Self Destruction, The Stop the Violence Movement (1991) → Changes, 2Pac (1998) → Mama Knows, The Game (2011) → Paranoia, Chance the Rapper (2013)

Looking at this lineage of songs, they each exhibit a narrative style that reflects on the social climate of their time. Focusing on Self Destruction by The Stop the Violence movement, the ensemble of rappers denounce violence and self destructive tendencies that they say reinforce negative stereotypes. The song preaches love and respect for one another, critiquing the violence within the 1991 New York rap scene through its verses.

[Kool Moe Dee]
Back in the sixties our brothers and sisters were hanged
How could you gang-bang?
I never ever ran from the Ku Klux Klan
And I shouldn’t have to run from a black man
‘Cause that’s…
Self destruction, you’re headed for self destruction

[Heavy D]
I heard a brother shot another, it broke my heart
I don’t understand the difficulty, people
Love your brother, treat him as an equal
They call us animals — mmm mmm, I don’t agree with them
I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what your proving them

The style of narrative rap in Self Destruction uses each artist’s personal position to reinforce their own message that violence within their own communities is unnecessary and shows no purpose other to tear eachother down. Turning towards Changes by 2Pac we see the artist examine himself as a black man in America in an unjust racist society. He mentions realities that low income families face, and systematic racism being one of the reasons of disconnect and unfair opportunity in black communities.

My stomach hurts so I’m lookin’ for a purse to snatch
Cops give a damn about a negro
Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he’s a hero

In the second verse 2Pac says misdirected anger and hate is leading us to act disgracefully. He wonders what will take to end racism, saying that “the only time we chill is when we kill each other”.

Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races
We under, I wonder what it takes to make this
One better place, let’s erase the wasted
Take the evil out the people, they’ll be actin’ right
‘Cause both black and white are smokin’ crack tonight
And the only time we chill is when we kill each other
It takes skill to be real, time to heal each other
And although it seems heaven-sent
We ain’t ready to see a black president

The artist portrays this song as the acceptance of a cold, harsh reality. A product of racism that has been so deeply ingrained in society that it feels inseparable. Although 2Pac is against the condition of the world around him, that’s just the way it is, things will never be the same (like the chorus suggests). “And as long as I stay black, I gotta stay strapped”