Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Rap 'Diss' Tracks Linked to New Wave of Gang Violence

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Rap 'Diss' Tracks Linked to New Wave of Gang Violence

Article excerpt

YOUTUBE rap tracks are heating up feuding between a new generation of street gangs whose conflict could have claimed the life of a former Manchester City hopeful.

Sait Mboob, 18, died after being stabbed in a brawl on Moss Side's Alexandra Park estate.

It is not believed that Sait, a business student from Openshaw, was involved in gangs and may simply have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But he was in the Moss Side area when knifemen came to the Millennium Green playground looking for trouble on Tuesday night. Two 17-year-old boys and an 18-year-old man are recovering in hospital.

While the guns and gang scene which once plagued the area has diminished through police and community efforts, new conflicts are developing involving rival friendship groups from different Manchester neighbourhoods.

Many of these groups include local rappers who record online 'diss' tracks - where one area disrespects another, issues threats, or boasts about attacks on the other.

These territorial groups are based in areas including Ardwick, Cheetham Hill, Moss Side and Rusholme and are distinct from organised crime gangs.

But they do engage in violence to settle disputes and the use of knives is a worrying turn in events.

Officers have raided three addresses in Ardwick and arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of murder.

The 'mass disturbance' that claimed Sait's life came after two flashpoints, the M.E.N. understands.

Firstly, threats have been going back and forth online between rappers associated with different neighbourhoods, with their associates posting under videos in YouTube comments sections. And, hours before Sait was killed, 10 men and a boy were convicted of the killing of 18-year-old Abdul Hafidah. Abdul's killers were all associated with the Moss Side gang, while he had ties to Rusholme and Cheetham Hill.

While it is not believed the murders of Abdul Hafidah's and Sait Mboob are directly connected, the 'diss' track posted online and the convictions are thought to have inflamed tensions which led to violence.

Police had increased their presence in the Moss Side area following the verdicts in the Abdul Hafidah case, and passed by Millennium Green playground half-an-hour before violence broke out.

A young woman who was at school with Sait Mboob told the M.E.N.: "Everyone is saying the killers came into the area as retaliation for a diss track. They have come into Moss Side, seen a bunch of people in the park and they have gone for them."

In the comments section of a You-Tube track seen by the M.E.N., threats and references to recent violent incidents - including the multiple stabbings in Millennium Green and the murder of Andul Hafidah - go back and forth, as well as boasts of what will happen if rivals stray into different postcodes, and talk of revenge. …

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