Not every Chicago teen loves Chief Keef
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org October 20, 2012 1:36AM
Torrin Clifton (left) and Danielle Miller talk about Chief Keef and Lil JoJo and their influence at Robeson High School, 6835 S. Normal in Chicago. Clifton, a senior, says he’s not a fan of rap music. | Al Podgorski~ Sun-Times
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:24AM
Chicago’s latest bad-boy, hip-hop export doesn’t thrill every teen at Paul Robeson High School on the city’s South Side.
But that doesn’t mean Chief Keef isn’t taking up space on their iPods.
“I actually got a song of his on my phone,” sophomore Jamise Parish said. “I don’t listen to it, but it’s on there.”
Parish said her brother downloads her music, and she doesn’t know how to delete the track. Actually, she’s no fan of Chief Keef, calling him a “negative influence on our neighborhood and our community.”
She tires of hearing classmates quote his music; the gang-related lyrics make her uncomfortable. And she can’t even walk to the store without hearing it, she said.
Robeson is a hot spot for the ongoing rap feud between allies of Chief Keef and rival rapper Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman, 18, who was killled last month in a hail of bullets. Coleman had attended Robeson.
Police are investigating whether Coleman’s killing had anything to do with a war of words between him and Chief Keef, who has not been implicated in the slaying.
Coleman’s mother has said he grew up in Englewood and went to Robeson with an ally of Chief Keef’s.
Parish said tensions at the school are still high, noting that Chief Keef’s music apparently prompted jeers at homecoming while JoJo’s drew applause.
“It calmed down for a little bit,” Parish said.
Other students at Robeson admire Chief Keef’s success story.
Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, launched his career off his single “I Don’t Like.” He now has a deal reportedly worth millions with Interscope Records, the label of 50 Cent, Eminem and Dr. Dre. He’s touring and working in the studio.
But that success hasn’t made his problems go away.
Chief Keef appeared Wednesday in juvenile court, where prosecutors asked a judge to put him in juvenile detention for allegedly violating the terms of a probation sentence he received for pointing a gun at a Chicago cop. The judge put off the decision until next month.
The feud between Chief Keef and JoJo, as well as Chief Keef’s rising stardom, has drawn national attention to Chicago’s South Side.
Robeson senior Torrin Clifton said that doesn’t affect him — he’s not a fan of rap and doesn’t live in the neighborhood — but it doesn’t mean it sits well with him, either.
“I don’t want them to think that it’s like we’re just getting killed out here, you know, everyone’s dying,” Clifton said outside Robeson. “And for the wrong reasons, or for dumb reasons, in my opinion.”
Chief Keef obviously has his fans. Robeson sophomore Ramel Green, for example, said “everybody just be singing his music.”
And sophomore Malika McToy defended the rapper, saying, “He’s just trying to make his money.”
At court this week, Chief Keef posed for pictures and even signed an autograph for a courthouse worker who said she chased him down for her daughter.
Somes teens have taken note of Chief Keef’s success, as well as his handsome record deal. That doesn’t mean his peers all see him as a model, though. Parish, for example, said she writes music and likes gospel and R&B.
She’s not about to put a video on YouTube as Chief Keef did, though. She worries she could say the wrong thing.
“Anything could happen,” Parish said.