MC and social activist Rhymefest ruffled a few feathers recently when, while appearing as a guest columnist on educator Donnie Smith’s Analog Girl in a Digital World blog, he called out Chief Keef and other rappers whom he felt were being used as tools to negatively affect the minds of Black youth and to promote America’s Prison Industrial Complex. While visiting Chicago radio station WGCI’s The Morning Riot show Tuesday, ‘Fest discussed his column and shined more light on the point he was making in it.
Being a proud Chicagoan, ‘Fest based his criticism on Keef, the buzzed-about teenage MC and fellow Chicago native who recently landed a deal with Interscope Records. In his column, ‘Fest called Keef a “bomb” who was representative of “the senseless savagery that white people see when the news speaks of Chicago violence,” explaining that the 17-year-old and those in his position are too often used to further negative images and ideas. He expounded on this point on The Morning Riot.
“It’s really not about Chief Keef as much as it’s about exploitation,” he said. “It’s no coincidence that during one of the most violent periods Chicago has ever seen, this is what represents us musically and this is what represents us as a people.”
The city of Chicago is currently in the midst of a record-setting year of murders, recording a startling 250 killings in the first six months of 2012. That’s 57 more homicides than New York City — which is three times larger than Chicago — recorded in the same time span.
‘Fest went on to explain that he doesn’t dislike any one type of music, but that he does have a problem with the disparity in the types of music that get heavily promoted and their crippling effect on the day’s youth.
“I don’t have anything against any particular kind of music, my problem is the imbalance of the music we get,” he said. “If all you get is ‘kill, kill, kill, kill, kill’ and we gon’ glorify that, then we’re conditioning our shorties and it’ll never end. They’ll do it, they’ll sing it, they’ll rap about it and that’ll be it.”
Listen to the full interview below.