The Demonization of Chief Keef and Lil JoJo


I've always said the generation before mine does a lot of complaining about hip-hop, but they are the ones working in the offices signing all the acts they complain about. A sixteen-year-old kid doesn't work for a record label and isn't giving million dollar checks to aspiring rappers.

I love MC Nameless. You hate him but someone in your age bracket signed him. If you're mad, be mad at yourself and all your friends. The people doing all of the complaining are the same ones milking the cow. My older cousins and uncles were always the ones that passed music down to me. I learned most of what I know about classic hip-hop from people older than me. I didn't set the tone, I simply listened, observed and formulated an opinion afterwards.

Gangbanging has been a problem long before I was a full-time rapper. I'm not a gangster rapper but I was raised in the ghetto, so I understand the art form. I make reality rap records about my experiences in this lifetime. I remember I was booked to perform at a college scholarship function last year. I came out to a packed crowd and performed my most popular record at the time, "Out The Kitchen." If you know the record, then you know the subject matter of the song is basically crack cocaine, black males going to jail, black males dying, with subliminal undertones of fighting the power beneath it all .I think the record is an honest look into the life I saw growing up, losing family members to senseless acts of violence and street crime. When Tech Supreme and I made this song, we never intended on it becoming a single of such magnitude.

Long story short: I performed the song and people were complaining about me doing what they perceived to be a song about selling drugs at a college scholarship event. I had a problem with this, because every record the DJ played that evening besides my own was pretty much saying the same exact thing but with less concern for the community the message reaches. The crowd would dance and roar with excitement every time one of their favorite songs of this nature came on, yet apparently I was deemed an irresponsible villain since I didn't perform "We Are the World". I have a problem with hypocrisy of this nature and it makes my blood boil. Moments like this, I want to yell, "Shut up! Everyone is stupid and no one gets it."

Young Buck had a great line on his first album, which I believe is a classic. The line states something like, "People were killing each other before Buck got here, and they'll be killing each long after Buck leaves".

If you didn't throw gangster rap under the bus when Menace 2 Society was released then don't do it now. Chances are, when you were a teenager you rushed to the movies and paid your money to see this film. I on other the hand have never even seen it in its entirety. I was too young to watch it according to my mother, and we didn't have cable.

My point is don't blame the youngsters for what we're pumping into the culture when you did the same exact thing, possibly on a heightened and more destructive level since you gave birth to the genre. The seventeen-year-olds of today were introduced to this music and told, "These are the rules of engagement."

I'm not seventeen years old, but I acknowledge that they have been gifted a version of hip-hop that has been stripped down of most moral implication. When I was introduced to the culture it still had small seeds or moral implication in its fiber. You can't teach the kids to gangbang through the music and then call foul when they all decide to gangbang. The music isn't the blame but the music also didn't abolish gangbanging.


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12 comments
DarrenStarr
DarrenStarr

todays rappers must speak out about violence in our communities and not with veiled half-baked raps that can claim to be conscious if studied under a lyrical microscope  .  todays top rappers must work with all their strength and ability to teach the youth that it is not cool to be violent. more rappers in the spotlight must full-stop denounce violence. Intelligence, honor, love, humanity and the search for beauty in the world must be the new "cool", even at the expense of rap careers if necessary. Rappers must speak these truths, as the families that once could are in total disarray. what horrifies me is that instead of mainstream rappers pushing forward this radically positive agenda to our youth, the most violent and mindless rappers are not only NOT being rebuked, they are actually being co-signed by top-tier artists who seem to have sold their souls.   Thats why I applaud Lupe Fiasco.  More rappers must follow.  Refuse to co-sign Keef.  come out and say that the message that Keef spouts is wrong, and will only lead to more deaths.  But most ill not speak up.  Their up-and-coming rap careers are dependent on you getting along with the new "it" rappers, even ones that are morally repugnant.  It could also be that directly speaking out on such matters carries with it other dangers.  For those reasons, I cannot truly begrudge any rapper that chooses to maintain the status quo.  

TYBG
TYBG

I agree with dewarrenMiH below.  That said, I'd like to comment. If I take anything from this article, it's your premise that Chief Keef's rise is due to (or at least parallels) the overall rise of schlock gangster rap that was hoisted on us in years past, and that we as a society (and consumers) are somehow partially to blame for co-signing such wack, nihilistic garbage. (even though the 'garbage' is actually just a reflection of our F---'ed up society) That's fine.  I see your point, I guess.  BUT it should be also noted that it seems very clear to my ears and most of my friends who know as much about hip hop as you do, Tef - is that Chief Keef is pure garbage. This fact is vital, as it accounts for most of the backlash you are sensing in regards to this 'artist' as of late. From day one, it was clear that Chief Keef had zero musical talent. No flow, no unique voice, nothing. Frankly, His fledgling rap 'career' was based on nothing but hype, a few well-placed lukewarm reviews, and a lame co-sign or two by guys too busy to even research what exactly they were co-signing.  So please note, if there is now backlash against this clown rapper, it is because he is now rightfully being seen as ungrateful, moronic, callous in regards to a peer's death, and a tad too-dead-eyed/mindless and overhyped.  He didn't deserve his spot.  His songs are wack, his attitude is too immature.  There's nothing there to like.  When people realize they've been had by an 'artist', there is backlash.  Well we've been had by Chief Keef. As a side note, I hate burst your bubble, but there is likely no shining beacon of greatness inside of Chief Keef. Some people are just dunces.  Keef is likely one of them.  Some people are just scumbags.  Keef makes my scumbag radar go off. My advice to you is realize that some people are just bad news, and it isn't always society's fault. As far as positivity and hip hop, these days I only mess with Lil B the BasedGod.  He's more real and far more brave than anyone I see in the current hip hop landscape.

vikvaughn
vikvaughn

you need a copy editor.  do you really expect someone to read 4 pages of this?

kidmozaratii
kidmozaratii

 This article is bullshit you have none of your facts straight chief keef was not in the video jojo's beef was mainly with  lil reese so before you star incriminating people and speaking on stuff have your facts straight. 

c680425
c680425

THE PROBLEM IS MAJOR LABELS HAVE DROPPED ALOT OF THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES ... INORDER TO JUST MAKE MONEY ... 1. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT DEPART.

2. ARTIST DEVELOPMENT  3. MOBILE DJ LISTENING SETS  ETC. 

ALL THE ARTIST YOU MENTIONED WERE GROOMED FOR THE INDUSTRY AT SOME EARLY POINT IN THEIR MUSIC CAREERS ... LABELS NO DAYS DON'T PUT THAT SAME EFFORT TO BLACK GANGSTER RAP ARTIST ... SWIFT"

dewarrenMiH
dewarrenMiH

It's time to revolutionalize the way the African American community takes care of its youth. We have organizations like the NAACP, Black Panther Party, NOI, and others aren't making an impact in the community and some black churches care very little about the communities they are nestled in as though its not their calling. The cards are stacked against our youth before they are even born. The conditions that create the environment in which we grew up, Keef. and Jojo was created generations ago and without a transformational leader a little closer to home, like a Tef Poe and others like him that are relevant and who speak truth to power we will continue to see numbers and senseless deaths rise in CHI and my own Northside of STL

v_luscious
v_luscious

@StreetMadeTeam @tefpoe LOVE that blog! & everyone should look at my last RT & read it too!

mhdvn
mhdvn

@TefPoe we shouldn't lay blame. it's our world -- we should do what it takes to foster growth

DarrenStarr
DarrenStarr

 @dewarrenMiH I agree with most of what you say here, but no disrespect, but just  how is Tef a 'transformational leader', exactly?  Notice Tef Poe won't even speak out about Keef.  "I wish him much success".  HUH?!!!  You wish "much success" to a non-rapper with zero appeal spreading a poisonous, nihilistic message of hate and death to his peers during the middle of most violent times an increasingly violent city has ever seen?  As a student of hip hop, and a person who even understands that hip hop must have balance to move forward and remain relevant, I wish Chief Keef failure, NOT success.I'm sorry, but too many rappers are too afraid of the consequences of actually speaking out. Too afraid of appearing soft, too afraid of appearing to be another crab in the bucket.  A really brave rapper would speak out and ask the violent youth to look into their hearts and find love.  A really brave rapper would attempt to make positivity an attractive option (Mr. Lif, Lil B, Lupe Fiasco, De La Soul)  Instead, here we get a long screed about how society and consumers are to blame and how the author wishes Keef success.  I'm sorry, but its time for a different story.

TefPoe
TefPoe

@mhdvn thats what the article about..

dewarrenMiH
dewarrenMiH

@DarrenStarr I understand where you are coming from totally, but I believe Tef Poe is a transformational figure because of his work in the community and in particular Amnesty International. Youth violence is a problem but no artist can bring the necessary attention it would take to reverse the tide of destruction we see in today's youth. I believe Tef is transformational also because his artistry is not rooted in the glorification of violence, the exploitation if women, or illegal drug use. An artist can only do so much and in all actuality they are hoping to support their families. I think that's why Tef wished him success because he can identify with that aspect of Keef.

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