The YNW Melly situation is one that is seen far too often in hip-hop. An artist never gets the amount of recognition that they are fully capable of until they get locked up or are dead. That’s the only way it reaches the masses and in today’s landscape streams go through the roof. Most people were not listening to Melly before this. It shows in the talk that “Murder On My Mind” is about this situation. That song is nearly two years old now, an entire 18 months older than the date of the alleged murders of his two friends; Christopher Thomas Jr. (YNW Juvy) and Anthony Williams (YNW SakChaser). Police say that a drive by was staged by the Florida rapper and his other friend, Cortlen Henry (YNW Bortlen).
All of the speculation and misinformed reactions with Melly’s lyrics in relation to this case are alarmingly detrimental. If we took all lyrics literal, especially ones delivered before a crime was allegedly committed, then we better get to locking up a whole lot of people. There’s many other genres with much more vulgar lyrics than rap. Nevertheless it’s a negative situation from all angles and people must stop spreading false information. His due process has hardly begun, the man has not even had a chance to tell his story yet.
That isn’t the big picture though, there’s a few things that this case relates to on a broader spectrum. In the sense that artists won’t receive their rightful compensation until they do something wrong, or die. When either happens it will most likely be reported at large. Mass media will report it and who does the mass media hit? Everybody. Especially demographics that the artist never would have been exposed to. Notice how every time some popping artist is getting mainstream they somehow get arrested. Even a minor charge, it happens almost every time. Blueface just recently was charged with possession of a firearm as he’s reaching his near peak. New demographics that picked up on the artist become fans. Spreading the artist like wildfire to an audience that was not reached prior. It’s one thing to have the streets listening but when you get the majority on board, that’s a cheat code. This is simple logic, obtain maximum exposure to reel in the larger part of the population.
Labels know this is happening, publicity stunts are the oldest trick in the book. We live in an age where the gimmicks and bullshit are at an astronomical high. Between folks flexing a fake lifestyle on social media, to going above and beyond, changing their appearance to look like a cartoon character. All the way up to getting these minor charges to expand their name further. Nothing is a coincidence in the industry, everything has some sort of plan behind it. Now we could blast the machine for making it this way or take accountability to want more for ourselves. We are the ones that buy into the fallacies and let lame people get recognition for nonsense.
The music industry has seemed to cease to be about music almost entirely. Labels are targeting to sign social media figures more than artists who are making music with actual depth. Then continuing the antics on an even larger scale with a power that the person never would have had access to beforehand. This is disastrous to everybody. First to artists, real artists, with visible talent and actual purpose behind their music. Genuine personas are exiled as people who are just doing outlandish acts and living out their daily lives as someone they never were take the throne. In the end people who don’t deserve their position whatsoever begin to be the ones on the charts. Its sickening to watch, words that need to be heard may never see the light they deserve.
Artists aren’t the only ones that the current state of the game effects. All consumers are in direct attack of this machine. We are the ones being targeted at large. Outrage marketing tactics are being used throughout every industry from fashion to music more than ever before. I don’t care if you don’t take music seriously or care for it. You still probably know who 6ix9ine and Lil Pump are just from getting on Twitter. Content is being infiltrated by trash like this and flooding out all of the music worthy of our ears to hear. Even if you don’t listen to them, you are still bound to see them on your timeline. We feed into this, the more attention we give to it, the stronger the hold on our minds. It is impossible to stop this but at least be more mindful of what is going on. Think for yourself, don’t just listen to artists because they’re “hot” right now. Open your ears to all angles of the game. Accept and like what you want, don’t let the mass media sway your opinion so much. Don’t rock with something because everyone else is.
YNW Melly’s case doesn’t directly correlate to the use of legal trouble to boost publicity. He’s fighting something that could determine his life. Literally. Florida still uses capital punishment so death is a plausible outcome if found guilty. That’s on a whole other level than a possession charge. Publicity nevertheless has significantly escalated on the Florida artist since turning himself in last week. His streams have skyrocketed, specifically on “Murder On My Mind”. Which was recorded all the way back at the beginning of 2017, as I stated earlier. All newcomers just finding out about him over the case need to quit acting like his lyrics incriminate him on something that happened last October. We should already know the prosecution will do that themselves. That’s the problem with the system. Citizens presume defendants guilty before any process has even begun. Especially when a defendant is black at that.
In some ways this makes me think of how Drakeo The Ruler and the Stinc Team have been in a spiral of legal turmoil. Granted their situation is based off of absolutely no substantial evidence. All the police have on them is their lyrics and a jailhouse informant’s word. Which both could be hearsay, yet they’re all still sitting in jail awaiting a trial. As the system takes time from their life right when the music begins to pick up and get notice. Melly was finally getting recognition as well. Then all of a sudden this is pinned on him. There’s just too many holes in the story. Until evidence has been presented there should always be a presumption of innocence. Not to mention there is a high possibility that Melly is battling with severe mental illness after looking into multiple interviews where he hints at another personality, “Melvin”. As everything plays out we will see how his lyrics and mental illness may serve as factors.
To learn from these situations is how we can prevent them. We need to look out and recognize these artists before they get caught up into something bigger than themselves. Too many times this has happened. Prayers that justice is served for the sake of the victims families. That is the number one priority. Yet putting an innocent man down is not adequate justice, it’s not justice at all. Pure injustice actually that doesn’t only happen to rappers but regular people everyday.