Within the article, Williams attempts to prove that drill music has negatively contributed to the nation’s societal woes.
“Gangsta rap,” he says, “has grown even more deadly, evolving into drill music.”
“And make no mistake, the person doing the ‘drilling,’ is a young Black man firing at another young Black man,” Williams wrote. “There are real world consequences coming from these celebrations of Black-on-Black violence.”
The 67-year-old journalist points to the current spike in murders nationally and says that the reality is that “most of the bloodshed is among young Black men and in Black communities.”
He says that since he has used his voice to call out rap artists for using the N-word and insulting women and gays with derogatory terms, he has been described as a “hip hop scold of the highest order.”
But behind Williams’ criticism is a message: “I said the language was damaging to Black culture, especially young people,” he wrote.
“These are bright young people who have been failed by their public school system and have every reason to conclude that in the current economy their hope of striking it big as a recording artist is better than the low-paying, dead-end jobs available to them. So, demonstrating ingenuity and drive, they have found fertile ground in producing violent music for social media,” he continued.
“And there is a cost to young Black people listening, watching, and emulating these artists. Here are other young Black people achieving fame and some even getting rich by playing to the worst stereotypes of Black life. These are poisonous role models.”
Williams specifically states that YoungBoy Never Broke Again is “the biggest star of this disturbing scene today.” He suggests that police unions, politicians, and civil rights groups could potentially rally against YoungBoy and others, similar to the treatment N.W.A. received in the late 1980s.
“There are no civil rights groups marching against hip hop’s damaging words. There are no unions, in the mode of police unions, to stand against diminishing Black culture,” Williams wrote. “Instead, there is silence. Black men who brag about killing other Black men, who denigrate Black women, are excused as engaging in a money-making exercise that produces ‘Crazy Bank,’ profits. Critics are dismissed as stuck-up white people or bourgeois Black people, both out of touch with the beat on the streets.”
“The clear message from early rap through today’s drill music is that young Black people can find riches by rapping about gang violence or by joining a gang,” he added. “Both involve being trapped in an identity where racial consciousness somehow does not extend to songs of love for family, community or, the value of schools or building business.
Instead, it is full of paeans to those who are imitating gang members in jail without belts by wearing their pants low to show their underwear, who wave wads of cash, and drink fancy cognac at strip clubs.”
Read Williams’ full opinion piece here.
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