Can Hip-Hop Save Chicago?


Gangsters are running the windy city again. Instead of Al Capone and his suited up cronies, Chicago’s modern menaces are blinged out teenagers, inspired by the violent rap of the city. Can anything be done to stop the violence? Common says the culture that started the violence can help end it.

What motivates the teenagers running around with guns to crime? The culture surrounding Chicago’s rap scene perpetuates drugs, violence, and decadence. Chicago has produced some of the most prolific hip hop artists of all time, including Common, Lupe Fiasco, and Kanye West. Common wants rap to use its influence for better purposes. Two young rappers from Chicago seem to symbolically hold the fate of Chicago’s youth: Chief Keef and Chance the Rapper.

Chief Keef and Chance the Rapper grew up on the streets of Chicago, and carry that style into their rhymes. Drugs are their favorite topic, while guns are a close second. Chance even includes breaks in his songs meant to induce hallucinations while on acid. Chief Keef’s instagram, which can be noted for his excellent and varied use of filters, is like FBI instructions on how to get arrested. They live real life Grand Theft Auto. Keep in mind, most freshmen are older than Chief Keef (18) and most juniors are older than Chance (20).

Common believes their influence can be funneled into changing the lives of Chicago’s hoodlums. Common even suggested a peace summit with Chief Keef, after the teen was arrested for pointing a gun at police officers. Through educational programs and an overall culture change, Common believes teens can be swayed from pursuing the fame and fortune of gang life. Creative endeavors, including rap, can give kids an outlet besides violence. With help from Chance and Chief Keef, Common might be able to pull Chi-Town out of its red downward spiral.


(Image Source: From Chief Keef’s Instagram)