Abbotsford hip hop artist releases video addressing gang violence

Amrit Saggu, who performs as Saint Soldier, moved by Townline Hill issues

Abbotsford hip hop artist Amrit Saggu

Amrit Saggu is saddened by what he has seen occurring in his west Abbotsford neighbourhood.

Young men with whom he went to school have turned to criminal activity to attain a lifestyle they believe brings them prestige and respect, but which is harming the community around them.

Saggu saw the police cars lining his street – Sandpiper Drive – last August after a car was shot up in a driveway as part of the Townline Hill conflict, which involves two groups of young men in a violent battle for drug turf in west Abbotsford.

But nothing hit Saggu harder than the needless death on Sept. 2 of Ping Shun Ao, 74, who was killed by a stray bullet intended for his neighbour on Promontory Court.

“When that happened, my heart went out to the family. It’s everybody’s grandfather. It’s so sad to hear.”

So Saggu, a hip-hop artist who performs under the name Saint Soldier, wanted to spread a message of hope and inspiration the best way he knows how – by making music.

Saggu has written a song titled “A Stray” with an accompanying music video that were released Jan. 8 on his YouTube channel.

The tune was inspired by the Townline Hill conflict and tells the story of a young man who is lured into gang life and faces tragic consequences.

Saggu said the title refers both to “a stray” bullet and “a stray” child. He said he hopes that young men who are tittering on the edge of such activity will think about the potential consequences before making the wrong decision.

He also hopes that those already immersed in the lifestyle will reflect on their actions and are able to forgive themselves and change their ways.

Saggu, who was born in India but has lived in Canada since he was a baby, said most of his music is spiritual in nature and tackles tough social and cultural  issues such as gendercide.

He said he was driven to write about the Townline Hill conflict as a means of “trying to understand what drives the madness in others.”

“In this video, we try to portray what might lead one into this lifestyle, and what devastation could result from it.”

Saggu wrote the song just three days after Ao’s death and teamed up with music producer Dj Hark, also of Abbotsford, to put together the video.

The importance of their work was emphasized one evening when they were at Hark’s home working on the storyline.

They ventured outside for a walk and saw several police cars in the area.

“We’re looking around at our neighbourhood and said, ‘What is going on here?’ ” he said.

Saggu said he is fortunate to have been raised by parents who encouraged open dialogue and urged him toward a “spiritual path” in order to find happiness within himself.

But he believes the young men caught up in the Townline Hill issues don’t have that same support.

“I think a lot of families are being blinded by the money their kids are bringing in … I think their parents are being pretty ignorant about (the criminal activity).”

A Stray also features cinematography by Rav Gill and video editing by Paul Alamwala.

(Below: A Stray, a new music video by Abbotsford hip hop artist Saint Soldier (Amrit Saggu), addresses gang violence.)




Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cities shouldn’t be on hook for highway interchanges they don’t own, Abbotsford mayor says

‘We’re supposed to pay for infrastructure that we don’t own,’ Abbotsford mayor says

UFV Cascades parting ways with men’s basketball head coach Adam Friesen

Friesen had been with the team for eight seasons, reasoning behind move unclear

Unnamed UFV professor found to have engaged in academic misconduct

University won’t release name of faculty member found to have breached academic policy

Yale Lions, Abbotsford Panthers competing in provincial semifinals tonight

Senior basketball teams can advance to provincial final with wins tonight in Langley

LETTER: Mayor Braun’s $8 billion transit plan will take too long to complete

‘We deserve better than having to sit in traffic for decades waiting for alternative transit to be built’

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Dragon boating changes lives for Spirit Abreast paddlers

The Cultus Lake based team is looking to fill a boat with breast cancer survivors and supporters.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Most Read