Fans in Alicia Keys' old Harlem neighborhood were mulling her controversial theory that gangsta rap was a government "ploy to convince black people to kill each other."

"The government has proven in the past to be untrustworthy," William Fox, 65, a retired counselor, who lives in Keys' former W. 137th St. building, told the News. "I don't want to say they're behind it, but they're somewhat behind it."

Shawn Gillis, a 21-year-old rapper and poet, told the News that Keys discredits the trail blazed by gangsta rappers N.W.A., Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G. and Snoop Dogg.

"I don't think it was the government. The government didn't make them who they were," Gillis said.

Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

Keys' AK-47 jewelry came as a surprise to her mother, who is quoted as telling Blender: "She wears what? That doesn't sound like Alicia." Keys' publicist, Theola Borden, said Keys was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Though she's known for her romantic tunes, she told Blender that she wants to write more political songs. If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton "had the outlets our musicians have today, it'd be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself," she said.

The multiplatinum songstress behind the hits "Fallin"' and "No One" most recently had success with her latest CD, "As I Am," which sold millions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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