While American hip-hop and violence tend to get stereotypically bundled together, usually because of the high-profile murders of rap stars that are involved, Australian hip-hop has had a relatively safe rise to the forefront of the music scene by comparison.
There are exceptions however, most notably Emcee Kerser who narrowly survived a drive-by shooting in Melbourne last May, and an up-and-coming hip hop artist who is now fighting for survival after being stabbed in a fight that broke outside of a Sydney nightclub last night where he had just performed.
As The Herald Sun reports, 19-year-old Jelal Edmonds, rapper name Lazy J, was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital last night with severe wounds after a late-night scuffle broke outside Club Eleven in Sydney’s Oxford St.
Lazy J was at the venue performing with friend and fellow hip hop collaborator Panapa Iafeta aka Big Guy. According to witnesses Edmonds and Iafeta got into a verbal altercation with men inside the venue that were kicked out of the nightclub, that continued after the show outside the venue.
Police said that Edmonds and Iafeta got into a fight with the man who was evicted from the nightclub, as well as two other men, one of which who pulled a knife and stabbed Edmonds in the stomach.
“We were at Club Eleven and so happy about the single and had just got out in the street when it all happened,” recalls 20-year-old Iafeta of his friend’s attack. “There was yelling and screaming and punches being thrown. Jelal came over to help and then there were people getting hysterical and before I knew it the police arrived.”
“I looked over and Jelal was standing near a pedestrian crossing,” continues Iafeta. “He just sank down like he was in a slow motion movie. Then he lay on his back. When I got to him his eyes just kind of closed. That’s when I saw he had this stab wound right near his heart.”
The two had been working on forthcoming single before the nightclub incident, “it was to be called ‘Ecstasy’ and released on YouTube and iTunes yesterday,” said Iafeta. “We have put it off. Now all I want to do is be near Jelal. He is like a brother to me.”
Edmonds is now in a serious, but stable condition in St. Vincent’s Hospital while two men, aged 21 and 22, have been arrested in connection with the incident and charged with affray. They have since been released on bail and are due to appear in court next month.
The stabbing comes as Sydney’s CBD is experiencing a severe government crackdown on street violence in the wake of the death of teenager Thomas Kelly in a senseless attack in Sydney’s King Cross in July, and since then issue of alcohol-related violence has become a political platform for pokie-lined pub venues and politicians alike.
A political issue that has led to movement on introduce policies closer to a Police State – rolling out mandatory ID scanning and sniffer dogs on city streets – despite the potential harm to Sydney’s live music scene. That’s on top of bar operators in Kings Cross accusing the government of bad policies over a liquor licensing crackdown that will cost them over $1 million a month in lost revenue.
The news of the X-Factor contestant’s stabbing will only help fuel the politicians arguments that late-night music venues harbour an unsafe environment, all against the backdrop of the City of Sydney council attempting to piece together a new Cultural Policy, asking for public input on ways to improve the city’s music scene.
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