By James Pleasant
Chicago rappers Common, Lil’ Herb, King Louie and others have joined forces up to promote the Music vs. Gun Violence campaign in an interactive music video urging their city to “Put the Guns Down.”
The campaign, developed by nonprofit Chicago Idea, aims to unite strong voices and use music as an agent of change to end the gun violence that has crippled Chicago.
The video begins with text stating that someone is shot in Chicago every three hours. The song features several Windy City rappers spitting verses bemoaning gun violence and gang activity. Throughout the video, several people pay tribute to their fallen loved ones who were victims of gun violence. The song features a dark, gritty beat peppered with gunshots courtesy of producer Anthony “The Twilite Tone” Khan.
Chicago Ideas’ campaign encourages fans to rap their own anti-violence lyrics over an instrumental of the beat and upload it to the website. The nonprofit urges people to spread the message by using the hashtag #PutTheGunsDown on social media.
“Chicago struggles so much with violence because of the lack of outlet—whether it’s emotional, physical, creative,” Khan told Rolling Stone.
Chicago Ideas is dedicated to bringing together musicians, activists, and social/community leaders in order to create social change in Chicago.
The need for this campaign is evident as this year alone, Chicago has experienced 2,300 gun-related crimes.