Growing up, I listened to teen rappers like Bow Wow and Lil Romeo. They rapped about playing basketball and school crushes, things that most would consider normal for young men. But this upcoming generation of teen rappers has set a new standard of norms and one rapper in particular is causing a lot of controversy.
Early this summer, 13-year-old Chicago rapper Lil Mouse released his video “Get Smoked”. The video shows the young boy throwing up his middle finger, pretending to be holding a gun and flashing stacks of money as he raps about sex, violence and drug dealing. The song has been noted as an example of the current state of the Chicago rap culture. 17-year-old Chicago rapper Chief Keef, who glorifies the same lifestyle portrayed in Lil Mouse’s song, recently signed a deal with Interscope Records. But the glorification of “thug life” is also a major setback for the city, considering that Chicago is urgently trying to reform itself by reducing gang- and drug-related violence. Recently, the city’s homicide rate has risen up nearly 40 percent.
In a recent interview by The Grio, Lil Mouse’s manager stated, in defense of the teen rapper, that Chicago has more killings than Afghanistan so yeah people have guns, he doesn’t. It’s all about the message. Ice Cube was on the cover of Kill at Will holding a gun. He wasn’t promoting violence he was sending a message. Everyone is uptight. A lot of people have insecurities. At the end of the day [Lil Mouse] has loyal fans. They know it’s not like that. He plays baseball and is an honor roll student.
After watching the video and listening to the lyrics of this song, I’m not sure what type of message Lil Mouse was supposed to be sending but it’s not one that a city struggling with drugs and high crime rates needs. I’m not sure why a child was chosen to deliver such a message either. As stated in an article by the Chicago Sun Times, what’s taking place in “Get Smoked” is child exploitation and depicts behavior that is detrimental to the moral development of a child. That can’t be ignored.
BMWK, what are your thoughts on Lil Mouse, his parents ,and the current state of hip hop?
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