage everyone criticizing his music, and that of every other street rapper? Every black person, regardless of their class origins, could probably put on an act and pretend to be the stereotypical hoodlum rapper to get rich, and the fact that most don’t understandably inspires us to criticize those that do. However, it is important to look at the alternatives for those whom being a “hoodlum” is not merely an act but the way of life in their environments. Growing up in Chicago, I have witnessed these realities first hand. Unbelievably fortunate, my exposure to the high crime, drug infested neighborhoods came because that’s where my friends where and various staples of the black community were located, and not because I lived there; but I have heard gun shots. I have seen police raids and drug stockpiles that would make Pablo Escobar proud. I have friends who have been victims of gun violence or have been through the criminal system–people that I have known since elementary school. Had I not been so fortunate to be born into a middle class life, I know that I would probably be one of those guys trying (and probably failing) to trap, rap or ball my way out of the ‘hood, instead of attending an Ivy League university on scholarship.

    Do not misunderstand my point, degrading the black image by “glorifying” these dire situations is not the only salvation for poor blacks. At the magnet school I attended in Chicago, Whitney Young (#9 academically in the nation), many of my friends were from low-income, high crime neighborhoods. They made their way there and found success academically through hard work and determination, overcoming the very same obstacles that others in their neighborhoods faced. Yet, even they will adamantly explain themselves to be exceptions to the rule. The rule then, is that those unable to maintain their enthusiasm for school through the conditions of poverty, food insecurity, and gang violence have little recourse but to adapt to their harsh environment. For every Clarence Thomas, you’ve got at least a thousand Bobby Shmurda’s trying to escape their circumstance the best way they know how. Clearly the fact that we’re even talking about Shmurda proves the escape route he has chosen worked out after all.

    My point is this, unless you are going to pay for this man or his family to eat; unless you are going to commit yourself to lobbying to rectify the injustices plaguing poor black communities where this “backwards” behavior is cultivated; unless you are actually going to get from behind your keyboard and deliver real economic change to the people whom Bobby Shmurda represents; “have a coke and a smile, and [stop railing on poor blacks trying to get rich, just because it makes the rest of us look bad]. “

    1. But please do continue writing, because they are incredibly thought provoking discussion starters. Though I have disagreed with particular parts of your argument here, I am certainly a fan of your writing!

  128. wow you are so eloquent in your words. I also have his song on my iPhone but never really listened to the words. I’m deleting it now. Thank you for writing this important letter.

  129. I like seeing people express how they feel about the influence of music

    But I will say this…I hate when one person is singled out for there content….

    It’s understandable that we do have our poetic and cultural rappers

    But with that there’s the other side of the tracks…

    Rap music is the Ying and yang you take the good with that bad

    Let’s not forget some of our great rappers that are held on a certain Plato also rapped about the same content

    I.e tupac, biggie, nas, dmx, jay z etc…..

    And my fav rapper eminem remeber him he made records about killing his ex wife and mother so if we’re gonna chastise the music we need to hold everyone accountable.

  130. Wow! You couldn’t have said it any better.. Just the other day, I deleted this song off of my little brother’s iPod… This kid’s music is poison.

  131. I take his song to be mockery of the white man’s view of young black men just as Nicki over sexualizes herself yet her raps are so subliminal in mocking how men sexualize women. Not everyone thinks or speaks the same. You can only give your perception of the message.

  132. Excellent piece! One thing I’m sick of seeing is folks always defending this type of behavior and perception! So many “uniformed” African Americans are quick to say “let him do him”, “don’t judge him”, and “he just trying to make money!” Why is a ball or a microphone our only way out of bad situations?!!! I was done with rap when I saw a special on MTV years ago that had Jay-Z sitting in the same setting with all white high powered execs and he had on a Yankee fitted, timbs, jeans, and hoody! To the average young black male, that was “gangsta!” To a person with a competent mind, “he’s a pawn”, even as a billionaire! Most money ain’t good money and money ain’t everything! Rap does not and should not be our voice of the so called “hoods!” Our voice should be our action of change! How about change as a person and start from their! End poverty by not making unplanned babies! Stress education! Not just book and street smarts, but common sense and historical smarts! Stop walking around like you’re mad and trying to intimidate everybody! Brake the chains of mental bondage in your family by changing your mindset! They’re not rapping about what’s going on in hoods of America! They rap about what you should do and what they’d do if confronted with conflict. It’s not about changing the perception of what whites think of blacks. It about changing our perceptions of ourselves! If you know better, you’ll do better! If you don’t, you won’t!

  133. I really want to write a Letter to show how much you are wrong in your ideas but I dont have time. Just to keep it short, I understand many probably did not know he was rapping about killing people but sweety this is hip hop. Rappers rap about killing and violence all the time, that is just probably their life experiences and what they grew up seeing. Second of all, EVERYONE who is fortunate enough to get sign by any major label must present their music/talent to the label.(THERE IS NOT ONE ARTIST WHO DID NOT DO THIS) I can go on for days with disagreeing with you but I dont have time again. All I have to say is give Bobby credit and if you don’t like his music than what you can do is delete it off your Ipod. THANK YOU

  134. There’s another hot tune that recently caught my attention by a female rapper from Detroit but those lyrics str reminiscent of hot ni**a
    Dej Loaf “Try me”

  135. Before Bobby Shmurda was rapping about those lyrics him and his crew were actually out there DOING those things. Which is worse? Bobby Shmurda cant rap about Warhols, College, and other things he didnt live. Ive seen about 10 open letters to him and none have taken a sec to see his side. For him he found a way out of the life raps about. Instead of being on the block, him and his crew are traveling the country.. Experiencing a life they wouldn’t have a chance at without the music. Is it a positive image of the black community? Nope. But it is his reality and he isnt sugarcoating it. And whoooo gives a f*** what white ppl think or what confirmation for a stereotype they see in Bobby. Do you think that if there is no Bobby those ppl would change their minds? The people that believe those stereotypes will keep believing no matter how many J. Coles, Mos Defs, or Kendrick Lamar’s we throw at them. Trying to shoot down prejudices we didnt create is the LAST thing black ppl need to be doing

    When Jay made Reasonable doubt his raps had the same content he was just more savvy with it. Over time as he grew and experienced more his raps changed as well. Right now Bobby can only rap what he knows. He has a story to tell and he should be allowed to tell it no matter how shocking it may be.

    As for the board room performance, yeah it looked bad. And it was embarrassing. But he was auditioning for the ppl that were helping him make his way outta the hood.. Whether the label’s motives and intentions were pure or malicious His “audition” isnt any different than what the Jackson 5 or Justin Bieber had to go thru. His lyrics are just a little more graphic

    Singling out Shmurda is irresponsible because it may block his shot at growing into a Jay Z, Nas, TI, etc. Nas made Got Yourself a gun before “I know I can”. Pharrell was on tracks about kilos before he was “Happy”. TI made Trap Music before “Dead and Gone”.

    Instead of berating Shmurda for his reality we should uplift him. Allow him to tell his story and then ask him to be open to growing, experiencing and giving a positive message as he matures.

  136. I’m confused. Do you really expect someone with a stage name of Bobby Shmurda to not rap about murder? The clue is in the name. I don’t believe for one second someone as articulate as you didn’t put 2 and 2 together straight away.

    You do make some valid points, and I think what he raps about, and his stage name are a little grotesque, but at the end of the day it’s his choice. I can’t say I believe that this is the white man capturing the black race and puntil them into figurative cages, for their enjoyment and profit.

    The world has come on a long way since the time of slavery, and I believe your article served to inhibit this progress, and create dissension and hatred again.

  137. Although I agree with the analogies presented in this commentary to some extent. I fail to see how what Bobby is doing is more demonstrative than the 100’s of 1000’s of black men every day that do not simply spew hate, violence and murder in the name of entertainment. But participate (through employment) in the the educational genocide of our young black men by assimilating to an education agenda that excludes, excessively disciplines and ostracizes young African American men. Fails our African American men, wholesale. State, federal and local leaders (both school specific and elected officials) have for decades participated, hands-on, with an agenda intent on transitioning young black men from school to prison through a due process void pipeline, supposedly a school. For them its more like a juvenile holding center, a Juvie-Hall. A pipeline which essentially violates the child’s right to equally access the property right- we call education. And mind you, many of these decisions are agreed upon based on some uncle agent (staff member) being the primary communicator of an agenda he/she does not necessarily agree with, but is forced to execute in the name of “keeping their job”. In Fact, in my view, they are the examples, the ones Bobby looked up to and is presently attempting to mimic with his primary and sole focus being, as you so eloquently described it- to earn THEIR money. I suggest they put their hands down, get off the stage, stop acting like the jesters they are and then this generation will probably follow suit!😳

  138. I too shared a similar moment when I’m blasting the song and dancing, then my students pop into my head. Those black boys sitting in my special education class, whom society labels emotionally distrubed (ED) and my heart couldn’t stand to listen to it any longer; not even for a dance. Bobby is indeed crying out for help. He’s from the area where I teach and the police patrol every corner to make the people in the neighborhood feel like criminals, especially the young black men.

  139. Im curious…would you have preferred Bobby to remain in East Flatbush without the financial success music has brought him? Perhaps you will offer the alternatives in your follow up letter.

    1. That’s always my issue. Everyone is quick to criticize and bring a brother down, but not offering solutions. It’s bigger than Bobby. He is just repeating what has already been done.

      1. LOL! That is a big “DUH!” I know plenty of folks who make more money and get more international success without influencing ignorant behavior and preaching negativity.

      2. Yeah lets give this young kid a black good role model to be inspired by so he can write positive lyrics.

        How about Nicki Minaj? Oh wait a second. Bad idea. She just dropped that video last week with the Nazi Germany images comparing herself to “black hitler”. She’s not a role model. Sorry. Okay how about Bill Cosby? Nope bad idea. Everyone’s calling him a rapist. Bad idea. Okay how about Chris Brown.. oh wait never mind. He beat up Rhianna. Oh i know.. lets get Obama.. oh never mind. How about Kanye West? Oh never mind. Too much of a narcissist. Okay how about his Wife Kim? never mind.. even worse.

        Wow.. they sure don’t make role models like they used to.

        Hey I have a better idea.. how about you stop making unreasonable suggestions from your milk & honey unicorn mansion.

    2. Clearly your mind isn’t open. His success comes at the expense of millions. Rather than piece together your meagre dollars to make a major collective financial powerhouse that will offer yourselves financial freedom to develop ‘East Flatbush’ to safe havens with economic opportunities for the many who need it, your focus like Bobby is ‘do me do me do me’ your mind is not open. Your mind is myopically closed.

  140. Well said Imani!! Keep your voice, regardless of the idiotic comments some may post. They are blind to what these record companies are doing to our black race…so you keep on!!!

  141. Who cares. He’s getting paid. Whoever wrote this letter seems pretty damn racist and self righteous. Probly a more straight edged African American, trying to dictate to someone else how they feel, bc they feel they’re being represented by some rapper who talks about murder. The whole point of of this stupid letter is racist. Black on black racism. I’m sure Bobby knows exactly what he’s doing, and he shouldn’t care what others think. He’s making his money, regardless if it’s coming from “the man” . Imani is a racist fuck. Mind your own “boy”

    1. Who cares? WE CARE!!! The Mothers of the slain, mentally as well as physically! Who cares? WE CARE!!! The young ones coming up, not wanting to fall for the same trap. Money has no value!!!! It can only purchase trinkets that can be taken back at a moments notice. When one get’s their “15 minutes of fame”, one should use it to uplift others!!!! Who cares? WE CARE!!! We care to speak to the awakened consicousness of those that know that our weaknesses can be used against us. Bobby is “THE MAN”, however, he is acting like a boy. Who Cares? WE CARE! WE want our son to regain his “Original Mind!’ Those that Don’t care, will waste away, like the dust on the top of an old broken piano.

      1. But those who don’t care also affect those who do, therefore, making the ones who don’t care the ones who are pretty much in control to some degree. I can go around caring all I want, but if one of my friends or relatives end up getting shot or hurt as a result to some people’s choice of lifestyles, I am also affected… But then again, me continuing to comment wont change much. We still have terrorist groups and other things going on as well, so… I guess bottom line is that people LOVE creating problems and that’s just the way it is. Whether it be the ignorant folks in the KKK or ignorant blacks who glorify “acting black” then wondering why people are out to get them or ignorant folks who believe in killing to prove their nations or terrorist groups are better, it’s pretty much all the same overall.

    2. STFU from all angles you really sound like a true idiot… LOL sometimes it’s best to just remain silent to hide your true mental state…

    3. Black on black racism, really? Whomever wrote this reply need to take the blinders off and pay attention to what’s going on in society. Life isn’t about just “getting paid”, those are the words of a simple minded person. If more African Americans cared about making effective social change rather than selling out to white supremacy just to make a quick buck, their situation in this country could improve. Also, your so called leaders have sold you out!

    4. Steve if it was ALL about money, then it replicates slavery as she intelligently explained. if you call education and awareness racist, please do the rest of us educated and well meaning blacks a favor and get some education, undestand the gravity and totality of what was said. if you dont get it still, you dont and like the KKK are just.

    5. That same “Who Cares He Gettin Money” sense of apathy and social irresponsibility is why our situations will get worse and worse…

  142. He should stop doing this and do what with his life? Go back to Brooklyn where there are actual “bullet holes” being caught by people? As opposed to the imaginary ones that he’s rapping about. We can watch movies about rape, terrorism, black on black crime etc, but we criticize some that was able to make it out of where he came from and make a life for himself and his family? It’s really easy to criticize celebrities. If someone came to most of you and said I have a song called hot nigga and it will make you rich so you can oay student loans, pay your credit card bills, buy your parents a house and you can make enough to live a comfortable life – I bet 99% of you all will make and perform the song whenever asked. He’s one less black man being murdered or sent to prison and he has found a living for himself, his friends and his family. Why can’t we appreciate that? Why does he have to be mentally disabled?

    1. Let’s see if Bobby Shmurda manages what money he gets to the point where he does any of what you describe. If trends mean anything, he’ll be down and out in 10 years, broke, with nothing to show for it all.
      You are right tho. most people would sell out if the money was right.

      But let’s not pretend it’s not selling out when Shmurda does it too.

      1. That’s right, @brownrecluse.

        And @Jhamar, I would argue that it’s not one less black man being murdered, instead he is being “spared” in exchange for other lives (plural).

        He could make a quality living using positive lyrics as well. Might be harder, but it’d be the right thing to do… For all of us.

    2. Yes he should stop doing this because although you feel it’s not fair to criticize a celebrity because “it’s not their fault”, he has always had a choice in the matter. HE may not be catching bullet holes anymore on the streets of Brooklyn but the thousands of young pliable minds that he now influences will be catching bullet holes because of his raps and they will feel as though that is the proper way to run their lives according to Bobby Schmurder. Why can’t we appreciate it? Because the money he acquires from his violent and ignorant lyrics come at the cost of many black lives similar to his before he “made it”. The question you asked commentators to ponder on doesn’t give all of the proper information. If someone were to ask that question and explain that all it would cost was the lives of thousands of black people fighting on the streets any decent human being would take a second and actually think of the consequences.

      1. Focus more on the neighborhood that things like what he raps about than the raps he speaks about the influence of music is little compared to the culture of violence that’s already their. In fact the origin of rap was to talk about that very struggle and even in the beginning violence was involved in people’s rhymes, as bad as the lyrics themselves are its all about the mentality of the person your going to tell me music is Tao much of an influence to a youth who grows up with seeing the only ones considered “successful ” are the drug dealers and those who have respect as people who handle problems in that manner. It’s all about the culture of life if you want to change the lyrics that people are going to say that would mean that the expirence that they are talking about is not about it violence. A lot of the time that’s something that is just apart of the lifestyle a lot of us kids that grew up in a place you’d call the “hood” see all our life. The only way to change these things is to give Children an understanding of what you can do with your life and what should not be done which is hard to do when you live in a place that is like a world of its own

    3. You act like it’s his only way out…there are other option rather than making ignorant music. This is the problem because people think it has to be either or. Like positivity isn’t an option. Actually spreading a message of violence being ok only perpetuates the problem and actually is worse because he spreading the message to more people than he would have just being a goon in bk.

    4. One person making it out by spreading the same social illness that will influence hundreds of young black men and women to continue that same social illness is not progress…

    5. Who’s to say he’s gonna leave the streets alone in the first place? Just because rappers get money doesn’t mean that the leave the hood, and with the image being portrayed from Bobby or any other rapper they leave themselves open for more discrimination, more arrests, more vulnerable to robbery because of coarse he needs his jewelry and other expensive luxuries. So with a song like “Hot Nigga” or anything else for that matter these guys are making themselves easier targets.

  143. Especially with what’s going on in Ferguson the young black men are being shot down in the streets and being left like dogs after a car hits them.The late great rapper tupac said after him there will be no more and i know what he ment. LISTEN TO THE MUSIC OF TODAY’S GENERATION

  144. And this is a deliberate waste of your time.. In 1996 when wu tang was rapping about snatching chains in alley ways nobody was pointing the finger telling them theyre bringing down their people. When nas dropped illmatic claiming to leave ‘bullet holes left in peep holes’ and having ‘thoughts of an assassin’ nobody wrote a bullshit “open letter to nasir jones” its part of the rap culture and if you down like it you can grow the fuck up and stop making everything about race because you my friend are part of the problem with your ever-so-sensitive connotations of everything you hear. This letter depicted how truly over sensitive and quick to join a cause this society really is. Rap music is about just that- MUSIC. now please, fuck off, let me continue to the music ive listened to for almost 20 years now without arrogant, idealistic little shits like you who try to soften rap.

    1. LIES! People complained about Wu-Tang! People boycotted Nas! Rap is not about the music, it is about the WORDS!!! Rap was invented as an alternative to violence, not a model for it. Yes, I know. I was there with the ORIGINALS!! 1975! When we wanted MUSIC, we listened to Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight. When we wanted Rap, we listened to Public Enemy and KRS-1. This genre has been manipulated by the powers that be who turn trends to serve their diabolical needs, regardless to the outcome. This is not Rap, this is CRAP!!! There are still viable rappers out there, persons with lyrical skills, delivering a necessary message. No one listened when we complained about Wu-Tang! Everybody wanted to defend Nas! Now, the fake they rapped about became the reality we now live! Just stop the madness! It’s not about race, its about people!!! Evil is made fair-seeming, until it reaches YOUR DOOR!

  145. There are a million rappers out there and hundreds of record labels, hundreds of thousands of songs about shooting and killing. Why attack this young man? Because you seen him dance on a table? I would assume the author is black, because only a black person would attack another black man in that manner.You could be writing a letter to uplift him and help him, instead you are here to blast him, his image, and lifestyle. He danced for record execs on signing day, I’m sure if your boss gave you two million dollars and you were broke from the streets you’d dance too. Some people think your article is deep due to your vocabulary and choice of words. It’s simply an attack on a young mans dream. Black people are always putting down other blacks, it’s sad. This is just another example of crab in the bucket theory, one climbs up and you attempt to pull him back.
    Ps. Don’t dedicate the letter to the white cops and government. Write them a letter directly about how you feel towards them. Don’t use the rapper to gain readers, that would mean your doing the same as the label simply using him.

  146. Theres way more to it. you need to chill the fuck out, and parents need to stop yelling at their kids about lyrics such as shmurdas. Its not like he has ever killed anyone he wants to make money, and we want good music. So what he really says doesn’t matter all that matters is he goes hard in the song. And honestly if you just listened to about 4 lyrics in the song its obvious he is talking about killing people so i think you just wanted something to bitch about.

    1. There isn’t much to it. Shmurda is selling out for money, just like any prostitute out on the street. You put yourself out there in public, you say some basically “house negro” lyrics to get a record deal… people got the same right to clown you for that. BS aside, if you buy this crap without listening to it first, you’re part of the problem.
      Parents who love their kids will talk to them about everything, including being a hoe for money, like Bobby Shmurda.

  147. The sad part you actually listened to a song without knowing the lyrics, then have a Nerve to criticize Bobby, when all you’re doing is writing an article so you can make money off of him

  148. This song I don’t let my kids listening to this song at all bc this song is the kind of song that give us as black peoples a bad name an have people’s looking at us some type of way

    1. Exactly, but people do not have common sense. They rather feed a stereotype and complain about the consequences than change the behavior that’s causing the problem. People cause THEIR OWN problems nowadays. No one is keeping anyone down or out to get any particular race just for no reason. People bring situations upon themselves. I’ve never had any bad experiences with police, and that’s mainly due to the fact that I haven’t given them or anyone any reason to see me in a certain way. Yes, I’ve had people judge me wrong upon first appearance, due to the fact that my physical appearance matches the physical appearance of the people who are known to act up the most and glorify certain types of behaviors, but I QUICKLY CHANGE THEIR ASSUMPTIONS when they begin to see that I do not follow the typical stereotypes that others have created for me and my ethnicity in the U.S., and U.K.

      Anyway, I am wasting my time here writing this because people usually have their minds made up about the way they want to act, including those who choose to act ignorant, and almost nothing will change their minds. I just wish people would go back to putting decent lyrics on good beats, and this goes for today’s pop and even some electronic music as well… but that’s another story I wont get into now.

  149. Not to be in a defense of bobby and compliments on you speaking on the topic . But I dnt think Bobby really even signed up for this/ask to be on the front line to carry the torch for ignorant raps as some may call it .Clearly you seen the video, he and his ppls were simply speaking on what they see inside the world that a lot of ppl have no idea exist . Never in a million years do I think that he thought the song would go viral , I mean look at where he lived, where he come from , you really want to sit and find a way to bash a kids who prob didn’t know weather he was going to eat the nxt day or not ? Family dysfunctional , and if his raps is real “Daddy Locked up in the dog house” meaning no father nor figure more then Likely, he was seeking a way out of the madness in which he come from , ok it may not be the best song to rap about but have any of you ever gave a thought that Lil Daddy may just have had a plan? Get in and get out, same as the average drug dealer contemplates when he says I’m going to do this for a lil while stack me some money better my situation and get out before it gets ugly, but unfortunately it never works that way . But for the dude to actually ingeniously come up with a way to get up and out of a miserable situation when none of you were there to assist him ,talk to him ,coach him ,tell him right from wrong ,better yet even knew a bobby Smurder even exist ? But soon as he catch any form of attention, or fame and feel he has accomplishments you want to grab a hold to anything negative for some one to read ,with all the fancy educated word you can find simply to maybe get a hold of his coat tale for your own gain if success . You could of attacked any republican any majority groups who are manipulating ppl out if money and situations every day but this one Lil kid, you find a way to kill his joy? Nah ppl what we need to do is stop the crab in the bucket affect ,uplift any young black male who have accomplished anything and learn from it . Salute to Bobby if I could have thought of a catchy song to captivate the world in order to get out of that missable life I would of did the same thing and you would too. Now on the flip side ? Now that he is out of that situation yes he def need to recognize it never look back and educate his self to a point where he never has to got back, get some trust worthy positive loyal ppl around him invest that money he is making into businesses and create a future for the seed he just may plant one day . OUT!!!

    1. To suggest that the subject matter in his music is somehow “speaking on what they see inside the world that a lot of ppl have no idea exist” makes no sense, given that 80% of mainstream hip-hop today is chanting that same “world”. The idea that this music is some “revelation” of the “hidden realities” of urban life is cliche.

  150. Very true. The young man must his ”art” depicit to the public, the lyrics of that hot nigga are opulent of purer trash,

    If he takes this from the second’s persons perspective in only to help nurture his rather what he considers talent, he will read this to change is imbecile way of doing things to impress society.

  151. With this letter a true hip hop revolution begins. No more baggy jeans, (sorry black fashion) and while were at it, kill the applebottom jeans for the ladies too. Can we get rid of the obsession with big booty? Caps, big tees and hoodies? All these things are revolting and frightening, no wonder blacks keep getting shot. If only they started dressing like normal people.

    And the language, the cursing! How does it even get on Radio and TV! Sorry for hurting your ears dear writer, but its the medias fault for actually playing such dirty music!

    We should picket and boycott stations that play such terrible examples for our children, lets call it #blacknessnotdarkness and start a campaign pushing and promoting black positivity!

    I dont blame Bobby, hes an 18 year old who wrote this song coming straight out of Juve, he sings his circumstance. What we need to do is make it uncool for bad things to rule our airwaves!

    1. That’s an overstatement. This open letter falls short of being more than a critique. You can’t “Set rules” and say “no more xyz”. Culture doesn’t work that way. What you have to do is stop mindlessly supporting it, and making excuses like “I like the beat”. Don’t buy it. Applebottom jeans and sagging pants aren’t hurting anyone, that is “respectability politics” and should be a lower priority than actually getting our act together as a community. I can care less how young people are wearing their pants, but I do care about genocidal fantasies, and brainless consumerism. If a “catchy beat” can lure you into spending money on a song promoting genocide… You’re half of the problem yourself.

  152. I feel you, and I understand your frustration at seeing a young brother make himself look bad. As an educated adult though, can you really expect a 19 year old coming from his situation to be thinking about putting the race on his shoulders when there’s a contract on a table? Race and status aside…most 19 year olds aren’t thinking that deeply, and you know that. What he needs is guidance and understanding not condescending criticism from his own people.

    Besides, with the most popular line being “caught a body ’bout a week ago” did it really take you 6+ months to understand what the song was about? Where was this opinion when this song was the hottest thing on the net? We can support him while he’s hot, but once he’s peaked, he’s our enemy? We knew what kind of lyrics got him signed and danced to the song, but once we see a video of the actual process we hate him? Come on, we’ve got to stick together.

  153. This letter is the most racist shit I’ve seen the man really wtf and portraying slaves not only are you an idiot your a fuxking jerk off get a life asshole

  154. Well people it’s not Hip-Hop it’s Genocide music. Before rapper’s ( Chuck D, Heavy D.) would tell you Fight The Power, Love Your Brothers ,Stop The Violence. But now Rappers say Shit like, I’m Smoke That Nig.. Kill that Nig.. What other Race of People Makes Songs About Killing There Own People!!!!!!!!!! It’s Genocide Music.

  155. I love posts that get people communicating and everyone up in here is being respectful, commenting w/ class. This is exciting! I would love a “family meeting” (i.e. a town hall meeting but on a higher vibration than those usually are). Some of my youngins wonder if this dope piece is “hating” (it is not), why we can’t just let him get his money on (insert spiritual conversation here), how you can criticize a young brother trying to make it (insert historical context), and of course the it’s-only-entertainment-comments….so I propose some sort of intimate convo that can be recorded and shared because these are all valid points and questions. Maybe the discussion is not for mass distribution but for our children, their friends and our students and loved ones who don’t quite “get it yet”. Bobby Schmurda is not a dumb dude. I enjoyed reading this post, Imani Brammer. In the midst of Ferguson and everything happening across the world, it’s time for this conversation to get lovingly raw. #RealTalk #HipHop4Life

    I wish I had some Oprah pull. I’d get all over the commenters here in the same room w/ a few key minds and have the hottest, most authentic convo about Hip Hop in forever. Ahhhh, a girl can dream. I would moderate and get my O on for sure…Hmm. I’m putting my thinking cap on.

    1. I thought the article was pretty good too, and believe that the conversation you suggest really needs to happen. But the other half of this problem: Imani doesn’t check herself. She blindly and with complete ignorance purchased this music. Embraced it. Let it penetrate her consciousness. Only then did she realize it was destructive??? She should demand better of herself, and we all should. Put your money where your mouth is, and don’t support this dysfunction because you “like the beat”. That’s no excuse, but exactly what Bobby and the CEOs who clapped for him are depending on.

  156. wow!!! this letter made my soul cringe(so on point) I can only imagine what those “music executives” spoke of when Bobby left the room SMDH

  157. I just want to say that I am blown away on pluto atm with your article. Your words are some of what I think exactly. Except my overall view covers humans are a species, but my own personal human view zooms into Black Americans (I’m of Black variation). I am sure this is something that just needs not be mentioned, but let’s not forget the artistic core of music and the self-reflecting nature of the artist. BS’s art work is just a form of modern day cooning (like most mainstream rap), articles like these are revelations, and very necessary that we publish more material like this in the mideastream.

  158. This article is well written and makes very valid points. Should be addressed to a number of artist who promote and glorify this type of music. Also to the urban radio station who play it constantly!

  159. This is a well written article with a lot of agreeable points, to be honest it’s one of the best I have read in a while. However it’s predictable from the start that the article would be going down the racial road in terms of the world and music.

    Truth is Bobby will not change, the music will not change, and what Bobby is “rappin” about isn’t as deviously bad as we think. Have you listened to some of the Genres dominated by Whites, like death metal, that genre wreaks hatred and death to humanity?

    There are a lot more genres of music contributing to immorality than RAP and Dance Hall.

    1. You’re absolutely right. I will not change, and will never change as long as cash is king, or until it’s no longer profitable. And you bring up a good point by adding in “white” music. Violence is certainly in human nature… but because of tht make it less bad?

  160. Ppl are going to do what ever they want u worried about wat he writes but what about ppl out here killing each other or hurting kids ect so if u gone come at him come at the world if u feel that way listen to gospel… Why come at him when millions of rappers talked about shooting ect make since n this is a letter to you…

  161. A white person who shoots up a school just gets therapy? Wtf lmao if anyone shoots up a school they go to jail or kill themselves in the act..

    1. She speaking about the face value the American people see. Of course they will go to prison due process (which is why they usually suicide), but to the American people, because the doers are white, they commited that crime because they went “mental” rather than the typical thought of blacks

  162. it’s a rapper they should write an open letter to a representative on gun control, job creation maybe reducing interest on tuition loans. we give disproportionate attention to media because its reaches us the easiest due to accessibility. These themes in the music are only symptoms that represent a culture created out of despair and hardship. Rather than creating a critique on someone with little influence maybe use your talents as a writer to challenge those with more authority or elevate your own thoughts that can help build something in the community because tearing down the small successes from our community are self destructive.

  163. Thanks for downloading my song, and putting money in my pocket. Your willingness to blindly purchase culturally destructive music because the beat it catchy is exactly what those corporate CEOs count on. I may be a slave on the auction block, but they’re not buying my bullshit music, YOU ARE! Newsflash: The second you WAKE UP, and stop making excuses for your own mindless consumption, is the same moment those CEO’s realize the whole game is up. You don’t win the game by capturing the pawn.

  164. Bobby Shmurda’s music is a reflection of what is in his mind. He can’t be held accountable to teach the people a knowledge that he does not possess. Therefore the conscious community must rise up and combat the negative imagery by putting out media of our own. That’s why I decided to do a remix to Bobby Shmurda’s Hot Nigga. Check it out : http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xcZXx5lJRS8

  165. If your children can be that impacted by music, to the point to where they change their lifestyles to mimic people they don’t know, the issue is in the parenting.

  166. And you all are coming at her neck about how she feels i feel like what your saying is so true. The people that are saying the letter was racist is im assuming not of the black race so they don’t give a fuck about a black man’s life. I have3black boy’s that I’m raising them to be black kings like our ancestors from Africa where the original and first to do it all came from..dont get me wrong i love the song i dance to it but i also installed values in morels in my children treating them about our culture and our history everyday of the week its deeper then rap….ya dig

  167. Yea Bobby dont you know you are the only rapper to ever rhyme about murder, nobodies favortie rappers ever(or top rated rapper) has ever rapped about murder just look at B.I.G, 2Pac, Nas, Jay-z,Big pun, Snoop doog or any other rapper has ever done this.

  168. Crabs in a barrel. Smh. The person who wrote this need to check themselves. I understand the points being made, but how you go from dancing to someone’s song to devaluing them for the song you once danced to? How do you negatively talk about who this person is for the world to see and then tell him that white people are using him? As if white people won’t use this to justify and cement even more what they believe about our race. You can’t dog your people in the name of trying to tell them how white people see them, when what you say shows that you see them the same way: ignorant and someone to use. This open letter is nothing more than a black person using him to get readers for this blog, so how is the person who wrote this blog any different than the white people who uses him to make money?

  169. I don’t get why black women like you always feel as though it’s their place to speak about things like this. You’re not the target demographic. Your skin color does not automatically include you in hip hop culture. You are not a part of this but yet you feel connected to it because of race. But your race does not give you the right to disrespect this man because of the color of HIS skin. Sharing blackness doesn’t open the door for you to tear him down because of his blackness. It doesn’t open the door for you to oppress him and his free speech. It doesn’t give you the right to use racial slurs against him. And yes, slave and minstrel are racial slurs that you are using against a black man. And you don’t get a pass for that because you are also black. Especially since you are not a part of hip hop culture. But just let it be known that it’s clear to people that you think everyone should have freedom of speech except black men. Because that is exactly what you are promoting here. You think everyone else is socially responsible enough to not take lyrics seriously except for black men. You must think black men are less-than. You do not get to decide that though. Your opinions don’t have value because they are the opinions of a hypocrite.

  170. I hate this letter so much.. Smh. People are so quick to join a cause and tear down other black men. Niggas is crabs in a bucket man. And btw I know for a fact that music doesn’t make people kill each other. If you think that music causes the problems we have with violence and crime, you obviously don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I hope Bobby Shmurda continues to do his thing and stays successfull, as well as the other rappers out here.

  171. This is one of the main reasons we’re not really gaining momentum in upward mobility as a people. No I’m not referring to the subject of the article but the article itself. We spend so much time critiquing art (music is an art form that has no requirements on what makes it good or bad) and we are literally absent when it comes to things that actually matter. We need more folks with applied knowledge – engineers, doctors, physicians etc. I see a lot of comments on this post suggesting this writer is intelligent and so forth. Why not apply that intelligence to something constructive? You are one of the people who listened to the song and admired aspects of it so as soon as you decide it’s not for you anymore, the artist should discontinue his art? So by that logic, should you discontinue critiquing because I mentioned that you should be doing something productive like engineering, medicine etc? No you won’t so why should Bobby Shmurda modify his livelihood to suit your emotional needs? See how that works? – Live and let live…

  172. The “who cares” and “he still getting that money” mentalities are exactly why you see so much violence in the world and why so much of the black youth are being slain. I applaud those who speak out against the stupidity, lack of moral and true goals this system is pushing onto the people. If you are going to say something, say something. You’re looked at as a joke.

  173. I believe this is actually a well written letter to Bobby Shmurda and really does highlight the issues in rap music. But at the same time you write this letter to Bobby Shmurda because he is the “Hot Nigga” out right now when it could have actually addressed many rappers like YG, Gucci Mane, Young Jezzy, Nipsey, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and many more gangster/trap artist. I know his song is hot, but I feel that the ability to post something up immediately nowadays limits us from thinking outside the box and causes to target one specific person or issue because it is the trending topic at the moment.

    I am an African American whose parents divorced at the age of nine. My mother worked two jobs and did as much as she could for my 2 sibling and myself. My father was around but was non existent financially for some years and got remarried. I did not grow up in the hood, but I can say my life was far from easy. My only dream at a young age was I wish I could do something to make things easier for my mom and my siblings. This is a thought that many young African American males have to deal with in a broken home. You are looked to provide in some way, shape, or form or possibly fend for yourself. This is when a young man in the hood will look to the streets where you can make quick and easy money by selling or distributing drugs, hitting licks (robbing), scams, or pimping. All these come at a price of imprisonment or death, but to a young man who has been struggling all his life looks at this as an opportunity he cannot pass up.

    If a young African American does not go to the streets, his next two options would either be sports or music. For me sports would be my way out specifically soccer (My father is from the caribbean). I was very talented at a young age and people would tell me that I would make it one day. With that belief my dream is to become a pro and get my mother her dream house and car and sort her out for the rest of her life. I am still pursing that dream as a recent college graduate, but how many African Americans in sports can you say have a college degree or even thought about attending college if they never were to receive a scholarship of some sort. The athletes we look up to like LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Michael Vick, and Marshawn Lynch amongst many others are from some of the hardest places to grow up in the United States and all do no have a college degree. What is this telling a young man from the hood? It is telling him that all he has to do is play a sport and be the best and make it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen for everyone. Many of the athletes I knew growing up who were supposed to be the next Michael Jordan or Jerry Rice didn’t make it and ended up turning to the streets in the end because of grades or just street influence.

    It is the same thing in music. We grow up in world that is dominated by African American artist. If you turn on the TV you see Usher, Kendrick Lamar, or even French Montana. A young man seeing the lifestyle of these individuals will try and pursue that like Bobby Shmurda. He wants the good life, but he came up the hard way. He rapped on the side, but he still had to survive as a young kid in the streets of Brooklyn. With that being said he had to sell crack and protect himself from his enemies. I am not saying it’s right nor wrong but I know as humans we strive to stay alive. I do not know one person that wants to die, and I know many people would rather be the killer than the victim because the killer lives to see another day. Bobby is rapping about he has experienced and what he has seen in the streets and that’s it. I have no idea if he’s fabricating or embellishing his story, but if he was I know there would have been a whistleblower. All he can do is speak of what he knows. He cannot speak about having a Lamborghini because he does not have one. He cannot speak about being on a TV show and having money like everyones favorite rapper, because he did not live that. he cannot speak about how his mom and dad had a loving and caring relationship, because that was not the case. What I am trying to say is all he can do as an artist and speak about what he has lived, because that is what he knows. This is what artist like Jay Z, Ice cube, 50 Cent, and even Eminem have done and are reaping the benefits. Im not saying Bobby is on their level in any way, but he is doing what they all have done and that is talking about their life experiences.

    I believe this blog post just shows how easy it is for one to judge another person’s situation. This letter to Bobby bashes him in many facets as if he chose this lifestyle. As much as you want to seem like you are uplifting the African American race with this post, I believe you are bringing it down just as much as you claim that Bobby is. Instead of writing a post about Bobby’s ignorance, how about you write about how we can avoid producing individuals who have to live a life like Bobby Shmurda or how we can lower the rates of black on black violence in places like Chicago, Oakland, or Detroit. We cannot attack Bobby because he is a product of his environment who obviously did not have a means to get out of this lifestyle until the song “Hot Nigga.” Not everyone in the hood will be apart of this lifestyle, but without proper guidance or a strong mentor a young African American male is susceptible to being immersed in the street lifestyle.

    There is much more that I want to say, but I feel that this is enough to think about for the moment.

    – Mike G.

  174. His 2nd video is called “bobby bitch”…..shit hard as hell he swagged up doin HIM so I guess it’s gonna be a letter cryin bout he saying”bitch”??? Let that lil nigga do him he eatin$$$ fuckin hater

  175. While I appreciate this letter, and I am glad that the writer realized how poisonous this kind of thing is, we still have to do better as consumers. We have to stop giving these kind of rappers the numbers in the first place. Yes, it may be catchy and have a driving beat, but we must get past that before the song even gets a considerable amount of spins on the radio. Mainly, stop letting the radio and mainstream media tell you what to like, and you may start to find other music that you like that isn’t limited to conscious rap. You will find a much larger range of good music that you don’t have to filter the lyrics. Feel good music all around that doesn’t promote negative images, and you can still dance to it. If y’all really care about this kind of thing, then we gotta stop making these people popular in the first place.

    1. Your response is dead on my friend. Radio stations will only play what we support. We are measured in dollars that we bring and can potentially bring to the businesses whom advertise on the stations playing this foolery. I’m shocked that we haven’t figured this out yet. Fixing this doesn’t require open letters to Bobby nor a open letter to the radio station or corporate radio stations. If enough support is drummed up against the advertisers and decide to economically boycott their businesses for advertising on the stations that play this music the results will be instantaneous. We are the program managers that we hate, we are the music directors, we are the ones pressing play.

  176. Thankfully I, being white, am allowed to rap about whatever I want.

    Once black people have all done sufficient penance for the racism against them, and each and every one of them has PROVEN to my satisfaction that they are not minstrel show coons or scary criminals, perhaps I shall allow them the same privilege. Once we grown-ups have decided they can handle it, of course.

    Good on this civilized coloured woman for reminding young Mr. Shmurda that he is black first, and an artist second- and that he has a duty to make his art subordinate to the racism against him by removing anything that gets in the way of the rightful function of all black mens’ art: preening for white approval.

    btw Imani Brammer if you carefully avoid embodying racist stereotypes you are more closely bound by them than you might realize. I put it simple like this at the end in case you have trouble. Here is a picture I made to show you: http://i.imgur.com/UE5itRL.png You see how the racist stereotype is carefully removed, but also that’s sort of why you can see it? It’s like this picture of a neck which also makes you think of a hand: http://i.imgur.com/ekNBgrQ.png
    Really you took away the hand, but a real neck has those parts, too, so it makes it MORE like a hand. Really you took away the racist stereotypes, but a real person has those parts, too, so it makes it MORE like a grovelling racist supplication to reassure white people you wouldn’t dare have angry feelings as long as your terrifying darkie skin is still not as light as a paper bag.

    1. To A Racist, Clearly.

      I’m white and I’m.extremely sick of KKK mentality douchebag arseholes like you that come on any post that black people are openly, respectfully, sharing without malice or derogatory language, and acknowledging that rap music along with the slave mentality that has been psychologically damaging to their people to start shit.

      You did so in such a mocking, condescending manner, I’m tempted to track you down and put my foot up your racist ass after beating you senseless with a bat – I’ll risk messing up my Ralph Lauren shirt because it’ll be worth it.

      You’re the bain of white people everywhere, EVERYBODY HATES WHITE PUNKS LIKE YOU for spewing your prejudice, bigotry poison, keeping America divided, not giving a fuck because you’re “privileged and white.” So am I but my parents taught me well, in your case – your mother should’ve swallowed.

      Since she didn’t – do the world a favor you should definitely kill yourself. Just DIE.

    2. You say all that to say say what, “I’m a racist?” All the verbal complexities just to sound stupid.. Comical you are..! Nobody cares about your approval, who the hell are you..? What u need to do is stop worrying about us being satisfied or “receiving sufficient penance” for wrongs done to blacks but focus on the oppressor and why it happened. Listen to the phrases you use, racist to say the least. I was once told that people like you aren’t mad at me or what I/We are, your just mad at what u can never be, a proud person of color despite the devilish oppressions. Kick rocks idiot..!

    3. While it seems like you put a lot of thought into your response you appear to be neglecting a few facts. Racism is such a hard problem to solve because it dwells within us, us highly contagious, and difficult to remove once infected. Constant exposure to such images especially for developing youth, Has been proven to have a strong effect. The artist himself is an excellent example. These influences are difficult to avoid to say she us wrong to try to limit these influences makes little sense to me.

      Just as one watches what they eat in order to Maintain a healthy body, to maintain a healthy mind one must watch what he/she lets in. If there was no outrage or protest about the unhealthy food that fills our local markets then we would not have received more access to “healthy” alternatives. In the same way if we consumers don’t show that we want different then nothing will happen. As consumers our strength lies in how we choose to spend or not spend our money. While i don’t feel that such music should be removed from the radio altoge i feel that there is a large amount of music that is excluded from the radio for not meeting this image.

      For some the radio may be there only source of music. They may not have a computer or internet access to seek alternatives. They may not even have the knowledge that such alternatives exist simply because they were never exposed to them.

      These executives have great power. They decide what hits Shelves. They decide what reaches through airwaves and into the ears of our youth. The fact that artist are driven to conform by the current system is an issue. The fact that many artist ignore the responsibility that comes with their fame is an issue. Both can be seen through this artist but these issues exist in other genre and apply to other races than just blacks.

      With that aside Schmurda is black! he opens race up for discussion by titling a track “hot nigga” he portrays himself in his music. He is telling all who listen what it means to him to be a “hot nigga”. Within in our culture hot is accepted as something that is good. It’s natural for a child to think that if you act like someone who is hot ,then you will be hot too. While it is sad seing what lies inside this artist and he may have turned out much better if he had been exposed to better influences , i do not believe he is at fault for making music he believes in. The blame lies with the radio. You can limit what a child has access to online or internet t,v with parental settings. The law prevents you from watching certain movies without I.D. aside from changing the station there is no way to limit what you or your child is exposed to. There is no warning before music with strong imagery. Censorship may remove the curses but it does nothing to hide lyrics that typically include murder and drugs.

      Once again i do not have a problem with such music existing i do have a problem with its near monopoly over radio stations geared towards black people. Aside from schmurda as an artist i also have a problem with racism and how we internalize and spread it without even realizing it because we choose to remain ignorant. These are separate but connected issues and my opinion is just one of many. Trying to cleverly disrespect someone else opinion is both rude and childish. It gets inn the way of stimulating discussion and prevents the exchange of ideas.

    4. “Good on this civilized coloured woman for reminding young Mr. Shmurda that he is black first, and an artist second- and that he has a duty to make his art subordinate to the racism against him by removing anything that gets in the way of the rightful function of all black mens’ art: preening for white approval.”

      Bravo. Not that he will probably read this little article, but why is he being talked to like he’s less than a person? Why is his blackness the main concern? People make offensive music all the time. Shooting and getting shot are things that actually happen where he’s from. It’s not a great song, but why does he have to be a role model for black people because you don’t like his music?

    5. Because you’re white, your white privilege to influence this message is at work in your message, but, I reject it. The overall point in Imani’s message is influence!

  177. So the man is adhering and spreading stereotypes that are harmful. Yes, this may not be the best outcome. But not everyone grows up or is raised in the same way. The dude is just emulating people before him and having fun with his success. Not every one has woken up and always thought independently and freely. It also isn’t possible to force people into opening their mind. Rather than having a personal attack on the man, why not just point out the errors in his ways a bit less harshly. Like, damn, you’re telling a grown and successful man how to live his life. Ignorance is bliss, so perhaps you should just try to tell him to think more about what he is saying. At the end of the day, this stuff has been done long beforehand, he’s just following perhaps some of hip hop’s roots. And don’t say it’s not, because gangsta rap was largely what brought it into such popularity. There are tons of songs with worse stuff than thus, the dude half the time seems to more be just talking and kind of being hard. Just chill with the judgmental white-knighting.

  178. SO U NEVER BOUGHT A TICKET TO A MOVIE WHERE SOMEONE GETS SHOT IF U CAN SAY THAT U DONT WATCH ANY MOVIE OR TV SHOW WITH VIOLENCE THEN U HAVE A VALAD POINT BOTTOM LINE ITS ENTERTAINMENT PEOPLE …WE KNOW SUPERMAN CANT FLY FOR REAL JUST LIKE BOBBY SMURDA PROBLY NEVER SHOT SOMEONE LET ALONE MURDERED SOMEONE

  179. U SHOULD WRITE A LETTER TO ARNOLD,CLINT EASTWOOD,TOM CRUISE THESE PEOPLE KILLED MORE PEOPLE IN THE PUBLIC EYE IN MOVIES THAN ANY RAPPER EVER DID ON A RECORD WE TO QUICK TO POINT THE FINGER IN THE WRONG DIRECTION

  180. sighs* another example of the “enlightened”. Look, I like to listen to artists such as Common and Talib Kweli, but sometimes, people just want to have fun. I don’t want deep music all of the time. One of my favorite trap/swag rappers is Shy Glizzy. Is he lyrical or deep? heck no, but he’s entertaining, and to the editor: violence and racism will always exist. It’s blissful, naive, and unrealistic to think otherwise…

  181. You know, I read an article from my boy Greg Simms Jr that mentioned this and I thought he had made it up or worse it was a prank from Family Guy or something LMAO. This man and this song is real???? Oh LAWD smh smh smh

    Tsk tsk, thats a damn shame. I tell young folks breaking into the game all the time, make your lyrics count, make your intentions count, that is what is going to count in the long run. Sure make your chorus jump, make it catchy, turn up, make sure the beat is crispy, if they can dance to it hell ya thats the best. BUT the lyrics are what is going to make or break you, giving you the respect or the disrespect from the masses – Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, X-Clan – We danced our asses off to their music and chanted the choruses and when you sat down and actually listed to the song then you realized whoa, they have something to say. The industry has forgot this now for some reason, you don’t need to have a dry beat to get your point across if its deep and thought provoking and you don’t need to dumb it down just to keep it wet. Hot N***a… that’s a downright disappointing state of affairs in rap.

    Yah, this letter is on point. Sure, there have been a lot of moron rappers out there selling out to the masses but something about this artist has hit the nail on the head – somethings gotta stop! There is plenty of underground intelligent hip-hop heads out there perfecting the craft – Ive been down with the genre since Whodini and Kurtis Blow and Run DMC and now I jam to Joey Bada$$, Chance the Rapper, Futuristic, OddIsee, Black Milk, Elzhi, Flatbush Zombies, Nitty Scott, Childish Gambino and many more who keeping the genre fresh. Now this idiot in the wake of jumpy majority people shooting minorities on sight for whatever excuse they come up with? NO – this has got to stop and this idiot hit the nail in the coffin – BAN BOBBY SHMURDA gtfo with this mess!

    More of the young generations moron mountain leaders smh smh http://www.bet.com/…/report-migos-involved-in-bloody…

  182. “Your lyrics re-affirm your inferiority to them”
    I am in total agreement with this piece. My thoughts exactly..i get to live vicariously through your piece.

  183. This current helplessness issue and article reminds of The fight with Covey and Frederick Douglass, whereas Covey causes Douglass to regain in his spirit and defiance, as well as his resolve to be free, but whips him inconsistently during his remaining years with Covey, his slaveholder. Not so much physically re-mindful, but more so mentally….if you catch my drift, which most of you may not….and probably for a personal petty reason like usual. [Typical Crackers vs Typical Niggers….This World Is Doomed]

  184. i feel like if your up to date on your REAL history then you would know what this girl is saying. not just the shit they teach you in school about us fighting slavery & us being slaves but if the richness of our skin or the important strives we’ve made in history that shape our world today. imani i thank you for using your writing skill to try & shift consciousness in our ppl. alot of black celebrities have used the almighty dollar to shut them up.. which kinda sucks b/c then we don’t have a voice. not even the president is on our side. if we don’t step up as a people, write, read, communicate & educate one another they will prevail. we can’t let all of our ancestors great strides be in vain. keep up the good work. spread light & love.

  185. Dear Imani ..
    It pains me to read your so well embodied opinion of what most perceptible entity will call a mere tune , while the content of It all is truly depictible offensive it is nothing shorter than an audio fixation where at no point in its delivery a logical thought was formulated for an intelligible rational audience . I would enjoy to further elaborate “your article ” but the mettle of sotise read have made me question the relevance in continuing seemingly believing that it’ll be impossible for you to get the point at a grand scale.

  186. I am pretty sure most of the people listening to Bobby are not white kids in suburbia. He is successful because other black people are listening to and supporting him. So instead of going at him and trying to make him change why don’t you just be the change you want to see by not supporting him? I honestly think that him changing the way he raps and entertains people is not gonna change how white people treat blacks. Racist people will be racist regardless of how intelligent someone is.

  187. Hi Imani,

    Thanks for your thoughtful letter to Shmurda. I can imagine the cringeworthiness of the this-will-do civilized claps, and in a way I’m almost thankful that I wasn’t there to witness it first-hand. And given that you were, I can understand why you took a moment to reflect on what you’re doing when you do the Shmoney dance. But I wish you hadn’t gone after Shmurda like this. He’s an artist- and a pretty decent and interesting one too. If he really sold crack since 5th grade, then he’s got some genuine fearlessness and initiative- most 5th graders [even in East Flatbush believe it or not] don’t do that. Why not? Because they’re not supposed to and it’s dangerous. Now, do I think 5th graders should be selling crack? No. Do I think it’s fair that Shmurda [but not, say “A Racist, Clearly”] was allowed to risk his 11 year-old life like that? Heck no. That’s not remotely fair. All I’m saying is that he seems like an interesting kid and a talented rapper, and I look forward to seeing where his career goes from here and what else he’s capable of. We he be a Pusha-T? A Nas? A Jay-Z? A Weezy? Maybe he’ll be Bobby Shmurda. Who knows?

    In any case, I hope he reads your letter and responds. Your point is an important one, and one that he might want to consider as he moves forward with his career and as an artist. But he’d be perfectly justified to reject every word on the grounds that his words are his own, and he doesn’t owe you, record executives, or me any sort of apology or explanation.

    Personally, I am much more incensed by Beyonce Shmoneying around like 5th graders selling crack is cute or something. But maybe that’s a separate issue.

    Keep up the good work. Your blog is rad, and I can totally relate to your creativity process.

    -Disorderly

  188. wow is this bitch retarded? he has the fucking word murder in his name! KILLA cam MURDA mase. bobby schMURDA. also fuckery is not a carribean word but wevs

  189. I suppose I’m arguing for argument’s sake here, but since we’re so concerned that what this young artist is representing is not representative of the Black community as a whole – and it’s not – where exactly do respectability politics come into play? I’m not a fan of his message, per se. But I’m even less of a fan of respectability politics and how we decided that turning them on our selves is what’s going to solve problems within the community, as opposed to actually doing the work necessary to change our trajectory and view of our own self esteem. We want this young rapper to put out better music, or present himself differently, or better, and yet we provide no direct alternative solutions to that, or even a different financial route that wouldn’t require him to do the minstrel show routine in order to get record label funding. Everyone is so quick to judge him and say what’s wrong, but nobody wants to present options related to what we think is right for him. And at the end of the day, what we think is right for him doesn’t mean spit, because it’s not our money, or our career, or our set of goals. I could say more, but it would be in vain. I just think we all need to be extremely mindful of what we choose to say is misrepresenting what it is that we as a community are about.

  190. What kind of fucking moron listened to this “song” and took several listens to finally realize that this idiot is talking about killing people? How unaware are you of your surroundings on a daily basis? Jebus fucking christ.

  191. Sadly, I doubt this young guy or anyone in his camp will read the letter or even comprehend what you are trying to say to them. No one is going to sit this boy down to explain the issues with his lack of consciousness because then when his eyes are opened to the foolery he has participated in, he will be of no value to those in charge, Very sound thoughts that don’t just apply to Bobby, but if we know that the industry will just keep pumping out this nonsense, when are we as consumers, parents, educators, going to be held responsible for continuing to support this mess? You yourself said you listened to this on your iPod (paid download) before you listened to the lyrics. When do we become more researched consumers and stop blaming the seller for getting us to buy low value product without us first looking into it’s worth?

  192. I cant believe ALL these negative comments on here.
    It’s entertainment people or Am i to believe it’s up to Bobby Shmurda
    to raise/educate the youth of the world now.smh
    Only when you are a black male making money are you held to a higher standard.
    Is Beyonce to be held accountable for dysfunctional relationships and Hoodrats because she dresses provactive, always talking about pay my bills, & Men are dogs?
    Is Martin Scorsese to be held accountable for glorifying the mafia in dozens of movies,Making it cool to be a violent killing Psychopaths & dealing drugs?
    Is Shonda Rhimes to be blamed for glorifying homosexuality, Scandals in the government, teaching you How to get away with MURDER!
    Of course NOT!
    They are all viewed as artists depicting real life stories.
    But Bobby Shmurda should huh? You’re only held accountable for all your actions when you’re a black male making money for everything wrong in America, its like you people think they only kill each other in the Black american ghetto.smh
    I think Tupac said it best when he said
    ” They say my ghetto instrumental is detrimental to kids as IF they can’t see the misery in which the live.Blame me for they’re outcome ban my records. You don’t have to bump it but Please RESPECT IT!”
    They identify with it because it’s a reality they are poets not to interpreted literally but to entertain.
    If you don’t like it simply don’t listen too it your prerogative But to try and take a man’s livelihood by banding together like he’s to blame for society ills is crazy.smdh
    I’ll leave yall with something Jay-Z said , He’s someone Shmurda can aspire to be one day seeing how he was from Brooklyn also and A former gun toting, crack dealer, spewing the same lyrics his self. Before he evolved into the billionaire “Legal” Business man he is today.
    Scarface he movie did more to me than Rapper to me/still that’s Not to blame for all the shit that happen to me.
    #RealTalk

  193. Extremely thought provoking especially since its a popular song. But I do feel that Imani’s body of work is a bit tardy since he has been hot since like April. Lets me ELOQUENTLY ELABORATE. There is no way u can have a song you listen to ON YOUR IPOD, dance to it and sing along without mouthing the words or without understanding what is being rhymed about. That’s equivalent to being invited to a gentleman’s home that you like at 2am in the morning, and then looking at him like he is crazy for attempting to have sex with you. You came over at 2am what did you think was going to happen? The same way you listened to the Hot Nigga Song, once you decide to put a song on your iPod you have consciously made the decision that you liked the song, beat and WORDS. Personally I am making the inference that Imani has written this essay to gain some notoriety to gain media attention. She claims that she wasn’t aiming to attack Bobby but claims that he’s already dead and that he is a puppet for music execs and a slave to white supremacy. Although it was an interesting read it had notable contradictions. An example would being being happy for his success but not agreeing with his message. If u are shaking your groove thing to his drug dealing gun toting music, then have the audacious mentality to commentate in a derogatory manner you should retake your stance. Also as a minority woman you should know that if you are trying to help a young black man there is a meticulous way to go about it. Especially when you are looking to school a young black man who you consider to be lost. When flexing your extensive vocabulary just know that there are people out there that can actually understand and conceptualize what you mean, especially when you are speaking out of two sides of your mouth. – mr shut em down

    Re-post if you agree

  194. i love what you wrote , at lease someone had the balls to stand up for the rest of us, yes your right it is time to make a change, STOP putting us on the spot, thank you for your words, i remember when James Brown and a lot of others song was about “say it loud i’m black and i’m proud”, but to day is says,,it loud,, mother i kill you today, wow how things changed, so because it’s rap it’s ok? to talk about how we kill our own, thanks for reminding some of us where we came from and where we might or could change where we’re we gong, martin Luther king says we shall over come and I might not get there with you,, but they way we disgrace our selves today,, i wonder will we over come, and if we will ever get there, so again for the ones who don’t understand their black selves go read your black history books, then you’ll understand how the white race still brain washes us to still ride our selves to what we listen to and think it’s cool, thank you for the reminder

  195. Imani I get it. Being a young black male I have lived under a scope. I have been expected to fail and I have been told that I amount to nothing simply because of the depiction of a black man the media and “culture” has created. Recent reports released by various entities such as R.I.A.A (Recording Industry Association of America) and R.B.R (Radio/Television Business Report) in 2013 show that White/Caucasians make up the highest number of consumers (at least 75%). Subconsciously the music people listen to end up molding certain ideas and opinions on the things that are being depicted in the music. Just from reading a few of the responses to your articles I see this is a issue most don’t understand. Perhaps because they have a different skin color and never been asked why, where, when and how because of the color of their skin.

    I hope more people will look at this open letter as a reminder of who we are and were we come from rather than a personal attack on the “hot nigga”. He is the “it boy” right now and he has an opportunity to make a difference rather than add fuel to the fire in exchange for a few dollars. Money burns, it is here today and and gone tomorrow but the choices you make remain. Who you are tomorrow is remnant to the choices you make today. As a celebrity and role model, kids watch you and emulate you. The choices you make become a blueprint.

    So thank you for this open letter Imani. Continue what you are doing.

    Wayne

  196. I fully agree with this article. Too many black artists are knowingly or unknowingly contributing to some of the struggles we face in the black race and culture. This is a issue with the artists and those supporting these poisonous ideas as consumers. Therefore this battle must fought by addressing both matters. We can not continue to be silent as ignorance is displayed. We are our brother’s keeper and must pull each other up as needed.

  197. This entire letter is troublesome & problematic. It seems that you are upset at the rapper for making music that you initially danced to without paying attention to the content. Like you were “Hoodwinked, bamboozled….”?

    The song is entitled “Hot nigga”, so what part of that title told you it would be positive? To me that title alone lets ME know the very least “Ho’s & money” will be talked about & normally gunplay lyrics follow. Plus his name’s “Bobby Shmurder”. No yellow flag came up?

    You claimed to be a fan of Mos & Common in your letter so I’m assuming that you’re at the very least between the ages of 28-42? What 28-42 year old doesn’t realize what they’re listening to?

    Please note, that I am not the biggest fan of “Gunplay” music but you come off like you just came down from the mountains of “Ashe” after having green tea with God & Moses.

    Bobby Shmurder’s song is not the problem.

  198. It is sad and true what you have stated. But no matter how sad he is only a product of his community and speaks of his reality. Maybe we should not be so quick to jump to conclusions. I hope the world stops looking at things they don’t understand and no longer “sink into listless indifference, or shiftlessness or reckless bravado”.

    I have called my tiny community a world, and so its isolation made it; and yet there was among us but a half-awaken common consciousness, sprung from common joy and grief, at burial, birth, or wedding, from a common hardship in poverty, poor land, and low wages; and above all, from the sight of the Veil that hung between us an Opportunity. All this caused us to think some thoughts together; but these, when ripe for speech, were spoken in various languages….Such a paradox they could not understand, and therefore sank into listless indifference, or shiftlessness, or reckless bravado. –W.E.B Du Bois, Souls of Black Folks, 1903

  199. I can only agree with this article to a small degree. While I of course agree that as a people our music should have a variety artists that are more uplifting (such as a Kendrick Lamar), I think its extremely ignorant to attack an artist because they are living up to white America’s stereotypes. In fact you attack Shmurda but make it seem as if the white culture vultures at record labels are just doing what they’re obligated and that he is to blame. This argument can be likened to scolding women for being scantily clad as opposed to the men that choose to rape them. Shmurda, as well as many other rappers, is just a product of an environment he was born and raised in, that you probably can’t relate to. Making this music is his and his gangs way of actually avoiding polluting the streets with drugs and guns. There is plenty of violent heavy metal music by white artists that isn’t ever mentioned, but violent black artists are attacked for living up to the white mans stereotypes, and this just isn’t okay. Hopefully you see where Im coming from

    1. Thank you for articulating what I probably couldn’t say in as nice terms. I also find the end

      “He’s already dead. His hands are already up in surrender to white supremacy. He does not need to be in jail; he has been imprisoned his entire life. His music is emblematic of this. ”

      incredibly disrespectful. It’s one thing to say that in some noble “open letter”, another entirely to say that to someone’s face.

  200. He won’t last for us to remember, but the lasting effects of his “image” will. We’ll see the next “Bobby Shmurda” next month, and the month after that. And we’ll complain and say it’s trash, but the beat is hot, we’ll continue to allow it to be our guilty pleasure, we’ll write polished pieces like this one with bug college words that can further disassociate us from that lifestyle and lyrics. Funny how we’re all “Black” and “Power to the People” until we don’t wanna be associated with something. Have understanding on the powers that be before you criticize to powerless. I could say so much more, but my eyes hurt. Good day.

  201. Interesting. Begs the question though– should you be more concerned with the product, or the market? In a free market supply responds to demand. You can argue that supply has its own influence, but I think it’s pretty ignorant to say McDonald’s is the reason America is obese. Instead of an open letter to Bobby Shmurda, why not an open letter to the culture and community that funds the music he makes? Those couple of dollars in his pocket aren’t placed there with schemes of corruption by this sinister “Man”, they’re simply collected and divided up by him in recognition of profit. He’s not a slave driver, he’s a business man, and, last time I checked, in the music industry he’s often black too.

  202. This is a great, extremely well-written and presented article. My one issue is why is Bobby Shmurda the only rapper that you take issue with? I am a huge fan of Hip Hop and Rap music as a whole, and admit that I love this song, but I feel that this is a problem that has existed for some time in Rap music: the message, its intended audience, and who it benefits. It’s a slippery slope to represent the record label as a white slave-owner because they aren’t a white’s only enterprises. There are thousands of black, white, asian, latinos, you-name-it races working in the music industry. It’s irresponsible to represent the goal of a business enterprise as having some subverted racial agenda because you can draw a parallel to slavery. Entertainment, unfortunately, is dictated by the content that the masses will consume, not the message that is being delivered within it. I think your best course of action, is to stop listening to music which delivers messages you don’t agree with while also promoting music that you are proud of. Big steps come from an innumerable amount of small ones.

  203. Heres my take on this
    what shes saying makes a lot of sense and i think theres some truth to it. A lot of truth to it. however, I don’t get why shes picking on bobby shmurda when there are grown men who are rapping about the same shit.
    Its one thing to have an informed awareness and some perspective on the state of things as they are. Its another to come off condescending about it as if ones knowledge and truth is superior to that of another. as though the “uninformed” lack of awareness does not deem its own expression of truth and awareness as valuable in of itself and worth of acknowledgment for what it is. Bobby shmurda may come off immature and ignorant, talking about murdering other young black men without his supposed awareness of what his truth conspires onto the world, but it is a truth in of itself none the less and i don’t think he should necessarily be picked out or degraded as less than for his supposed lack of awareness to his actions. Or maybe he does know and he just doesn’t give a fuck! I don’t know bobby shmurda, and he for all i know is just some other dumbass, but that doesn’t mean what he speaks his false. Its what is happening. There are young black men, and men of all other backgrounds, murdering each other. Especially here in America. We exist within a murda culture and people express what they are aware of and how it makes them feel, causing action. Thats art, aint it? Im not going to say that your environment ultimately defines who you are, but i’m not sure if people are aware of the drastic influence our environment has on our lives. How it shapes our minds. We in many way are really a product of what we have been exposed to. it does something to us and not everybody gets the same exposure to the same things, the same opportunities, the same chance or coincidences in life that bring them forth towards a certain awareness. Theres so much happening. And so many variables perpetuate from it. All valid in the sense that it actually occurs. How the fuck do you expect someone to really listen to you and be open to your truth if you are already shitting on the person you are trying to inform’s entire existence? And honestly, unless you know the man personally, you don’t know what that kid went through to make him say shit like that. You can either listen to the beat to gain perspective or take your head phones off.
    On another note. Opinions are important. especially opposing ones. So i appreciate what you braught forth

  204. I haven’t read the all the comments on this in depth, but this is such a thoughtful take on the music people listen to. Before you take a song. And make it the soundtrack of your life, STOP. LISTEN. ASK. What is is this song really saying? Moreover, what inspired the song? It’s an important question to ask because when we open our hearts to these songs, whatever they are speaking on finds expression in our l Today, I put up a blog post about my personal bout with popular music and what it did to my heart. Funny that after posting it, I see your post

  205. Well written article though I disagree with most of it. This article does/should evoke what should be a healthy dialogue between people on both sides or who are on the fence on this topic.

  206. Dear Imani,

    You bring up important points. But you’re asking the wrong questions of the wrong people. First, we should be asking, why are we receiving this song so well?

    1) Where’s your letter to the police chiefs, mayors, city officials, representatives, and the president? Because they’re the reason that this shit IS REAL LIFE.
    Rap music is built on solidarity. Originally, it was the instrumental voice that gave Black men’s experiences a platform to be heard. Shmurda’s song traces along this lineage, and really is just emblematic of his experience and the experience of many of the Black men around him. So, we should really be asking WHY is this our experience?

    2) Where’s your letter to the music industry’s executives?
    Who is funding this music? Who is selling this and supporting it? Rich, white music executives who have purposefully BUILT a rap industry around ideas of killing, money, the degradation of Black women, and drugs because they understand the power and influence of music. Radical rap music from its inception had too strong of a revolutionary potential, so white executives met together and made a decision about the future of rap music. And they are carrying it out.

    3) Where’s your letter to the capitalist billionaires that run this country?
    And ultimately, YOU are letting white supremacy live well inside of you because the point of white supremacist systems is to disjoint us. White supremacy gives you permission to look down on his actions and to care about the white man’s clap. Who gives a shit if they were clapping in some type of “this will do” way? In the end, I’m sure Shmurda knows what he’s doing, ’cause at the end of the day, he’s living the dream and he’s making money. Unfortunately, that’s capitalism.

    How are you gonna look down on a Black man for making money? Because you know if he hadn’t made it, there’s a thousand other young, Black men ready to take his place. And yes, it was within the rungs of the system, and yes, he’s ignorant. But if you are toting yourself as the bigger person, writing a hearty informational letter to him, then where’s your self-examination first…and these other letters that need to go out? We need to stop blaming each other and simplifying the issue. Because, honestly…it ain’t that simple. And you’re taking the easy way out, my sister, by calling out Shmurda, which is just what this system we live in is pushing you to do.

    Yes, it’s not easy to write letters (metaphorically) to the leaders of this effed up country. So, you wrote a letter to the face of the bullshit. But trust me, that’s exactly what he is, he’s the face of a white power movement. And I’m sure he damn well knows it, but again, he’s in the position that a million other men would kill to be in. Pull back the curtain, and start confronting the shit that’s going on in the background. Whose pulling the strings here? That’s who you need to be attacking.

  207. Imani, you should really be writing a letter to rich, white music execs and the leaders of this capitalist nation that make killing the reality in many Black communities. the issues too complex to only address Shmurda. your letter is really talking about why some Black people are making the rest of us look bad, which is some BS

  208. While I applaud your need to point out that young Bobby is perpetuating stereotypes, I find your depiction of the music industry as white supremacists extremely racist. Basically you started off strong and just turned it into a race thing. You’re a good writer but you need to THINK about what your true message really is. More racist bullshit in this case…you’re basically using Mr. Schmurda to push your own agenda as he definitely isn’t the first/last/worst/best RAP (not hip hop) artist to address the issue of murder and dope dealing.

  209. If anyone here really want to make a difference in the lives of young black men I know of one who can use your support. There’s a young man in Baltimore City who was chosen by his school to attend an educational trip to Cuba. His hard work and dedication in education is what landed him this once in a life time opportunity. We can talk til we’re blue in the face. If we really want to see change we have to do something. You can start by sharing his link even if you can not donate. Thanks in advance
    http://www.gofundme.com/gcx0fc

  210. This was a great read. Well said. While I may not agree with 100% of it, that’s my prerogative; your underlying message definitely does resonate. Thanks for this, Imani.

  211. Ever think that it isnt Bobby that is the problem but its you? Look at your blog. You promote empty celebrities and their empty lives and their empty songs. Who gives an eff about Rihanna and Beyonce? Are they on the frontlines of any struggles? Are they articulating or outlining the plight of the black woman in America? How many times has NaS or Big KRIT or J Cole been highlighted on this site? You promote all the weapons of mass distraction that the establishment wants us to gobble up and you have the nerve to get at Bobby Schmurda. You admitted to dancing to his music. That beat wasnt even his, it was Lloyd Banks beat and Schmurda did some coonery on top of it and you loved it. Until you “heard the lyrics” smh. Well guess what some of us listen to the words before we bop to the beat. But you’re not one of those people. Dont try to come off now all self righteous. If you watch reality tv listen to and dance to the fckery you are the problem. Get ya mind right

  212. Are the outcomes that arise out of a conditional environment dictated by the overwhelming majority to blame for said outcomes? Every living cell perpetuates the system it is born into, we are all slaves in this right. All we can do is live our lives, tell our story, and hope to have evolved by the end. If you don’t like his story, don’t listen to it, but judgement for simply telling it seems counterproductive to me.

    On another note.. I am blown away you felt you did not know what culture/message/idea the song was representing. You say you just liked the beat, but this song is 90% vocals.. The beat is barely there, it’s incredibly simple with a soft siren in the background almost the whole time. And as I’m sure you know by now, he wasn’t even the first one to rap on it. I would argue most people that like this listen to it for the aggressive nature of it. His name being Bobby SHMURDA might imply something as well 🙂

  213. Other than the racial parts, this article says what I was thinking. I love the beat and rhythm but can’t help but feel guilty over its lyrics. What other people on this article don’t seem to understand though is that gangsta rap has actually been dead for years with a very small minority of mainstream rappers having violent content. My problem with this song though is that its the first rap song in a very long time with violent lyrics that got to the radio and went viral. Because of this, I’m worried Bobby Schmurda is going to make gangsta rap popular again and that rappers will start trying to be like Bobby Schmurda. I’ve been able to convince plenty of people once they listen to most rappers and rap songs on the radio that rap isn’t violent anymore and that kind of stuff is a thing of the past but if gangsta rap becomes popular again then people will think rap music in general is criminal and violent which will make me look bad for listening to it. Bobby, please stop what you are doing now before its too late.

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