Not too long ago, I was riding the subway home when a group of young New York City teenagers waltzed on the train car.
Like most teens, they were loud, disruptive, and quite annoying, but it was their conversation about a video they watched on WorldStarHipHop.com that piqued my interest.
They laughed and attempted to shout over each other with less than funny jokes about the infamous Cleveland RTA bus driver upper-cutting a rowdy female passenger.
Whether you agree or disagree on whether she “deserved” it or not, at the end of the day, it was still wrong.
Through all the giggles and reenactments of the video, what made me recognize that the culture of violence, against women specifically, was more prevalent than I thought, was when one of the boys silenced his friends, both male and female, with the declaration:
“Any girl that want it can get it.”
They all, including the two girls in the group, nodded and chattered in agreement.
I must admit, at that time, my thoughts weren’t very nice, and in a perfect world where people can correct people when they’re wrong without repercussions, I would have dropped them with some knowledge.
But instead, I rolled my eyes and took a vow of silence. That, my friends, is when I officially knew our youth was lost, some beyond recovery.
Where do I even begin?
Two weeks ago, we shook our heads and giggled at a Cleveland RTA bus driver, but to add more female punching bag videos to our American repertoire, a disgusting video of Def Jam-signee Chicago-raised rapper Lil Reese beating up a girl has surfaced.
Lil Reese is virtually unknown to mainstream America, but to the savvy internet users and millions of young teenagers entranced with Chicago’s “drill” rap scene, Lil Reese is basically an internet star.
The video shows Lil Reese involved in a heated confrontation with a female, who tells him repeatedly, “keep your hands to yourself,” but it seems like the mention of guns took him to the next level.
Lil Reese began swinging on the young woman like his life depended on it (clearly she was no threat), and then knocked her to the ground while stomping her head and body, as the men in the room did nothing and the women in the room screamed and cried for it all to stop.
The video instantly went viral on the internet, and unlike the RTA bus driver uppercut video, not many people were amused.
The instant buzz behind the video prompted the “Us” rapper to respond on Twitter (of all places), to what his 19-year-old mind assessed as a “hater” situation.
Lil Reese tweeted:
"The haters tryna see a mf Dwn lol Dey gotta b broke and bored wanna upload sum shit from years ago damnn we winnin it's 2 late...#3hunna. Dis wat doin betta den da next mf bring small shit it's nothin time 2 turn Uppp fuck it...#3hunna."
It was that moment when I read his response in disgust, anger, and sadness, did I realize that THIS is deeper than rap, deeper than domestic violence, and deeper than Chicago.
The pain, anger, and abandonment Lil Reese feels (which he will never admit) has been ingrained in him since birth, and his only coping mechanism is violence.
Violence against women. Violence against the innocent. Violence against the community. Violence against anyone who’s not on “his” team.
I took a second to process his response, but my head kept spinning and oddly, I was having visions of a big, strong, grown ass man beating him like he beat that female, but as the famous cliche goes, violence isn’t the answer.
“Small shit,” huh? “Small shit?”
I couldn’t figure out what bothered me most, the actual video of Lil Reese unmercifully beating a female (rumored to be his baby mother) or his response to the brutal video.
And then it hit me. His response bothered me more than the punches and kicks he delivered.
His response is the equivalent of one who lacks a soul, dignity, respect of human life, and maybe even a family.
In fact, there have been serial killers who have shown more remorse for their victims than Lil Reese.
I began to wonder, how empty are these young men?
As I watched the video once again to analyze it more scholarly, I started wondering, who raised Lil Reese?
Wolves? Wild animals?
Then I realized that Lil Reese, as heartless and barbaric as he seems, is unfortunately a product of his environment.
An environment filled with fatherless children, single mothers, broken homes plagued by drugs, sexual abuse, guns, violence, and where respect is usually TAKEN - not given.
So as I take a step back and rid myself of clouded suburban thoughts, it came to me that despite wanting someone to beat him back into the hole he rose out of, Lil Reese actually needs guidance, maybe even love.
I mean, isn’t it apparent?
Neither he nor his partner in crime (figuratively and literally) Chief Keef, can barely articulate a sentence, how could I even fathom either one of them possessing the maturity to accept responsibility for this violent behavior?
Let's not forget, it was only a few weeks ago when Chief Keef mocked the death of a teenage rival, Lil JoJo, with little cold comments like:
"Its Sad Cuz Dat Nigga Jojo Wanted To Be Jus Like Us #LMAO"
Chief Keef talks so much sh*t on Twitter, but as soon as you get him in front of a camera, he can never seem to find the words to speak as boisterous as he speaks on Twitter, and then you realize, he’s just a kid.
A violent, helpess, misguided kid, who unlike me and millions of other people fortunate enough to be raised in a two parent household or a single parent household that was loving and stable, Chief Keef and Lil Reese didn’t receive any of that.
But those circumstances are no excuse for the blatant disregard they have for human life, Lil JoJo's included.
So as much as I pity Lil Reese and all the tragedy he's probably witnessed, I'm just going to go ahead and say it, fuck Lil Reese, everybody that loves him, and everything he represents.
What Lil Reese stands for is regressive and destructive to the betterment of society.
I just want these young kids to understand that Lil Reese isn't cool because he chooses to tote a gun. I'm pleading with them to understand that instead, his gun-toting highlights his weakness.
Lil Reese's success isn't a glory story, it's a sad story.
Unfortunately for Lil Reese, if Def Jam decides to drop him and this "rap shit" doesn't work out, he'll be back on the block terrorizing Chicago, dead, or in jail.
There are a lot of things Americans deem as scary, but nothing's more terrifying than teenage boys with nothing to lose and no fucks to give, brandishing guns and unleashing their burning rage on women.
Now that's scary.
Brittany Lewis is the Music Editor at GlobalGrind and a Howard University Alumna. Brittany considers herself seasoned on all the pop culture ish that matters. Follow her on Twitter @Buttercup_B.