Hip Hop & Rap has a prolific reputation for promoting drugs, violence, and gangs. Through the decades, those topics have remained recurring themes in many hip hop and rap songs; from old school rap artists like 2Pac and Mobb Deep, to modern rap artists like Kendrick Lamar and YG. This week’s Track Tuesday segment features “BLOODz & CRIPz,” a new song by GIM$ and OE. Produced by The ScreamMaker, GIM$ and OE bring a different perspective on gangs. GIM$, a former Blood member, has been studying various doctrine and researching on his own, which has developed into his new awakened outlook on the world. On the other hand, OE is a member of the Crips and expresses his own take on his experience in gang affiliation.
“BLOODz & CRIPz” has a dark sounding beat and strong lyrical content, but the message is much deeper. “Many folks don’t know but the Bloodz and Cripz were originally buddies back then. They saw the mistreatment of their communities at the hands of reckless police officers, politicians, and other government officials,” said GIM$. The state of Hawaii, although widely known as a “paradise,” is also home to gangs, violence, and oppression; which is sadly and largely targeted at the native Hawaiian population and other polynesian ethnic groups (Samoan, Tongan, Marshallese, etc). GIM$ feels strongly about this topic because he is part Hawaiian, and considers himself a leader in his community and seeks to “wake up” his brothers and sisters, starting with the ones already in gangs (or being influenced to join one). “I used to roll with the Bloodz, but not anymore. I still got love for them, but I can’t be fighting against my own blood. I see fellow Hawaiians reppin’ red, and fighting other Hawaiians who are repping blue. That pisses me off because I could be fighting and/or killing my family just because they rep’ a stupid color. I believe the government wants us to be like that, to see us fighting each other rather than uniting with one another,” said GIM$.
GIM$ and OE are both members in 808 Lava Squad Mafia, a team of talented Hip Hop artists based in the island of Maui. The two members collaborated on “BLOODz & CRIPz,” and OE is on his way to establishing himself as a serious artist as part of the group as well a solo artist. “Inspiration for the song came to us pretty naturally. We see how the people of today ‘claim sets’ but they are blind to even understand that the ‘set’ was originally created to protect the neighborhood; not from other gangs, but actually from the police and other people that try to harm the city,” said OE. Although OE is a proud Crip, he states that he has the sense to recognize the misunderstanding in his generation when it comes to gangs. “To me, my gang is my family and we protect each member and their families. It can get ugly at times, but my personal concern is protection rather than retaliation,” said OE.
In my opinion, “Bloodz & Cripz” is a dope track with a dope, deep message. GIM$, a former blood member, and OE, a current Crip, essentially band their flags together on this new track as a cry for peace amongst each other’s gang affiliations. I challenge anyone to take a listen to it. What’s most interesting, I believe, is to comprehend that the stories shared on this track are by young men in Hawaii. There are many similar issues that Hawaii’s low-income and Polynesian demographic face, much like stories from the “hoods” around the rest of the U.S. At its core, this new song challenges the next generation to “wake up” and become more aware of not just issues regarding gangs, but also the many other issues our society faces - poverty, homelessness, racism, classism, colorism, etc.
“BLOODz & CRIPz” is one of the track from GIM$’ upcoming solo mixtape, “Freedom Rhymer.” The project does not have a due date yet, but GIM$ continues to work on it every day. He has also openly stated that he is done rapping about parties and drugs and has instead chosen to put more deeper content into his music, as music is his way of spreading the truth. For more, follow GIM$ on SoundCloud.
808 Lava Squad Mafia, outside for their recent album release party in Lahaina, Maui.
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