The hearing on the suggested banning of Marion Knight from Compton is being held today. It’s interesting to see how Marion “Suge” Knight, the co-founder of Death Row Records, has called his recent involvement in being banned from Compton, “a publicity stunt”. Knight has been included in a request to ban members of the Mob Piru Street gang from congregating in Compton. According to officials, Suge was one of the 200 people that were members of Mob Piru. The order would prevent him from congregating, drinking alcohol in public, carrying guns and staying out past 10pm. Knight was quoted as saying “This is crazy, I’m a 42 year old businessman, not a gang member. I don’t even live in Compton anymore”. Is this a betrayal to his homeys or the truth? Isn’t half the charm of these hip hop impresarios due to the fact that they are supposed to be some of the hardest men around? Think Biggy Smalls, think Tupac Shakur, think 50 Cent. They’ve spawned a generation of wannabe hip hop followers, where carrying guns, being involved in drugs and general crime is not only considered cool, but somehow actually is cool. Danger has always been very alluring and the fact that hip hop music has netted untold billions in profits over the years seems too much of a coincidence.
So why is Suge now suggesting that this whole ban is totally ridiculous and merely a “publicity stunt”. Is Suge just a middle aged businessman or is he not? Many people believe that Death Row Records was responsible for the murder of acclaimed Tupac Shakur because he was leaving the label to form his own label Makaveli Records. Both Tupac’s murder and the resulting drive by shooting of Biggy Smalls would certainly have made the record books if they were publicity stunts, but in other cases hip hop artists like Dr Dre, Daz, Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dog have been decried as closet queens, fake pimps and washed up crack addicts. Are these just regular guys, souped up to create an image that will sell records, or are they authentic? Whatever the truth, it’s hardly cool or hardcore to use the media for your own ends one minute, and then turn around and claim you’re the victim of a publicity stunt the next.