Chicago Rappers Tell Youth To “Put The Guns Down”

15th Oct 2015

CHICAGO (CBS) — As part of Chicago Ideas Week, a group of artists and producers has debuted a new anti-violence campaign, aimed partly at those who’ve been in the midst of the violence.

“Put The Guns Down” is a hip-hop video featuring several Chicago rappers, including Academy Award-winning artist Common, alongside somber-faced people who have lost loved ones to gunfire holding up pictures of the victims.

The video is not just preaching to the choir; producer and writer Anthony “The Twilite Tone” Khan said it’s aimed at young people who might have guns.

“First, it was just supposed to be like a PSA-like commercial, and I said, ‘Naw, we gotta make this a full-on song,’” he said. “Not just Common … we need the dudes who make the soundtrack for the people doing the killing.”

How can a music video change the minds of young people who carry guns? Common said the “Put The Guns Down” campaign used a variety of Chicago rappers to deliver the message, even those with a history of what some call gangster rap.

“It was funny, as I was watching Lil Herb, talking about putting the guns down, I was thinking about, ‘Man, he’s got a lot of songs where he’s talking about he’s going to chop you down.’ But, at the end of the day, it was like … he told his story before, and this was what he felt on this, and even with that, it’s important that the kids get to hear somebody that they relate to saying that,” he said.

You can record your own verse, and add it to the campaign at