King Von's Passing and Lumpen Hip-Hop Culture
King Von’s Passing
Recently, rising Chicago rapper King Von has been shot and killed in an Atlanta nightclub at the age of 26.(1) Born as David Daquan Bennett, King Von was associated with the lumpen organization “Black Disciples” and was close childhood friends with other notable Chicago figures such as rapper Chief Keef and Lil Durk. While there were rumors that he was the grandson of David Barksdale, the founder of the Black Disciplies, there have been no notable proofs confirming this fact.(2) However, he was given the nickname “Grandson” amongst older B.D. members while he was in prison due to his demeanor reminding the older prisoners of David Barksdale.
The shooting happened when King Von and Quando Rondo’s affiliates started to confront each other in the nightclub. Sooner or later, a fistfight occurred which resulted in guns being drawn. There was also two off-duty police officers that were present in the shooting.(3) Alongside King Von, two other men were killed with many others injured.(4)
Due to the news and social media’s coverage of this shooting, both camps – the Georgia L.O.s affiliated with Quando Rondo and the Chicago L.O.s affiliated with King Von – have publicly threatened each other on social media. Quando Rondo – who survived the altercation – has had his concerts canceled while social media gossip has poured fuel into the fire.
What we aim to do with this article isn’t to take sides on which party was in the right or wrong. While our articles like to point out that lumpen organizations have revolutionary potential, we also emphasize the dual nature of the lumpen class and the reactionary side of these organizations. “Gang” conflicts have done immense jobs in sowing divisions among the oppressed. With Hip-Hop music and “Gangster rap” becoming a nationwide phenomena, the music and culture of the oppressed nation lumpen have added fuel to the fire. We encourage our readers to go beyond the diss tracks while also not falling for the trap of individual survival and apathy – ultimately, they will return the oppressed back into chaos.
While serving as fuel of lumpen violence, these expressions also show the righteous resentment to society harbored by the most lowest sections of the oppressed – especially the youth. The fact that the amerikan patriarchs are so adamant that mere music infecting white children into delinquency and drugs shows an interesting trend in youth of all nations in the U.$. expressing their alienation towards capitalism.
Drill Culture in Inner Cities
Hip-Hop as a genre started in the east coast cities in the late 70s and early 80s. It wasn’t just simply a genre of music like the amerikan music critics would like to believe, but a mass expression of oppressed nation lumpen youth who dominated the Hip-Hop Scene. From the clothes, the hairstyles, graffiti, and dance all the way to the rapping has become a form of expressing the fear, anger, and righteousness that the Black/Puerto Rican youth who lived in the police state-like conditions in the inner cities.
What was called “Reality Rap” reflected the early pre-scientific consciousness of these lumpen youth. The bleak portrayal of amerikan cities flipped the idea of the amerikan dream and the bourgeois ubermensch making profit and “getting theirs” on its head. After all, if the “founding fathers” and the “captains of industry” could become the revered mega-rich through criminal acts such as slavery and thuggish exploitation, why can’t the corner boy dealing dope one day become a CEO of a mega corporation one day? Would it be so much more wrong to sell drugs to get a head start compared to selling people?
This also sheds light on how the hip-hop industry is a big way for the lowest section of the masses to become a national bourgeoisie or even a comprador bourgeoisie in the oppressed nations. Former street rappers turned CEO of record labels often end up being the one exploiting the oppressed nation masses in the ghettos and barrios themselves. In some cases, these musicians will end up exploiting the international proletariat in the Third World.(5)
While hip-hop in general has been becoming a bureaucratized multi-million dollar industry for the amerikans, the “drill music” scene has arisen from urban areas – notably Chicago. Lumpen Organizations in the country’s murder capital have often used music videos and rap lyrics to diss their rivals and the dead. The lingo that was used only in certain blocks and neighborhoods of Southside Chicago can now be heard from all major cities in the United $tates from Atlanta to Los Angeles. There is something to be said that social media and the internet has made the culture of Oppressed Nation diaspora – in this case Lumpen “drill” culture – more interconnected. New Afrikan L.O.s in Chicago now have a strong hold in the deep south in cities such as Atlanta and L.O.s who previously have never made contact with each other might start to form beefs.
NGO Tactics VS Building Independent Political Power
Peace treaties, alliances, and betrayals between lumpen organizations have been going on forever. Organizations from the Nation of Islam to the countless Non-Governmental Organizations have attempted to build peace in the ghettos and the barrios. However, building treaties can only go so far unless the root of the problem is attacked and made aware by the masses. The conflict of the L.O.s are bigger than individuals and sets. They are a bloody symptom of amerikan capitalism. Even if every Blood and Crip individual goes through psychological rehabilitation and shake hands with each other, more “gangs” will rise with the next generation. Oftentimes, the “rehabilitated” individuals end up back to the lumpen life within a year due to the political-economical instabilities in these areas; and many “peace treaties” are more so ceasefires to have the dope business in a more stable control.
Despite decades of these peace treaties, we are still in the very early stages of being able to unite the lumpen masses. Leaders within prisons working to push the United Front for Peace in Prisons can speak to this from experience. The story of the state isolating the conscious leader and the masses returning to oppressed-on-oppressed violence is all to common. Others have tried to revolutionize their whole L.O., and failed. While the leadership is there, we have not yet created the conditions that make this a viable path for the masses as a whole. That is the challenge we face as we continue to build revolutionary leadership that has a plan to end capitalism, and find ways to offer incentives for the masses to abandon the current system and risk their lives for a new tomorrow.
1. Alex Zidel, November 06, 2020, “King Von Reportedly In Critical Condition After Shoot Out With Quando Rondo’s Crew,” Hot New Hip Hop.
2.Olivia Olphin, December 01, 2020, “Was King Von David Barksdale’s grandson? Rumour explained,” The Focus.
3. Emmanuel Camarillo, November 6, 2020, “Chicago Rapper King Von Killed in Atlanta Shooting,” Chicago Sun Times.
4. Rebekah Riess, November 7, 2020, “Rapper King Von shot and killed outside Atlanta nightclub,” CNN.
5. Sirin Kale, May 17, 2016, “How Much It Sucks to Be a Sri Lankan Worker Making Beyoncé’s New Clothing Line,” Vice.