Too $hort and E-40 are fed up with the senseless violence that plagues rap, the genre they love so much. The West Coast OG pair used their platform to speak out in hopes of change by writing a powerful op-ed in Atlantic.
After naming fallen rappers such as XXXTENTACION, Nipsey Hussle, PnB Rock, Pop Smoke, King Von, Young Dolph and most recently the loss of Takeoff, they dreadfully wonder “who’s next?”
$hort and 40 are calling for intervention in hip-hop and believe social media is driving a rise in violence in the culture.
“Downtown is like the MMA octagon – it’s the cage, the trap,” they wrote. “A lot of violent shit is going on, but it’s still the home of a lot of hip-hop artists. And there’s still a lot of hope and hunger and love in the streets. We just have to find better ways to supporting each other is as much the responsibility of our generation as it is of young MCs.
“One of the reasons the violence has escalated is social media. Rappers try too hard to flex online at the expense of their safety. These guys are making money at a faster rate than we’ve ever done. Went to the strip club when a rapper sat with silver walls – like, walls: Each stack was three feet high.
“How can you throw away so much money in one night? We have no idea. Some of these artists spend thousands on an outfit and millions on jewelry, then hop in their Bugatti or whatever and show off so much money they can barely hold it in their hand for an Instagram photo.
E-40 and Too $hort are not pointing fingers at any particular party, but believe that all aspects of the industry need to join forces and come up with a better solution than what is happening now.
“The industry needs change,” they said. “Artists need to act with more caution and strategy. Labels and music executives need to invest more in educational resources to protect the artists they work with. Managers should hire skilled security teams who can effectively defuse tense situations. Rappers should minimize their social media activity and be more vigilant when away from home.
Too $hort has direct experience of loss in Hip Hop. Too $hort saw 2Pac the night he was shot in Las Vegs, which he recalled during a 2021 episode of his YouTube series, Short stories.
“I saw 2Pac the night he got shot in Vegas,” he said. “It was probably about two hours, maybe, before it happened. I went to the fight, it was one of those classic Mike Tyson fights. He knocked him out in 90 seconds. I was staying at the Luxor, and we were going to the hotel, and 2Pac, Suge and little little entourage, they were leaving.
“We stopped and talked for about a minute, and he said, ‘We’re about to change shape and head to Club 662. It’s going to be an open mic and everyone will take the mic. ‘ I said cool, ‘We’re going to be there.’ He never got there.”