Abbotsford Hip Hop Artist Takes Aim at Street Violence
Culture / February 16, 2016
Saint Soldier’s new single ‘A Stray” addresses what can be done to curb gang culture
Abbotsford hip hop artist Amrit Saggu, who goes by the name Saint Soldier, published a music video to his Facebook page on Jan. 7 which accompanied the song “A Stray”, a single off of his upcoming album Duality. The song was inspired by a shooting which occurred in Abbotsford in early September of last year, when a stray bullet accidentally struck and killed Ping Shun Ao, a 74-year-old man and longtime resident in the area.
Police suspect that the intended target of the shooting actually lived next door to Ao, and that the shooting was part of a series of violent events linked to an ongoing gang war in the Townline Hill area in Abbotsford.
Saint Soldier’s lyrics in “A Stray” address some of the issues that influence young people’s decision to join a gang, or be otherwise complicit in gang-related activities.
“I believe music can be a very powerful tool to connect with others and influence change,” says Saggu. “In this case, I think it’s safe to assume that many kids going in this direction listen to the kind of hip hop that sends the wrong message, so why not use the same means to give them something positive?”
“I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop. In the past five years or so I’ve become far more particular as to what kind of artists I listen to, weighing more toward the ones who provide positive vibes.”
In terms of what people can do to try and help prevent younger people from being drawn towards the lifestyle in joining a gang, Saint Soldier maintains that their close friends and relatives could be the key to making a positive impact.
“It really comes down to the social conditioning of the individuals involved. Parenting plays a huge role, in my opinion. If kids weren’t exposed to their parents desperate pursuit for wealth or ‘money equals happiness’ mentality, then perhaps they would value something greater. Friends, music, and movies must also play a role in that conditioning.”
A devoted Sikh as well as a hip hop artist, Saint Soldier hopes for his music to spread the positive influence and lessons he has contemplated in his faith and the music he listens to.
“I’ve been influenced, in some way, by every rapper I’ve listened to. I’m thankful for them all. My greatest influence in life is my Guru, Nanak. He has helped me become aware of the oneness that pervades the universe. He has taught me to make every effort to cultivate this understanding within my mind and share it with the world. Which is the underlying message in most of my songs.”
“Just like war, this art form can be used for destroying or saving humanity, to a degree. It can be used to terrorize or to heal. I prefer the latter.”