KILLEEN - A 12-minute cypher featuring well-known rappers in the area has garnered attention from the Killeen community.
The video has received over 88,000 views since being uploaded July 7 to Facebook.
Controversial lyrics from the First Wave Cypher, performed by numerous rappers from the Bell County area, has many people split on the song's true message.
Artists in the video used their rhymes to talk about unifying the city. They said it shows the youth that music can be a positive outlet.
"It gives them a sense of understanding that there's something better you can do with your time out here other than out here getting into trouble everyday," one rapper said.
The cypher also highlights the growing frustration with the city's rising crime rate and unsolved homicides. Rapper Profit Zone referenced 10 homicides in 2017 alone -- five of which remain unsolved.
"I know a lot of people that are really upset that stuff is not getting done," Profit Zone said. "Shine the light back on it. Make it more relevant, instead of it being forgotten and swept under the rug like pretty much everything else is."
Another rapper in the cypher, Brotha Redd, used his verses to discuss the controversial no knock warrant case. Officers including Chuck Dinwiddie tried to serve a no knock warrant at Killeen resident Marvin Guy's apartment, which lead to a shootout.
Guy is now in jail being accused with capital murder charges. Redd claimed his line is not intended to disrespect anyone, but rather shine a light on the complicated nature of the case.
"First and foremost, there's a gag order in that case that prevents people from talking about it," Redd stated. "I know that with rap music you can use that to bring awareness to a lot of situations. In the line itself, all I'm saying is if you break my window at four in the morning, I'm going to react the same way that he did."
The rappers are aware of the backlash they have received online, but said much of the response has been supportive. They are hoping to build on the support.
"I'd rather hear the truth than see these young men out here being another statistic," Derrick Cunningham, Killeen resident, said. "I'd rather them just take out their frustration in the music, than getting out here committing these crimes. I think anyone would like that."
The group of rappers said they are planning another rap in the future and hope to receive open dialogue about the song. A meeting between the rappers and the Killeen Police Employee Association is in the works. A date for such a meeting has not been set yet.
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