AllhipHop Classics: Hip-Hop Reflects On 9/11 (2002)

A year after the September 11 tragedy, people had formulated their varied opinions of the matter that left nearly 3,000 people dead. The shock had yielded to reason and reflection. On this nine-year anniversary of September 11, AllHipHop Classics revisits what rap artists like Scarface, 50 Cent, Kool G Rap, Nelly, 8Ball, Skillz, Kimora Lee, […]

A year after the September 11 tragedy, people had formulated their varied opinions of the matter that left nearly 3,000 people dead. The shock had yielded to reason and reflection. On this nine-year anniversary of September 11, AllHipHop Classics revisits what rap artists like Scarface, 50 Cent, Kool G Rap, Nelly, 8Ball, Skillz, Kimora Lee, Canibus and others thought after some of the dust settled. Originally posted September 11, 2002.On September 11, 2001, masses of Americans witnessed firsthand aspects

of a new sort of war unseen since World War II, but one year later the nation is reflecting

on the attacks on New York City and Washington D.C.

The attack on American soil, the first since

Pearl Harbor and the worst ever, resulted in the creation of a worldwide coalition

aimed at rooting out “terror,” alleged Anthrax attacks via the postal

service, a war of biblical proportions in the Middle East, a faltering economy

and yes, an impending war which seems to have the entire world divided.

Most Americans seemed unaware of the anti-American

fury that brewed overseas, or even more oblivious that it would be unleashed

in such a deadly, destructive manner. “What’s so cold is that s### was

totally unexpected – way outta the normal,” Scarface told

“It let me know anything can happen.”

And for the past year, it seemed anything would

happen. Bush named John Ridge director of Homeland Security, a new position

to monitor possible terror attacks and issue warnings to the public. For the

months after the attacks America, especially New York, was on high alert and

as time passed, many were forced to return to their normal grind.

Scarface continued saying, traveling didn’t make

a difference to him and even revealed that he has a plan should terrorists attempt

to hi-jack a plane while he is riding. “When I get on the plane I take

two Sprite cans and two pillow cases. Now you can’t kill somebody who already

wanna die, but you can adminster some immense pain,” he quipped. “That’s

where the soda cans come into play. I’ma hit him with the pillow cases

and soda cans and get some respect outta his ass.”

Despite his valor, Face isn’t the norm. A recent

survey showed 42 percent of people surveyed reported depression, 21 percent

difficulty concentrating and 18 percent trouble sleeping.

“The big thing in my life is flying,”

Memphis vet 8Ball said. “Before that s###, I used to fly everywhere, two

or three times a week and since that, I think I’ve flown maybe four times.

If I’m able to take the bus where I’m going, if it’s close enough,

I’m doing that first.”

Similarly, Nelly also stopped flying after September

11th and tours the country by bus.

And most people seem to be overcome by a sense

of lingering anxiety.

“I’m in New York now and I was here

last year at the same time and it feels weird. I can’t make up my mind whether

I feel safe or not, because anything is possible,” Skillz of Rawkus Records


“I always get nervous on the George Washington

Bridge,” Kimora Lee Simmons said referring the the New York City landmark that once offered a clear view of the Towers. Simmons acknowledged that she and her

husband, Russell Simmons, no longer fly on public planes. “It’s expensive

and not everyone can afford to do it, I realize that, but it gives us a better

peace of mind, so we do it when we can,” she said.

The Simmons’ were affected by the tragedies directly,

losing their lavish penthouse on Liberty Street, which was right across from

the World Trade Centers. “Yes, on September 11th we lost our house, which

was worth millions.,” she said, “That cannot possibly compare to the

value of all of the innocent souls lost. When I think of what I lost on those

terms, it’s extremely small.”

“I go to sleep and I am horrified when my

phone rings early,” California rapper Mystic concurred. “I don’t want

someone to call me and say something awful has happened.”

While Mystic admits to the anxiety that all of

us feel in some form or another, whether its flying on a plane, taking a train,

riding over a bridge or through a tunnel, she said that the attacks didn’t change

her over all attitude or change her work schedule.

“I went out on tour within two weeks of

the incident and there were very few other groups touring at the time,”

she said. “It felt healing to acknowledge and to talk to people about what

was going on.”

For a short period, even battling rappers appeared

to unite, just at the attacks seemed to united the country. Jay-Z, Hammer, Mystikal

and Young M.C. tossed their weight behind the cause recording songs and freestyles

addressing the attack.

Canibus even recorded a record, “Draft Me,”

supporting the war in Afghanistan. “I recorded that song because I was

angry,” Canibus told ” I truly felt like going to war.”

Nevertheless, more than a year later, hip-hop

is as divided ever and things seem to have picked up in hip-hop right were they

left off.

“N*ggas dont mind, we been gettin f*cked

up, drunk and high this long, why not ride out like this?” Scarface asked.

“We aint did nothin since the civil rights. You can know what’s wrong,

but what you gonna do to fix it? I gotta a lot of respect for a motherf*cker

who is willing to die for what he believe in and no one here is.”

The events of September 11th forever changed

the way people viewed themselves and for most, served as an awakening to what

was going on in the world around us.

“The United States as a whole has been oppressing

people and killing innocent people for a long, long time and these are facts.

You can only beat someone down before they stand up and say ‘hell no,’”

Mystic said.

“What some people are fighting for is much

different than anything we know. We don’t understand what it’s like fighting

to eat, fighting just to live.”

“I feel like our country does a lot of dirt

that’s kept from the awareness of the American people. It jeopardizes the lives

of many citizens when the victims of our own government do things to retaliate,”

Kool G. Rap said previously to AllHipHop regarding Sept 11. “It’s a shame

innocent people have to suffer for their [the governments] actions.”

Kimora echoed the sentiments of G Rap and Scarface

as well. “We’re supposed to be one of the most powerful and we need to

change our foreign policy, because it’s affecting us,” she said.

The actions of September 11th 2001 proved one

thing for certain – it made Americans feel vulnerable and human.

A poll conducted last month said 73 percent of

Americans felt another terrorist attack would take place on American soil at

some point in the future.

“Hell yeah and when we least expect it,”

Scarface said. “They not gonna strike right now, they waiting. They waited,

what, 8 years to hit the Towers again?”

“I think other things are gonna happen.

Things will happen in forms we cant pull together in our minds right now,”

Mystic said somberly.

Conversely, Kimora was more optimistic. “I

hope not, let’s pray nothing more happens. We need to figure out how we can

improve these things and think about how it’s going to affect our children’s

children. We have to bring about change.”

“There are a lot of people who don’t

believe in voting to bring about change,” Mystic added. “I have been

voting since I was 18. You have to try. It’s f**ked up, especially with the

elections of last year, you have to try.”

50 Cent summed his feelings up in one thought.

“Nobody would care if planes hit the projects.

I’m from the bottom so my feelings on 9-11 is ‘sh*t happens,’” the

Queens-bred rapper said.