Chief Keef

Drugs, Guns and Gangs: How Rapper Chief Keef Represents Bloody Chicago Culture

Originally published at TheGrio.com.

In the span of two weeks Chicago-based rapper Chief Keef has been demonized by a variety of media publications. They have attacked the content in his music, his negative image and even his young mother (she’s 32) for being what some have called an irresponsible parent for condoning her son’s erratic behavior.

What’s missing from the discussion that scrutinizes his every tweet is what circumstances birthed him and how he was able to massively capitalize on a murder culture while being on house arrest in America’s murder capital.

Last week Chicago police arrested 300 people and recovered 100 weapons in a 3-day gang and drug raid and March, May and August all recorded more than 50 homicides 2012 saw homicide victims in the city outnumber troops killed in Afghanistan. It is no secret that the violence in Chicago has been linked to gang activity. Last year the most frequent murder offenders were 17 and 18 years old.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

  Annual Chicago police statistics show a majority of both homicide victims and     offenders are young black men with criminal records…A deeper review of the        numbers shows males ages 15 to 35 made up nearly three-quarters of African-American homicide victims… In communities where the cycle of violent crime — disputes, violence and retaliation — has become the norm, young people who have seen too much death develop hardened attitudes about violence startlingly early.

Over the past few years Chief Keef’s Englewood neighborhood has experienced almost 150 deaths. Being a 16-year-old kid on house arrest in this deadly community creating songs like “Bang”, while pantomiming firing a gun and reciting lyrics such as “choppas get let off, they don’t want no war, throwing clips from the 4-5 gotta go back to the store,” he makes it easy to imagine that the people who are sparking the violence in the city look similar to him and have a similar background. Lupe Fiasco touched on this last week when he was interviewed about Chicago artist by a Baltimore radio station. Fiasco stated:

Chief Keef scares me. Not him, specifically but just the culture that he represents, specifically in Chicago…When you drive through Chicago, the hoodlums, I don’t want to call Chief Keef a hoodlum, but the hoodlums, the gangsta’s and the ones you see killing each other, the murder rate in Chicago is sky-rocking when you see who’s doing it and perpetrating it they all look like  Chief Keef. He looks just like Chicago…he could be any kid on the street…To hear the things that he rap about specifically comparing it to you open up the news papers and there is 22 shootings this weekend, it scares me.

After hearing Lupe’s comments, Keef took to Twitter and wrote:

Lupe Fiasco a h*e a$$ ni**a and when I see him I’m a smack him like da lil b*tch he is #300.

Violence is what he knows and violence is what he is advocating and he makes no apologies for it. Lupe responded to Keef via Twitter with a touching declaration to make peace and ended his portion of the conversation by unveiling that his album Food & Liquor  II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 , to be released September 25 via Atlantic, will probably be his last. Lupe wrote:

But my heart is broken and i see no comfort further along this path only more pain. I cannot participate any longer in this … My first true love was literature so i  will return to that … lupe fiasco ends here.

Violence in Chicago is not a new occurrence and neither is the imagery of violence portrayed in hip-hop. Chief Keef is not the originator of gangsta rap nor is he the first gang member to be signed to a major record label. Jimmy Iovine has proven before that he has a soft spot in his heart (or room in his bank account) for trash-talking-gang-representing-attention grabbing rappers like Snoop Dogg was in the early 90’s. What is notable about Keef’s rise to the top is that he emerged from Chicago at a time when the nation is zoomed into Chicago violence. He’s emerged as the bad guy, the face of Chicago violence and the voice of a thugged out culture.

Read Part 2 at TheGrio.com.

  • brotha_man

    “dont like what you’ve become”…smh.

  • Infinite8

    Has anyone seen The Carter Documentary?

  • this niigga here…

  • krakhaus

    Taleah, your post is missing punctuation marks, like hyphens and periods. I guess that’s why you write for allhiphop. Haha.

    KrakHaus signing out

    • Yeah, but a good read regardless.

  • Alf Capone

    whatever……..i dont like his music………or what he raps about………..but he is just one of many rappers that rap about the same stuff…………..hes just become the poster child

    • Chris

      Pretty much. I’ve been listenin’ to hip-hop since the late 80s. This ain’t nothin’ new.

      • hoeyuno

        Nothing new except the music is a little bit watered down more then usual.

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  • dominicancoke

    Lol wow taleah griffin can I get a bit of money since you straight up jacked my jimmy iovine has a soft spot for gansta rappers and makes $ of them from the last time you wrote bout chief keef meaning yesterday? Wow lol she took that from my comment smh

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  • ok guess i shud start listenin to his music. i thought he was guna b fake like 95% of rappers now- guess he keepn it trilla

  • Dudes check out our first remix pliz!!! Hope u like it!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKLpNm1ZPjw. Comment and suscribe if u want :)

  • Enough

    just another punk riding in a kiddie kar

  • insaneangelic

    Funny how when Rhymefest said what he did everybody dumped on him same with Lupe saying what he did but now everybody see what they were saying is true. everyone is thinking twice about his music.

  • Black Exodus

    The difference is the climate of the music is changing…folks are waking from the fog of gangster ism… it hasn’t done shit for the hood or anybody for that matter. All it does is take lives and gives nothing back. The artist that represent this culture are getting more ignorant by the second. Most can’t even speak correct grammer, shun school…shun family…and mind fuking every soul they infect…at least snoop had the rappers of yesteryear as role models (for style, flow, delivery and passion) …Chief Keef grew up on Gucci Mane…and Soulja Boy….Wacka Flaka and a host of mindless artist and their music. Naw…what’s happening is the climate is changing and we should expect and demand change…man I’m tired of coming in last place and I don’t need no music to guide my mind to lowest dimensions nigg$%dom. Shit if you gonna rap about something I live everyday be a poet with it…and inspire…these rappers are leading sheep into a one way trip to destruction.

    • Told you when M.U. dropped “Political” ..”The age of the ignorant rapper is done! Knowledge Riegns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone”….KRS-One

      DIAMONDS – Black Exodus

    • Dionn

      I am in total agreement with you…. .well said! The very unfortunate and disappointing part is the part that the media play in it, i.e. the radio. I cannot believe they play his music. You would think that in the state that chicago is in they would not advocate his or any other rappers music that promotes violence and the un-education of our youth. I live and work in englewood and take it from me the music is a major influence in their lives. It makes it almost impossible to talk with them and get them to see outside their ‘situation’ I can’t tell you how many students have told me they don’t see themselves living past 21, they EXPECT to die at a young age.

  • $25500724

    Is this when we continue to make excuses for him? His mom is 32 and condones his behaviour? How unbelievably sad. bullisht! How many of us were born in less than favorable circumstances? Do we all contribute to the mindless deaths of our own people? No. This useless tard may very well contribute to the retirement of one of the greatest artists of our time in lupe, and only real n left in the game. Its sad, and you’re making excuses for him. You should be ashamed.

  • YungKizz

    CHEIF KEEF TOO GANGSTA IMMA PRAY4HIM

  • LUCI_LITE

    if rap music has spoken the voice of the urban communities in the past Chief K is doing the same thing today he is speaking the voice of some of the youth experiences in the urban communities exposed to the ignorance or from what I see left behind. Its easy to point out the negatives that these youth display but its hard to look @ what going on behind the scenes. You got a failing school system in many parts of the nation-low employment-DRUGS MAGICALLY STILL MAKING IT IN and a young upcoming generation being audio/video exposed MANIPULATED to M.O.E talk worship. So it does not surprise me that this is now becoming the new voice BEHAVIOR of the youth today.

    I can remember back when if you were from the wrong hood/block wearing the wrong color it was basically a rap if you walked into the wrong area. You would get applauded on or worst. Thing is back then it was B&Cz /bangin on wax and CMW /music to drive by GB /till death do us part DRE /THE CHRONIC- SNOOP/187 on a PAC /ALL EYES ON ME -Top Auth.-Dayton fam. -Bone Thugs & 3 6 mafia ECT.

    The same energy was in the music then except then it was bout toten glock ninas (early 90s )which then upgraded to 40s (mid 90s) – 45s(end of 90s to early 2000) – k kaz or as many like to play and say choppers LAUCE current SMH whats next smh smh some cats gone lose it ego wise and got to be the baddest fools on the map & just start blowin up strip joints and clubs to make a point SOUND FAMILIAR.

    So it seems as the music got more aggressive so did the usage of the firearms mentioned above in the music. Coincidence maybe or is it a major set up hidden to basically coral/TRIM a “”””LOST GENERATION””””or more into a PRISON “BUSINESS” SYSTEM & FUNERAL BUSINESS SYSTEM due to them being LEFT behind and misguided IGNORANT.

    Now you got individuals upset with the FINISHING PRODUCT (GANGSTA YOUTH WHO GO RACHET ON ANYTHING OUT OF THEIR NORMS OR INTEREST) GROWN AND INFLUENCED FROM PREVIOUS RAPPERS AND MOVIE MAKERS (BEEF /LAUCE) misusing the airwaves/audio influence and video waves (videos) influence. What was expected????????????????? you TEACH A YOUNG GENERATION THAT MONEY IS OVER EVERYTHING THEY WILL EVENTUALLY BEGIN TO CATCH ON EVEN IF IT ISNT : FROM PUSHA T (ask?? WEALTH DONT BY HEALTH yeeaaah) YET THATS ALL THAT WAS AND IS IN THE MUSIC moe -GET IT HOW YOU LIVE YOUNGIN OR LOSE THE GAME- SO NOW THE OVERALL SOCIAL HEALTH IS BEGINNING TO DEGRADE WITHIN THE YOUTH EVEN MORE AND THOSE WHO MADE WAY FOR THIS BEHAVIOR ARE IN SHOCK AND AWWW AT WHATS BEING PRODUCED.

    From what I have observed these youth are just as LOST as the youth growing up in the 90s or 80s THEY JUST ARE BECOMING MORE FINANCIALLY STABLE SO THEY CAN NOW VOICE THEIR OPINIONS FREELY AND ITS SCARING THE ADULTS SMH some of the adults who made them………. LAUCE.

    So if ANY really wanna help and prevent this type of influence form continuing to spread to even younger generations then some rappers need to step they game up and recognize they are teaching generations that listen to them. But if it stays as a MOE thing then no body should be cryin and whinen for aint no body doing anything to assist these youth no, all thats being observed is: 15 he gone murk somthin 16 he gone murk somthin 17 he gone murk somthin (no dis Wakka) making a point here.

    Anyway my point is ITS UP TO THE VOICES/RAPPERS MAKING MONEY WHO CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE to do something otherwise the end product is the youth self destruct and that leaves no FUTURE smh A FUTURE THAT SOME OF THOSE RESPONSIBLES CHILDREN WOULD BE EXPOSED TO IF TO CONTINUE ON THIS WAY. . (my nightmares are TRIGGERED by bad memories????) listen to that face and what he say on that 2 chains “CAUSE EVERY CRIMINAL THAT I KNOW IS IN THE BINK YO? Scarface- ok ahh hope somebody who care is reading if not PRAYERS for the GLOBAL youth caught up in this tomfoolery abroad.

    I AM NOT CONDONING ANY ACTIVITES RELATED TO CHIEF HE IS HIS OWN SPIRIT no, I am however alerting many or any who can understand that this issue with the youth is intertwined in many OTHER global POLITICAL influences / activites.

    ME ILL WAIT FOR THOSE WHO ARE THE REAL GODS OF EARTH TO ARRIVE THOSE WHO CAN SEE EVERY BODIES SOULS AND WHAT REAL WITH THEM EXIST. WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE HOW THEY INTERACT HERE WITH THE MANY GLOBAL POLITICAL LEADERS OF ILL AND URBAN POLITICAL GLOBAL BOSSES (WILL THEY BOW IN THE FACE OF TRU GOD AS THEY REPENT WHO CAN FOLLOW THEIR SOULS FROM FELSH TO BEYOND HMMMM).
    BUT WOULD APPRECIATE IF SOME BEINGS HERE DID SOMETHING TO GENERATE MORE SOULS OF LIGHT THEN DARK BEFORE THEY ARRIVED makes for a better harvest :). LATA AHH GOD BLESS THE LOST MAY THEY FIND LIGHT BEFOR DARKNESS TAKES THEIR SOULS.

  • Paul198

    Chief Keef’s attitude reminds me of thugnificent from the boondocks…

  • Bumpy Johnson

    i dont like chief keef but cant hate on chief keef for what he represents..hip hops top rappers ever(tupac, Biggie, big L,) have represented the same lifestyle he is representing. they just had alot of talent unlike him . sadly most of them lived and died in the same ways characters in their lyrics did. If Keef stick around in chicago he gone end up with the same fate .

  • MiiUziWeighsATon

    He aint the first rapper to speak on it and promote it and he won’t be the last…no one hated on Hollywood eating off all the mafia shyt in the 80’s during the rise and fall of Gotti…u had the Godfather trilogy (tue 1st one dates back to late 70s), Mobsters, The Untouchables, Bugsy, Gangster Wars (The original Mobsters), and a couple others…all dickriding and glorifying mob life…art imitating life right!!!!!

  • breed500

    What I miss in this article is the people who raised the Chief Keefs of this world..they listened to 90′ s gangsta rap as much as these kids listen to ratchet ass music nowadays.This started way before Keef made his mark,how can a boy like that have morals and such if the family that raised him and the very streets he walks on teach him the opposite? When Interscope realized in the early 90’s that they had struck gold with the exploitation of black stereotyping in hip hop..that was it..when you offer someone a chance out of a desperate situation they will shuck,jive,eat chicken,jangle,get butt ,implants,lead their own astray,sexualize young children,and become the very stereotype that made them fall in the trap in the first place..but it’s a way to feed your family isn’t it?

    I saw a portion of a battle between Callicoe and Loaded Lux last week. Lux did something I have never seen before…he schooled the youngin,gave him that work so to say..He said what I’ve been telling my young boars for years now..check out that battle and watch his last verse..outstanding..

  • Terrance Goodman

    Gangsters used to at least do somegood
    Wit the bad. Now these fools have no guidance

  • i wont even read this if lupe hadnt made those statement you would never even made a connection.

  • thuglifefukdapolice

    chief keef is punk who needs his azz whooped u can tel his mother never beat him he prolly could barely read i aint gonna lie in his song i dont like i agree with the chorus i dont like snakes n snitches real tal but cheif keef a lil punk i see ri threw him he not a thug he is a retard

  • Guest

    ummm.. assimilating into the larger culture forces us to accept stereotypes placed DOWn on us from the larger often racist culture. My solution…we need our OWN nation..oh and not one nfiltrated by Uncle Toms or policed by the outside…our own etc. if you want ot stay, then stay..but even MLK started to think he was wrong, that AMerican society was crumbling etc. Marcus Garvey was right. We can start with educated ones who will build and deliver our oppressed from the urban hell holes and traps. Let’s face it..some of these haters love to keep us down when in fact we have proven to be the most talented etc. Plus we can malke something out nothing so why not our own country…so we dont even have to worry about voting for the lesser of two evils or have to dela with the self hate(psychological ) that comes from having to prop up a system which (no matter what we do) hates us. Thats why ou always say…”o I hope it wasnt a black man that committed that crime..looking for masters approval…..gtfoh!!! Kinko aka King David

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