Friday, September 14, 2012

Nikki Lynette On Chief Keef & Violence In Chicago

What nobody wants you to know about the violence in Chicago

I have been in New York on business for the past couple weeks. Every time someone finds out I'm from Chicago, the reply is always something like "Yo... Chicago is going crazy right now." Then they quote something to me about the latest death toll in my hometown. Honestly, I don't wanna hear that shit. I grew up around gang violence and poverty. It wasn't until I witnessed a murder/suicide in the apartment across the hall from me that I decided to save up money and leave the hood for good.

One of my friends who runs a prominent hip hop blog here in New York asked me why Chicago is so much worse this year and why our city is so bad that people like Cheif Keef were able to build a buzz by "talking that little kid street shit." I looked him in his eyes and said "Because people like you publicize it. You helped make Cheif Keef a star. People in Chicago finally get to see someone from the block getting fame, and it just so happens the rappers from Chicago who y'all choose to acknowledge are on some goon shit. So don't talk to me about the violence in my city. You contributed."
He didn't have a reply.

People can try to blame artists like Cheif Keef (I refuse to acknowledge the existence of Lil Mouse) for the recent rise in violence in Chicago streets, but if you really wanna make the point that their "negative message" is the reason for the crime then don't you have to point the finger at the media outlets that publicize them? Don't you have to blame international superstar Kanye for hopping on Cheif Keef's song and getting him recognition? Don't you have to blame the makers of  Pitchfork's "Selector" series for interviewing Cheif Keef in a gun range? Don't you have to blame all the hip hop sites (whose names I have been asked not to mention) who booked Cheif Keef for hella shows and give him prominent features on their site?

Even the major publication that I write for gave Cheif Keef a cover story in the paper. They knew about his music's content but they featured him anyway. There are plenty of talented artists with less violent messages who they can feature. For example, Rockie Fresh is a dope lyricist from Chicago who recently got signed to Maybach Music Group. Rockie is awesome. Where is his newspaper cover? And personally, if I had not become a freelance writer for the paper and was allowed to tell my own story, I might have never been featured in the paper at all! When it comes to rap in Chicago, only the goon shit seems to get the spotlight. If you don't believe me, ask any rapper from Chicago who isn't a goon.

If it is true that life imitates art, and entertainment media helps to expose art, then that raises an important question, right? Whose doing more damage here, Cheif Keef, who raps about the only lifestyle he knows, or the media and famous people who publicize him and expose his "negative message" to a larger audience?

The same press that publicizes goon shit are the ones reporting the numbers every time the death toll rises. There. I said it.

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1 comment:

I Love Hip-Hop said...

Well said!!! Thank you Nikki for speaking the truth!