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A critical look at the South-Side of Chicago

Nearly everyone in Chiraq has friends who are now imprisoned, have been shot, or are now six feet in the ground.  This is a place where people shoot bullets with no regard for life, as if it is some type of video game. The brilliant thing about hip-hop is that it has allows for people at the absolute bottom of the socio-economic ladder, those who resort to selling drugs, violent robberies, and gang-banging to provide food, clothing, and shelter to gain riches and notoriety almost overnight through luxurious record contracts and it has also allowed their stories to be told via album releases and, more recently, YouTube. ‘The Third World Inside of America: A critical Look at the Southside of Chicago’ series will examine the social conditions in Chicago using primarily rapper-created lyrics and images coming, rappers in this area who expose the government’s role in maintaining poverty that in turn allows gang-violence to flourish.

Lil JOJO in the Field

First up is now deceased Rapper Lil JOJO who in his ’Shit Is Real’ song stated that “This shit is real in the field. So I keep the steel. You throw up a L you see how it feel.” Lil JOJO belonged to ‘BRICKSQUAD,’ a faction of the Gangsta Disciples. When he discussed being ‘in the field’ he is referring to selling drugs, being in enemy territory and partaking in the various activities typical of street organizations.  ‘To keep the steel” is to have a gun on you at all times, ready to preform hits if you are confronted by rival gang bangers.

The last line is very interesting, as Chief Keef and Lil Reese often begin their songs stating “Ls up.” This is them vocalizing their gang sign which represents the Lamron Faction of the Black Disciples. Both Black Disciples and Gangsta Disciples go to war over drug territory, but many of the recent shootings have been retaliatory.  In this song, Lil JOJO threatens those who put up Ls, saying that those who dare to put up this sign up will be shot.

In JOJO’s “Put In Work’ track, he further describes his life on a day to day basis, stating that, “I’m counting so much money my fingers hurt. Shooting all these guns now my fingers hurt. You better duck ‘cause these shells hurt… Gang-BANG doing hits.” Indeed, the picture to the left shows LIL JOJO with a wad of cash and the other shows him with automatic weapons. As a participant in the illegal economy, black youth often bring in fast money – but that money comes at a price; through violence gangs must use to defend their enterprise. If anyone attempts to encroach on their territory, they are forced to carry out ‘hits’. To do a hit means to shoot and kill rival streets organizations.  As black youth becomes accustomed to the street market, competition is not carried out in the form of price cuts and ad campaigns. Gang members compete over territory to sell their products and services. With no other source of income, protecting ones block or corner becomes a matter of life and death.

The Root Cause of JOJO’s violent Lyrics

There is no doubt that Lil JOJO’s lyrics were outright violent. Yet, we must examine the structural conditions that contributed to these social conditions. JOJO was from Altgeld Gardens, a predominantly African-American housing project that has the majority of its residents living under the poverty-line. This community was originally built for African-American World War II veterans—the Chicago Housing Authority did not want them to reside in whites areas and thus from its inception ‘Altgeld Gardens’ was designed to be a segregated community. Currently, it is among the lowest income communities in America. [1]

 jojoripeAdditionally, The Chicago Housing Authority constructed the housing without adequate plumbing technology and would not even give this community the benefit of regular garbage disposable services.  This community was essentially neglected. Perhaps more appalling and disgusting is the place that the Chicago Housing Authority decided to build this housing project. [2]

Lil Jojo’s community was built in an area surrounded by 53 toxic waste facilities and 90% of the Chicago’s landfills. It was filled with toxins such as ammonia gas, lead, heavy metals, and xylene and stood surrounded by a chemical waste incinerator. The residents of this area have an extremely high rate of children born with brain tumors; an abnormal number of fetuses in the area were aborted because of brains developing outside of the skull. These social conditions the government is directly responsible for lead to the infant mortality rate sky-rocketing, but children fortunate enough to make it teenage years are disproportionately affected by asthma as a direct result of this toxic waste.[3]

Moreover, since the community was essentially neglected, you can rest assured that any opportunities for employment are slim to none.  The majority of these households were female headed and lived below the poverty line with many of these mothers turning to drugs to help ease the pain that they faced every day.  Many mothers work very hard and seek employment but simply cannot provide for their children which in turn lures black youth to the drug economy to be given a chance to have the things that most other elasticities are given at birth—things such as food and clothing.  Black women also face numerous institutional hurdles- Recent studies indicate that Black women only make 63 cents for every dollar that white males make for equal work[4]. Moreover, as a result of indoctrination from the capitalist media, many youth are very materialistic and want the latest clothes (I.E Jordan’s, POLO, etc.). These are all things that lure black youth into the drug economy which in turn leads to vicious gang wars. These drugs wars are all rooted in poverty and gang members feel like “men” when they defend their turf-because they have no real power over the larger social and political system of America.

The older brother of JOJO had this to say “It was a character and just an image that he was giving, because that image is hot. We’re not from the North Side. We’re not from the nice community. We’re from the ’hood. We’re from where mothafuckas are hungry and ain’t got shit and it’s a matter of whether you’re a nigga that do eat or don’t. The nigga that eat do negative things to get it.”[5]

Indeed, his older brother was correct Jimmy Lovine, the CEO of Interscope whom signed Chief Keef to a multi-million dollar contract (JOJO was seeking the same thing), currently owns stocks in various prison corporations. This means he profits off the imprisonment of black youth. The more black youth in jail, the fatter his pockets get.  In jail, many blacks are forced to work for cheap labor—this is essentially a modern form of slavery.

The sad truth is, many blacks live in social conditions where crime is the only way to have the basic necessities of life– thus, these record labels are able to bring talented black youth from rags to riches almost overnight – but the violent nature of their lyrics and their widespread popularity can only contribute to furthering the prison system  as more black youth begin to act our these images.

Lil Reese

Next is Lil Reese, a Chiraq rapper, who is the right hand man of the now imprisoned rapper Chief Keef. He states that:

I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage.

In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap.

Where I’m from? Chiraq……..

..300 Normal Spelled Backwards.—Lil Reese

 As stated earlier, many people growing up in Chiraq have lost many friends and relatives from the ensuing gang wars. Lil Reese indicates that he too has been affected by this and states that this is reality, not ‘movie shit.’ He’s done this in efforts to distinguish himself from  your typical studio-gangsters who make idle threats and appear ‘thugish’ in rap videos only to go back to their fancy homes after the video shoot to a full refrigerator and comfortable couches in the suburbs. His phrase ‘turned into a savage’ refers to the mentality that many people in his crew have developed from living in such appalling social conditions. A recent study indicates that black youth in Chiraq who are exposed to such violence develop post-traumatic stress disorders comparable to troops returning home from military combat[7]. However, for these youth, this isn’t ‘post-traumatic’ because this violence is a continuous cycle that takes place in their neighborhood everyday. Further, unlike military troops, these youth never receive visits from psychologists to aid them. As Lil Reese stated, “A body getting dropped everyday – this shit is real.”

A body getting dropped refers to people dying from gunshots. The sad truth is that many youth have absolutely nothing to lose within the confides of the current social system. Indeed, when you watch a Lil Reese video, in his hood you’ll see many shirts displaying “R.I.P.” to the names of various friends and “Free”  to the names of various people locked away. Living in such violent social conditions has a profound impact on the psychology of black youth, this is precisely why after Lil JOJO was shot, Chief Keef responded by saying,“HahahahahhahahahahahahahaahhAAHAHAHAHA” #RichNiggaShit “Its Sad Cuz Dat Nigga Jojo Wanted To Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.”

    The Root Cause of Lil Reese’s Violent Lyrics

Both Chief Keef and Lil Reese grew up in Englewood. They would probably be surprised to hear that their now impoverished and violent community was once predominately white and affluent. Moreover, in addition to being mostly white, it was once a stronghold for the Ku Klux Klan. As America began to integrate and African-Americans entered deep into the Chicago areas—this once predominately white area began organizing violently against the African-American communities. They then formed a neighborhood associations with slogans like: “America for whites, Africa The Only Place for Niggers.”  They then went on to say “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages.” While these whites portrayed African-Americans as savages, all the behavior that whites partook in to defend against integration were of that very nature. After a rumor that a house in Englewood was going to be purchased by a black family, whites began to carry out bombings, physical assaults, and arson on black residents for simply trying to live their lives. After putting up posters saying “NEGROES INVADING” a bunch of white racists came together starting the “EngleWood Race Riots of 1949”. As African-Americans continued to move in, “a white plight” took place as whites moved to suburban areas, leaving the black community in absolute turmoil, chaos, and social decay[8].

Now, I’ve constantly heard the argument that goes something like this: “Lil Reese was born in 1993, those riots took place in 1949.” As if it had no effect on him.  White people had the benefit of passing wealth to their children who could then pass it on to their children; they also had the luxury of a stable home and other infrastructure. As a result of these race riots, blacks who were affected   were not given the same opportunities nor has the racist system that has been designed to disenfranchise blacks from employment been abolished. These riots and systemic obstacles left the black community in absolute economic turmoil. The poverty that resulted from it allowed the illegal economy to takeover as the number one employer for black youth. Similarly, when peaceful African-Americans first moved to Englewood, a racist of the white, anti-intergrationist stated that” I think they[Blacks] are savages.” Now, over 30 years later Lil Reese embraces this image, stating that “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage.” Why  else would Lil JOJO, Chief Keef, and Lil Reese all have lyrics basically equating to “gonna get these guns, and I’mma kill these niggas”? The lyrics resemble the rhetoric of white racists of the past. This is all a result of blacks internalizing hatred and racial stereotypes of the society they live in.

1)http://www.plp.org/challenge/2009/11/13/derrion-albert-is-not-racist-capitalisms-first-or-last-victi.html, Derrion Albert Is Not Racist Capitalism’s First or Last Victim

2) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

3)Working Party on Environmental Performance,  http://www.oecd.org/environment/country-reviews/33848718.pdf#page=27

4) http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-affirmative-action, 11 Facts About Affirmative Action

5) Chief Keef and Lil Joj0 http://www.suntimes.com/news/crime/15007423-418/chief-keef-and-lil-jojo-a-rap-feud-straight-outta-englewood.html

6)http://www.sohh.com/2013/01/i_aint_dissing_chief_keef_im_dissing_jim.html,  “I Ain’t Dissing Chief Keef, I’m Dissing Jimmy Iovine”

7)I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

8)Black Literature of Revolutionary Protest from Chicago’s South Side: A Local …

By Michelle Yvonne Gordon,http://books.google.com/books?id=nMwuX6wKz40C&pg=PA199&dq=chicago+englewood&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nqgOUdXxDoH89QTAgIHwCQ&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=chicago%20englewood&f=false

Rahm’s Re-Election? Does Rahm care about black people?

Rahm Emanuel’s Re-election

rahmemanuel

I met Rahm Emanuel while I was in high-school along with the other mayoral candidates.   I told them that I wanted to be a social activist and they subsequently encouraged me to enter Law-School. Of course, Rahm Emanuel ended up winning the election but the critical question after his term is: does Rahm Emanuel care about black people?

Rahm Emanuel  speeches and policies have demonstrated a gross ignorance of the on-going plight of black youth chicagoin the the South-Side of Chicago.  In the face of gang violence that has been terrorizing Chicago, he had this to say,“Our streets are for our children and for our law-abiding parents. Our streets do not belong to gang-bangers.”

Yet, Rahm Emanuel never asks himself,”What created the gang-bangers?” Indeed, what about the children who are gang bangers such as Robert Sandifer who at only nine years old,  had already been in and out of jail multiple times, deeply involved in the South Chicago street life, committing a series of armed robberies and arson. Yummy, hadn’t even reached his teenage years before he began carrying out murders for his local gangs. Worse yet, he didn’t even live to reach his teenage years before he was shot and killed himself.

Chicago Gangs & Their Origins

chicagoChicago street gangs are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism, police brutality, and white vigilantism. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people, replacing it with a stone cold heart that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets. The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place to halt black socioeconomic aspirations has resulted in black youth acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets.

The White Circle League, formed with the mission of “keeping white neighborhoods free from negroes,” regularly chicagoraceriotsterrorized African-Americans in Chicago.  Between 1917 and 1921, the bombing of African-American homes occurred once every twenty days on average. In 1919, an African-American boy who was swimming was killed as a result of whites throwing heavy rocks at him. When blacks sought to report the incident to police, they themselves were arrested while the white individuals who had killed this young man went unpunished.   As African-Americans began peacefully protesting, whites began to violently assault them, forming mobs that eventually sought to harm African-Americans through various avenues, from attacking patients in black hospitals to setting fire to the homes of blacks. The Irish Hamburg Athletic Club was among the groups who made an effort to kill many blacks; a man who would eventually become mayor decades later – Richard J. Daley – was an active member of this group. These violent attacks left many African-Americans homeless, causing them to lose the relatively small amount of wealth that they had come up north to accumulate. Furthermore, the Irish gangs who carried out these brutal attacks would in mass numbers be recruited to the Chicago Police Department.

The Chicago Housing Authority also implemented the “Neighborhood Composition Rule,” which ensured that blacks would be segregated and confined to housing in the black belt. The housing for black Americans lacked plumbing and was routinely neglected; the neighborhoods did not even receive the benefit of regular garbage disposal services. In addition to being near toxic waste dumps, the decrepit housing set aside for blacks drastically increased the levels of infant mortality.  Even after the neighborhood composition rule ended, whites would take to violence to ensure segregation.

In Englewood, the  birthplace of rappers Chief Keef & Lil Reese, was once a bastion of white supremacy. After lilrees2African-Americans had   merely visited the neighborhood, due to fears that a home was going to be “sold to niggers,” neighborhood associations campaigned with slogans like “America for whites, Africa is the onl y place for niggers.” One white person being interviewed argued that, “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages. ” With protest signs stating, ”Negroes Invading,” whites began the ‘Englewood Race Riots of 1949,’ not only carrying brutal acts of violence against African-American citizens, but also finding black residential homes to arson, which left many blacks dead, homeless, and losing all of their property. All of this set the precedence of the creation of the ghettos within the city due to the huge wealth loss that black families had struggled to gain. White Flight  took place and years later Lil reese would rap,”I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage. In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap. Where I’m from? Chiraq.”

The linguistic choice to dub their areas of the city “Chiraq” by Chicago’s youth conveys a fundamental reality about the status of black Americans; it reveals that they constitute a segregated space in  the United states, effectively challenging the commonly held belief in the post-Civil Rights era of America in which  institutional racism is said to be gradually fading as we move towards a  more progressive society, heading more towards  accomplishing  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream with every passing year. After the death of Chicago public school student Hadiya Pendleton, President Barack Obama made the tragic death a mere issue of “gun-violence” and utilized it to advocate tougher gun control legislation, without acknowledging the oppression that went into creating the violent conditions in her community.

The name Chiraq, which is frequently employed the black Chicagoans, has attracted much criticism, wjojoripeith some arguing that its utilization glorifies an urban culture of violence. Lil Reese, who grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, describes his upbringing by forcefully testifying, “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage […] Where I’m from? This Chiraq.” In numerous rap videos, these self-proclaimed savages residing within the enclave of Chiraq appear brandished with weapons that are suitable for military combat. Their T-shirts often have insignia that reads ”R.I.P______,” with the blank filled by the names of deceased peers.

  What has Rahm Emanuel done to address institutional racism?

He has not addressed institutional racism but only continued it. Rahm Emanuel  closed down numerous Chicago Public Schools with aims of pursuing his “neoliberal” school policies. The problem with that is the redistricting of the school zones will cause students to cross rival gang territory on their way to their new school. This means that for those whom have been lured into gangs through an oppressive economic system, and even for those not in gangs, traveling to school every day will be a life or death gamble as the gang members protect their territory and children abstinent of the gangs are caught in the crossfire.

These gang members have been systematically disenfranchised and instead of working to rehabilitate gang members into society, they have only responded through increased police occupation of black neighborhoods and have failed to implement policies of social justice that confront the legacy of past and systemic racism.  Rahm Emanuel’srahmmmmmhakeem decision to close and redistrict schools despite overwhelming evidence that it will increase violence  raises any interesting question. Does  he want to see black kids die? The continued segregated status of black Americans, which separates them from white America,  protects white Americans from the social problems, drugs, gang wars, and violence, which are a result of an unjust social order. The complicity and perpetration of this racial segregation includes both conservative right wing forces, many of whom deny racism is even a viable factor in the social mobility of blacks, often blaming “immoral black culture.” Also complicit are  liberal left wing forces seeking to liberalize America while  reinforcing the violence against African-American  by spreading the narrative of “steady progress” for blacks and thus obfuscating their true plight and the desperate living conditions they live within.

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 References

Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A living Black in Chicago by Paul Street.

American Apartheid, Segregation and the making of the Underclass by Douglass S. Massey A. Denton

Making of the Second Ghetto, Race * Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 by Arnold R. Hirsch

Black Literature of Revolutionary Protest from Chicago’s South Side: A Local …By Michelle Yvonne Gordon

Lil Bibby: The Third World Inside of America

Lil Bibby is the next up-and-coming rapper from Chicago. NBA star Kevin Durant just showed that he enjoyed Lil Bibby’s music by mentioning him in a tweet, and he recently was interviewed by the classic rap interviewer Sway.

Lil Bibby states, ”On Essex wit’ the No Limits“

What makes writing this article interesting for me is that Lil Bibby and I grew up on the same block; I used to live on Essex which he discusses in his song. It gives me joy to see my fellow peers making it into the rap industry. In an interview concerning his upbringing Lil Bibby States,”  “Where I am from, that’s probably one of the craziest places in Chicago. I had seen and did a lot of stuff…I don’t like talking about that type of shit though.”

 In ‘How I Was Raised up,’ Lil Bibby discusses the various trials and tribulations related to being a black man in the hood. Over the hard beat, Lil Bibby states,  ”We some savages, that’s what the hood made us. Bodies droppin’ everyday, they try to blame. I said, that’s just how I was raised up.” Every day, black people find themselves born into violent neighborhoods on the absolute lowest end of the economic ladder. The neighborhoods are divided by various warring gang factions and many youth out of economic necessity partake in the drug economy. And through programming, black youth become trained to perform ‘hits’ on one another.

Lil Bibby states that the hood made him and his peers savages due to the tumultuous nature of their environments; he makes it clear that they were not simply born this way and, hence, cannot be blamed.  Chicago street gangs and the violence are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people, replacing it with a stone cold heart that is necessary to survive on the careless streets. The constant discussion of “carrying hits” in rap music originating in Chicago is indicative of the low value that human life has in these areas. For people growing up in these violent neighborhoods, they become accustomed to killings; taking a human life is no different than killing a character in a video game. But from whence did this violence come? African-Americans came to Chicago in mass numbers during the ‘Great Migration’ in search of job opportunities.

Instead, they would be segregated from white society, forced into decrepit houses in the ‘black-belt,’ and become the victim of regular attacks of the Ku Klux Klan and other white vigilantes. When black people sought justice after white locals intentionally drowned a black child, the race riots of 1919 took place where whites would bomb and set fire to black neighborhoods. In this environment, blacks were denied opportunities for social advancement. All of this laid the foundation for the drug economy and the formation of gangs.

His line, “They try to blame us,” is an obvious jab at people like conservative news media outlets who feign concern for the plight of black youth while simultaneously marginalizing them as deviants who are lacking in morals who simply need to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.” One conservative news commentator, Bill O’Reilly, who often presents himself as the expert of ‘black-on black crime,’ states the solution was, ”…what they need to do is ‘the surge strategy’ like Iraq…” The fact that this was actually seen as a viable solution to the problem of gang violence in Chicago is further proof that blacks are outside of mainstream America and live in internal colonies. In his neighborhood, Lil Bibby states, ”Its kill or be killed where I came from.” To blame individual people for their participation in violence without a larger critique of the socio-economic system which creates the conditions for that violence only serves to marginalize black youth while keeping the same unequal exchange between whites and blacks intact. Lil Bibby states:

 run up on you, shoot ya face off

Tryna wipe them niggas out like Adolf

The system of white supremacy has created conditions in which gangs of the same color and socio-economic ladder fight one another over crumbs. Having Klan Members come together to wipe out black people became a tiresome efforts, so instead the white supremacist system would create a structural system in which black people themselves would perpetuate a genocide with whites benefiting socially and economically from the conditions of the ghetto. 60 years ago you would have expected to hear statements like ”tryna wipe them niggers out like Adolf” from Neo-Nazis, but the capitalistic system has created conditions where blacks inflict this violence on each other.

 Moreover, black youth live a life under constant police surveillance. Lil Bibby states, ” Operation lookin’ sloppy. The feds tryna watch me. ” He boasts about his ability to outsmart and duck the feds as he carries out his job in the underground sectors I where the drug economy is the only viable way to social mobility. The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place, to halt black socioeconomic aspirations, has resulted in black youth acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray on the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism. This has created conditions in which, as Lil Bibby states:

It’s kill or be killed where I came from.

All Hail Chief Keef, Public Enemy #1

 

Chief Keef is America’s Nightmare.  When I say America’s nightmare I’m talking about white and Black America.   This guy is a live and breathing  monster stereotype that absolutely scares  anyone who catches a glimpse of him and his GBE crew on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.  Did I say that Chief Keef don’t has no care?  Ask Hip Hop’s bad boy 50 Cent, recently at a planned Las Vegas video shoot with 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa,   Chief Keef blew off the video shoot and never showed up.  Ask socially conscious rapper Lupe Fiasco, he and Chief Keef got into a verbal war and the results went something like this,  “Lupe Fiasco is a H– O—E—, When I see him I’ma smack him like da lil b-tch he is”, responded Chief Keef.   His record label Interscope Records is betting millions that Chief Keef’s “I Don’t give a CARE attitude pays off big time in digital sales, concert fee’s, cd sales, etc.  Chief Keef is set to release his debut CD, “Finally Rich” on December 18.   In his gritty low budget video’s, you see a young black man , half-naked, dreadlocked hair, frequently surrounded by a mob of look-a-likes, smoking blunts and brandishing weapons.  His current single “Love Sosa” is another urban tale that’s not only playing across the country in heavy rotation on American radio stations , but the video has been seen by over 14 million viewers since the time of this writing.  Born Keith Cozart, and raised in the South Side of Chicago, he was constantly surrounded by horrifying homicides that rival war-town Iraq.
“Fucking with those O boys, you gon’ get fucked over, Rari’s and Rovers, these hoes love Chief Sosa, hit him with that cobra, now that boy slumped over, they do it all for Sosa” are the words of Chief Keef, a Chicago based

rapper allegedly affiliated with the Black Disciples gang and who has already faced incarceration for brandishing a gun at a Chicago Police Officer during his teenage years.   Lt. John Andrews, a veteran of the Chicago Police Department, writes that, “Chicago’s homicide rate this year currently stands toe-to-toe with the total number of military forces killed in both Afghanistan and Iraq.” This rising epidemic has resulted in Chicago being the nicknamed, ‘Chiraq’ by urban youth.  Chief Keef and many others like him has embraced this image, taking pride in representing the strength of his block and crew by stating very clearly and plainly,  You wanna call the cops? You gonna get a cop dropped.” The Chicago Police Department should have heeded this black man’s words. Lt John Andrew further writes that, “Chicago has lost 3 of its police officers, killed by gunfire as victims of robberies.  It seems no one is safe in our city anymore.” This Chicago based rapper like so many hip hop stars, embrace the Italian and Latin gangsters influence on American culture

 Chief Keef  AKA Sosa,  represents the mentality that many gang-bangers uphold in the Southside of Chicago; a mentality that has no regard for human life, no respect for authority, little aspirations beyond the nearest street corner. And because of this, Chief Keef’ is absolutely necessary in the rap-game. Album’s like ‘KRS-One’s Criminal Minded and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying’ all represent the mentalities born and bred from a life of oppression. This mentality has thrived and even grown due to state-sanctioned institutionalized racism, inequalities, and poverty that continue to be passed on through particular ethnic groups. Watch a Chief Keef music video; view members of his crew. Look past all of the macho-posturing and you will see people who are profoundly oppressed, faces that are downtrodden, faces that rarely smile and people whom have lived life in utter poverty, violence, and hardships. The South Side of Chicago is home to some of the lowest income communities in America. The area is, and has been, facing chronic unemployment, run-down schools, substandard housing, and a whole host of related social problems. Chicago Gang researcher, John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods resemble impoverished Third World countries.” These are the social conditions that Chief Keef to no fault of his own was born in and his mentality and lyrics are simply a response to this. Chief Keef, represents this ostracized generation, his music represents this mentality and as long as oppression exists so too will Chief Keef and others like him.

“300 bitch don’t make me bring them killers out. Real shit, free all my hitters out.”

When Chief Keef calls for the freeing of all of his ‘hitters,’ he is referring to members of his crew that are incarcerated, victims of the prison-industrial complex. Chicago Gangs primarily consist of black youth who have been systematically excluded from the legal economy and have been forced to sell drugs, pimp, and steal as the only mechanisms to survive and aspire towards life goals. Many manufacturing jobs that were once located in black communities have now been outsourced to China. Indeed, African-Americans without criminal records are less likely to be hired than whites with criminal records. African Americans with “black sounding” names are less likely to be called back for job interviews.  than those with “white sounding” names, even when the qualifications are identical.  As black youth becomes accustomed to the street market, competition is not carried out in the form of price cuts and ad campaigns.  Gang members compete over territory to sell their products and services. With no other source of income, protecting ones block or corner becomes a matter of life and death. When Chief Keef states “don’t make me bring those killers out,” he is issuing a warning to rival gangs to not set up shop on his block. Of course, the conservative argument is for one to simply “pull up their boot straps.”
A commonly held belief by those untouched by the issues that blacks deal with from birth is that “just because someone is born into poverty does not mean one has resort to the drug trade.” And this is true.  However, using common sense, how likely is it for a white man raised in middle to upper class, whose peers are largely composed of other whites raised in the same socioeconomic environment, to set up shop on a street corner ready to begin selling crack cocaine? How likely is it for an impoverished black man to make it a primary goal to impress his school teachers or job supervisor when the strongest influences around him are those who’ve already been shunned by white society? Indeed, the black community has routinely overcome overwhelming odds to create prosperous communities.  African-Americans seeking to escape southern racism came to Chicago during the “Great Migration.” Blacks were forced to live mostly in the Southside of Chicago and a legislation known as the “Neighborhood Composition Rule” mandated housing segregation for Blacks. The housing that the Chicago Housing Authority created for blacks in these Southside neighborhoods lacked basic plumbing and would not even receive the benefits of garbage disposable services.  Despite the overwhelming odds, black people were able to establish their own businesses and create flourishing community centers. However, after the Neighborhood Composition Act legally enforcing residential segregation was struck down due to the Civil Rights Movements, white vigilantes responded with savage violence.

Mobs of whites invaded the South Side of Chicago, setting fire to houses and businesses, finding and beating innocent black citizens and other brutal, barbaric acts. Even as the South Side of Chicago was being set ablaze, the Chicago Fire Department refused to put out the flames and the Chicago Police Department put in no effort in to protect these innocent people who were being terrorized. Many African-Americans in the South Side subsequently became homeless and lost all that they had—from these ashes and social conditions are what gave birth to Chief Keef and his peers. The Irish terrorists that attacked the black community were rewarded by Chicago’s governmental system by recruiting the young energetic whites into the Chicago Police Department; it should be no great surprise that future Mayor, Richard Daley, participated in these attacks on the black community.

“Bang, Bang, Bang” is Chief Keef’s catch phrase, his mantra in the rap game. It’s an onomonopia representing gunshots.  Chicago’s babies do not fall asleep to lullabies; rather to gunshots.  Day by day, it is a never-ending cycle all rooted in economic deprivation and oppression.  Hip Hop’s culture historically have identified with youth that have been systematically excluded from the legal economy, the explicit and often times provocative lyrics of Chief Keef results.  His lyrics,  his words, and the images of his videos represent an ostracized generation of America- a generation bearing the brunt of years of racial apartheid and economic discrimination in which all opportunities for social-economic advancement were blocked, halted, and destroyed by whites. American capitalism and the inequalities it produces are responsible for the content, as vulgar as it may be, in his lyrics, “I’mma make bullets rain all on your block, your bitch all on my cock”.  He is describing what it takes fo hisr crew and himself to eat, to be clothed and have shelter.

Chief Keef represents hip hop, from the bodacious, self-assured, get money to big pimping mentality.  However before one judge and castes “Chief Keef” as a misfit, hoodlum or savage, recognize that faces like Chief Keef don’t die, they multiply and he is simply a by-product of his environment, just like you.

Sources

Third World America, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janet-tavakoli/third-world-america-2012_b_1653745.html

http://scholar.harvard.edu/mullainathan/files/emilygreg.pdf

Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?

http://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

http://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdfid=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

On Gun Control: A Critical Look at the Southside of Chicago PT 2

Listen to the music that fills the Chicago Rap Scene. Not since the ‘Gangsta Rap’ era of N.W.A have we heard music so violent. A quick youtube search for “Chiraq Music” yields numerous amateur rappers affiliated with rival gangs taunting each other. They trade lyrical disses while wielding automatic weapons more suited to the deadly combat zones of Iraq. Money, power, desires for respect fuel the numerous gangs of Chicago to battle, steadily pushing the homicide rate ever higher. What is Rahm Emanuel’s plan to confront this violence?

While republicans nonsensically blame “a lack of morals” as a cause for this violence, the so-called progressive Democrats like Rahm Emanuel  are too busy pushing for tougher Gun Control Laws and Police Occupation of Black neighborhoods. But can increased Police Occupation and tougher gun control laws of Black Communities in Chicago really address the violence?

“BrickSquad! The police can’t control us!”, chants Lil Jojo proudly in one of his songs. In another he threatens the police, stating that the Cops are “Gonna Catch the whole 30.”

Chief Keef, another Chicago rapper also voices his disagreement with the increased police occupation of black neighborhoods. In his track, “Aimed At You’, (referring to his guns of course) he talks about his daily adventures and criminal pursuits in the streets of Chicago. He seems to laugh at the idea of police stopping him when he boldly states, “You Call the Cops? You gonna get a Cop dropped.”

Even as the Democrats push for tougher Gun-Control Laws, Black Gang Youth are out in the streets breaking the per-existing laws. Lil Mister describes in his track, ‘No Lackin”, what it takes for Chicago gang youth to survive in the streets, the constant vigilance required to avoid tragedy. He warns to “Keep them eyes open ain’t no slacking homie” and follows it up with “We do this shit for real, you a actor homie”, clearly a jab at studio gangsters who don’t live what they rap about. He brags about his ability to shoot when he boasts that if “That chopper hit your ass you’ll do a backflip homie. Nigga say they drilling they need practice homie.”

A while back, a video surfaced of Lil Reese physically abusing a young woman. After outraged ensued Lil Reese felt that these critics were just ‘ hatin cause im getting money’.  He has recently been arrested on an unrelated charge for mob action and battery. In Lil Reese’s song, “Us”, he shares his sentiment on on the police, “Fuck a opp we send shots nigga. Bullets coming non-stop nigga.”The Chicago Police Department (colloquially the “opps” don’t seem to deter Chicago Gang Youth in the slightest, nor the Gun Control laws which consume the attention of the Democrats.

The reality is, lack of gun control legislation or police in neighborhoods are not to blame for Chicago’s drastic levels of gang violence. Instead, this can be attributed to the legacy of Jim Crow: institutionalized racism, disenfranchisement and poverty resulting from an unjust social system When you look past all the macho-posturing in the rap videos of the Chicago youth, you’ll see people who are profoundly oppressed and disenfranchised. As Lil Reese raps,”On my block, if we ain’t got it then we gotta take it.” What exactly don’t these black youth have? Basic necessities including life, food, clothing and shelter. Thus, in order to obtain the rights that they are entitled to, they are forced to enter an underground drug economy to afford food, clothing and shelter.

In Lil Reese’s “Rob Who” he states, “I gotta get this money man, there’s nothing else… Im going hard, stomachache, bitch I need a meal. Think I’m playing?The whole Lam gotta eat for real…. A body getting droped everyday this shit is real.”

“Lam” refers to the Lamron Faction of the Black Disciples whom have been lured into an underground drug economy due to impoverished economic conditions imposed on their neighborhood. In Englewood, these heavily impoverished households are mostly headed by single parent females. As they struggle to provide for their families, kids are forced to find a way to bring in quick money.

By joining a gang, these youths obtain access to money via the drug economy. As the children of broken families and fatherless homes, youths come together into various functional organizations as a surrogate to the nuclear family and as a way for oppressed youth to form bonds –which helps them cope with such a hard life.

This is why Chief Keef and Lil Reese open up their tracks with “L’S Up” or “300” which is a reference to these Lamron 300 Faction of the Black Disciples.This is why Lil Jojo and Lil Minster often begin their tracks with “Bricksquad” and “Insane”: both factions of the Gangsta Disciples.

As youths get accustomed to the trials of the drug market—having a gang infringe or take over your territory where you sell drugs, which is the only source of income for youth — competition becomes a matter of starving or eating, of life or death. Thus it’s carried out not through marketing campaigns to neighborhood friends but through the barrel of the gun.

Even when gangs assume hegemony over a drug corner, many of the conflicts becomes retaliatory with gang members wanting to avenge the deaths of fallen friends. This violence and conflict is the result of years of oppression and disenfranchisement, and the introduction of ‘gun control laws’ will not severely impact upon this. These issues must be attacked at the roots, for as long as oppression exists, youths will rebel against the laws that bar them from access to food, clothing, and shelter.

Chiraq’s Child Soldiers

Think back to when you were nine years old. At this age, most kids in America are able to live care free, jovial lives contemplating about what cool new gadget they want from Santa for Christmas. For African-Americans in urban areas throughout America, their experience is totally different. When Robert ‘Yummy’ Sandifer was only nine years old, he had already been in and out of jail multiple times, deeply involved in the South Chicago street life, committing a series of armed robberies and arsons. Yummy, hadn’t even reached his teenage years before he began carrying out murders for his local gangs. Worse yet, he didn’t even live to reach his teenage years[1].

At 4’6, he was armed with loaded guns and not even remotely afraid to use them. He received the nickname ‘Yummy’ due to his love for junk food.  He lived his life as a drug dealer causing terror in his community by breaking into houses and stealing cars. Before reaching 5-feet tall, he was already putting people 6 feet in the ground. He committed recorded 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors while carrying out his missions for his local gang.  The only picture available of him available of him on the net is a Mugshot—a photo that showcases pain, anguish, and depression. This same face and mentality can also be seen in Chief Keef rap videos[2].

This should come as no surprise. Both Chief Keef and Yummy are from the same Southside neighborhood in Chicago, and both are
members of the Black Disciples. Yummy was killed in 1994, about a year before Chief Keef was born in mid-1995.The same narrative of drug leading, shooting, and criminal activities that are found in many of Chief Keef’s videos and other Hip-Hop lyrics are the only imagery that Yummy knew his entire life.

From uppitynegronetwork.files.wordpress.com

After Yummy shot and killed a fourteen year old, child police went on a manhunt searching relentlessly for him. It was soon discovered that members of his own Black Disciple Gang executed him fearing that he would become a snitch to the police and reveal secrets about their drug trade.

This is what the conditions of poverty fostered by racial segregation produce.

Rapper Tupac Shakur was deeply touched by Yummy Sandifer’s story.  In his ‘White Man’s World” song Tupac gave his condolences by Yummy:

“Rest in Peace to Latasha, Little Yummy, and Kato. Too Much for this cold world to take, ended up being fatal.”  [3]

  

The song then ends with a beautiful, eloquent excerpt of a speech by Louis Farrakhan stating that “the seal and the constitution reflect the thinking of the founding fathers that this was to be a nation by white people and for white people. Native Americans, Blacks, and all other nonwhite people were to be the burden barriers for the real citizens of this nation.”

The truth is Yummy Sandifer never had a chance to succeed in this white man’s world, even in the post-Civil-Rights Era. Yummy was born to a 15 year old crack addicted prostitute and an incarcerated father.

That crackhead, or drug junkie, you see on the streets started off life no different from me or you.   That person also had dreams, aspirations, goals, hopes, and loved ones at one point in their life.    People in urban areas often turn to Marjuana, Cocaine, Crack and alcohol in an attempt to help them cope with or temporarily relieve themselves of the stresses and pains that they face every-day under this capitalistic society[4].  This is a reason why ‘loud a type of Marjuanna’ is such a huge subject of Chief Keef rap videos.

Yummy was abused from an early age, having over 40 scars and parts of his skin burnt from cigarettes.  He was eventually placed under the care of the state; once he escaped from his governmental mandated foster home he quickly took to the streets. [5]

Hardaway, who was convicted for Yummy’s murder at fourteen years old, had this to say from prison:

“Yummy was the average black kid growing up in a drug infected community. It’s millions of Yummy’s it’s just that Robert Sandifer gained national attention. He was an impressionable kid who looked up to everyone that was in the streets. I knew him but he was a kid to me. I was a kid myself but I was older and involved in a lot more stuff.” [6]

Indeed, there are millions of black children in urban areas throughout America, especially in the Southside of Chicago, who hang out on street corners, looking up to nobody but gang members and the illegal drug economy as the only mechanism to attain things that most whites have handed to them at birth— things like food, clothing, and shelter.  Like Yummy, Hardaway is also a victim; a victim of a racist, capitalist society that created the conditions where an illegal economy was the only way to provide for loved ones and have the basic necessities of life.  You can tell by the tone of Hardaway quote that he is fully capable of being rehabilitated, becoming a productive member of society.

Big L, in his song, ‘How Will I Make It” portrays a similar narrative:

“I’m only at the age of ten and life already seems to me like its heading for a dead end. Cause my moms be smoking mad crack… Nobody know how I feel … I had to steal to fill my stomach with a nice meal… I rob for meat. If I don’t steal I don’t eat. My whole life deserted. Either Imma go to jail or get murdered. All I tried to do was live the one life that I got. But it seems like I can’t get a fair shot.” [8]

From Hip-HopGame.com

Indeed, Yummy, Big L, and millions of unnamed inner-city black youth never had a fair shot in this country, yet America deludes itself as the foremost purveyor of freedom in the world. White Liberals adamantly believe that black people are making ‘steady progress’ in this country often pointing to blacks in ‘high places’ such as Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, and, of course, the President Barack Obama. White Republicans, despite being a cesspool for vicious racists, refuse to give credence to the notion that systematic racism severely restricts the social mobility of African-Americans.

Both of these parties believe that the discrimination, oppression, and disenfranchisement of African-Americans was just a misunderstanding rather than a core element of the U.S. capitalist, imperialist system. The reality is that Civil Rights legislation was never passed for altruistic reasons and the condition of black people in urban areas of America has not improved at all since the civil rights legislation was passed – and this is no accident.

White people did not suddenly have a change of heart and decide to give black people rights—the American government acted in their own self-interest.  During the ‘Cold War,’  America and the Soviet Union were battling over competing ideologies both seeking to establish an imperialistic grip on the world. The American government branded itself the epitome of freedom and democracy while casting the Soviet Union as a communist, totalitarianism regime devoid of human rights and freedoms.  [9]

But then  the Soviet Union began to use video footage of African-Americans in the south having their flesh ripped into and eaten by vicious canines. America could no longer tell the world it was the epitome of human rights and freedom while subjugating its black population to this type of open overt torture and suffering without appearing like a hypocritical liar—thus, superficial changes had to be made in the power structure of America and the manner in which it carried out its oppression against black people. This was one factor that contributed to the passage of Civil Rights legislation.  [10]

Another factor that contributed to the decline of overt institutional racism against blacks was the threat of violence from blacks. After the cold blooded assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., [11] blacks in urban areas throughout America were outraged.  The government referred to the actions of African-Americans after King’s death as ‘riots’ rather than what they really were: rebellions!

Thus, something had to be done to appease blacks and quick; as blacks were heading towards a revolutionary path, something had to be down for America to gain an edge in this ideological war against the Soviet Union to not look absolutely ridiculous when proclaiming it was the leader of human rights and freedoms—thus Civil Rights legislation was passed.

Civil Rights legislation did a much better job at pacifying African-Americans than it ever did at putting an end to racial inequality, discrimination, and racism. In every area of American society from housing to health-care to employment opportunities, black people still face discrimination to this day. Civil Rights legislation was never adamantly enforced.  Chicago is among the most segregated cities in America. As whites live lavishly on the Northside, impoverished Blacks have been suffering on both the South and Westside for decades.  [12]

When Dr. Martin Luther King first came to Chicago he did so to protest housing segregation and the substandard housing of Chicago’s black population. White residents threw rocks at him while others held signs in protest, one reading, “Roses are red. Violents are Black. King would look good with a Knife in his back.” They then led a cheer saying ‘Kill Him!, Kill Him. [13]Over 40 years later, Southside Chicago neighborhoods are nicknamed in the streets (and for good reasons) as Terrortown and Killaward – areas that are just as ‘substandard,’ or perhaps more so, than when King took part in his first protest.  When a reporter asked Chief Keef how dangerous the Southside of Chicago was he simply responded with one word: “Chiraq.” Nothing has changed-  nothing.

———————-

1)The Washington Syndicate,True Crime: The Forgotten Story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, http://thewashingtonsyndicate.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/true-crime-the-forgotten-story-of-robert-%E2%80%9Cyummy%E2%80%9D-sandifer/

2) All Hail Chief Keef, Public Enemy #1, http://hakeemmuhammad.com/2012/11/28/all-hail-chief-keef-public-enemy-1/

3) Tupac, White mans world, http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/2pac/whitemansworld.html

4) Black Anarcism, Lorenzo Ervin, http://libcom.org/library/anarchism-black-revolution-lorenzo-ervin

5)The Washington Syndicate True Crime: The Forgotten Story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer

http://thewashingtonsyndicate.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/true-crime-the-forgotten-story-of-robert-%E2%80%9Cyummy%E2%80%9D-sandifer/

6) IBID

7) Bob Avakian, Youth Deserve a better future,  http://www.youtube.com/user/RevolutionTalk

8) Big L, How Will I make It, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL9l5CojBNQ

9) Bob Avakian, Revolution Talk.  http://www.youtube.com/user/RevolutionTalk

10)IBID

11) Peter Gelderloos,What is Democracy,  http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-what-is-democracy

12)Chicago Most Segregated City, http://chicagoist.com/2010/10/31/chicago_still_the_most_segregated_c.php

13,MLK, 2009 http://www.secretsocietymusic.org/darcy_james_argues_secret/2009/01/mlk-2009.html

The Saga Continues: Lil Jojo, The Hate that Hate Produced

“Killing is the solution.”These were the blunt words of a Chicago Englewood Gang-Banger. White middle-class news reporters had the audacity to bombard these oppressed youth with a variety of questions that demonstrated the fact that  they were totally ignorant to the concept of racial based inequality and the behavior it breeds; it proved they really were totally clueless about the upbringing and oppression that these youth were facing.
Questions like, “What makes you guys tick?” were brought up by “reputable” news sources, obviously employed by those lacking even a basic grasp of sociology.The young Chicagoan responded, “We’ve got to eat.,,, We want to. We want money. Rob, steal and kill. That’s the only way. We didn’t grow up in Beverly Hills. We don’t get it handed to us.” Indeed, these youth engage in this anti-social behavior for pure survival, to be able to have food and basicnecessities of life.
Tupac Shakur once asked us, “How many brothers fell victim to the streets? Rest in peace young niggas, is there a heaven for a G.”
One of the recent tragedies of Chicago’s streets was the death of an aspiring rapping ‘Lil Jojo’—yet another victim of the streets. He can be seen in his music videos armed with automatic weapons and making threats to his rivals. If you let the mainstream media tell it, ‘JoJo’ was just an ignorant hoodlum savage.  However, one must look at the environment that produced Jojo.
Jojo was from Englewood, one of the lowest income communities in America, and like many that grow up in this community, parents often have drug addictions, are unemployed, and are unable to provide food, shelter, clothes and other basic necessities of life.  As rapper Nas once told us, “Tell me what’s the reason. That your kid is hungry you ain’t got no money, what’s the reason?
  
The legacy of Jim crow and systemic racism is the reason.   Of course, America is often proclaimed to be the land of democracy and equality. We are further told that America is a place where anybody can make it with determination and hard work.
Unfortunately, for right-wing mythology, these perceptions of America are solidly founded upon mistruths, fabrications, distortions, and out-right lies. The fact is that America is a colonial corporate enterprise built on genocide, rape, theft, exploitation and slavery. As the Star-Spangled Banner was being written, African-Americans were out in fields performing slave labor. America has never been the “land of liberty” for the mass amounts of oppressed people;  instead the “land of misery”.   As rapper Nas Informs us, “They call it Thanksgiving, I call your holiday Hellday, ‘cause I’m from poverty; neglected by the wealthy.”

America is not the land of “equality” for African-Americans suffering in internally-destructive colonies, or “ghettos,“ where gangs terrorize the streets and the police “stop and frisk” law is a prerequisite for jail time. The drug economy is the number one employer of the youth in these areas. America is not the land of “equality” for that black single mother who works multiple jobs and is still unable to provide for her children. America is not the land of “equality” for impoverished black teen who participate in an illegal drug economy due to the lack of opportunities in his community.
What options for social mobility were there really ? Sure, Jojo could have sought a job, but since brothers without criminal records are less likely to be hired than whites with criminal records, Jojo (who, in fact, had a criminal history) would have an extremely difficult time finding employment. Plus, what jobs are there really in his community? Millions black workers lose their jobs because their labor is no longer valued. The jobs of the lower-class are now outsourced to the third world. Capitalists want to make more money and the jobs African-Americans need to provide for their families does not matter to them; it’s not even a remote thought when it comes to their business strategy.
Moreover,  even if Jojo had found a job, his labor would be exploited by capitalists while he made minimum wage, still unable earn enough to have the basic necessities in life. As Big L, an urban rapper informs us, “:”How the hell I’m gonna make end’s meet, makin about $120 dollars a week? Man, I’d rather do another hit; I want clean clothes, mean hos and all that other shit.”.
Jojo could have gone to school, but Chicago’s educational system is in an absolute state of apartheid in which Selective Enrollment schools (which are disproptionetly white) receive more funding and resources while neighborhood schools are neglected, given old textbooks, and broken down supplies. What reason is there to go to school on an empty stomach to receive a lackluster education? More than half of black youth drop out of these neighborhood schools..Dead Prez once told us, “They schools can’t teach us shit. My people trynna get all we can get. All my high school teachers can suck my dick. Telling me white man’s lies straight bullshit.”
Thus, one day, a hungry Jojo made the decisions to go along with his peers who were making fast money via an underground illegal drug economy having the latest clothes, women, and an excess money. Plus they were well respected and feared on a dangerous block (thus adding a sense of security). Why not join a gang?
 Gangs are a way in which oppressed youth experience a bond . They come together and form a connection. This replaces the needs to climb  up the socio-economic ladder the legal way. Most African Americans live in isolated ghettos struggling for basic human necessities such as housing, health care, food and clothing. Joining a gang is the only hope for some people to have access to those things.
 White folk’s “recession” translated to African-Americans depression.  Whites have 20 times the wealth of African Americans, and the average white newlywed couple has 12 times the net-worth of African American families. While white folks were facing job insecurity for the first time and worried that they would be unable to pay the mortgage, African-Americans like Jojo and his family were had no job or house to lose. Thus, Jojo joined a gang. After, Chief Keef signed a record deal and went from rags to riches in no time, many other Englewood natives wanted to aspire to be like him, following in his foot-steps.
Jojo was one of these people, and he was motivated by his hatred of the ‘Black Disciples,” Chief Keef’s gang, which wars with Jojo’s gang over control of drug blocks. Thus, Jojo made videos dissing the Black Disciples and can be seen in his rap videos brandishing guns. Jojo’s older brother had this to say about the videos:
“It was a character and just an image that he was giving, because that image is hot. We’re not from the North Side. We’re not from the nice community. We’re from the ’hood. We’re from where mothafuckas are hungry and ain’t got shit and it’s a matter of whether you’re a nigga that do eat or don’t. The nigga that eat do negative things to get it.”
Jojo, was hoping that he would be signed to a major record deal like Chief Keef by his music recordings that he uploaded to YouTube.
Chief Keef represents ‘300’ and Lamron in his songs which represents Englewood’s Normal Ave-  the Englewood faction of the Black Disciples.  Chief Keef and Jojo belonged to two different, warring gangs that competed for drug blocks. In response to Jojo’s death, Chief Keef stated that, ““Its Sad Cuz Dat Nigga jojo Wanted to Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.” Chief Keef’s account was apparently hacked when this statement was made but it still was made by someone and as disgusting as this response is, both him and Jojo are victims of a centuries-long cycle of racial oppression which allows for mentalities like this to flourish
Sources
Interview Quotations are from http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/09/27/killing-is-the-solution-gang-member-tells-walter-jacobson/