Anyone who’s tuned into the news over the last year or so is well aware that the Lower Mainland is grappling with a gang, gun, and drug problem – one that’s proven difficult to tackle on every front.
One young man from Abbotsford is fighting back against the violence he sees in his community, with a new video.
But make no mistake, this is no P.S.A.
It’s a rap track – and a scorching one at that – penned by Saint Soldier, who’s real name is Amrit Saggu.
In a piece that’s as raw and powerful as it is melodic, A Stray follows a young man as he’s seduced into the gang life, only to watch it turn around on him – leaving his younger brother an innocent victim.
Saggu says he’s always produced music that touches on social issues, but the gang problem had been weighing on his mind – brought into sharp focus when a 74-year-old innocent bystander was killed by a stray bullet in Abbotsford’s Townline Hill conflict last summer.
“It kind of sparked the emotion to pursue this as soon as possible because I didn’t want to stand by and let something else happen without taking some kind of action to help.”
Saggu says the song name, A Stray, is meant as a double meaning: youth led astray – and the stray bullet that could kill someone you love.
He says he watched many of his friends from highschool be led down the wrong path – only to turn up in the newspaper years later.
While he says it’s important to hold people accountable for their decisions, but he’s hoping to start a conversation that shows the problem is more complex than that.
“I think the whole purpose of this project was to bring compassion to them as well – I hear everybody just blaming them and pointing fingers at them like they’re pure evil – but the truth is that everyone is driven by circumstances.”
Saggu says he hopes the track touches young people who might be on the edge of making those bad decisions.
But he says he’s equally hopeful it touches parents in the South Asian community too – who he says sometimes value wealth to the point that it affects their kids.
“As soon as they have the ability to pursue something where they can get instantly wealthy, or a good chunk of change, they’re going to go for it because that’s what they’re told is valuable in life.”