Local rap artist honors friend lost to gun violence
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- A local rap artist is honoring a friend and hoping to send a message at the same time. Jamaal Hicks lost his best friend to gun violence almost a decade ago, but he is still determined to honor his memory.
It has been 13 years since Kenny Clemons was killed. Hicks says he hopes his friend's death can serve as an example to others.
"It took me 13 years to do this. This song, I did this song 13 years ago when he passed. Thirteen years later I'm finally getting to the point where I can actually do it without breaking down," says Jamaal Hicks.
Hicks, also known as 'Maal the Pimp,' is doing his best to honor the memory of his childhood friend, Kenny Clemons. Clemons was shot and killed on Halloween night in 2000 at the age of 21.
"He was doing something he probably shouldn't have been doing that night and it went wrong."
Family and friends gathered at his grave sight in Forest Hills Cemetery, as Hicks makes a music video to remember Kenny.
"That was a negative situation, and if we can bring positive things to light about that to help somebody else, then we've proved a point today," says Hicks.
"The way they'll remember him, is a good dude. He was a good dude. And as long as everybody knows that, I'm cool with that," says Quintrell Clemons.
Kenny's brother, Quintrell, says even though it has been 13 years, it is still hard to think about his loss.
"Hug the people that you know, hug the people that you love. You never know when it's going to be your last time seeing a friend or a family member," says Hicks.
Hicks says he hopes Kenny's death can serve as a lesson to young people, urging them to stay in school and out of trouble.
"The reason they're going the gangs, the reason they're running the streets, the reason they're selling drugs, is because they don't have anything to do. If they had other things to occupy their mind they wouldn't even think to go that route," he says.
"As far as the way things have been going on lately, these youngsters out here better wake up. They better wake up real soon," says Quintrell.
"The streets is what took Kenny's life. The streets is what's taken a lot of other people's lives. Stay focused on things over here instead of things over there," says Hicks.
Hicks will be working on the video over the next couple of weeks. Kenny's murder case has never been solved.