I’ll keep this one short and sweet for all the simpletons who don’t seem to understand: Hip-Hop did NOT invent the “no snitching allowed” concept.

Now it’s not that I don’t understand what a lot of folks’ beef is with the whole “Stop Snitchin’ Movement” — they see it as a “movement” that’s letting criminals and murderers go free every day, so they’re pissed — and this post is not at all meant to discourage regular folk from cooperating when they’ve been victimized, it’s just that a lot of folk seem to think that the hatred of loose lips started entirely with us.

No, silly — the anti-tellin’ concept is an old one, people just have different names for it.

This stop snitchin’ “movement” [people throw that word around too much, don’t they?] — and, more recently, the “Kill All Rats” movement — is nothing more than a ghetto adaptation of the Mafia’s ancient Omerta:

You prefer a lip zipper or some concrete slippers?

You prefer a lip zipper or some concrete slippers?

Omertà is a popular attitude, common in areas of southern Italy, such as Sicily, Calabria, and Campania, where criminal organizations like the Mafia, ‘Ndrangheta, and Camorra are strong. A common definition is the “code of silence”.

Omertà implies “the categorical prohibition of cooperation with state authorities or reliance on its services, even when one has been victim of a crime.” Even if somebody is convicted for a crime he has not committed, he is supposed to serve the sentence without giving the police any information about the real criminal. Within Mafia culture, breaking the oath of omertà is punished by death.

You know rap niggas and street niggas all go to sleep and dream about being mobsters, so they emulated some shit.

Even the po’s have a code, it’s called the “Blue Wall” or “Blue Code”. As dirty as them muhfuckas are, you know they gotta have something to watch their asses.

The Blue Code of Silence is an unwritten code of (dis)honor among police officers in which reporting another officer’s errors, misconduct, or crimes is regarded as a betrayal.

I’m sure that if you asked any cop about the “Code” they’d deny its existence, but cases like the notorious Rampart Scandal and the brutal beating of Frank Jude show that it does indeed exist; and people like Frank Serpico — whose fellow police officers tried to have him killed after he snitched on them — prove that being a “narc” can have deadly consquences.

Even if they don’t have an entire code or belief system, you’d be hard-pressed to find any group or organization that doesn’t frown upon Tellin’. The corporate world has its own term for snitches: “whistleblowers”.

Blow Ya Whistle

Blow Ya Whistle

A whistleblower is an employee, former employee, or member of an organization, especially a business or government agency, who reports misconduct to people or entities that have the power and presumed willingness to take corrective action. The misconduct may be a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption.

While whistleblowing might not get ya killed, it can definitely make you a pariah, a target for harrassment and threats, it could even get you fired from that fly-ass gig. The only reason retaliation isn’t more severe is because whistleblowers are protected by federal law, which, in itself, should tell you how much disdain people have for them.

Nigga, yo mama don’t even like no Tellin’! How many times during your childhood did she or some other family member tell you to “stop bein’ a tattletale”?

The moral of the story is NOBODY likes a snitch (or a rat, tattler, narc, stool pigeon or whistleblower), it aint just us Hip-Hoppers. So leave us alone, already.

(P.S. If you should happen to Tell and live to tell about it, there is a chance you could end up with a movie being made about yourself. See The Insider, Serpico and Goodfellas for examples. If the dark cloud of how Tellers are viewed has any silver lining, I guess that’s it.)

**Here’s what inspired this post**



  1. Hip-hop did not start the whole “no snitching” thing, but I will say that it is the main promoter of it right now. All these “coke” rappers are the one pushing this stuff. Young thundercats don’t know that “no snitching” doesn’t apply to your everyday law abiding citizen. It was just a rule that was between those in the criminal world. “If I get knocked for something, I won’t mention your name, you don’t mention mine”. Since you’ve seen innocent witness’ get murked on the Wire, now even innocent citizens will get taken out if they see someone kill their grandmother and report it. I’ve always kept my eyes closed and my mouth shut, but I certainly feel what the outrage is over.

  2. […] for fear Ms. Blogmaster (or a sneaky informant) may read this and spoil my plans… *thanks to for the […]

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