Check out Kevin Coval’s fascinating new poem, “Chicago (KEEF).”

A re-imagining of Carl Samburg’s classic piece “Chicago,” Coval examines the media’s handling of Chief Keef and the horrific violence plaguing the Windy City. It is reportedly the final poem of Coval’s forthcoming collection “More Shit Chief Keef Don’t Like.”

Below is both a recording of the poem (produced by Saba of Pivot), and the text of “Chicago (KEEF).


From Ruby Hornet:

Chicago (Keef) after Carl Sandburg

“He looks just like Chicago”
Lupe Fiasco

murder capital of the country
gun rapper, stacker of tweets
player with thots & the nation’s nightmare;
sullen, withdrawn, wilin city of the bad kids:

they tell me you are wicked and i believe they mean you laugh at death. and i have seen your street soldiers peddle on dirt bikes with automatic weapons.
they tell me you are crooked and i answer: Yes there are more bodies here in summer months then dead and nameless poor kids returning from overseas
they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of your hittas i have seen the marks of youth and wanton poverty
and having answered them so, i hold a mirror to those who scapegoat you, my city and say to them:
come show me another city so segregated, so proud of its grand inequities, gaping and stunning. the mayor himself once flung NAFTA curses thru congress and the jobs and
jobs that made a Black middle class strong as a slugger
became ghost, a town of ghosts. fierce as millionaires devising the miseducation poor kids receive and they call you savages in the wilderness & wild hundreds hungry grinding retching drilling
scrapping, scraping, scavenging under the weed smoke, children
numb stare, a state of trauma under the dumb laughter of youth
a mayor laughs a much greater tragedy laughs the certain safety of his children
walking home bragging and laughing that under the poster boys
for the prison industrial complex the backroom white handshake of history
laughing! laughing the sullen, withdrawn, and wild
laughter of those who own and never grieve, the half-hearted pig-protected snort of the murder capital, gun maker, player with Black lives, manufacturing nightmare for the nation.


Thoughts on this piece?

What are your feelings on Chief Keef?

What do we do about the violence plaguing our community?

Sound off below!