Following the murder of a Las Vegas police officer, the city’s sheriff has called for a ban on “gangster” rap artists.
In a recent Las Vegas Sun editorial, Sheriff Bill Young said he doesn’t believe casinos should book certain types of rap groups because of the violence they breed.
“The entertainment industry should be ashamed of itself for promoting this gangster rap genre that espouses violence, mistreatment of women, hatred for the authority of police officers and emulates drug dealers and two-bit thugs,” Young told the Sun. “It’s not a good message for our young people, and it’s not a good message for our community.”
Young’s request hit home with state gaming regulators, who warned this week that casinos will be held accountable if violent acts occur at any gangster rap performances.
The protest comes after the death of Sgt. Henry Prendes, a veteran officer who was gunned down by a budding Las Vegas rapper.
Young also stated that his comments are directed toward all rap artists, including mainstream emcees like Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, whom he classified as “one of the worst. His whole act is predicated on violence. He’s a mentor for all of the other gangster rappers in the making.”
Despite Young’s implications, some see otherwise.
“It’s ridiculous,” Morey Alexander, a longtime music promoter and record executive, told the Sun. “They’re artists. They should have the right to play here.”
Alexander played a role in launching the early careers of N.W.A., Kid Frost, Mellow Man Ace and others.
He recently signed rapper Canibus to a recording division of his Kent Entertainment Group.
Alexander relocated Kent Entertainment Group to Vegas a year ago. He admitted that there are “thugs” among gangster rappers as well as “thugs in every business. “There are thugs in government,” he added.
Alexander further stated that there are far more good rappers than bad ones and that the best way to avoid violence is better police work and security screening at concerts.
Las Vegas has been the site of several rap-related murders over the last decade, including the unsolved shooting death of rap icon Tupac Shakur in 1996.
More recently, Kansas City rapper Anthony “Fat Tone” Watkins was slain in May 2005, and Vegas rapper Roosevelt “Mr. Looks” Hines was shot to death outside a recording studio a week later.