Homeboys and Girls

Sex Crimes of the Hip Hop Generation

Master P, Tucker points out, continues to berate women in "Gangsta B," another burlesque boast that is a favorite among booty bandits: "If she ain't a gangsta bitch, then I don't want her. . . . I need a bitch to hold my stash, a bitch to give me some ass [and] hold my clip." (Popular women rappers also have been targeted by Tucker. At a 1997 Time Warner meeting, she punctuated her argument by reading some particularly explicit lyrics by Lil' Kim to the gathered stockholders. One relatively tame verse reads: "How you like it baby?/Uhh. From the front/Uhh. From the back/Give that ass a smack/Bet your man won't do it like that.")

Acording to the NYPD, some of the suspects in the Central Park assaults robbed their victims. Was their crime spree influenced by Master P's lyrics? "I'ma kill just to eat and leave my enemies on the concrete. . . . ," the rap mogul swears in "Crime Pays the Bill."

"It is the prevalence of that thinking," Tucker writes, "that has resulted in the current projections that up to 65 percent of African American males in urban America, between the ages of 15-24, [have] had some involvement with the criminal justice system. These alarming statistics began in 1992, when this violent, misogynistic, and hate music hit the charts."

Two teenage girls who escaped the melee in Central Park say that the sex crimes of the hip hop generation extend beyond the influences of gangsta rap. It all depends on where young black and Latino men reside and how they are being raised, they argue. "There is a part of me that believes that hip hop culture has gone too far in disrespecting women," says one, "but at the same time I also believe that it's the environment in which a lot of these people grow up that brings that [criminal behavior] outta them."

Five days after the Central Park incident, three special-ed students in the Bronx, who allegedly were mimicking the rampage, accosted more than a half-dozen young girls at a schoolyard carnival. Authorities said the attacks occurred just after classes let out at P.S. 95 on June 16.

The boys—two 15-year-olds and a 13-year-old—allegedly sneaked into a funhouse that had been set up for the weekend festival and pounced on the girls as they walked by—tearing their clothes and fondling their breasts. Eight girls complained to school officials that they had been molested. None was older than 10. The boys were charged with the juvenile equivalent of first-degree sexual assault and released to the custody of their parents.

Three days later, seven sixth grade boys were charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl outside Junior High School 180 in Rockaway Park, Queens. A classmate of the girl allegedly grabbed her. He was joined by six other boys, ages 12 and 13, who surrounded the girl and attacked her, chanting, "The Puerto Rican Day Parade!" according to unidentified police sources cited by Newsday and the Daily News.

The Central Park sexual assaults crossed racial lines: Suspects allegedly attacked three British tourists and a French sightseer who was on her honeymoon. This supports Tucker's contention that "race hatred [has] been directly linked to the proliferation of gangsta rap."

But did the influence of gangsta rap and other aspects of hip hop culture figure in the sensational 1998 case of six black high school hoop and football stars who were accused of molesting, raping, and sodomizing two white girls in Georgia?

At the peak of their popularity, the six athletes were dubbed "the Top Dogs" and showered with fan-club-type acclamation by adoring white groupies. Prosecutors say that, in one case, shortly after an early-morning basketball practice, a 14-year-old white girl sidled up to Daniel Maxwell as he ate breakfast in the school cafeteria.

Maxwell, then 17, told the girl that he, Aldo Weddington, Cedric McGarity, and Cory McGarity were going to Weddington's home to shower. Would she skip school and join them?

"So she goes with them to the Weddington residence and Daniel Maxwell takes her into a bedroom, initiates sexual intercourse with her, she consents to it," Assistant District Attorney Todd Alley acknowledges. "She likes him. She wants to be with him. She performs oral sex on him."

After Maxwell "did unlawfully, repeatedly engage in sexual intercourse" with his young admirer, he reportedly told her, "Now, ma boys are gonna hit it." According to Alley, "she was just surprised and didn't really know what he was talking about." Alley says Maxwell left the room and announced to his buddies, "Okay, you guys can have a turn."

"Hey, I don't wanna do this," the girl allegedly protested. But in the end, according to Alley, she gave in because she was scared. "Here she was, alone with these guys," he rationalizes. "She didn't know what they were capable of doing to her. After a while, she didn't really feel like she was in a position to say no—all of the reasons why the laws protect children of that age because they don't know what they're getting into."

Leonard Danley, who represented another youth, Demond Clay, says the six athletes were singled out by overzealous prosecutors. "How many 17-year-olds had sex with 15-year-olds in the same week that these boys were arrested?" he asks, then answers his own question. "Probably about 50 to 60 percent of the sexual activity that goes on at that school is between people 15 and under with people 17 and over. It's a known fact."

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