Chuck D has always fought the power, and that includes gun crime.
“This is a tragedy, the pain is unbearable,” he tells TMZ Live.
Earlier in the week, Takeoff became the latest in a growing list of hip-hop stars killed by gunfire, a death that could have been averted.
Sadly, he points out, a death by bullet has been normalized in popular culture in ways that didn’t exist in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“It’s not normal behavior,” says the Rock And Roll Hall of Famer, but “through culture, it’s been normalized over the years.”
Speaking as a member of the Hip-Hop Alliance, Chuck D insists “the peace, unity love aspect of hip-hop should be revered, and that’s the basis of the foundation.”
He adds, “we’ve taken the motive to making statement to let everybody know that the music and the art form is beautiful,” and that someone holding a gun should be considered “abnormal behavior.”
Early Tuesday (Nov. 1), Takeoff was at a private party with 40 others (including his uncle and bandmate Quavo) at a bowling alley in downtown Houston when investigators say shots rang out.
The chart-topping rapper, whose real name is Kirshnik Khari Ball, was reportedly shot in the head or neck and died from his wounds. He was 28.
He’s one of many in the hip-hop community who’ve been murdered, a troubling list that dates back to Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay, and beyond, and includes, in more recent years, the likes of Pop Smoke, Nipsey Hussle and, in September of this year, PnB Rock.
Chuck D doesn’t mince his words. “This is gun violence,” the iconic emcee says. “This has been going on for so long, the access to guns, the access to drugs.”