September 30th, 2009
04:48 PM ET

Nas: 'Open letter to young warriors in Chicago'

Editor's Note: Four teenagers have been charged with the murder of Derrion Albert, a 16-year-old whose videotaped beating death has sparked renewed outrage over the violence among youth in Chicago. Thirty-four public school students were killed during the school year last year. Rapper and songwriter Nas wrote this open letter to youth in Chicago. Let us know what you think and watch AC360° tonight to hear what's being done to curb the violence plaguing Chicago's streets.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/09/29/chicago.teen.profile/art.derrion.wls.jpg caption="Derrion Albert, 16, was beaten to death last week in the South Side of Chicago."]


Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong wars! Killing each other is definitely played out. Being hurt from the lost of a love one was never cool.

Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong war! I know that feeling, that frustration with life and needing to take it out on someone, any one. But....

We chose the dumbest things to go the hardest for. I remember seeing deaths over 8 ball jackets, Fila sneakers, and name plate chains. Deaths over "he say, she say"!!!!! "I'm from this block or I'm from that block", or "my moms n pops is f*cked up now the whole world gotta pay"!!!

I remember feeling like I was the hardest "n*gga" breathing. And I couldn't wait to prove it. But let's think. What are we really proving?? And proving what to who?? Everybody knows Chicago breeds the strongest of the strong but I just feel, me, being ya brother from another state feels your pain as if I grew up with you in ya very own household.

You have the ability and mindpower to change they way we are looked at. Look who's watching us young warriors, look who's throwing us in jail constantly, look at the ignorance in the world. Look at the racist dogs who love to see us down. Loving to bury us in the ground or in jail where we continue this worthless war on one another.

Young warriors.... We are WASTING more and more time. We gotta get on our jobs and take over the world. Cuz this movie left the theaters years ago, Juice, Menace, Boys n the Hood , Blood n Blood Out, Belly!

When we see each other why do we see hatred? Why were we born in a storm, born soldiers, WARRIORS....and instead of building each other up we are at war with each other.. May the soul of this young person find peace with the almighty. I'm with you young warriors. You're me and I'm you. But trust me! you are fighting the wrong war.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Young "warriors" they are, but they also need to know where they come from before they know where they are going. Our youths don't understand how precious one drop of blood of their blood means to what cound become an extinct generation because they are practicing genocide against one another.

    October 1, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  2. C. Brown

    I was angered at the superintendent that blamed the student filming this horrible beating (for not calling 911). We all know that there were many cell phones at the scene. This student did a heroic thing in giving this to the media. The police look the other way because it is too great a challenge. (not totally their fault) We, as a country desperately need to go back to God. What does is take to get our attention. We definitely do not need more social services. My heart and prayers go out for Chicago teens!!!

    October 1, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  3. wintertone

    visionaries of our time that we need, nas, true poet. i hear yo!

    October 1, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  4. wintertone

    visionaries of our time that we need, nas, true poet. i heat yo!

    October 1, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  5. Charles Eckert

    Last night I listened to a comment that young disadvantaged males needed to be in schools to break the cycle of violence. While this is true, I believe that they MUST be give a reasonable view of a better future than they have now. This can only be done by giving them hope, and a belief that they have a realistic chance of success.

    October 1, 2009 at 6:24 am |
  6. Calvin

    Nas has always been deep. More rappers should come out and comment on this issue. Sadly most of them won't. They are too busy trying to keep their image, while our young people are dying.

    October 1, 2009 at 6:03 am |
  7. zokbeeboy (rapper, google me)

    I'm encouraged by seeing Nas speak out on this matter. Hopefully many other influential rappers (especially those who in the past have glorified violent lifestyles), athletes, entertainers, and politicians will offer their voices to this tragic situation.

    October 1, 2009 at 6:02 am |
  8. Clay L Brayboy

    Thanks Nas these young warriors really needed ur words. This young man reminds me of my son this is insane. I have lost so many warriors to violence,the us streets are just like vietnam afgan iraq and the korean war SEND MORE TROOPS to the hood from NY2LA.

    October 1, 2009 at 6:00 am |
  9. Heather

    The message that Nas is trying to get across is long overdue and we need the entertainment society to follow suit in order to have a chance at saving these young souls.

    October 1, 2009 at 5:39 am |
  10. Alicia

    I think NAS hit it on the spot. Why do the youth feel that they have to lead the path to darkness? Parents need to get brave. The youth need to have a uprising. Walk the path of righteousness and the rest will follow. It takes one person to do something great. Why not let that one person be you?

    October 1, 2009 at 5:39 am |
  11. james willis

    Much respect to Nas for this.

    October 1, 2009 at 3:41 am |
  12. NW Florida

    We need more people like NAS to speak up. Where is the rest of the RAPublic? These kids listen to Geezy,Wheezy,JAYz,and these are the guys that need to mentor with their gifts in the way only they know how to reach these kids.

    October 1, 2009 at 3:18 am |
  13. Jkatolee

    I think NAS is a prolific artist, speaking his heart about situations that must be addressed in this country and passed experiences that many should learn from and not relive. I thought this was a good chance to reach out to the youth of Chicago, until I realized that he might be directing the youth from avoiding the realities of life and waging war on another front. Many have strong influences on our youth, and I respect NAS for reaching out, but it is one thing to confront a problem than to redirect hate.

    October 1, 2009 at 2:58 am |
  14. cocamoe

    Nas im from Chicago and this been going on a long time and thas real everything you wrote. Is the blind leading the blind there could almost never be community organizations there because alot of parents are just as bad if not worse than the kids.The school system bad and there are no jobs for those young warriors.And the police is worser than the gangs thas the biggest crooks,gang in chicago.Like Nas said we fighting the wrong war because were lost in battling ourselves.R.I.P Derrion Albert and my prayers are with his family GOD BLESS AMERICA

    October 1, 2009 at 2:56 am |
  15. Maurice Holmes

    Nas has always been one of my favorite rappers and this blog is why. I often wonder as an African American male, why is it that most other races have a sense of unity..and us blacks as a whole look at one another as enemies? This senseless violence NEEDS to stop!!!

    October 1, 2009 at 2:50 am |
  16. Linda

    Finally, an entertainer with common sense. And yet Oprah and our President are promoting the Olympics at what huge cost to Illinois citizens when those funds could be used in a more productive manner in protecting our kids! In case she and the President haven't noticed, Illinois is broke and we don't need anyone spending money we don't have for something we don't need. Are they going to foot the bill?

    October 1, 2009 at 2:50 am |
  17. Tina

    The reason why people are scared to snitch is because they fear their lives. The law gets your confession and will put your name on the endictment of the person that you snitched on is that right or is that only in Texas?

    October 1, 2009 at 2:46 am |
  18. Kenyon Claiborne

    Well said Nas,

    October 1, 2009 at 2:39 am |
  19. Jalana Ray

    I have kids of my own who are teenagers and it saddens me to see how this young generation is. I can say that we are truly living in the last days because the innocence of a child is gone!

    October 1, 2009 at 2:39 am |
  20. Preme James

    Real talk.

    October 1, 2009 at 2:37 am |
  21. Carmen

    I agree why fight each other find ways to use your energy wisely. These teens need to be sent to Iraq or Afghanastan so they can fight the real enemies.

    October 1, 2009 at 2:07 am |
  22. Diane

    Nas has strong words to say and makes a good point. If only we can get other hip-hop artist and other rappers to echo his words maybe that will help in what are kids think is cool.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:56 am |
  23. Faheem Jones

    I think this letter from Nas was a courageous act to bring together our fellow citizens of Chicago. In the belly of societies madness we have a man willing to give the youth an alternate strategy for success. Sincerely, my thoughts goes out to all who lost loved ones.

    -Faheem Jones

    October 1, 2009 at 1:48 am |
  24. Ron

    I don't know why everyone makes this a race issue, I am sick of this I am white and proud to have a black President, because this nation is past race issues. So why do "haters" have to throw a wrench in it form both sides white and black.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:45 am |
  25. Faheem Jones

    I think this letter from Nas was a courageous act to bring together our fellow citizens of Chicago. In the belly of societies madness we have a man willing to give the youth an alternate strategy for success. Sincerely, my thoughts goes out to all who those lost loved ones.

    -Faheem Jones

    October 1, 2009 at 1:45 am |
  26. Andy B

    I'm hoping this letter reaches the youth in Chicago's Southside. Words very much needed from an O.G. Warrior that has lived it. Wake up Chicago youth, you truly are fighting the wrong war....

    October 1, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  27. TeXas Raised

    Naz hit the nail on the head! We have been fighting the WRONG war the WRONG way for too many years now. Wake up young people and think before you act. And yes I know what it is to feel HOPELESS, but if you use that negative energy to better yourself imagine the possibilities!

    October 1, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  28. ACE Diablo

    Wow NAS is a true Hero and inspiration to all of us young lost individuals. his words are very heavy and ring so true!!!! He's a real poet and Four Father.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  29. Kent Dennis

    This is exactly why Nas is looked up to in so many ways. Rappers are always betrayed as heartless and lacking in knowledge. However, there are positive rappers like Nas who do actually talk about social issues and being a positive influence on our young black youth. Wish more rappers would do the same!

    October 1, 2009 at 1:41 am |
  30. VicDAchef

    Good to hear from voices that have been in the slums and risen to speak to the youth.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  31. gee

    Thanks to Nas. This war against our children is going to take men like Nas and other artist of infulence, infulencing our children. Visit the schools, why not? There are enough artist to go around to each school on a regular basis and "rap" with the youth. No, it's not their responsibilities, it is all of ours, but society knows......This would Work!

    October 1, 2009 at 1:38 am |
  32. JJ

    I'ts not to late! We as the black community will come together and defeat these issues. Their are a lot of problems that we are facing but their are solutions!

    October 1, 2009 at 1:38 am |
  33. Adib

    amen to that!

    October 1, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  34. Rotate G

    Dame Nas, Thats what's up. I grew up in Chicago and Its a constant battle for these young souls, it was was a constant battle for me. These young men and women need direction and they(we) need to see it come from individuals like yourself. I really commend you and Anderson Cooper for this collaborative effort.

    Rotate G

    October 1, 2009 at 1:29 am |
  35. lynetta

    This is so true....Young Warriors of the world just sit back and ask yourself ...."What would God say"....

    October 1, 2009 at 12:51 am |
  36. Mac, Ca

    Well said. Amen.

    October 1, 2009 at 12:49 am |