Culture of Pop

ATL Trio Migos: Representative of Hip Hop or Not?


Hip Hop trio Migos are making headlines again this week after a major incident took place at their Washington Avenue Armory show in Albany during March. Though the melee was severe — six people were stabbed and an assortment of thugs with a mob mentality kicked and beat a man who was on the ground — it’s the residual impact that’s making news now.

Both the venue and authorities blame the three rappers, saying that they didn’t go on stage in time. Hasn’t that happened before with Lil Wayne and Rihanna? Both performers have left their fans waiting hours in a packed venue. Once Weezy didn’t even go on at all. Either way, since the melee the Armory now says it’s “leaning towards” not hosting acts “such as Migos at the arena…including the hip hop genre and any artists that we identify may pose a risk to our patrons.”

What does the phrase “acts such as Migos” even mean? Is the Armory saying that any young, black entertainers with a penchant for gold chains and designer clothes won’t be allowed to perform? Is that a fair call?

The whole world knows that certain acts bring about trouble and sadly, for some, it follows them whether they like it or not. Take Chris Brown, for example, fans know that if they attend one of his shows or appearances there is likely to be an issue based on past incidents. For whatever reason, wherever Breezy goes, gunfire often follows. No, it doesn’t happen at every show, but if you’ve followed the headlines, you know it has happened more often at his shows than most other artists. Have venues banned Chris Brown?

It’s not just Brown, either. In 2014, in Mansfield, MA, there was a major incident at a Keith Urban concert. More than six surrounding towns had to send in emergency response vehicles — including two life-support vehicles. It was considered a “mass casualty event” and made national and international news. More than 100 people were arrested, sickened or taken into protective custody by the end of the night. A 16-year-old girl was raped on the lawn as other concert goers stood by and watched but did nothing. Was Urban banned from the venue? No. Were all country music concerts cancelled? No.

Obviously, the issue isn’t just hip hop music, though there are times when artists do seem to promote a wild party atmosphere. The issue is the crowd in general. Many people — especially young people — often don’t go to a concert because they want to hear the music and see the artist live anymore. Instead, they attend a concert because they want to smoke weed, get drunk, and party hardcore.

It’s that trifecta of what many consider “fun” that often causes prevalent issues at a live music event. Country concerts are known for the pre-show tailgating, in which fans are plastered before even entering the gates of the venue. Hip Hop concerts are known for drugs and weed, EDM shows are known for the use of Molly. The list goes on.

So, where does the music actually come into play? Is it fair to generalize all hip hop shows based on the incident at one? No, it’s not, but it happens anyway, even while artists from other genres receive no punishment for the havoc created at their shows.

Unfortunately, Migos isn’t doing all that much to make things better for themselves or the hip hop community. After their aforementioned incident, Quavo, one of the members of Migos, made a statement that only goes to show why some venues may not want the ATL trio to perform anytime in the near future.

“If you want Migos to come to your venue, you need to have security there because of the type of music we’re rappin’. We get fans excited,” he said. “We’re gonna give you a great show. We’re tellin’ you to drink one time, smoke one time, so beef up the security and we’ll get with it.”

That statement alone indicates that it’s not a specific genre that needs to be banned, but a mindset. The mindset of an entertainer who thinks they are not responsible for what they do or say. Whether on stage or off, the members of Migos have influence. Teens and young adults look up to them, want to be them and sadly, this ATL group fails to remember that. Quavo said the group had “nothing to do with the stabbings,” yet his statement clearly implies an altercation could be inevitable.

Hip hop shouldn’t suffer for the actions of one. Music as a whole shouldn’t suffer for the actions of one. It’s time for entertainers to take individual responsibility for what they preach. No, they can’t stop fans from doing drugs, drinking, or fighting at their shows, but they can make it clear that violence is not tolerated and definitely not acceptable.

Preach, but take responsibility for what you preach. Maybe then, and only then, will the stigma that comes along with young, black hip hop artists be lifted.

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