Chicago rapper Lil JoJo, whose real name was Joseph Coleman, was shot and killed Sept. 4. | Family photo
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:24AM
We are so clueless.
By “we,” we mean the average Chicagoan, of any color and background, who can’t begin to understand a subculture of romanticized violence that is killing so many young men.
And by “we,” we mean those young men, as well. We can’t run away from this by talking of an “us” and a “them.” They are clueless, too, living in a crazy bubble where waving guns and talking up murder in a homemade rap video is perfectly normal. And if somebody actually dies, well, that’s how it goes, too.
Were you as sickened as we were by the stories in Friday and Sunday’s Sun-Times? Did you read about how a teenage “gangster” rapper, Chief Keef, allegedly took to Twitter to mock the murder of a rival rapper? As if in a game.
“Its Sad Cuz Dat N - - - - - Jojo Wanted to Be Jus Like Us,” Chief Keef apparently tweeted, though now he says his Twitter account was hacked. The hashtag was #LMAO, which stands for “laughing my ass off.”
Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, is 17. The person whose murder was mocked, Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman, was 18. Coleman had been taunting associates of Keef and a street gang in YouTube raps and videos.
It is all so dispiriting.
If there is reason for hope in any of this, it lies in the outraged responses to the original tweet from thousands of others who — judging by their language — came up in the same tough world. “I’m deleting Chief Keef from my iTtunes . . . You don’t laugh at someone’s deth!” Tweeted @AwedByClaud.
Put more cops on the street, we like to say. Confiscate more guns. Crack down on the drugs.
Sure. Fine. But the roots of violence run deeper, through dysfunctional families in broken neighborhoods with bad schools and no jobs.
And the cold acceptance of violence — this is how the world goes round — runs like a YouTube video through the hearts and minds of too many young men.