NY Post's Two "Rapper" Stories out of Dead Times Square Gunman: Shooting Styles and Kanye West

Man, the not-at-all-racist New York Post can't get enough of the Times Square gunman the NYPD shot dead when he started firing a MAC-10 in Times Square. He could've killed people? Meh, says the Post. But: a thug-life gangsta rapper?!

Now we've got a peg. Reminder: 25 year-old Raymond Martinez was chased down by an NYPD patrol while aggressively hawking his CD in Times Square. For those who haven't been in the last week, there're just as many people shilling any number of things in Times Square as there are people in Times Square. Or at least it feels that way. Martinez reportedly had a rep for hawking more aggressively than your average Times Square hustler. Because not all of them are chased down by cops. And also, not all of them are carrying a MAC-10, which Martinez was. He pulled it out, and proceeded to fire two shots. The gun jammed on him. And then Martinez was killed with four shots from a Sgt. Christopher Newsom. No bystanders were injured.

So, about that gun jamming up:

When scam artist Raymond "Ready" Martinez held the MAC-10-style gun parallel to the ground, it caused the ejecting shells to "stovepipe," or get caught vertically in the chamber, the sources said. The gun is designed to be fired only in a vertical position.

Right, just like you would see in films, television shows, video games, and, well, rap music. Or rap videos. Or rappers. Scary black guys with guns. Etc. The headline, of course:

"Times Sq. gunman held weapon like rapper"

Was he a burgeoning rapper? Yes. Did he rhyme about killing cops? He did. Is the "rapper gun" angle the most important or even interesting part of Raymond "Ready" Martinez's story the Post could've run with? Hell, do they even substantiate the "rapper hold" on the gun angle with examples? No, but that's okay, because this is the Post. You know what you're getting.

But two filings involving the "rapper" angle for the price of one shooting? You want it, the New York Post's got it. Check it, yo: he met Kanye West, for, like, a few minutes! And beat him at trivia:

Raymond "Ready" Martinez pulled out a cheap come-from-behind victory over West in the 2008 episode of the show "Hoodfab" which was filmed outside MTV studios in Times Square. Martinez failed to answer simple hip-hop trivia questions like identifying a lyric from Slick Rick's seminal hit "Children's Story," or remembering the Tribe Called Quest song "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo."

I know: Who doesn't know about the time Q-Tip left his wallet in El Segundo? But Raymond beat West by identifying all the rappers on a video montage. And his reward came in the form of these two grafs:

For his victory, Martinez was awarded a package of tube socks and a gift certificate to Foot Locker.

Martinez, 25, was killed Thursday after pulling a machine pistol on a cop after fleeing officers who stopped him from aggressively peddling his rap CD to tourists and then shaking them down for cash.

Are these two stories indicators of the New York Post's (alleged) culture of racism? Not necessarily. Is the writer on both pieces and a third piece on this giving "ammo" to Bloomberg's "gun crusade" a racist? Again, not as suggested here, in this strange turn of events—strange by any measure—besides which: Lukas Alpert has a decent rep with other reporters as a stand-up guy. That said, it's well understood that the difference between a Post story when it's filed, and a Post story by the time it goes to press? Often, two entirely different things.

More than how he held it, or what he rapped about doing it, or where he got it, why was Martinez carrying the gun in Times Square? Where'd he come from? Who saw this boiling to the surface? What of the relationship between unauthorized vendors and NYPD patrols in Times Square?

The question of which angles to shed light on when reporting stories often has several different correct answers. At the Post, even in the middle of the firing-lawsuit pattern? Not so much. Good to know some traditions of print remain well-tended to.

[Additional reading: commenter-turned-Gawker.TV scribe Matt Cherette notes that blogger-turned-Jezebel-contributor Rich "FourFour" Juzwiak wrote a comprehensive post detailing the relationship between dailies and their tendencies to call Black Guys in Trouble with The Law "rappers." It's here.]