When Vakill heard Rick Ross’s "B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)," he was annoyed. The song famously name-checks Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory (drug lord of Black Mafia Family, or BMF) and Larry Hoover (co-founder of the Chicago-based Gangster Disciple Nation gang), which according to the Chicago-based rapper oversimplified what Hoover, in particular, stood for and represented.
“Hearing that shit is like, ‘OK. Yeah, that’s cool,’ but I’m from here,” Vakill says of his Chicago hometown. “I grew up in a household full of bangers, so I know that it’s more to it than just getting money. These dudes still have certain values that they uphold that’ll get your jaw wired shut that ain’t got nothing to do with money.”
So when Vakill was crafting his just-released “Armor Of God” album, he wanted to write a different type of song that discussed gangs’ impact on the community because few of the gangs in Chicago, in fact, actually started as community service organizations before they morphed into drug and murder machines.
“I’m pretty sure that they never expected it to become what it became, for the Frankenstein to be as big as it became,” Vakill says. “You’ve got to understand that a lot of this for the most part, a lot of these guys had good intentions, but it was just carried out in the wrong manner. It just spiraled out of control, and they’ve never really had a chance to say to the black community, ‘I’m sorry.’”
As a result, Vakill’s lyrics became the voice of regret, and as he put it, let listeners know that these gangbangers just got out of control. After all, they were former Black Panthers, model brothers in the community. But it also didn’t mean he would forget the fact that they were criminals.
Today, both Big Meech and Larry Hoover are incarcerated. Meech was sentenced in 2005 to 30 years to life, while Hoover is serving six life sentences for his crimes. Vakill didn’t want to portray them as crime lords living large; instead, he wanted to look at them while they were alone in prison.
“I’m not going to partake in, ‘I think I’m Big Meech, Larry Hoover,’ Vakill explains, “Instead, I’m going to be Larry Hoover’s consciousness when the video is turned off and he’s got to sit in that cell and go, ‘Man. This is where we’re at with this shit?’ That’s where I wanted to be when I wrote the joint.”
For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker.
- East Coast: The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
- West Coast: Kendrick Lamar on Positive Energy
- Chi-Town: BC One B-Boy Competition