Following on from Nas' open letter and Killer Mike's recent, stirring blog post regarding the senseless murder of Derrion Albert, the always outspoken David Banner steps up to address Albert's death in song. Banner uses the tragedy as a launching pad to rap about many modern problems—violence, racism, sexism and abuse—and in turn, at least somewhat, responds to the criticism that hip hop is not taking a large enough roll in confronting the issues that led to Albert's death. To Mike's point though, last year over 30 students were murdered in Chicago alone and this was not an anomaly, either geographically or statistically. It is not something new to many who have grown up in area's like the south side of Chicago. So that Derrion's death and the boys responsible for it were caught on tape, that he was an honor student and they were not, that he did not deserve to die and they now apparently do, are all things that have motivated these three artists to speak is powerful. Whether it motivates anyone else remains to be seen.
Photographer Alisdair McLellan
October 05, 2009