Rappers React to Memorial Day Gun Violence in Chicago


Between Saturday afternoon and early Sunday of this past Memorial Day weekend, 25 people were injured in a shooting spree in Chicago. Jaleel Beasley, 19, died at Mount Sinai Hospital and a six-year-old girl was amongst the many left wounded, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The story prompted XXL to reach out to Chi-town’s own Rhymefest and the L.E.P. Bogus Boys to look for answers.

But XXL didn’t stop there. Realizing that Ice Cube and Ice-T aren’t strangers to gun violence—having grown up in Compton and Crenshaw, respectively—XXL also tabbed the OGs to analyze the rash of gun violence in the Windy City last week and in weeks prior. Check out some crucial points they made. —Mark Lelinwalla with additional reporting by Chanel Clark

Senseless - Rhymefest


“Kids are killing each other over, ‘Man, he looked at me hard’ or ‘Man, that was my girl’…you’ll find that it’s over small, insignificant shit. It’s not people fighting over territory. I live in one of the hoods with the most murders, which is Washington Park. I came home the other day and police were looking for a weapon right outside of my crib. It’s a warzone out here. It’s not just the fault of the people doing the shooting, it’s the fault of everyone around them. All of us are responsible."

From G-Code to Cowboys - Count of The L.E.P. Bogus Boys

LEP Bogus Boys

"Everything is crooked from the governor all the way down to the streets. Although we come up in this community, man, we don’t want to see young people dying and parents burying their kids at 15, 17, 19. It used to be that the kids were off limits. Now, it’s just a cowboy, renegade situation and they don’t know what to do. They try to point everything at the gangs. The violence is from poverty. People kill over petty things—it’s hot, tempers flare. Few years back, we had summer jobs, where kids could work and make money. We don’t have that anymore. Now all kids have is idle time. Idle time is leading to murders. It’s a bittersweet situation because people are going to notice Chicago hip-hop, but they’re going to be like, ‘All they talk about is violence!’ But this is what’s happening here! Chicago is a 1/3 gangster city. You haven’t heard from the majority. Fans may hear a lot of rappers talking about violence, but that’s what’s going on."

Promoting Violence Must Stop - Ice Cube

Ice Cube

“It’s a lot of violence that’s promoted in all walks of life, all over the world. There’s too many guns on the streets, too many people who have given up hope. It’s a perverted form of mercy killing out of despair. It’s a very, very fucked-up situation. It’s like the gun makers are making more guns, the bullet makers are making more bullets and despair is out there. It’s going to continue to happen unfortunately. In a way, you could say that back in the day there was a G-code or this that and the other, but there never was. In the '70s, go back and look through the papers, man…there were young kids getting killed, women…it didn’t matter. Violence is violence. It’s always going to be ugly and it’s always been on the earth. People have always resorted to their most primitive ways to resolve things. Then when you add weapons to that volatile person or situation, you get more and more killings. It’s really something that humans gotta stop. We gotta stop fooling ourselves and the devil within. You gotta look inside. Until we all do that and stop getting off on it in a perverted way—watching it, listening to it, playing it on the video games—and try to say that we different from the guys who did it, well hey, it’s going to continue to happen."

Cease-Fire - Ice-T


"I am actually going to Chicago in a couple of days. Now, Chicago gangs have been going on for years and years and years, so I'm not gonna act naive and ask why did this happen. But at the end of the day, you know, we definitely gotta stop man. It's gotta be a cease fire. Gotta get a grip because it's a lot of wasted lives out there. You gotta really think, what are we really fighting about? With the L.A. gang scenario, we kinda put a cap on that. We had a truce, we slowed it down because innocent people were getting killed. It gets crazy, but it gets very complicated for me to talk about it since I grew up so close to it and I understand it to an extent. I'm just hoping that cats can understand and really try to stop, because they're gonna end up in prison or dead. I don't fool myself into believing that anything I say can change a situation that is deeply rooted as a gang war. As far as I'm concerned, I hope we can figure this thing out before anymore people lose their lives. I just send my love out to Chicago. Hopefully the brothers of Chi-town can get it together and tighten it up. Don't nobody else need to die.”