Reading alarming statistics about the numbers of African Americans dying in Chicago's out-of-control violence is jarring, but watching someone personally invested in the crisis become frustrated and distraught to the point of tears makes the message hit home in an entirely different way.
So when Lupe Fiasco broke down, saying, "Some of the kids aren't going to make it out of there," on MTV's RapFix Live Wednesday, people listened. Becoming emotional after seeing an old MTV News interview from his childhood block in Chicago, the nation's murder capital, he told the host, "It's a painful thing."
"It's some of them dudes is dead," Lupe told Sway as he tried to compose himself. "Chicago's the murder capital. The dudes in that video are in prison, a couple of fed cases, and then there's ghosts. You see people that, that ain't there."
After watching his younger self elaborate on the struggles of growing up on Chicago's notorious West Side in the clip ("Ain't no song that I can make, there's no 'We are the World' that I'm gonna make that's gonna unify and make all this better"), Lupe added that the situation had not improved six years later.
"Nothing's changed," he said. "Some of those kids ain't gonna make it out of there. You feel so helpless. That was me, talking to me six years ago."
The reality of the moment really hit fans, who chimed in on Twitter and in video comments to let Lupe know that they appreciated the "realness" of the moment.
The vulnerable moment hit home with viewers, many of whom took to Twitter to thank the Chicago rapper for his commentary and express solidarity with his goal of stopping the city's violence.
"Seeing @LupeFiasco on @MTVRapFix having a real moment inspires me to keep on track to#SoMuchMore," @tjay501 chimed in, and@LeGacieColeman added "@LupeFiasco@MTVRapFix! Was the most realist, honest, beautiful, heart-felt interview I have ever witnessed.#Food&LiquorII:TGARA in 62 Days ."
Read more at MTV.