Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SD Tha God

"Every street nigga ain't a rapper and every rapper ain't a street nigga" - Young Buck, "Guns Go Bang"

This statement seems to be less true with each passing year. At one point the metric for critiquing rap was simply "do they have bars?" ala every rapper from NYC circa 1995. If that metric was still the standard, we would all be listening to Slaughterhouse today. Instead the metric is now "where are they from?" "what's their story?" "what are the lyrics about?" It is no longer necessary to flow or to be verbose, but to just tell the listener where they're from and what their day to day life is like. In this regard, to some of current rap's critics, the genre became more accessible to people. In the process, we saw the rise of "trap rap" in Atlanta, influenced by the likes of Memphis' rap scene. As the demand on a rapper's bars diminished we saw a scene rise that was influenced by the Atlanta rap community (specifically the 1017 Bricksquad outfit headed by Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame).

Chicago, Illinois AKA Chiraq is the most violent city in the USA. In 2012, more kids under the age of 18 were killed in Chicago than soldiers in Iraq. What is ironic about the Chiraq moniker is that Chicago is home to more Assyrians (who are native to Iraq) than any city in the USA but somehow the city earned the nickname from the young blacks on the Southside of the city. The Southside of Chicago and its gang culture is surreal. It is Balkanization accelerated. There are gangs, there are factions to those gangs, and those factions have cliques. At any given time, there are dozens if not hundreds of active conflicts being carried on between all of these groups in the Southside of the city.

In 2011, Chiraq introduced to the rap genre "drill" music. Drill can be characterized as an offshoot of the trap genre. The term "drill" was used early on as a term for killing. Where trapping concerned with activity in the drug game, drilling meant you were out there killing. There are 808s (a trap rap staple) and almost universal use of autotune on the vocals (what makes drill what it is). While many rap purists are critical of autotune's use, autotune equalized the playing field and allowed for a whole new group of voices into the game. The stories told by early drill rappers painted a grisly portrait of life in Chiraq. Chief Keef's (the most famous drill rapper to date) watershed mixtape "Back From The Dead" is almost exclusively gang call outs and a discussion of Keef's gang, faction, and clique's activities (the Black Disciples; 300; Lamrons). Chief Keef's stable of rappers was the Glory Boyz (or GBE). The GBE featured a variety of personalities who all discussed their role and life in Chiraq. One such personality was SD Tha God.

SD's story is interesting. If you believe what you read, it is said by some that SD was a hitter for the Lamrons (not that this title is that exclusive, most young Chicago gang members who live long enough will eventually get a kill to their name). SD's claim to fame (allegedly) is connected to the murder of Lil Jojo. Lil Jojo was rapper Cash Out's little brother. He was a member of a BD rival and actively poked at the BDs. He remixed a Chief Keef song and titled it "BDK" (Black Disciple Killas). He went into BD territory and did a "drive-by" on Lil Reese & Lil Durk (BD & Lamron members) where he simply insulted them as he drove by. Reese declared he was going to kill Jojo. In the same outing, Jojo livetweeted his location while driving through the BD territory. Not long after, Jojo's car was hit and he was killed. Lil Jojo tried to employ Drake-esque passive aggressive rap beef tactics and forgot where he was. His death was met by the GBE with laughter. Not kidding, all of the GBE rappers took to twitter and openly laughed at Jojo's death. Jojo's mother is convinced Chief Keef called in the hit and is further convinced that SD pulled the trigger.

SD has three mixtapes. It is a series known as "Life of A Savage". The lyrics paint the picture of a person whose life is violence. A life that is a cycle of death, drugs, and friendship. It isn't really clear if SD killed Lil Jojo or not. What we hear on Life Of A Savage is someone who has seen death and issued death. One of the biggest criticisms of rap today is that it lacks gravitas. It isn't "real". For a group of kids in Chicago, their reality is crime, death, and 1-2 city blocks to their name. Their validation is not life, but survival. The story of drill is not about money, women, or friendship. It starts with life. The fact that the voices you are hearing from Chicago have lived long enough to tell their story. Life is short. In the last year Blood Money (Chief Keef's cousin), OTF Nunu (Lil Durk's cousin), L'a Capone have been killed. Rondonumbanine (a 300 member) is on trial for murder. SD is a survivor. He will tell you that. SD is a killer. He will tell you that. Included is all three "Life of a Savage" tapes.


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