I recently found out that We're all in the Same Gang was actually created partly in response to another collaboration that featured mostly East Coast Rappers called Self Destruction.
Click here for an article comparing the two songs
Click here for an aritcle about these two collaborations and where some of the rappers are now.
How effective were these collaborations at stopping and preventing gang violence? Considering the fact that these songs were released in 1989 (Self Destruction) and 1990 (We're All in the Same Gang), but gang violence continued to rise and peak up until the mid 90s... it doesn't seem like it had much of an impact. There are tons of other factors to consider, I guess... and it's the thought that counts.
Another observation about these collaborations--although I'm sure the intentions were good, there's an awkward juxtaposition of rap artists who make their living off of gangsta rap (Ice T, NWA, Easy E) telling people not to gangbang. The point of the song isn't necessarily to stop you from joining a gang, but to tell african-americans to stop fighting with each other, because there's a greater enemy out there--white people (or the Man, the System, injustice, oppression, prejudice, inequality--whatever's keeping you down), but no matter how you look at it, in We're All in the Same Gang, white people aren't seen in a favorable light. Check out this lyrical assault by Dr. Dre and MC Ren:
Ouch. So this is what happens when we view each other using stereotypes; we end up seeing each other like this:
The previous blog entries in this series on Rap