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XXL | The Current Status of Every Murdered Rapper’s Case
It was on a late August night in New York City in 1987 when hip-hop may have first lost its innocence. Almost 14 years to the day after DJ Kool Herc spun the genre into existence with his first-ever block party in the Bronx, Scott La Rock of Boogie Down Productions was shot in the head and neck in the same borough, later dying of his wounds at Misericordia Hospital. He was 25 years old.
La Rock’s murder was the first, but by no means the last, hip-hop slaying that has gone unsolved by the police. For a genre of music that is no stranger to discussing the realities of the struggles in the inner cities, hip-hop artists have fallen victim to violence far too often over the years, with authorities largely ineffective in their efforts to find responsible parties.
Consider some of the facts. In the 28 years between Scott La Rock’s shooting death in the Bronx in 1987 and Dex Osama’s killing in Detroit five weeks ago—the most recent case of a rapper killed—we’ve documented 52 rappers who have been murdered, nearly two per year. Of those 52 murders, only nine have been definitively solved; four additional cases have seen arrests with defendants awaiting trial, while still three others are either unclear or still disputed. That leaves 36 MCs cut down before their time whose murders have never been solved by the police, just a 30.7 percent resolution rate. To put that number in perspective, NPR reported this March that the national “clearance rate” for homicides in the United States stands at 64.1 percent. Those numbers are so far apart they’d almost be laughable if they weren’t so sobering.
Clearly, there’s a disconnect somewhere between the national murder “clearance rate” and the one that exists when a hip-hop artist is involved. It’s particularly jarring when considering how high-profile some of these cases are; the murders of Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Jam Master Jay and Big L, for example, are all among the unsolved cases, despite each of them occurring more than a decade ago. And it’s led to insinuations and backlash against a segment of music that is still growing in influence. “In some respects, rap music and violence seem to go hand in hand,” La Rock’s manager Scotty Morris told the New York Times almost 30 years ago following his client’s murder. “But it’s not the music itself, it’s the environment. Violence was here long before hip-hop.”
Already in 2015, five rappers have been murdered in cities across the country—New York, Detroit, Oakland, Chicago and Bogalusa, La.—with no charges filed in any of the five deaths. Unfortunately, it’s not a new story. Now, XXL takes a look at the current status of the cases of 52 hip-hop murders that have occurred over the past 30 years. —XXL Staff
Read More: The Current Status of Every Murdered Rapper’s Case – XXL | http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2015/10/current-status-murdered-rappers-cases/?trackback=tsmclip