Bakari Kitwana Talks About Jam Master Jay’s Murder

Bakari Kitwana, author of the book, ‘The Hip Hop Generation, Young Blacks and the Crisis In The African-American Culture’ was on the O’Reilly Factor on Thursday to talk about the violent death of Run DMC DJ Jam Master Jay in New York City last night. Bill wondered what it is about the hip hop world that leads to so many murders, unlike the sordid world of hard rock music. Read on for a transcript.

Bill: Factor follow-up segment tonight, “the factor” has been tells
you for years that the world of rap and hip-hop was dangerous. Jam Master
Jay. Was shot dead here in new york city. He joins biggy smalls, tu-pac
shakur as another rap casualty. Joining us now from Cleveland is Bakari
Kitwana, the author of the book, ‘the hip hop generation, young blacks
and the crisis in the african-american culture’. What I don’t understand
is that you have hard rock, which is intense, draws working whites, working
class white, young males primarily. You know, a pretty sordid world in
that hard rock world. You don’t have the violence level that you have in
rap and hip-hop. Why?

Bakari: I’m not an observer of hard rock, so I can’t tell you why. But
what i can tell you is that I think a part of what we see the violence
in hip hop because the rap industry is a corporate industry that has allowed
for street culture to coexist along with that industry. And to be celebrated
as a part of the rap industry. So, i think that you see the crossing of
the lines between street culture and this corate record industry, and the
corporate industry, basically gives the street culture a green light. We
don’t see that in any other industry.

Bill: That’s true and a very astute observation on your part. However,
the street culture doesn’t have to be violent. You know, it doesn’t have
to be. Yet in this case we have assassinations taking place right and left.
Is it over drugs most of the time?

Bakari: Well, I wouldn’t call them assassinations, but I would say that
you have people being killed because you have a culture — a consumer culture
that celebrates material wealth, jewelry, fancy cars.

Bill: You got that everywhere in america. We’re a teermistic society.
This society, the hip hop, there’s some undercurrent of violence thai I
don’t understand. Now, i had puff — you know puff daddy, right?

Bakari: Right.

Bill: P. Didy, whatever he is calling himself. I said, look, there’s
something going on behind the scenes here. You know who killed your friend,
biggy small, you know, yet you won’t tell the cops and you won’t explain
it to me. He knows who killed him. Do you know what the undercurrent of
violence is here?

Bakari: I think the undercurrent current of violence is the social conditions
in this country. You have young people, many young people who cannot get
a job that them a living wage.

Bill: And the killed Biggy Smalls and Jay Master Jam? [yeah Bill messed
up his name]

Bakari: I think it is creating a culture of violence that is allowing
for these people to be killed.

Bill: But it doesn’t make any sense. You don’t see nba players getting
assassinated, and i know that you don’t like the word, but that’s certainly
what that is. These guys walked into a recording studio last night and
shot this guy, Jam Master Jay in the head. That’s an assassination. Now,
you don’t know — is it drugs? Is it power, do they alienate people, these
rappers? You don’t know?

Bakari: I think that there is a — you have artists who are coming out
of the street culture bs who feel that the industry is telling them that
it’s okay to celebrate that street culture, and then they want to continue
to be a part of living in the hood, and you cannot — then you have issues
of class where people are going to try to rob you, which is why you have
artists carrying guns. You have artists —

Bill: I don’t think that the Jam Master Jay. Thing was a robbery. The
guys were buzzed in. They were obviously known. I don’t think it was a
robbery. I don’t think they took anything. They just shot the guy. There’s
got to be something going on there. I suspect it’s narcotics related but
I could be wrong. I’m going to give you the last word.

Bakari: I think as long as the conditions exist the way they do exist
in terms of jobs and education, you are going to continue to have this.

Bill: No. I’m not buying it. You’re blame society of r for the assassinations
of people in the hip hop industry. If you that were true, you would have
basketball players and baseball players and football players getting killed.

Bakari: You don’t have the same corporate culture —

Bill: Sure you do.

Bakari: That we have. Llall the teams are ownedy corporations.

Bakari: That’s right. The corporations do not give street culture a
free pass in the context of those industries. The rap industry, that street
culture gets a free pass.

Bill: There’s something more to it. We appreciate it. Thank you very

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