SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – An aspiring young rapper’s tribute to friends lost to tragedy and gun violence is striking a chord in a city that has racked up a record number of homicides in 2021.
“People need to stop the gun violence because us as kids, we want to live and be free and we can do better in life,” Rayvon Webber, aka Ray Da Yungin, an 11-year-old rapper from Shreveport, Louisiana who released a music video for his song, “Miss You,” earlier this year
With four days left in the year, the city of Shreveport has logged more than 90 homicides, many of which were due to gun violence. One of the victims was Webber’s friend, classmate, and STING Academy football teammate, 12-year old Xavier Perry. Perry, his mother, and 18-year-old uncle were shot and killed by his stepfather in November in what police said was a domestic incident.
‘Miss You’ tells a heartbreaking story of how the Ridgewood Middle School student learned his friend had been killed.
I ain’t see you at the bus stop, I already knew
Something wrong here, he don’t never miss school
But I ain’t really play it no mind, just saying
Know we got gym, I’ma link with you later.
Die-hard dreams of a football player
We kids, ain’t much that can mess my day up.
Times like this when I really gotta pray up
Weight on my shoulders,
I’m gonna get my weight up.
Well 8:02, I knew somethin’ not right.
Second period, why am I gettin’ checked out?
Pops pulled up, he ain’t saying much
By the look on his face, I can say stressed out.
Hopped in the car, he let it all out.
This really got me in shock, like wow.
The middle-schooler lost a second teammate and friend in early October when 13-year-old Keithville Middle School student Oxford Foster was killed in a car crash outside of Dallas, TX in early October.
“You know, it’s so up close and personal,” said Webber’s father, Marquis Jackson, who also manages his son’s budding rapping career. “How do you deal with death? ‘I was just with my friend yesterday. I just saw him at school yesterday. Now today he’s gone.’ So it’s kinda hard to wrap your mind around that.”
Jackson says dealing with the deaths of his friends was hard for his son and he encouraged him to channel his emotions into the music.
Like, wow, how do I handle this so young
Yeah, how do I know if I’m ‘posed to cry?
How do you expect me to just say goodbye?
This is my letter to y’all expressin’ myself
Like ain’t nothin’ wrong
Whenever I’m gettin’ ready for the stage or a game
Just know I’m missing y’all strong
Still my dawgs
Oh you know I’m gon’ miss you
In real life, I was just with you
These memories ain’t never gon’ fade away
I’ll make sure that they don’t forget you.
“I was just trying to go off of what the situations were, of the events that happened, and that’s how that song just came about,” Ray said.
“Just being able to do that with my son is a blessing. But to be able to help him channel his emotions, to be able to help him channel that anger or whatever he may be feeling. Because it could come out in other areas. It could come out in other ways. Him seeing the violence in the city every day and seeing it on the news. It kinda gives him hope, especially with the recognition the song is getting, that things can get better.”
“If people just put the guns down and stop all of this violence, people could do more with what they were already doing now and during the future,” Ray said. “They’re going to do way better and know what to do.”
The 11-year-old says he has been rapping for three years.
“My sister wanted to make a song and me being nosy, I kinda just swooped in and tried to do it with her.”
Jackson says ‘Miss You’ is has gotten an overwhelming response from the community.
“We’ve received so many emails and DM’s from family members of the victims telling us how the song has helped them. So to be able to make a difference with my son and we’re making each other’s dream come true, it’s amazing.”
The young rapper said he took a life lesson away from losing his friends so soon.
“You’ll never know who is going to die in your life and you never know who life is going to be taken away. Just live life to the fullest.”
Ray Da Yungin said he will continue to be a voice for the community and they can look forward to hearing his album “UnderRayted” on January 15.