Photo: Getty Images
  /  11.02.2022

As previously reported by REVOLT, award-winning rapper Takeoff was shot and killed in Houston yesterday (Nov. 1). In the short time since his death, there has been a lot of discussion around the topic of how art imitates life. Mia Jaye, the girlfriend of another slain rapper, Young Dolph, called on the community to be the change they want to see. Former music video director Robert Starbuck has also joined the conversation.

Starbuck’s Twitter bio reads, “Used to direct stars, now I fight for freedom.” Yesterday morning, he posted a video just over four minutes long to his Twitter feed. He captioned the clip, “Another young rapper is dead. This time it’s Takeoff from Migos. Recently, it was PnB Rock, who I once directed. I used to direct people like Gucci Mane, Snoop Dogg, Jamie Foxx, Lil Yachty, Akon, Machine Gun Kelly, etc. I have some hard truths and a challenge for all rappers.”

“Hey, guys. In light of seeing that a rapper from Migos died, I just wanted to go ahead and make a video about something I have a unique experience in,” the former music video director began. After citing which big-name hip hop artists he’s worked with, his message continued. “I’ve learned a lot of things… I have left the industry, largely over my political beliefs, but there is something I want to impart to people, hopefully, make some sort of change happen. So, I have a challenge to rappers,” Starbuck said.

He then dug deeper into his reason for posting the video. “Here’s the truth. The truth is this. A bunch of young, Black male rappers keep dying. You know who’s not dying? Record executives,” Starbuck said. Next, he claimed those executives “push for [rappers] to continue to make songs and create a culture that is obsessed with death, drugs and sex.” He noted that the ones calling the shots aren’t suffering because they aren’t pushing that behavior on “their own people, but they’re encouraging you to push it on yours.”

In the four-minute and twenty-eight second clip, Starbuck also claimed that labels pay music video directors more to shoot rap videos because the hip hop genre is the only one associated with possibly being violently killed while on set. Nigerian music producer and artist Taye Olusola retweeted the post, adding, “[Artists]/Musicians in other genres of music don’t get shot like hip hop recording artists. The hip hop culture needs to change from this whole sex, money and drugs songs movement. Music executives don’t allow their kids to subscribe to that culture. Reinvent the wheel.”

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