On Saturday, the New York MCs joined NFL players Kareem Mackenzie, Brandon Bing and others in a panel discussion about the random gun violence that plagues urban neigborhoods at Hot 97’s Push for Peace Show and Festival in New York City.
Maino knows all too well the pitfalls many youngsters face growing up in underprivileged environments. The Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn-raised rapper spent 10 years in prison before his ascension to stardom in music. He’s now an advocate for programs that help to stem crime and teach Black youth to follow a different path than he did.
“I come from that environment where violence is prevalent. I was a part of the problem. I participated. I am a product of it,” Maino tells BET.com. “A lot of artists say, ‘I’m not a role model,’ but at the end of the day, we still have a responsibility to speak to the youth who look up to us.”
Maino wasn’t the only native New York wordsmith speaking out about street violence. On the heels of his new album, H.N.I.C. 3, coming out July 3, Prodigy, one half of the legendary Queenbridge rap duo Mobb Deep, says his own experience on the wrong side of the law can be used as a teaching moment for his young fans. P, who spent three years behind bars on an illegal gun charge, is on the “straight" path as he tells others that street crimes aren’t worth your life.
“That experience pushed me to not want to go back to jail. I don’t want to be in that position ever again,” he says. “Experiencing that and not wanting to go back really pushed me to want to make some major changes.”
In addition to releasing his new album, Prodigy says he will soon re-release his controversial memoir, My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy.
The Push for Peace Show and Festival was co-sponsored by radio personality and activist Lisa Ever, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and New York City Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook.
BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.
Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photos: John Ricard/BET)