In 1956, Johnny Cash released his classic song “Folsom Prison Blues” in which he stated, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.” For those of you familiar with this song, ask yourself, “Have I ever felt like killing someone after listening to this?” The obvious answer, of course, is no. Yet, there seems to be a double standard when it comes to hip hop and its new found sub-genre, drill music.The difference between the Cash song and the songs to which you refer is the absence of tribalism. Johnny Cash's song is about a loser who is all alone in the world, having rejected the mores of his family and his society. He is locked in a prison where there must be people all around him, but none of them are mentioned. The only other people in the song -- aside from his Mama and the man he killed in spite of her advice -- are people he can only imagine, doing things he longs to do in a space forever forbidden to him. He doesn't even really long for fellowship with them. He doesn't imagine himself in the dining car with them, 'drinking coffee and smoking big cigars.' He just wishes he could drive the train. He pictures himself there, in a role he knows he can never inhabit, moving the train away from lonely Folsom Prison.
That's not what's going on with this other music. This music is asking you to imagine yourself as a member of a tribe, a soldier of the tribe, standing up proudly against others. It's a very different logic. Killing in the one song is the Fall. Killing in the other is a source of power, pride, position. Read the lyrics the author quotes as exemplary for the proof of this.
A subsidiary argument blames the broader society for both the rise of the music and the actual violence associated with it:
If you were to take a look at a timeline of events in the Chicago, you’d see that drill music came to fruition as the city began its aggressive redevelopment of public housing. It was an initiative called The Plan for Transformation. In a nutshell, the “plan” was to completely demolish all of the project housings in Chicago and replace them with remodeled updated apartments. However, in doing so, tens of thousands of Chicago’s poor residents were displaced and forced to move into other nearby, crowded and impoverished neighborhoods. When this happened, rival gangs became closer to one another. Sub-gangs also began forming within existing gangs, creating infighting. For years, this problem continued to go unrecognized and unchecked.There's probably a causal factor to be found there, too. It is the property of guilt, however, that it can be divided without being lessened.
In 2012, Chicago took the national stage due to its unprecedented level of gun violence. By the end of that year, Chicago officially became murder capital of the United States.