An Open letter to Young Warriors in Chicago from Nas (the Killing of Derrion Albert)



Derion AlbertBy now everyone has heard or seen the disturbing video in which a 16-year-old honor student Derrion Albert from Christian Fenger Academy High School in Chicago. Albert somehow was caught in the middle of a melee involving two rival gangs and was struck from behind by another young man swinging a board.  According to witnesses Derion was walking to a bus stop. When he fell to the ground, 3 or 4 young man stomped him to death… The killing was caught on cell phone and generated outrage and heartbreak throughout the country. The video lead to the arrest of 3 teenagers who were charged with his murder.

A backdrop to the Albert slaying is that the city of Chicago made headlines because President Obama did a first by aggressively courting the Olympic committee to bring the the city the 2016 Games.  In a city that has seen dozens of high school kids killed each year through gang violence, one might ask do city officials and even the President have their priorities straight. Should we be talking Olympics? Will the 2016 Games really stem the tide of violence? Should the President use this killing of a student who by most accounts has ‘pulled his pants up’ and worked hard to  do good for himself, as a teachable moment? 

I’m by no means implying that President Obama is responsible for this, but just like the Swine Flu is widespread and reaching a point where it garners national attention, so should inner city crime. It should be more than obvious that it’s going to take more than a few ‘Say No Violence’ speeches from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or some other leader.  The viciousness we saw caught on fiilm, will require more than Lil Wayne or 50 cent changing their lyrics or a group of conscious artists doing a feel good ‘Stop the Violence’ song.   Those are band aids.

It’s also obvious that Chicago which is known for having an aggressive police force with all the latest crime fighting tools, a big budget, gang injunction laws and strategies is not able to put the smash on these  killings.  All of us in this nation need to do more starting with excavating the root cause and making ending killings a top priority.  This ranges from those of us in Hip Hop to examine ways in which we can push ourselves and the people we engage in a more positive direction on down to the avarege ordinary 9-5 working stiff to those who hold high offices and have access to vast resources.

-Davey D-


An Open letter to Young Warriors in Chicago from Nas

Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong wars!   Killing each other is definitely played out. Being hurt from the lost of a love one was never cool.

Nas-point-225Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong war! I know that feeling, that frustration with life and needing to take it out on someone, any one. But….

We chose the dumbest things to go the hardest for.  I remember seeing deaths over 8 ball jackets, Fila sneakers, and name plate chains. Deaths over “he say, she say”!!!!! “I’m from this block or I’m from that block”, or “my moms n pops is f*cked up now the whole world gotta pay”!!!

I remember feeling like I was the hardest “n*gga” breathing.  And I couldn’t wait to prove it. But let’s think. What are we really proving?? And proving what to who?? Everybody knows Chicago breeds the strongest of the strong but I just feel, me, being ya brother from another state feels your pain as if I grew up with you in ya very own household.

You have the ability and mindpower to change they way we are looked at.  Look who’s watching us young warriors, look who’s throwing us in jail constantly, look at the ignorance in the world. Look at the racist dogs who love to see us down. Loving to bury us in the ground or in jail where we continue this worthless war on one another.

Young warriors…. We are WASTING more and more time. We gotta get on our jobs and take over the world. Cuz this movie left the theaters years ago, Juice, Menace, Boys n the Hood , Blood n Blood Out, Belly!

When we see each other why do we see hatred? Why were we born in a storm, born soldiers, WARRIORS….and instead of building each other up we are at war with each other.. May the soul of this young person find peace with the almighty. I’m with you young warriors. You’re me and I’m you. But trust me! you are fighting the wrong war.

This sh*t sucks !!


Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

40 comments on “An Open letter to Young Warriors in Chicago from Nas (the Killing of Derrion Albert)

  1. I respect you for highlighting this…our youth need a greater understanding of their royal lineage so they can appreciate the value of their lives. When you don’t see worth in self, you are therefore liable to self destruct which includes the killing of another brother. The elders/leaders and journalists need to be implementing strategic methods to reach us as a collective. It is already proven that politics whether from the state house or oval office only scratches the surface…any man followed by a barricade and behind a bullet proof glass cannot fully interact to make the changes we need from a practical aspect….therefore it takes those in the know and in the community to hold meetings and build relationships, outside of media viewing, with the youth who’ve become more feared and elders less revered. Hiphop is the greatest conduit to bring about this change but its going to take some physical interaction…more than just a rap song…I applaud Nas for his sincere words as well…we need more artists and people of influence to join him in this outcry for improvement. I am one of the many contributing to this change but I will not be proud until this change fully manifests.

  2. I have a 17 year old son. I’m so saddened for this young man’s lost future. His mothers lost love. So sad. We have to take our youth back and stop being afraid of them. If they believe we, as parents, will not tolerate, will not tolerate the non-sense of a another lost son, they will hear us. We will and must call the police on they ass. There will be no refuge for killing another black man in any household. Ostracized and shunned as a murderer and killer of self. Parents against them, community against them. Not one of the them can come home. We must turn our backs to covering for them. Encourage life. The role models rappers ball players the like. Start an all out campaign to make being responsible the coolest thing to be. NO MORE GLORIFYING OF THE GANGSTER! I believe they will hear us. We as parents have stood by and silently screamed stop. They need to see us, hear from us, know our pain in loosing our sons. They don’t know.

  3. At Rama Networks Inc. futurist studies dept. we see this event as precipitation to the concentrated behavior camps thunder storm that should be up and running in a few years. Different from standard prisons these camps will be like caged communities getting food thrown over the fence. Before then you should see whole communties cordoned off, with armed guards at the entrance. Think Obama can change it?

    This event hardens the feeling of “average” citizens towards gang involved youth. “See how they do the ones that try to do better, fuck’m they animals” In the short term we will see legal reactions. This shit scares the hell out of parents everywhere.

    Nas’ message of fighting the wrong war raises the eyebrows of who? Ironically they and not the gang members will get it. Beware the offensive.

  4. I’m glad you brought attention to the hypocrisy of trying to bring the Olympics to a city that is so thoroughly corrupt and mis-managed. Polls of Chicagoans show that almost half are against having the Olympics because the same corrupt mobsters that are running the city into the ground now would be in charge of doling out public works contracts to build the Olympic venues. They’ve already executed land grabs of public parks for connected developers to build facilities that will turn into private playgrounds once we get past 2016. The mayor has been selling off public assets like parking garages and meters and toll roads getting ready to finance the Olympics while City services have been neglected to the point areas like Roseland, where this kid was killed, are like the wild west. I don’t know how Chicago is “known for having an aggressive police force with all the latest crime fighting tools, a big budget, gang injunction laws and strategies”, the police haven’t even had a contract for the last three or four years and are more known for being inept jerks and as the biggest gang in the city. President Obama should be ashamed to even be associated with the people running this city and he should know that if Chicago gets the Olympics these thugs will steal every penny they can get their hands on.

  5. I think it goes beyond some of us not seeing our true value. Many of us simply VALUE THE WRONG THINGS. The unspoken rules that determine the intangible rewards & punishments doled out in our hoods need to be rewritten. Right now the spoils of the hoods *girls & props* go to the most reckless, the coldest hearted. And we only have ridicule and hate *out of ENVY * for the smart or compassionate among us. In short — many of us have NO FUCKING CLUE what a NORMAL representation of manhood looks like, other than violence and the willingness to be the first to set it off.

    I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER. If I did, I would have typed that instead of this. I wonder if we’re ever gonna change for the better or just keep getting worse?

  6. What I meant is that as one of the largest police forces in the country..Chicago is equipped to handle crime.. If they want to.. Chicago’s crime probalem is not because there is lack of police.. Its because like any other city there are deep rooted issues that need to be resolved and before we hire another cop or have another Jesse Jackson fund raiser we should seee this as an epedemic where all hands are on deck..

  7. It’s to far gone Davey. Either an outlet of another type will come into being as Nas suggest they prepare themselves for or the ghetto will simply implode. The maze doesn’t allow backtracking.

  8. My deepest prayers go out to this young males family. To gain an understanding of this behavior i suggest you all read (or re-read) Amos Wilsons’ Black on Black Violence or Chancelor Williams’ the Destruction of Black Civilization. Having said that, it’s time for us to take back our communities. It can be done. We have the skills and man power to do it. We must do it through education. For instance, I own an education consultancy org that works w/ black children in socieoeconomic disenfranchised communities. We have reduced the suspension rate of the black male students while increasing their willingness and ability to learn. No black misleadership involved. No media hype. Under the radar. Just dedication and hard work. For more info you can reach for me at…Peace

  9. Words cant explain the true urgency for us to wake up as a whole. This problem has existed for way to long in every city across america. I could never understand why we would fight over two colors that is on a flag that dont give a fuck about us. Or how we can kill another man just for looking the wrong direction. We have so many other obstacles in life and it seems like we are our biggest one. Its a shame that we have to live our life in fear of us out living our children. While our brother and sisters living in third world conditions just wish they could have half the oppurtunitys we have . We have truly lost the meaning and value of the struggle, its so hard to believe that 40 yrs ago this is the same nation that had so much community solidarity and know we are our own worst enemy. Something has to give this cant keep continuing we cant let the legend of Willie Lynch continue…..

  10. Did they show the parents of the accused murderers on the local news yet? Did they say get the fuckin camera out my face! Or did they say their sons are innocent and good boyz, like seems to have become the norm when you view parents of people accused of murder in our community.

  11. Jim Brown, Ving Rhames, and some other celebrities actually meet with gang members. Peace out to Tookie Williams (RIP). Writing a letter is not going to do it. We see so many rappers, producers, film makers and actors make a great deal of money off gang matters. Why don’t these individuals actually reach out to them?

    A letter isnot going to to it. Respect shown toward the gangs, and open dialect is a start to reducing much of the violence. Gang members will only respect those who come from similar circumstances. Our County spends billions to trillions of dollars in its attempts to “rule the world”. It would be good if our leaders actually redirected some of these funds to America’s own problems.

    It’s easy to blame gangsters. But many of them are actually victims. How much attempts go in to addressing what makes a person a gangster?

  12. This is so sad.
    I mean, it’s a travesty because these black young people don’t even realize the significance of their act. it wasn’t just killing the young man, or fighting. it was war on black people in general, and even on our president.
    in a time that is pregnant with change,and still inflamed with hate and racism, a brawl like this is bigger even then the precious life it stole. these kids don’t even know.
    that is sad.
    it’s sad that there is a disconnect in our communities, we are letting our beautiful babies turn to hardened criminal, and murders before they even get out of high school.
    what can we do.

  13. Good looking out, Nas! Fax a copy of that letter across the bridge to New Jersey. The movie still playing in these young boys minds, Bro., is “Colors”. Just glad somebody is speaking out. “What can we do?” Turn off the “music” and open and read the Bible. Sounds corney, but, trust me, it works. Got to be “mature” to understand that one.

  14. Individuals can be guided out but the mass is stuck. No programs or more church is going to change the overall condiyion. It hasn’t so far. Things have gotten worse. From the moment the visual images of violent hellish cartoon is projected into a child’s consiousness to irrevocable single parent home dynamic to the pervasive classism of our society it’s a lost battle. Don’t even get into dirty tricks and greed. I salute anybody helping on at a time. But as a whole the generation is lost with over 40% of black males between the ages of 8 and 18 headed for the adult criminal justice system. Within the same age group 18% of the females will get college degrees. Less than 6% of the males. That’s based on economic factors remaing the same as now, if it gets worse…

  15. This is such a very painful issue for me. You see on February 24, 2007 I too lost my son who was murdered in NYC. Another unsolved homicide. I still am searching for answers and looking for justice. This cycle has got to stop. My heart goes out to everyone affected as a result of all these unnecessary killings.

    A special thank you to NAS for sending out the open letter. We all have to step up to the plate and take some sort of stance to put an end to this violence.!!!!!!!!

  16. forget if the economics look the same, like bob law said 2 years ago on wurd am, this generation is the first in this country’s history that will be quick fast to fight against it’s own, but when it comes to the system that holds us all back, we rather get caught up in monday morning quarterbacking, it was funny hearing him say how this generation dosen’t wanna handle it, the discust in his voice was buggin, but it was so so true.

  17. This generation can’t handle it Mr. Anderson. There’re kids and young adults. They are still in the reliant phase of life. They see the world from a reactionary pose. The fortunate have someone decent to follow or are uncommingly focused on positive goals regardless of hardships and distractions. However they are all candy to the beast like Skittles. Skittle niggas. The disappointment isn’t with the 8 to 18 year olds. It’s with the 30 to 50 year olds. Planted the seeds, left the garden now back cursing at the weeds.

  18. bombarded with lies, propaganda, direct insanity by the media , the political community and even the education. Of course this is not all the responsibility of these tragic events but a major portion. just as easy someone says the community needs to take responsibility the community should be look at on a national level and then everyone can take part in reconciling this national/global epidemic of violence.

  19. sooner than later the black person in america nomatter what age, is going to have to step up. OR This cycle will continue to repeat itself, it nolonger repeats itself now, we are beyond that point now, now it’s just become part of the american black culture.

  20. forget that step up bs black people in america are done dude. Step outside america, and they will tell you that black folk in the US are done!

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  22. The “truth” will set Black people free. The “truth’. As long as “I” got a voice Black people ain’t done. Its only a matter of time before they wake up and say, “That Black man has been telling us this shit since 1994”. I am from W.U.R.D. 900 radio in Philly, also. If you are afraid, “they” got you. We ain’t got nothing to lose, Black people, so we might as well go for broke! God got this, just be patient.

  23. I think that the problem of violence in our communities still exists because of the lack of resources and poverty. In addition to how we as african-americans and africans in general are portrayed by the media subconsciously makes us hate ourselves. Some folks think that church or reading the bible is the answer. To an extent, that could be the way, but honestly I don’t think it’s the best way because our religion and spirituality was hijacked and altered by these racist white supremacists to fit their racist evil ideology, so the bible also contains white superiority over every other race. I say the best way to make africans feel good about themselves is to take back our spirituality and rediscover the truth.

    The truth is Jesus Christ (Yeshua) is an african. The holy land isn’t Jerusalem it is Kemet (Egypt). The chosen people of God are people who have melanin (africans) and all the freemasonry that’s being promoted by the so-called Illuminati is really a gross perversion of our spirituality and teachings that was being taught in Kemet (Egypt). The writings and teachings of our spirituality is written on the walls inside the pyramids. Since these writings are etched in stone, it cannot be changed or altered. If our youth, realizes that our ancestors were looked at as Gods by the white race in ancient times, then it would be a step forward in our evolution.

    I would encourage everyone on this site to search and learn about our (africans) true legacy. Do the knowledge. A good place to start is with a brother named Ashra Kwesi. Look him up online. Watch his videos on youtube and order his dvds on his website. It’s truly an eye-opener and it’s very enlightening. My condolences go out to the family of 16-year-old honor student Derrion Albert and to all african families who’ve lost their kids to violence.

    Peace and God Bless to all in the struggle,


  24. Great Jehovah! You Brothers are starting to read! Thank you, God! Its when we start reading and finding the truth, that’s when we get knowledge of self and can swipe this non-sense down. I get frustrated some days, but some of you Brothers make me proud, because you searching and not settling for the okie-dope – Hip-hop. Peace!

  25. Much props to Davey D and Nasir Jones on what they wrote. Davey D is right on about this issue. Black people need to wake up and stop killing each other.

  26. Pingback: An Open letter to Young Warriors in Chicago from Nas |

  27. flavorblade, on September 30th, 2009 at 11:34 am Said:
    This generation can’t handle it Mr. Anderson. There’re kids and young adults. They are still in the reliant phase of life.


    can please beable to kill too because I am at the reliant stage in my life? wtf is this shit.

  28. Just saw this story on Anderson Cooper 360. This “no snitch” bullshit your boys in hip-hop pushing got to stop. They said like nobdy stepped forward to testify against anyone. The “no snitch’, saggin’ pants, braids, oddle and noodles, this is all is “jail house” mentality shit. Hip-hop better wake up. Your voice is leading them out of the ghetto straight into prison complexes in the suburbs. “Know your enemy”, that’s all I be saying. They learning this shit from what they see and hear on the streets and hear in music. Somebody recently said, “I need to check myself”. I know exactly what I be talking about when it comes to Black people. Stop listening to your enemies!

  29. Hate the Game

    Boys claimin’ they’re men, fast track to the grave
    Thinkin’ they’re players all the time bein’ played
    Babies have babies, mamas pass blame
    Sisters and daughters don’t know their real name
    Rappers proclaim, we just showin’ what’s real
    Children then copy till the day that they’re killed
    A system designed to imprison our youth
    Embellishing lies, disguising the truth
    Sisters disrobing on video screens
    Renouncing their rights as African queens
    Brothers gone wild with lascivious acts
    Minds chained to slavery, that’s just the facts
    I’m not hatin’ the players, I’m hatin’ the game
    Dollars and cents got a lock on their brains
    Hi tech plantations raping our village
    Corporate execs continue to pillage
    Movies corrupting with negative themes
    Drugs, sex and crime, a genocidal scheme
    Influencing children, repeating the hooks
    Keeping them down, re-writing the books
    Plantations ain’t changed in four hundred years
    Still whippin’ and beatin’ slaves into fear
    Fear of lovin’ yourself, men, women and kids
    Fear of planning a future educatin’ your peers
    Fear of seein’ the truth, fear of havin’ respect
    Fear of claiming a culture of wealth, not neglect
    I’m not hatin’ the players, I’m hatin’ the game
    Dollars and cents padlocking their brains
    Thugs grinnin’ and smilin’ with chains ‘round their neck
    Gold ‘stead of iron has the same slave effect
    House Negroes happy they don’t have to go
    Massa he love us, let us sell all his dope
    We better off now, we got bling, we got flash
    Fat pockets with cash and the massa just laughs
    I’m not hatin’ the players, I’m hatin’ the game
    Dollars and cents got a lock on their brains
    The dogs in the yard used to keep us at bay
    Now we callin’ our brothers by the same canine name
    The Underground Railroad once used to escape
    Gotta be resurrected to end this slave rape
    Young poets and writers, rappers too
    Gotta build new tracks preparing our youth
    ‘Stead of hatin’ on players who’s tryin’ to stand tall
    Pick up the challenge, pick up the ball
    Read ‘tween the lines, ‘cause that’s where truth lies
    Break out of the box, start savin’ lives
    Don’t be a slave with a house, car and boat
    Grinning and shuffling, refusing to vote
    I’m not hatin’ the players, I’m hatin’ the game
    Dollars and cents padlocking their brains
    Ancestors suffered, robbed of their name
    Raped of their heritage; think this is a game?
    Strung up and hung from the tallest tree
    Whipped and tortured in their fight to be free
    All this abuse to liberate you
    Give you a chance to start out anew
    To resurrect families, fulfilling your dreams
    With culture and values, silencing screams
    Erasing the nightmare of horrendous attacks
    Bringing back life with courageous acts
    Become heroes and heroines to ones you hold dear
    Leave legacies of love, not those of fear
    Copyright © 2005 by F. Geoffrey Johnson   All rights reserved

  30. Real talk, I don’t want to take away from dude’s open letter but this is the same cat that proudly sang,

    “Now gangstas live, gangstas die,
    Grab ya guns, soldiers ride (show discipline nigga!), Kill ya moms, kill ya pops, kill ya seed,
    Kill ya girl (Its principle nigga!),
    Sell ya crack, sell ya coke,
    Sell ya E, sell ya smoke (you hustlin nigga!),
    Grab ya nine, grab ya pound,
    Grab ya tec, grab ya pump (you bustin at niggaz!,what)”

    -Show Discipline (Nas & Jadakiss)

    I’m sorry but it is this a double standard that our people have allowed to go on for far too long. We need to hold all and any that perputate this type of mindstate accountable for their actions…

  31. “Stop listening to your enemies”. If we won’t say nothing about the crips and bloods in New Jersey, we shouldn’t have too much to say about Chicago. Unless, of course, the media attention of the story affected us in some personal way. Goldie, slaves can’t check slaves, “we” have to check the slaves and their masters. We got to stop falling for the okie-doke.

  32. Blaze being in the reliant phase of life doesn’t mean that you can not act, criminally or otherwise. It means that you still rely on someone for physical needs, and hopefully emotional needs. Even if they have a job it’s entry level. At this stage in life you are in no position to even confront the system in an impactful way much less change anything by yourself. Don’t no how, don’t have access to any power levers. No experience dealing with authority, no insiders from your own peer group. Little to no resources.

    In other words kids play in the world but adults run it. Old adults at that. The power pinacle age in this day and time is 55. A 55 year old typically has more power than a 45 year old, 35 year old, 25 year old and certaintly a 15 year old. After 55 depending on the individual there is a leveling until retirement age. Hip-hop gives a misleading picture of the young millionair. Yes they exist but it is an extreme minority of either inheritance, celebrity or exceptional entrepreneurs. Even then you see how juvenile most in hip-hop represent their money. Just throw it in the air. In the real world the average rich person is in their 50’s and 60’s, with strong surges occuring in the 40’s and late 30’s.

    This is why there needs to be a better connect between the generations in the black community. Youth have to understand and respect how power is gained, held and used. The older heads need the energy and desire of the youth to mobilize. But the way hip-hop is the way the world is and African Americans have weak generational progression. The youth think the old heads are irrelevant not understanding power only consumerism. The old heads think the youth are undisicplined and disrespectful. Generational fragmentation. The easiest way to destroy a man is to start when he is a boy. Easiest way to do that is seperate him from a man. Whether the seperation is mental, physical or spiritual. They call it Willie Lynch. A mene at this point. As witnesed how hip-hop turns on itself Jay-Z is old now. Please Russel Simmons isn’t old. Old is when you can no longer do as you need.

  33. Goldie, that stuff is scarey. Trust me, Jay Z ain’t “that’ high up in Masonry, if he is a Master Mason. Ain’t no Blacks in no “Illuminati’, trust me. They are figure heads like Jay Z and maybe Obama, but they ain’t got no power, only influence to keep their race from thinking about God and what’s right for their people. Keep putting the slave and his master on front street. We reading.

  34. There’s this whack video out on You Tube called “You The White Man’s Bitch” by Miss Aisha Sekhmet. Google it. This type of propaganda is designed to take you away from the “real” owners of Def Jam, the media, financers, and television to fight against the “other” man. “Slaves can’t check slaves,” always remember that. Check it out.

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