Chicago is the new murder capital of the nation and just this week 13 people were wounded in a shooting in the city, including a 3-year-old that was shot in the face. Rapper Common was back in his Windy City hometown this weekend and spoke on the violence plaguing the city, and whether or not Rap music is to blame. 

Reports the Associated Press:

“It makes me think I got to do more; we got to do more,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press after giving a speech as the keynote speaker at the Chicago Music Summit, a conference to help local musicians and music professionals with their careers.

Police say Thursday night’s shooting appears to be gang related. For the 41-year-old Common, that underscores concerns that the edgy rap music of the generation of rappers that came behind him is not only providing the soundtrack for gangs, but might just be helping to fuel the fire of gang violence.

“To decide to take someone’s life, I don’t think they let a rap song determine that,” he said, adding that rap artists simply reflect of the violence of the streets, and don’t cause it. At the same time, he said, fans of young rappers, whose music provides a window into a violent lifestyle, are “influenced by that energy and take it the wrong way.”

Of course, the finger has been pointed at Hip-Hop and Rap music as the reason for the violence in Chicago. But Common and fellow MC Rhymefest explained that the gun culture in Chi-town is much more nuanced than say blaming Chief Keef.

Such a link is not surprising to Grammy-winning rap artist Che “Rhymefest” Smith. He said he believes that at the very least aspiring rappers who are living in poor neighborhoods see the display of a violent gang lifestyle as their route to riches and fame.

“What you get with a lot of young artists is if they gang bang on YouTube, pull guns and threaten someone else, this will give them a million YouTube views or 80,000 Twitter followers overnight,” said Rhymefest, a Chicago resident who once ran for a seat on the City Council. “They see it as a check, a way to get paid and this way out of poverty.”

Think Rap music is part of Chicago’s gun violence? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Photo: Warner Bros.

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