Should it be revelatory to you that the NYPD has dedicated some extra cop power these days to monitoring local rappers’ lyrics and music videos for gang activity, as the New York Times broke the other day, well, you probably don’t watch enough cop shows.
But as the Times piece notes, the virility of rivaling rappers can get violent much more quickly, as with everything in a post-internet world, pointing to Bronx talent like Na BooGz, who racked up 100,000 views on a video the NYPD is citing as a diss track between Boogz’ gang, WTG, and rivals Dub City.
The NYPD went on to indict BooGz and nine other members of WTG because of it, pointing to a man a borough away that BooGz attempted to enlist to WTG for $125 via text message, presumably after watching the video.
What’s really revelatory is this: think about how bloated and scary the East Coast-West Coast feud would have been in the internet era, circles of hyper local rappers pledging allegiance to warring sides with tweets.
On the flip side, perhaps this is an abuse of power and BooGz, and fellow NYC rappers like Murda Malo, who swears his collective Addicted to Cash (A.T.C.) is “a music group, you dig?” with “copyrights,” and not a gang.
In either case, should the mining of rap lyrics be concrete game for chasing criminal activity? Or does the internet put a protective entertainment veil over everything it touches?