Do urban rap videos glamorise violence?

From BBC - November 14, 2017

Urban rap videos should be closely monitored and even removed from online platforms such as YouTube to save lives, officials say. The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme met the rappers and directors who say they are just describing their lives.

A rapper performs in front of a Lamborghini for a music video, not in a swanky studio but in the car park of some flats in east London.

As the engine revs, concerned residents peek out of the windows. Others get closer to the action.

S-Rose, who changed his name from Scumz, used to be involved in gangs and has spent time in prison.

The car and location are intended to reflect his transformation.

"I ca not rap about anything positive because I have not seen more of that life yet, but I am going to rap about what I have been through and actually let it change other people. That's the only way I can express myself really," he says.

Filming the video is Pacman, who as well as producing online music videos runs his own YouTube platform, which profiles up-and-coming rappers.

He has previously worked with gangs, but he wanted to show another side of his work, the young music stars who want to make an impact online. Some of his videos have as many as 2.8 million views.

'Bring to the table'

He started off filming some videos for friends, but his services are now in demand across London.

This is about more than just filming each other with camera phones. Pacman uses drone cameras, top of the range visuals and hires all sorts of gadgets to make each video look as good as possible.

"It's about them broadcasting themselves showing what they have got to offer and what they bring to the table. Everyone wants good exposure at a high standard and that's what I am offering to them."

Although he says he is careful to stay out of any rivalries, his video shoots are not always drama-free.

"I have been filming people and seen people pull out some serious weapons. I have seen guys get shot but that's always a personal issue, it's never to do with me so I am not particularly scared but obviously to a normal civilian or bystander it is going to be a serious situation," he says.

'Causing tensions'

Without mentioning any specific artists, the mayor of London's office says it is not targeting general rap and music videos but wants online outlets to do more to remove quickly those that include extreme graphic content.

Harsh reality


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