'The Young Flames' making a difference in Philly through rapping

Meek Mill's Flamers Mixtape inspired the name of this group of kids looking to make a difference

Annie McCormick Image
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Young Flames rapping against violence
Nine boys are using rap to call for an end to violence.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Nine boys in Philadelphia are using rap to call for an end to violence.

The kids, ages 8 to 12, call themselves 'The Young Flames,' a take on an album by one of their idols.

"Meek Mill's mixtape called 'Flamers,' and we really loved that name, so we just put young because we're still young," Kaier McGhee said.

The group began two years ago with three boys attending the fourth grade in Universal Institute Charter School in South Philadelphia.

Their lyrics are heavy for kids, but paint the struggles of growing up in Philadelphia where shootings and the homicide rate are sky high.

Their messages are all positive.

"We need to stop the gun violence. Put the guns down," Safee Johnson said.

"That's what makes me want to stop everything, all the violence. Even more than violence, take all the drugs away," Jayden Barasky said.

Christopher Giddens organizes The Young Flames' weekly practices.

"They come up with the raps, the beats; they're really little musical engineers," Giddens said.

The Sound Gallery Studio in Port Richmond donates studio time.

Their stars are rising.

"It's a blessing in my life to be able to see see these young kids be able to turn into young men, and kids that want to be kids while simultaneously changing their community," Giddens said.

"I used to get bullied a lot and all that anger I didn't know how to express it, but that's when music came into my life," Young Flames' Amir Crawford said.

The Young Flames are in high demand. They are booked in the community throughout the spring and for a summer kickoff event.