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Can Chief Keef Help Save Chicago?

Chief Keef [Keith Cozart], the teenage Chicago rapper and popular subject of discussion on this blog, is on the cover of the Chicago Reader.

The weekly newspaper explores the rapper’s rise and–get this–considers the idea that Chief Keef’s growing popularity might be a good thing for the city:

It’s important to recognize that Cozart resonates with a large, young portion of the city if there’s any hope to understand—or maybe even overcome—the issues plaguing those parts of the city (and, by extension, Chicago as a whole). To many Chicagoans, Cozart is a peer who has suffered through the troubling systemic issues that have crippled entire neighborhoods. These kids see themselves in Cozart’s imagery—that’s obvious even to outsiders. Unfortunately, rather than trying to understand those who connect with Cozart’s music, many Chicagoans are pointing fingers—and the divisiveness appears to be getting worse. Twitter has become a hotbed of ignorant comments about Cozart’s fans, fueled by stereotypes about class and poverty. For example: “Chief Keef makes music for niggas who struggle to read out loud in class.”

[...]

The sensational parts of the Chief Keef narrative—getting arrested on gun charges, living under house arrest at his grandmother’s place, wearing a court-ordered ankle bracelet to performances—are very much real, though, and his popularity has become a jumping-off point for national discussions about violence in Chicago, forcing more people to seriously look at the issue. “Keef has done more to publicize the fact that Chicago has a crime problem than the crime problem has publicized Keef,” [journalist David] Drake says.

Read more at the Chicago Reader.

Keef’s music and what he represents has been derided by many.

But is he, like the article says, crucial to helping solve Chicago’s crime problem and by extension helping black youth who see themselves in Keef?

Is he not the problem but the way we reach a solution?

Do we need to look at Chief Keef through another lens?

Sound off below!