Friday, September 7, 2012

Anger over Chief Keef's Tweet mocking rival's murder explodes online - Chicago Sun-Times

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Chief Keef at Pitchfork 2012. Photo credit: Andrea Bauer

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Updated: September 6, 2012 9:59PM

Two days after he took to Twitter to mock the murder of a rival teenage gangster rapper, Chief Keef Thursday faced a massive backlash of online outrage.

Thousands of commenters â€" many sickened by the gang culture helping to drive Chicago’s spike in shootings and murders â€" used Twitter and Facebook to spell out their disgust at the violent culture Keef’s raps represent.

The backlash came in a flurry â€" a Tweet every five seconds for most of Thursday.

“I’m deleting Chief Keef from my iTunes & will never support his career,” Tweeted @AwedByClaud. “You don’t laugh at someone’s deth! You look guilty as hell dumbass!”

Other Tweeters called for Interscope Records, the label of rappers Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Eminem, to drop Chief Keef from its lineup of artists.

Interscope bosses are waiting to see if police determine Chief Keef sent the offending Tweet, or if he was involved in the gang conflict leading to the murder before deciding the rapper’s future, a source close to the label told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“If the reported behavior is accurate, that is not something the label will tolerate and they will take appropriate action,” the source said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions.”

Chicago-based music website didn’t wait to take action. Its editor apologized for a video interview with Chief Keef conducted in a gun range and removed it from the website.

‘Trivializing gun violence’

“Pitchfork’s roots are in Chicago and many of our employees and several contributors live in the city. The horror of the gun violence that has plagued our hometown is something we all take very seriously,” Pitchfork Editor in Chief Mark Richardson said in a statement. “Many people have pointed out that this episode could be seen as trivializing gun violence, and we feel they have a good point.”

The manager for Chief Keef â€" whose real name is Keith Cozart, 17 â€" didn’t return calls seeking comment.

The Twitter controversy that now threatens Chief Keef’s rap career â€" and again places Chicago’s spike in shootings in the national spotlight â€" began just hours after the murder of Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman, a South Side rap rival.

Coleman was shot dead Tuesday night near 69th and Princeton, about a block from where Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson grew up and where her family was slain in 2008.

Soon after Coleman died, Chief Keef’s Twitter account carried a message saying, “Its Sad Cuz Dat N----- Jojo Wanted to Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.” LMAO stands for “laughing my ass off.”

While Chief Keef took a beating online Thursday, Chicago police continued to investigate possible connections between social media posts by a group of feuding gangster rappers, an ongoing Englewood gang conflict and Coleman’s murder.

Tweeted his location

One of Coleman’s own Tweets might have helped his killers track his whereabouts. The rapper, who grew up nearby, Tweeted his location just hours before he was shot dead.

“Im on #069 Im Out Here,” he Tweeted, then gave a cellphone number to another Twitter user who expressed doubts that Coleman had traveled to Englewood from his home in Altgeld Gardens.

He was riding on the back of a pal’s bike around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when a gunman fired six or seven shots, fatally striking him in the back.

With rumors of a bounty on Coleman’s head circulating on the street, it seemed the inevitable outcome of an escalating war of words and teenage bravado, witnesses and family said.

Coleman had been taunting rap associates of Chief Keef’s â€" Lil Durk and Lil Reese â€" for months in Youtube “diss” raps and videos that also targeted the Black Disciples street gang.

Police sources say they’ve been monitoring an ongoing feud between the Lamron faction of the Black Disciples and Brick Squad faction of the Gangster Disciples for months.

Many of Chief Keef’s Tweets include a hashtag notation “#300” â€" a known reference to the Black Disciples, and police are looking into his possible ties to the gang.

The rapper spent time under house arrest at his grandmother’s home after he allegedly pointed a gun at a police officer in the Gresham District late last year, police said.

Coleman, too, was arrested last year on a gun charge â€" one he was due to stand trial for in just two weeks. He allegedly dropped a .45 caliber handgun from the belt of his baggy pants while running away from a police raid of a party attended by members of the Gangster Disciples, court records show.

Police on the street Thursday night were still looking for Coleman’s killer.

Englewood District officers also were using information from a gang audit database â€" part of police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s data-based violence reduction strategy â€" to identify known criminals and their associates connected to the shooting in attempt to prevent retaliatory shootings.

No one was in custody late Thursday.

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