Car accidents kill way more people than hip-hop

Here are some hip-hop fans enjoying themselves at Soundset 2013.
Here are some hip-hop fans enjoying themselves at Soundset 2013.
Photo by Erik Hess

The Door Guy is a veteran of countless clubs around town. People say they've seen it all, but he's seen more. Write to him for everything from live advice to life advice.

Dear Door Guy: What the hell is up with violence and hip-hop? It seems like every time there's a rap concert, someone's getting shot, like at Epic the other weekend. Clubs should consider banning rap shows. What is wrong with people? --No Rap Here

You know, NRH, I was driving the other day and was dumbfounded once again to watch a car ahead of me on a pretty busy road opt to come to a full stop in front of me to make a left hand turn EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS A CENTER TURN LANE. I have traveled a lot of places and it seems like people's driving matches their environment. On the East Coast, people drive in cramped little spaces and grab whatever they can. In L.A., people's driving is exactly like their careers -- they go as fast as they can whenever possible but then have to slam on the brakes because everyone's at a total halt and then they don't go anywhere for hours. But here in the Twin Cities, people drive like they're fucking staking a claim to their goddamned homestead.

People pull in front of you on red lights, drive below speed limit in the left hand lane on the interstate, leave ten feet of space between the car in front of them when stopped at a stop light, take selfies of themselves while driving, and DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE TURN LANES. We live in a major metropolitan area, not the Little House on the Prairie, Pa Ingalls. Your combination of feeling entitled to a zone around your car that extends approximately the size of a football field and passive-aggressive sense of "safety" is actually quite dangerous. Moreso than if you were content to, you know, respect the flow of traffic and feel okay with being one of thousands of buzzing little bees getting to their tiny place in the hive. Driving like you have no clue what is going on around you -- fellow drivers, bikers, pedestrians, whathaveyou -- causes accidents, and accidents kill people.

That's what's wrong with people. To answer the rest of your question: Car accidents kill way more people than hip-hop. But nobody is banning cars, or shitty drivers.

Fans at T.I.'s show at Epic in April.
Fans at T.I.'s show at Epic in April.
Photo by Tony Nelson

In fact, I'd go ahead and guess that you don't know a lot about hip-hop, especially here in Minnesota. We're currently living in an era when Picked to Click -- City Pages' yearly poll of local music experts -- is dominated by hip-hop musicians. And did you know, for example, that Minnesota hosts one of the largest hip-hop festivals in the world? Soundset draws tens of thousands of people from all over the world every year. It's an all-day outdoor festival organized and promoted by one of the most hugely successful independent record labels in the country, our own home-grown Rhymesayers. Does it come as a surprise to you, NRH, that people manage to enjoy a full day of hip-hop on multiple stages without anyone getting shot?

Plus, Toki Wright, Brother Ali, and countless other local rappers have spoken out against the gun violence and the larger cultural issues that plague society and contributed to Trayvon Martin's shortened life.


Now, I've worked some shows in my time that had some pretty crazy shit go down. And yes, in a pretty long list, a few of those shows were hip-hop shows. But on that list, there's also metal shows, and punk shows, and even jam bands. You know what's not fun? Facing off with an aggressive dread-locked jerkoff who looks like a hippie but is threatening to come back and kill you because you confiscated the huge "intent to distribute" amount of drugs that he was clearly going to sell.

I've known people who have been jumped outside of metal shows. I've heard of stabbings at shows featuring Outlaw-Biker types like David Allen Coe. I've watched a guy get beaten with pool cues at a rock 'n' roll greaser revival show. Hell, at some bars, it's the people walking by, not the patrons, who are going to be the biggest problem.

It's pretty easy to find people flashing peace signs at hip-hop gatherings.
It's pretty easy to find people flashing peace signs at hip-hop gatherings.
Photo by Erik Hess

So what's the common theme here? Some people are just plain assholes. That knows no race, creed, gender, belief system, or economic background. (Although some of the rudest and most confrontational people I've met have been people who make a lot of money at their day jobs.)

The distinction you draw, that somehow hip-hop -- which many people for whatever reason still consider an "other" form of music after almost 40 years -- has a monopoly on violence is not only untrue, but it's rooted in the simple fact that it draws a significantly more racially diverse crowd than any of the other shows I've talked about. And that, NRH, says a lot more about where you're coming from than anything else.

Got a question for The Door Guy? E-mail [email protected]

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