"Shoot First, Think Last" Wyclef's Song About Chicago Violence

"shoot first think last, how long will this blood bath last? bang, bang, every word's a bang, bang, bang"


These are words from former Fugees member Wyclef Jean's song "Bang, Bang" that dropped a few days ago off of his mixtape "April Showers" (link at the bottom)


When I first heard this song, it was posted on the Chicago radio station's V103 Facebook Fan Page. I really like the song. It has a serene, peaceful reggae sound with an acoustic guitar being played as Wyclef sings "Chicago got that bang, bang, bang".


I started reading the comments and the majority of the people did not like the song basically saying Wyclef isn't from Chicago so how can he make a song about the violence here since he hasn't truly experienced it.


Some people even took it as a far as saying he needs to make a song about "voodoo", "Haitian hunger", and that he needs to go "back to New York" with his "Jamaican accent". So because he isn't from Chicago, he can't make a song about the obvious violence going on here? Because he's Haitian he does voodoo? Because he has a Caribbean accent he's Jamaican? Mind you, these are all "grown adults" making these comments. And not to mention, while some of these people were taking jabs at his Haitian background, I'm sure they don't know Chicago was founded by a Haitian Black man. (& that takes us back to the Black American vs. Black Caribbean beef) Some comments also made were that Wyclef is capitalizing off of Chicago's problems (oh but the drill music isn't? Oh ok), and that the song was not going to solve the problems in Chicago,


Ok here I go, where should I start? First: Who said that the song was going to solve the violence in Chicago? I'll wait. It's sad how unnecessarily ignorant and negative people are. When someone does something positive, (unless they're popular) they get no props for doing good but I'm sure if another pre-teen Chicago rapper comes out, these same people will be complaining about "Where are the parents?" and when V103 posts the news on their FB page commenting about how "sad" it is, doing nothing, complaining as always. I wonder if Jay-Z made a song about the Chicago violence would people be in "uproar"...


I don't like the idea of "If you haven't experienced it, you can't talk about it." That's not always the case with every individual. It reminds me of when people say "Don't ask a single person for relationship advice." So basically you're assuming that because people are in relationships they can relate to the issue more? Not necessarily. I done told y'all about assuming just because people are in relationships it's all good in the hood...How do you know the single person doesn't obtain more knowledge and wisdom that some people in relationships don't have? How do you know the single person hasn't been in the situation before? 


Anyways, of course a song isn't going to solve the violence. It's about inspiring people. Art inspires people. Music, especially in the Black community has always been a source of inspiration, expression, and therapy. Inspirational songs (Negro spirituals) were sung during American slavery and the Civil Rights Movement (both times of turmoil) in order to inspire. You don't know how that song could inspire someone.


Besides that, what mainstream Chicago artists have made any songs addressing the recent violence here? Correct me if I'm wrong. I'll wait. Because that's something else that baffles me, how so many people claim how much they love Chicago but do nothing to help the youth here or any kind of effort (even if it's small) into diminishing the violence...but then again everybody don't need to help these kids...(another post for another time).


Maybe if we stop complaining on social networks all the damn time and start showing these kids how to use their talents such as singing, dancing, writing, poetry, etc in a positive way to express and inspire, maybe, just maybe there wouldn't be so much mess going on.


Secondly: I'm still trying to figure out where he was wrong at. Wyclef wasn't disrespecting the city. I could see if he was going in saying it's terrible here and how it's like a scene from World War II or something. If people think that's how Chicago is due to the media, let them think that. Everybody is going to have their opinion no matter how ignorant it is. 


The repetition of the words "bang, bang" was symbolic to Chief Keef who has stirred up a lot of controversy being a teen drill rapper. Did people listen to lyrics? (of course not) Clef was discussing in specific the children who have suffered due to the violence in the city:


"The yute in di street told me, 'we loved you in Shottas'..."

"If you want to get di blood out dem eyes, show them love...Show the youth love, just a lil' love, all they need is love. 'Cus he grew up with no poppa."

And besides that, nobody ever said anything about how for YEARS many people from the south side of Chicago who had NEVER been to the west side of Chicago would always talk down on it and vice versa? Oh.

Thirdly: The more and more I see how negative and ignorant these adults are, is the more I understand why my generation is so messy now. That's all I saw on the V103 post, negative comments (many from Black women, living the stereotype). Ok so what is going to stop the violence here then? I'll wait. See, I figured it out y'all. A lot of people in Chicago (and in general) like to complain about the problems, but when it's time to start sitting down strategizing, taking action in these communities, discussing the roots of these problems (Black culture, American culture, post-traumatic slavery syndrome) everyone is quiet. Complain about the violence but continue to support rappers (especially underaged ones at that) who embrace violence in their music and when someone says something about it they're a "hater". What a world.


At the end of the day, it's not only a Chicago thing, it's national, especially in Black urban communities which need healing for both youth and adults. We need to stop speaking negativity into existence and start taking action. Even small efforts can be helpful as long as it's genuine. It's not going to be solved overnight. It took years to get to this point, might take some to get out. Another thing is I hate when people speak death of people into existence. What's the point in praying when your faith is weak, no work is put into it, and death is continued to be spoken into existence? "The tongue has power of life and death."


Other than that, I hope Wyclef comes to Chicago and makes a music video to the song and make y'all even more upset and so y'all can get back on Facebook and cry about it.





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