"SELF DESTRUCTION" 34 YEARS LATER
Remembering a song and video from the Stop the Violence Movement
There was a stabbing at rap show at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum in 1988 that had the New York tabloids calling it an example of “rap violence.” During rap’s rise as a concert attraction throughout the ‘80s, isolated incidents of violence at shows around the country, along with wide spread suspicion of the genre by gate keepers of every race, had the media criminalizing its makers and its fans.
I remembering sitting at my office at Billboard and talking with Ann Carli, a good friend who worked at artist development at Jive Records, about the implications of this kind of coverage on the music. An MC she worked closely with, KRS-1 of Boogie Down Productions, had composed a track called “Stop the Violence” for his ‘By All Means Necessary’ album. Out of that conversation came the idea of somehow coordinating a unified statement from the hip-hop community about the violence afflicting black youth and the mainstream media’s gloating about it.
It was a complicated process getting varrious elements of New York hip-hop to come together. The Making of The Self Destruction’ video documentary below captures the process, while the Lionel Martin directed music video of the song is below. The release was timed to coincide with the MLK Holiday, which had only been a national celebration three years. I’m proud to have been a part of it and sad that it still has relevance today.