Michael Skolnik, the top political adviser to hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, wants to meet with 17-year old Chicago rapper Keith "Chief Keef" Cozart to tell him face-to-face that he should be using his influencial voice in more positive manner. At a panel discussion on gun violence for Chicago Ideas Week, Skolnik expressed that he sees Chief Keef as a mirror image of the dangerous Chicago community that he resides in.
Chief Keef is a member of the Gangster Disciples and his name has been tied to the investigation of 18-year-old Chicago rapper Joseph "Lil' JoJo" Coleman's murder earlier last month. Keef and his entourage were involved in an ongoing public feud online and in the streets months before JoJo was gunned down.
After the shooting, Chief Keef's Twitter account flooded timelines with messages that mocked JoJo's death. Later, that same Twitter account send out messages saying that Chief Keef's account was hacked and the account even sent out condolences.
Police have not accused Chief Keef on any criminal acts in the case; the investigation is not closed.
Skolnik and Simmons are not interested in making any business deals with Chief Keef. Instead, they are interested in letting him know that he does not have to promote violence to be successful in the rap game.
It is a sad reality that people are listening to and supporting music that they consider "real". There are a lot of people that prefers to listing to music about some guy shooting up the block and serving drugs. Many people that are from the rough neighborhoods such as Englewood and the "Wild Hunneds" feel as though they can relate to this lifestyle and their support only fuels the fire for Chief Keef and other Chicago rappers to promote the gang lifestyle.
How do we expect these Chicago rappers to stop rapping about the lifestyle that people are paying to listen to? How do we expect to progress as a people if we continue to allow these negative images and words envelop us and our children?
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