“I Hate Chiraq” is written by Che “Rhymefest” Smith
After receiving the fifteenth “Chiraq” article in my inbox and seeing a British director come to Chicago and create a documentary with the same title, I realized how dangerous, provocative and exciting the word “Chiraq” was to verbalize. This is exactly why I’m naming my new album Violence Is Sexy. No one on Chicago’s Gold Coast or Michigan Ave, who last summer experienced issues with flash mobs referred to their communities as “Chiraq”. They’re proud of their communities and do the work necessary to keep them safe and healthy.
My friends who are military war veterans and live in the city hear the term “Chiraq” and have one of two reactions, either they laugh hysterically or are deeply offended at the fact anyone would compare random weekend shootings to what they experienced in Iraq or Afghanistan. These wars were fought with tanks, bombs, fighter jets, drones, suicide bombers and I.E.D’s.
War is generally fought by groups with specific purposes: to remove tyrants, seize land, commit intended genocides, rescue people from genocides, etc.
What’s happening in Chicago is a result of broken families, poverty, bad education systems, the prison industrial complex and corrupt politicians. No force as of yet has risen up in a significant way to take this system to war in fact, many of our most prominent rappers, ministers, politicians and so called “activists” play a big hand in our own demise. We kill each other out of self hate. Look at the reasons people are being shot in Chicago or around the country in our communities! It’s mostly drug related disputes or someone who insulted someone else who happened to have a gun. We use terms like “DieTroit”, “Chiraq”, and “Killah Cali” to glorify, sexify, and sale fear about black & brown communities.
If we embrace these descriptors we are essentially co-signing an image of our communities as barbaric, predatory and heartless. We are creating an atmosphere to be targeted, hunted and contained. Yesterday I received one of my quarterly ASCAP royalty checks for a few thousand dollars. I ran a couple of errands during the day with plans to deposit the check in the late afternoon. By the time I was ready to go to the bank I couldn’t find my check. I searched all through my car, I went home and looked all through my files and still, no check. As the sun went down, the bank closed and almost all hope was lost on paying the few bills that check covered such as child support and utilities, my doorbell rang. A young black male who I didn’t know wearing a skully and baggy pants was seen through the peephole. My first reaction wasn’t to grab my pistol and yell through the door “who da fuck is it?!” to scare the unknown visitor away. I cautiously open the door and said “yes brother how can I help you”? He responded “Are you Che”? When I confirmed that I was, he went to the inside pocket of his coat and pulled out my check. “Yeah brother you dropped this earlier, in the grocery store. I found it blown against the outside door, it had your address on it and when I saw how much it was for I figured you really needed it back.”
If I had a “Chiraq” mentality I’d have frightened him off my door step before I could receive my blessing. If he had a “Chiraq” mentality he could’ve easily sold my check to a scammer who would’ve cashed it.
“Chiraq” is not a locality, it’s a mentality. So I ask, where do you live?
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