And I’m from the murder capital where they murder for capital

from Kanye West (Ft. Jay Z) – Murder to Excellence Lyrics on Rap Genius


From Jay-Z’s intro to “Lucifer”. Like this song, “Lucifer” was also a collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye, who produced the tune. A “murder for capital” is a murder committed for money.

Kanye’s re-purposing of the line is directed towards his hometown of Chicago, to which he directs this verse and his next. The city has had a large but slowly dropping number of murders since its early and mid 1990’s peak. Its 2009 rate of murder is .16 cases per 1,000 residents, which ties it for ninth among U.S. cities with over 250,000 residents. New Orleans, as Weezy so often claims, is the real murder capital, with a murder rate over three times greater than Chicago’s. But Chicago certainly has a brutally high murder rate. For illustration, Chicago has a population that is one third as large as New York City, yet Chicago has recently had far more murders.

Chicago actually has become the murder capital (as of January 2013), giving more truth to Yeezy’s line

Chicago has been the “murder capital” of the US several times. The designation is given to the city with the most murders, not the highest murder rate per 100,000 people. Chicago was the murder capital of the US in 1998, 2001, 2003, 2012. It is this dubious distinction that Kanye is referring to.

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