By Rob Markman
Chief Keef is coming off a full week of making not-so-positive headlines, and No I.D., for one, hopes that the young Chicago rapper can see past hip-hop, and focus on the real troubles that the city currently faces.
Last Wednesday, the Chicago rap standout caused a stir on Twitter when he threw shots at Lupe Fiascoand then laughed off the death of local rapper Lil JoJo. Keef has since claimed that his account was hacked, but reaction continues to pour in. Music industry veteran No I.D., who’s also a Chicago native, sees a bigger problem, one that extends past both Keef and Lupe.
“It’s a lot of pressure right now in our city. It’s a lot of crime, it’s a lot of need for opportunity to make a quality life for ourselves,” the multiplatinum producer told MTV News last week in Los Angeles when we asked about his reaction to Keef’s tweets, including one where he threatened to “smack” Fiasco after Lupe contemplated retiring from rap.
“I think we gotta let the emotions die over, I think we gotta bring the situation to a head,” No I.D. said . “We’re in this together. It’s a lot of sad things that are occurring every day. Some things are involved in rap and some things are not involved in rap, and we don’t get to see them all.”
Keef’s tweets came after a radio interview where Lu said that Chicago’s hottest rap rookie scares him. Since he emerged with the gun-toting music video for his breakout single “I Don’t Like” in March, it has been all eyes on Chief Keef. Industry heavyweights like Birdman and T.I. attempted to sign the teenage spitter and Kanye West was quick to remix “I Don’t Like.” Keef represents rap’s new generation and his grim catalog seems to be a direct reflection of his native Chicago and its soaring murder rates.
Chi rapper Lil JoJo, who was gunned down last week, is just the latest victim of the city’s gun violence, and after he was murdered, a mocking message appeared on Keef’s official Twitter account. (“My Twitter has been hacked,” he wrote afterward.)
“Chief Keef is a young man from Chicago, reminds me of dudes I grew up with,” said Malik Yusef, a G.O.O.D. Music affiliate and Chicago native. “At 16, I probably was much like Chief Keef, maybe worse, maybe not as bad, but I wasn’t a nice person at 16. I wasn’t nothin’ to play with when I was 16, so I understand.”
“It’s really important that we take our minds out of rap world and get into the real world,” No I.D. added, perhaps referencing other conditions in the city, including a teacher strike that is currently keeping over 350,000 Chicago children out of school. “These are human lives and we really want to make sure that we value our lives and the lives of our children.”