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Felipe Delerme, a writer at TheFADER.com, recently conducted an interview with 16-year-old Chicago rapper, Chief Keef. Aside from highlighting the toxic life — composed of drug abuse, violence, and risky s*xual behavior — that the rapper and his peers live, it also highlights Chicago Police Department’s lackluster interest in truly ending the destructive behavior of the troubled youth in the black community. In fact, one could argue that the interview has revealed that the law enforcement endorses this destructive behavior. During a portion of the interview, rapper Chief Keef’s peer, Santana shoots a video for a song titled “My Lil N*ggas” in Englewood, one of the most violent communities in Chicago. Below is an excerpt from Delerme’s article in which he illustrates the destructive behavior of the youth.
After the group chat dissolves, someone hoists a pair of magnum-size bottles of Remy Martin into the air. The cognac is dispersed and filming finally begins. Chicago rap video director de rigueur D. Gainz is behind the camera, assisted by three local college students, the only white faces on the block. The video’s participants, now about 20 deep, commandeer the entirety of the street and all the cars believing they would use 64th Street to reach their destinations have to make U-turns and reroute. Darkness falls and the men chase the camera light as if it were a sunbeam. Fredo’s “My Lil Niggas” is repeatedly blasted from a black SUV and the group’s energy increases as the liquor takes effect. Some of them remove their shirts, revealing skinny, tattooed frames and eventually a shiny handgun is raised like a torch. A police car pulls up soon thereafter, the officer asking good-naturedly, “Where’s the guns?” “We ain’t got no mo, ya’ll took em all!” someone shouts from the sidelines. The officers drive off.
During another portion of the interview, Delerme illustrates a failed family structure and judicial system that enable Chief Keef to make poor decisions.
About five minutes into our stunted exchange, his grandmother emerges from a backroom, lit cigarette in hand, to inquire about his guests. “I’m ’bout to go in like two seconds,” Keef says to her offhandedly. She is incensed. “Why is you ‘’bout to go’ when you supposed to be here!?” she says. “They not gon’ come, they getting all they stuff together for tomorrow,” says Keef, referring to the court investigators monitoring his case. “You one of ‘they stuff,’” she replies and laughs. Keef is not amused. “You know how to not answer the door or no phone,” he says. “Them people don’t care nothing about him,” his grandmother says, turning to me. “All they wanna do is lock him up so he don’t get this money. Men are men, I don’t care if they are the law, and they always have been jealous of the youngsters that are getting money.” She continues in detail about their family’s criminal history and how having families of their own straightened out most of their lives. She says that Keef’s mother, who like his father seems not to be involved in Keef’s day-to-day, is 31 and “just a baby.”
Keef’s parole officer, a dark-haired woman in a sensible pantsuit seems enthralled by him, which helps explain why he’s been able to skirt his judicial obligations. When Peeda Pan rattles off concert dates to her, she jokingly asks to come along. “I heard about it, I wanna see it in person,” she says. “I know who he is, we listen to the radio. I’m the type of PO—if he’s this successful, I wanna know why. We’re tryna stop him from talking about money and what he’s doing, ’cause if he goes somewhere and everybody knows where he is, it’s not necessarily a good thing.” Before she’s done talking, Keef is halfway down the hall.
The following morning, Keef is in the parking lot of the local DMV. He’s wearing the same outfit he put on in the car the day before, a multicolored Ralph Lauren polo shirt that looks as if he’d spent the night playing baseball in it. He’s here to replace a misplaced ID, one secured for him not six weeks prior in order to make the trip to New York. The processing line moves quickly, but in front of the clerk things go south just as fast. The address they’ve requested for his ID doesn’t match the one from his social security card, and he doesn’t have a piece of mail to prove the address he’s listed. “Do you have a report card or something from school?” the clerk asks. “I don’t go to school,” he snaps back. “Well then your mother is going to have to come—”
“Uh uh,” Keef says, cutting him off and storming out. He’s halfway across the parking lot, Alonzo calling after him to no avail, when a security guard who witnessed the ordeal intervenes, saying someone inside told him who Keef was and that he likes the idea of him trying to do something positive with himself. He tells Alonzo they can go to Staples, buy a form lease and fill it out with the information they want on Keef’s ID. Peeda Pan and a visibly annoyed Keef are off, returning a few minutes later with the paperwork. Alonzo fills it out and goes back inside with Keef. Miraculously, it works.
Concluding the interview, Delerme is given a gift from Chief Keef as he approaches him to say his final goodbyes.
After the DMV, Peeda Pan and Dro inform me that GBE have business to discuss and that I can meet them again later that evening. Knowing I won’t see Keef later or again at all before I leave Chicago the next morning, I walk up to the driver’s side of Dro’s truck where Keef is sitting and tap on the window to say goodbye. He rolls it down, and as I reach out to dap him, he hands me a blunt.
The entire interview can be read by clicking here.