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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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 like.author.displayName 1 Like

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 like.author.displayName 1 Like

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

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.

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.

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

TefPoe
TefPoe

@mhdvn thats what the article about..

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