Music industry veteran says social media to blame for recent rapper killings

Police in Houston say the shooting death of hip-hop star Takeoff is another senseless murder that is plaguing the music industry right now.  

The rapper was attending a party at bowling alley when he was shot and killed early Tuesday morning. 

P. Frank Williams grew up in Oakland’s East Bay, and he says after decades of working in the music industry, artists today have a target on their backs, and it’s directly related to the rise of social media.  

"Everyone spoke of what a great young man this is. How peaceful he is. What a great artist. And I’m calling up on everybody, hip-hop artists in Houston and around the nation. We got to police ourselves," said Troy Finner, Houston Police Chief.   

Rapper Takeoff, whose real name is Kirshnik Khari Ball, was one third of the rap super-group Migos. The 28-year-old was gunned down at around 2:30 a.m. after attending the party in Houston. 

"I think that there’s a crisis in the hip-hop community where a lot of clout chasing is going on, where a lot of these young guys are on drugs, doing crazy stuff. Now a rapper has become a prize, a target," said P. Frank Williams, a television executive producer and showrunner.    

Williams is an Emmy and eight-time NAACP award-winner. He’s worked with some of hip-hop’s biggest artists, produced TV shows and award ceremonies, and was a staff writer for the L.A. Times. Williams’ latest project, co-executive produced by rapper 50 Cent, is called ‘Hip-Hop Homicides’. The eight-part series investigates some of hip-hop’s most notorious murders.  

"Takeoff was not a gangster rapper. He talked about partying and girls. So, what we really wanted to do was, often the media and even the police, don’t give these guys, I think, the investigations they deserve," said Williams.   

Local Rapper Jacka was shot and killed in 2015 and November 1st also marks the day Oakland Rapper Mac Dre was murdered in 2004. Williams says it’s mainly due to social media beefs or arguments.  

"We never even heard back in the day of internet beef, where you’re beefing on the internet? That beefing on the internet can now turn to death," Williams said.    

At least one rap star has been shot and killed each year since 2018 but six in total. Williams’ ‘Hip-Hop Homicides’ series will start Thursday, November 3 on WE tv.