The Toronto music scene is currently mourning the loss of rising rapper Smoke Dawg (real name Jahvante Smart) and Prime collective member Koba Prime (Ernest "Kosi" Modekwe) after the two men were killed in a shooting last weekend. This morning, Noah "40" Shebib, one of Toronto's most recognizable talents, has written a message regarding recent gun violence in the city, sharing some thoughts on the tragedy and what he feels is the right way to respond on Instagram.

The producer points out that the media coverage of the recent shootings has been "reductive and disconcerting." He criticizes reports that suggest that "these murders are all gang-related" and says that the proposed solution of "increased policing" is "troubling to say the least." He states that he is speaking up because he can not stand silently as his "colleagues are being murdered."

"As a city, we need to value the community voice and lived experience when deciding on solutions and financing," he writes. "We must work to build the capacities of our youth so that they can be resilient enough to navigate a system that is not inclusive to them. We have to create environments so these communities may flourish within themselves, for themselves." 40 then goes on to say that he has "collaborated with a team of invested and qualified individuals to help develop sustainable solutions for our city's violence problem." He states earlier that he can not "endorse responses that further the prison industrial complex."

He closes with an extension of his support to the families of those lost to violence in Toronto. "To the city I love, to its beautiful residents, to the mothers, fathers, and family members of the youth we've lost to senseless violence, please know that I am with you," he says.

Read the statement in its entirety below. GoFundMe pages for the families of Smoke Dawg and Koba Prime are currently open for donation. Donate to Smoke Dawg here and Koba Prime here.

I'd like to share my thoughts concerning the recent rash of gun violence in the city for a number of reasons. First being that I was born and raised in Toronto, and am still a resident. More importantly, my colleagues are being murdered, and I have lost close friends to gun violence. I can't rest in good conscience knowing I can say, and more importantly do, something. I, like many Torontonians, am not content with intermittent support in moments of tension. Nor can I endorse responses that further the prison industrial complex. Gun Violence has been and continues to be a problem in our city. The longer this lingers without us intervening in meaningful, sustainable, and non-colonial ways, the greater the jeopardy for Toronto's youth. 

I'm not an expert, but I don't have to be to see that the media coverage of the recent shootings has been reductive and disconcerting. The suggestions that these murders are all gang-related and that increased policing is the most effective remedy are troubling to say the least, especially with little to no mention of increasing community resources and capacity building for youth. As someone who is fortunate to benefit from the resources of our city and the public platform to make a difference, as someone this violence impacts deeply, I have given much thought on how to help.

As a city, we need to value the community voice and lived experience when deciding on solutions and financing," he writes. "We must work to build the capacities of our youth so that they can be resilient enough to navigate a system that is not inclusive to them. We have to create environments so these communities may flourish within themselves, for themselves.

Over the last two years, I have collaborated with a team of invested and qualified individuals to help develop sustainable solutions for our city's violence problem. Our project is not a reactionary one. We have been proactively working on a project the entire city and country can be proud of. There are no easy answers and we are asking for patience from the public before we share details, but the last few weeks have been heavy. The pain is palpable. I can see it in people's eyes; I hear it in their voices; and I can no longer remain silent.

To the city I love, to its beautiful residents, to the mothers, fathers, and family members of the youth we've lost to senseless violence, please know that I am with you.

In support and solidarity,

40.