NZ:Don't blame hip-hop for street violence says local artist

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Christina Marie
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NZ:Don't blame hip-hop for street violence says local artist

Unread post by Christina Marie » October 28th, 2005, 3:18 pm

Don't blame hip-hop for street violence says local artist

29.10.05
By Jon Stokes


Despite a preoccupation with handguns and violence, hip-hop music is not to blame for growing gang problems in South Auckland, says New Zealand's "Godfather of gangsta rap".

Former King Cobra and drug-dealer Herman Sakiria, 31, who raps under the name Ermehn, defends the music. He blames the gang problems on poor parenting, youth boredom and a weak justice system.

The controversial rapper's most recent album, To Walk the Path of Blood, includes lyrics such as, "You can send your soldiers, let them taste my blood - Bayonet 6 deep in the back of the head".

On the internet, Ermehn menacingly points a handgun at visitors to the website.

This angry, profane and violent culture, influenced by Black American gangsta rappers, prompted concerns from youth worker Allan Va'a this week.

After the latest violence in South Auckland, he said the nature of the attacks was partly because of "the DVDs coming out with hip-hop culture, the Afro-American culture, hunting in packs. It's imitation".

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples also blamed aspects of hip-hop for growing violence and drug problems among urban Maori and Pacific Island communities.

Ermehn, who is Samoan, believes he has a right to tell of his experiences on the streets.

He said he used money earned from peddling drugs to record his first album, which allowed him to get away from the gang life.

He urges a mix of social work, better education and tougher action against offenders. "When you come out as a gangster, you are no longer a teenager - that word doesn't exist for gangsters - you are an adult. Respect them by treating them as they want to be treated."

Ermehn's music has allowed him to take his family away from Otara, and he now lives in Whangaparaoa.

He does not let his 9-year-old son listen to his music. "I let him listen to the positive stuff. The radio-friendly stuff. He doesn't need to know about the hard staff because he doesn't live there. That isn't his life."

Brett Cross, managing director of Hiphopnz.com, also rails at suggestions that hip-hop is behind the recent violence. It is as much about the celebration of culture as it is about gang violence, he says.

Hip-hop grew from poor urban black American areas in the early 70s. It has grown in popularity and controversy with high-profile artists including 50 cent and Eminem whose work stirs outrage.

Mr Cross points out that both performers are as popular with white middle-class teenagers as the brown poor youngsters of South Auckland.

"That's only a small part of hip-hop, and record companies are marketing it.

"Artists like Scribe and Nesian Mystic are role models. Their music is as much about celebrating their culture and the life they live.

"Gangsta rap, talking about guns and niggers, is sort of laughed at. This isn't America."

Mr Cross is also critical of recent media coverage of the gangs. "Those guys would have been ecstatic to see themselves on the front page."

Ermehn and Mr Cross raise concern at the use of weapons in fights, which was rare until recently.

Mr Cross believes younger gang members need weapons when taking on older and bigger opponents.

Ermehn blames pack attacks: "There is no more one-on-one. Now it is 10-on-one, and you need a hammer to even the odds."

Mike Murnane, a director of hip-hop label Dawn Raid, says music is not the cause of social problems.

His label, he says, has added millions of dollars to the South Auckland community, with many of its artists respected members.

Back um up kid

Everyone wants to battle me
Take your best shot, feel the wind break
Of my back kick ...
Now escape the scene, mr cop whadya mean? Rap kids will try to kill me, may they rest in peace
Cause it's blood that they want, may the best man win

- some lyrics from Ermehn's Back Um Up Kid
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/6/sto ... d=10352565

UmanH-ay

Unread post by UmanH-ay » October 29th, 2005, 10:55 pm

Yeah they've been yappin about this all over the media in NZ, callin it there own "Invasion from the west coast"
Shit, Gangs have existed here long before hip hop became popular

100
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Unread post by 100 » October 31st, 2005, 2:21 pm

Catalyst wrote:Yeah they've been yappin about this all over the media in NZ, callin it there own "Invasion from the west coast"
Shit, Gangs have existed here long before hip hop became popular

NOT BLACK GANGS IN NZ?

UmanH-ay

Unread post by UmanH-ay » November 3rd, 2005, 1:38 am

100 wrote:
Catalyst wrote:Yeah they've been yappin about this all over the media in NZ, callin it there own "Invasion from the west coast"
Shit, Gangs have existed here long before hip hop became popular

NOT BLACK GANGS IN NZ?
Nah, Usos and them bloody Tongans comin from the west coast

100
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Unread post by 100 » November 3rd, 2005, 5:33 pm

Catalyst wrote:
100 wrote:
Catalyst wrote:Yeah they've been yappin about this all over the media in NZ, callin it there own "Invasion from the west coast"
Shit, Gangs have existed here long before hip hop became popular

NOT BLACK GANGS IN NZ?
Nah, Usos and them bloody Tongans comin from the west coast
SOME WHAT GANGS ARE IN NZ THAT AINT B OR C

UmanH-ay

Unread post by UmanH-ay » November 3rd, 2005, 8:47 pm

100 wrote:
Catalyst wrote:
100 wrote:
Catalyst wrote:Yeah they've been yappin about this all over the media in NZ, callin it there own "Invasion from the west coast"
Shit, Gangs have existed here long before hip hop became popular

NOT BLACK GANGS IN NZ?
Nah, Usos and them bloody Tongans comin from the west coast
SOME WHAT GANGS ARE IN NZ THAT AINT B OR C
aye what? That didnt make sense

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Unread post by A Ghost » November 3rd, 2005, 9:19 pm

Are people in New Zealand claiming Blood/ Crip?

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