The Demonization of Chief Keef and Lil JoJo

The only reason music like this even exists in the first place is because when you were a teenager you bought it and supported it monetarily. I know the gangs would exist outside of the music and the music is simply painting a picture of the world as it develops. I don't want to sound like one of those idiots who blame everything happening in the real world on the music. I am saying these problems existed before the kids of today even knew anything about them. We all played a role on some level. Keef plays a role in this for the kids of tomorrow, and so do I. I'm not going to demonize the music because if hip-hop shuts down tomorrow the gangs and the violence of America will still exist. Chief Keef more than likely has a lot of admiration for Gucci Mane. I think Gucci Mane has a few timeless mixtapes. His music activates the clubs like none other.

I've been to parties where the DJ turns his albums on and lets them bang from start to finish. You have a hard time seeing the artistic value in Gucci Mane, but Keef and I didn't sign him. People older than me signed Gucci. So don't blame us for being fans of what was presented to us. Blame yourselves for not laying down in the middle of the street and stopping the gang violence of the '90s before it became this current generation's problem. Blame yourselves for the crappy gangster rap albums you purchased in the '80s and '90s that eventually led to the artistic deterioration of the reality rap artform. You see, some time in the '90s it was determined that all gangster rappers didn't have to be lyrical geniuses. As long as they kept it hard body and spit some crazy bars about life in the hood, there would be no problems. MCs like Scarface changed the game, but the fans allowed watered down duplicate versions of these types of rappers to ruin the genre. So when the music evolves from where it was last touched everyone seems to get pissed. Everything starts with the fans but we seem to forget this and I feel like it's my job to remind us.

You can dislike Chief Keef all you want but you created him in 1993. This is easily ignored by most so-called avengers of the artform. I remember seeing my favorite gangster rap groups on MTV in the middle of the day flashing pistols, and waving machine guns with laser beams at the camera. I was too young to watch and remember YO MTV Raps, but I've seen rerun footage of these episodes. This was on cable TV after school like it was all good apparently. Nowadays we get upset at these kids for making YouTube videos and waving pistols at the camera. I'm just saying it's a repetitive, evolutionary cycle. So now instead of one gun, it's twenty guns per video.

The same science applies to the destructive nature and influence this type of activity has on our inner city youth. It never stops, and now some how has become a supercharged version of everything we love and hate about our society. There are a trillion movies that were supported by your very own dollars, which did more internal damage to our community than Chief Keef has at the current moment. Once again, for the one-hundredth time, I am not defending ignorance but I am however pointing out the contradictory nature in our behavior. Let's keep feeding the beast until it grows into an unstoppable Godzilla-like creature. Once it becomes unstoppable, let's find a scapegoat and act as if this is the primary reason for the madness going on our world today.

If you saw Joe Schmo make a million dollars by telling the world how much of a badass tough guy he is then surely I can't blame you for following suit, especially if you were born in the ghetto and raised in a neighborhood that has introduced you to the woes of poverty and self-hatred. We live in a society that specializes in turning black males into America's greatest villains. We have a black President and somehow he murders Osama Bin Ladin and people still think he's the devil or the anti-Christ. Unfortunately some of us have learned how to turn this villainization process into a profitable income.

I can't be mad at the rappers that walk this plight necessarily even though I don't completely co-sign it. In a dream world everyone would rap about telling the kids to go to school and saying no to drugs. But the reality is we don't live in a dream world and poverty is real. If a person finds a gap of light in the depths of this darkness and uses it to their advantage I honor it to a certain degree. I don't agree with Keef's tweets where he laughed at JoJo's death, but I understand the world Keef comes from, and I also understand that he's not an adult. So I blame the people that were here before him. Someone set the tone for this dialogue prior to the arrival of Chief Keef. This is Slumdog Millionaire meets Boyz N Da Hood meets City of God. I know you may have forgotten about this world.

But it's right down the street from you and you drive as far from it as you can daily. Chief Keef goes to school at Soldan and JoJo went to Vashon. Both of them are living in a world of pure insanity and trying to find a way out of it.

I pray that JoJo's family finds justice. He did not deserve to die at such a young age. I refuse to publicly demonize either one of these young men because at the end of the day we have all collectively failed them both. They were forced to live the lifestyle they both knew best. We created it, gifted it to Keef and JoJo and cried foul on the play when they decided to play by the rules we manufactured for them. I didn't make a million dollars at Keef's age. If I would've died at JoJo's age then the entire country would not have discussed my demise via the Internet. There is a shining beacon of greatness inside both of these young men.

Society taught them to bury the light deep inside of their souls. Society flipped the script after it introduced them both to the rules of engagement and condemned them both in the very end. It's the same game over and over and over again. I am Chief Keef and I am Lil JoJo. I can identify with both of these young men. My friends look like them and talk like them. The people I make music for dress and dance like them. We have turned into a society that either fears young black men or treats us like monsters. The same people on Twitter condemning Keef are also condemning JoJo for dying the way he died. I'm sure he never intended on leaving the planet this way. I'm sure he had intentions to make a name for himself in the rap world and get his family away from the circumstances of the ghetto.

He was cornered, I've been in his shoes before and I was fortunate enough to have an exit from the madness of my neighborhood. Some of us find love and utilize it while we can. But some of us are born into desolate situations that completely lack love and hope. These are the ingredients that create the Chief Keefs and JoJo's of our world. These are just my opinions. I hope Chicago finds a way to have an era of peace. This is truly what we all hope for in one form or fashion. We want every impoverished community of the world to eventually discover peace.

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