Black rappers aren’t having the best time in the United States.

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The death of Coolio a couple of weeks ago made it evident that something was amiss — Black rappers are being wounded or killed with a higher frequency than ever.

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What’s going on with Black rappers?

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Recently, rapper Half Ounce was fatally shot, raising a conversation about gun violence and rap culture throughout the United States. Whether or not record labels are responsible for protecting their artists has been a heated debate.

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Half Ounce’s real name was Latauriisha O’Brien, aged 32. He was killed in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood Monday.

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Weeks prior, rapper PnB Rock had been fatally shot during a robbery in the same city. PnB Rock was similarly aged 30, and his real name was Rakim Hasheem Allen. 

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He was shot at Roscoe’s House of Chicken ’N Waffles in South Los Angeles after being approached and arguing with the shooter Monday afternoon.

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The shooter robbed him, made off with multiple items, and fled in a vehicle.

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Furthermore, a trend of fatally shooting at least one rapper every year has been observed since 2018, with many years including far more than just one shooting.

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Another high-profile rapper, Drake the Ruler, was fatally stabbed in 2021, and Grammy-nominated rapper Nippy Hussle was shot in 2019 in Los Angeles. 

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Things in Los Angeles got so bad that Ice-T had to issue a warning to young rappers coming to Los Angeles for Super Bowl-related events earlier this year.

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Ice T’s tweet was “Not a Threat, just a Warning.. Young Rappers coming to LA for the Super Bowl weekend. LA has over 50Thousand Active Gang Members.. Make sure you play it SAFE. It’s the Wild Wild West” and a fist emoji.

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Gang presence, big cities, and dead rappers seem to be correlated. The underlying issue might be more complex and point to a larger problem with gun violence in America.

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Gun violence is intrinsic to the condition of Black people in society, sparked by systemic racism, as per the analysis of Elaine Richardson, a professor at Ohio State University specializing in African American cultures, literacy, and hip-hop.

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The first fatal shooting of a high-profile hip-hop artist was that of DJ Scott La Rock in 1987, outside a Bronx apartment complex that summer.

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Fans have speculated that some of these killings had been motivated by labels taking out a life insurance policy on the rappers, with the main suspect being PnB Rock’s former record label, empire.

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French Montana claimed that the rising death toll of young rappers prompted labels to take out life insurance policies, further shedding light on the situation.

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Essentially, these labels prey on artist’s death and make millions by taking out the insurance policy.

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