THE BLOG
10/25/2012 12:23 pm ET | Updated Dec 25, 2012

Gangster Rap and the History of Violence

Throughout the history of the world deadly violence has been a consistent part of human nature -- with all of the violence dating back to the gladiator sports in Ancient Rome, the great Spartan warriors, Shaka Zulu from South Africa, the Haitian Battle for Independence from England, Spain, and France, not to mention the barbaric slave trade that occurred in the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries. These are just a few examples of how violence has taken more lives throughout history than some of the great plagues of the world. Therefore, rap music cannot be condemned for violence that was already taking place throughout the world way before it was ever conceived as a thought or a form of expression. We can even go a little deeper with all of the movies such as Enter the Dragon, Lethal Weapon, Menace to Society, and Rambo, which had several acts of violence being orchestrated on the silver screen.

Recently, in Chicago we had a young man shot and killed by the name of "Lil JoJo" due to a perceived battle with his rival Chief Keef. However, the form of a rap battle with the two opposing groups dates back in Chicago to the early '80s and the only difference is the fact that this particular conflict was that it was well publicized on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. If you take a close look at some of the videos posted on YouTube you can clearly see that most of the young guys parading around on are part of a culture of violence, and peer pressure appears to get the best of these young men. In other words, one person is willing to emulate others as long as the group approves of that behavior. Violent thinking spreads like an infectious disease from one person to another and from one group to another.

There is a need to work on challenging the behaviors of young men and women by helping them understand that violence should be observed as unacceptable behavior. Just like videos that have violent content, there should be counter videos that illustrate making positive decisions and how not to give into the regular stereotypes that are pushed through music, video, and social media.

Several young men and women have fallen victim to an epidemic of violent thinking that makes some people believe that violence is the only way out of situations. The murder rate in Chicago is up by 25 percent and recently released statistics reveal how violent crime is up across the nation for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Rap music cannot be held accountable for the increased levels of violence. Therefore, we as leaders have to work a little harder in our efforts to educate young people from all walks of life that violence should be treated like an infectious disease. Hopefully, some people will reach out and get the right help before they succumb to this fatal disease by losing their life or taking a life. Let's do our best to cure violence.