Chicago rapper Chief Keef (f/k/a Keith Cozart) is back in jail - likely exactly where he belongs. On probation for 18 months for pointing a gun at a Chicago cop in 2011, Cozart was shown in an on-camera interview last June with Pitchfork Media, holding a rifle at a New York gun range. Dumb as dirt hardly begins to cover it. Cozart should have known that Cook County criminal court judges don't play - a Cook County judge ruled that Cozart had violated his probation, and put him back in jail, where he'll stay until his sentencing on Thursday. As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Cozart is also being investigated by Chicago cops surrounding his role in the Sept. 4 murder of rapper Lil Jojo. The murder of Lil Jojo, and Chief Keef's role in it, became a national conversation after Chief Keef sent out tweets that indicated he found the murder amusing. He, denying responsibility, claimed his account had been hacked.
In the current culture, where the NRA volleys with gun control advocates over enacting sane, sensible, common sense gun control measures, the politics of this particular thug rapper's crime is just as alarming as it is commonplace. Guns, violence, disrespect, insensitivity: All the bases are covered. Let's hope this Cook County judge does the sane, sensible, common sense thing, and throws this little thug's behind in the slammer for a long time.
A debate raged tonight in my house between my son Mpulse, also a Chicago rapper (who's likely disadvantaged because he's not a gansta rapper), and some others - a couple of whom grew up in less than stellar areas of the city and suburbs - about the cause of Chief Keef's rise and fall. Is it the gun culture? The 'hood? Gangs? Parenting? Listening to rap music? Video games? There's no simple answer. Listen to the NRA, and you'll hear that guns have nothing to do with gun deaths, and it's all about violent video games. Listen to the NRA, and arming everybody is the only solution to gun violence. Listen to the NRA, and janitors should be throwing themselves in front of bullets in schools, all in the name of leveling the shoot-em-up playing field. It's doubtful, however, that the NRA has Chief Keef in mind as they lament "gun free zones" in the country and tout the value of arming everyone.
Well, the NRA can pound sand, because the first problem is guns - easy access to guns, and the charm of guns to young kids. And the second problem is this: This kid was 16, 17 years old, and apparently nobody with any sense was paying attention. Nobody was paying attention when he quit going to school at 15. Nobody was paying attention when he was waving a gun at a Chicago cop. Nobody was paying attention when he was violating his probation at a gun range out of state. Nobody was paying attention when he was tweeting jokes about a fellow rapper's murder. A photograph shows Chief Keef and his mom (see photo) throwing up gang signs together, a symbol, evidently, of mother/son solidarity.
For Pete's sake.
Chief Keef was born to a 16-year-old mother and he, in turn, is a father to an infant daughter. He got a rare shot at fame and fortune - and nobody was paying attention when he blew it. He's probably going to spend time in jail and come out more hardened and insensitive and jaded than he is now.
But if you think about it, his criminal life started with a gun. And another gun, in a different place, will likely be the ultimate weapon that will bring him down.
If and when our kids - or even kids we know who aren't ours - become enamored of guns, we need to be paying attention. If and when our kids, or our kids' friends, become enamored of gangs, we need to be paying attention. If and when our kids get a shot, like Chief Keef did, at stardom and wealth, we should be paying very close attention.
Chief Keef probably needs to be in jail, and his music career may be over, but that doesn't mean it's entirely his fault. Just think what could have been if one caring, involved adult had been paying attention.