By Jenifer Alvarez
Toronto native and Grammy award-winning rapper Drake is getting attention by mentioning in a new song a tragic shooting in Toronto’s east end that claimed two lives.
The Danzig Street shooting in Toronto’s east-end housing complex last summer was one of the worst violent acts in the city’s history and shocked local residents and made headlines around the world.
Drake, born Aubrey Graham, has been featured on rapper-reggae star Snoop Lion’s most recent track, No Guns Allowed, where he mentions “two more young names to be carved out of stone/one summer day that went horribly wrong.”
Drake refers to two innocent bystanders, Shyanne Charles, 14, and Joshua Yasay , 23, who were both at the community block party the night of the mass shooting.
Simon Black, urban studies institute instructor and resident PhD. student at York University, said the impact of gun violence stretches far beyond the borders of Toronto housing projects and that progressive discussion is finally happening.
Black also said other Toronto-area rappers have been involved in the discussion on gun violence in the city but that their lack of mainstream hype keeps many in the dark about what they are saying.
Natasha Paolini, central editor for HipHopCanada.com in Toronto, one of the nation’s largest urban music brands, said Graham is doing something good by reminding the public of the importance of addressing gun violence in Toronto.
Paolini also said Graham is driving home the message that the impact this kind of violence has had a deep effect on communities, individuals and the public outside of the Danzig community should continue talking about the issue.
The reaction on Twitter about the song and Drake’s dedication to “the lives that they stole” was immediate and provoking as everyone from media to fans commented on both.