Snoop Lion and T.I. got serious among the festivities at the BET Experience this past weekend, taking part in a panel on gun control and violence that also included U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California. Though both rappers have served time for gun-related charges, each insists his personal history with gun violence is fully in the past.
Snoop Lion was asked why he was compelled to help the cause, and the rapper replied he was “fed up” with gun violence. “Once I’ve seen, you know, public venues and little elementary schools being shot, you know, with innocent kids, it started to affect me to where it’s, like, this is not just a hood situation,” Snoop said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “This is an everyday situation. . . . And we need to address this.”
Snoop Lion also noted that he felt he could make the biggest impact through his music, and he included the track “No Guns Allowed” on his latest album, the reggae collection Reincarnated.
T.I. has a wrenching history with firearms, and the Atlanta rapper recalled holding his “best friend in the world as he took his last breath.” T.I. served time in prison after pleading guilty in 2009 to federal weapons charges. Though T.I. was torn over his friend’s death, he also felt fortunate that he was still alive. “I think we all need to hold one another accountable,” T.I. said. “As cool as we have made [guns] sound, anybody can do that. If I had it a different way, man, becoming a master of solutions, to observe a set of circumstances and say, ‘Ok, let me figure out a way without endangering myself, the community, or the other people involved in this set of circumstances. How can I find a logical, reasonable, peaceful resolution?'”
Waters praised Snoop Lion and T.I. for speaking out. “[The youth and public] won’t listen to us [older generations], but they’ll listen to you,” Waters told the rappers.
Added Snoop Lion: “We’re trying to rid the world of violence one day at a time.”