Gang related violence in Chicago - Referat
Chief Keef, a Black Disciples Rap star:
"You say this is your block, you put tattoos of the name of the street on your arms, but you won’t cut the grass on this block? You won’t paint the old ladies house on the block, that can’t afford no paint? (…) That’s what the gangs used to do, that’s what they are supposed to do." - Joe Hunter, former gang member.
Just like a lot of young gang members, rappers are known for bragging about their accomplishments a lot. The quote from Joe Hunter, shows how the block does not mean as much as its name to the majority of the members of Chicago’s gangs. But if it only was for bragging, rap music would not have it made into this research paper. Chicago and rap music walk together hand in hand. The location, the races and the people made Chicago’s rap music as big as it is today. But the biggest and for me the most interesting factor is the violent nature, which automatically leads to Chicago’s gangs. Why especially Chicago? Let me explain on hand of the example of ‘Chief Keef’.
Producing rap music is a very common activity for gang members. The police actually appreciates, seeing videos with 20 people in one house, standing around a camera, showing gang signs and guns into the camera while rapping. This might seem very odd, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Even though the young men admit to be a part of an illegal organization, for the moment they don’t spend time on the streets, getting in trouble.
Rap music however, is not only an activity to kill time instead of people. It seems to be a chance for gang members, who hope to make a lot of money and get out of their violent everyday life. One very famous rapper and ‘Black Disciple’ member from Chicago is the 19-year old Keith Cozart, better known as Chief Keef. The Chicago south side native might be the best example for how a successful rap career looks like and inspires more and more men from Chicago to chase their luck as well.
Thomas Morton is a correspondent for the American channel HBO’s show ‘Vice’. One segment of Vice is called ‘Noisey’, which is the Music section of Vice. In a 8-part documentary series , Thomas Morton, along with his Camera crew, visit Chicago and talk to multiple Rap-artists. One of them is former mentioned Chief Keef.
When Morton and his show Noisey arrived at Chicago, they missed Chief Keef, however they set up an interview with Keef’s producer, in part 1 of the series called ‘Chiraq’, a young man going by the name ‘Young Chop’.
When Tyree Pittman a.k.a. Young Chop was only 11 years old, he got introduced to the music production software ‘fruity loops studio’. Ever since then, he says, he stopped going outside, focused on producing music and finally got really good at it. He produced songs for Chief Keef and his friends, such as Fredo Santana, Lil Durk and Lil Reese. Eventually he signed a contract with Warner Bros. Records and nowadays works with Hip-Hop Artist all over the United States. Believe it or not, all that happened in a little room from his mother’s house in South Englewood, in Chicago.
What I felt was very interesting to see, is the fact, that even Young Chop, who grew up in Chicago, works with Rappers every day and who’s everyday life is surrounded by a violent environment, said the situation in Chicago’s street is too serious. He did not brag about violence, did not preach it and definitely was not proud of it. Also, as Noisey reports, Young Chop "has never been invigilated with a gang and has a completely clean record."
It just seems that such an environment, gives so many lyrics to talk about, that it might be the perfect stage for rap-music, talking about guns, drug-abuse and violence. Unfortunately not every Chicago-rap-associated artist is as peaceful as Young Chop. Due to the violent lyrics, that made Chief Keef become a superstar at such a young age, other kids and young men from the streets of Chicago want to be just like him. Now even though it might seem like a good thing to be creative instead of committing crime, Chicago’s youth knows, that violent lyrics sell the best and these lyrics provoke members from other gangs and often end up in shootings, due to anger and frustration.
To the end of the first part of Noisey’s documentary ‘Chiraq’, Chief Keef’s manager Idris Abdul Wahid, who goes by the name Peeda Pan, explains why he thinks, Chief Keef was able to celebrate such a big success. Due to social media, such as twitter, YouTube and facebook, not only people from Chicago’s blocks were able to witness Chief Keef’s rise, but people from all over the country. Idris says, people noticed how ‘real’ the music was. What he means by that, is that the lyrics do not talk about meeting a nice woman at a bar and living a nice life in a sunny city, just like you might hear on the radio. The lyrics talk about struggles, violence and dreams of Chicago’s youth and especially, because Keef was only 15 years old when it all started, people who did not know a lot about the lifestyle, were so shocked by the music videos and the lyrics, they got so into it, they could not resist listening to it and eventually made Keef become a superstar.
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