[Opinion] That's The Sh*t I Don't Like: The Inexplicable Rise Of Chief Keef & Rewarding Ignorance
Last December, 16-year-old Keith “Chief Keef” Kozart was arrested on gun charges for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. The story behind his arrest suggests that Keef was one three individuals apprehended for firing gunshots out of a blue Pontiac Grand Prix in the Washington Park neighborhood of Chicago. When police arrived, one of the three teenagers pointed a gun in the direction of the cops. A single gunshot rang out but nobody was hit. Keef was arrested along with another unnamed teen. The third participant fled the scene. Keef spent 30 days in house arrest at his grandmother’s apartment and another 30 days in home confinement. Somehow, those events sparked the career of a young hip-hop star.
“314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago” – Kanye West on “Murder To Excellence”
For the city of Chicago, this scene wasn’t out of the norm. Reason being is that Chicago has had a staggering uptick in gun violence among children. According to NPR, 700 children were hit by gunfire in 2010 and 66 of those were fatal. Homicides overall have gone up an eyebrow raising 38%. It’s no secret that Chicago is a cesspool of violence. This is the same city where 16-year-old Derrion Albert was caught on video beaten to death by his peers. The same city where high profile entertainers (Jennifer Hudson) and athletes (Eddy Curry) have seen members of their families murdered. The same city where rappers ranging from Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco to Common and Twista have been vocal about doing whatever it takes to curb gang violence in their city.
So, why is it that Chief Keef — whose Facebook page once said that he works as a sales representative for “Selling Dope” — has been rewarded for endorsing the destructive gang culture that has plagued the city?
No sooner than the teenager’s house arrest ended did his meteoric rise begin. On January 2nd, WorldStarHipHop posted a video of a teenager going nuts once he learned that his favorite rapper Chief Keef was out of jail. In between fits of excitement, the boy recited lyrics to a then relatively unknown song titled “Aimed At You” including “What you in this sh*t for show? Who the f*ck is you n*gga?/ On that gangbanging sh*t, this is what I do n*gga” and “Middle fingers to that reggie, cause all I smoke is loud/Them guns super loud, will shoot a n*gga down.”
How delightful of a ringing endorsement from one teenager to another that moonlights as a rapper when he’s not preoccupied by his gangster antics. And a big shout out to WorldStarHipHop for adding this totally unnecessary video to the pile of sh*t they continuously post for cheap hits that makes our community look bad. And way to go to all the people that have helped make WSHH one of the top 300 websites on the internet. You know, because as WSHH’s Lee “Q” O’Denat suggests “people relate to the realness.”
Now, all everyone wanted to know was (as a WSHH user commented) “Chief who? Who the f*ck is cheif Keef?”
All it took was one ignorant video to send people into a tizzy trying to find out just who in the hell Chief Keef was. His YouTube numbers for the video “Bang” went through the roof. Blogs jumped in on the mix and posted his videos and “Bang” mixtape. Shortly after, Lil B and Soulja Boy recorded remixes to his songs “Bang” and “3 Hunna,” respectively. But no remix would be bigger than the one for his local hit “I Don’t Like” where Kanye West, Pusha T, Jadakiss and Big Sean pulled the song out of the South Side and gave to the world (Ed Note: The song closes out the G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Summer). Little did they know, they also gave the world Chief Keef and everything that comes with him. A major label deal with Interscope soon followed that reportedly gave Keef a hefty sum of money and the now 17-year-old can consider himself a star. He has the cosigns, record deal and 219k followers on Twitter prove it.
However, it is kind of strange for Kanye West to blindly cosign someone who pushes the very culture he has tried to squelch on “Murder To Excellence.” But I’m sure that he won’t see it that way. Neither will Interscope. But I digress…