Keith "Chief Keef" Cozart is a 17-year-old Chicago rapper signed to Interscope Records and best known for his mixtape hit "I Don't Like" (a song that's been reappropriated as the final track on Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music crew's upcoming album, Cruel Summer). Joseph "Lil JoJo" Coleman was a fellow teen Chicago rapper that allegedly had some bad blood with Keef. On Tuesday, Coleman was shot and killed on the South Side of Chicago. Now, following a mocking tweet send out by Keef in response to the killing, Chicago police are looking into how the possible gang affiliations of Cozart and Coleman may have led to the slaying.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Coleman "was riding double on a bike — standing on the back — when a car pulled up and someone fired six or seven shots at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Coleman was hit in the back before running to a nearby home, where he later died." Later in the day, Cozart tweeted "Its Sad Cuz Dat N---- Jojo Wanted To Be Jus Like Us #LMAO," before later claiming his account was hacked. Whether it's in direct relation to that tweet or not is unclear, but Chicago PD is now investigating a connection between Coleman and Cozart. Via the Sun-Times:
Police are looking into whether Coleman had gang affiliations, and whether Keef or any of his associates are connected to the gang conflict or Coleman's death, the source said. Many of Chief Keef's Tweets include a hashtag notation "#300" — a known reference, police say, to the Black Disciples street gang. And Coleman appears to have been warring online with the Black Disciples for months. On a YouTube account purporting to belong to Coleman, a video of the rapper and other teens brandishing automatic weapons was posted on May 25. Coleman may have tempted fate, taunting the 300 factions of the Black Disciples gang. "These n----s claim 300 but we BDK," Coleman raps repeatedly in the video. BDK is street slang for "Black Disciple Killers."
To be clear, Keef is in no way implicated directly in the slaying. It also seems highly premature to try to connect a tweet or a hashtag to actual gang involvement — exactly the kind of thing a police force, misreading brash talk from a rapper as a legitimate threat of violence, might do. But if the Chicago police really are investigating a connection, then hopefully hard facts will soon emerge, one way or the other.
Coleman's death comes amid a Chicago summer crime wave that has made national news. According to the New York Times, "Homicides are up by 38 percent from a year ago, and shootings have increased as well, even as killings have held steady or dropped in New York, Los Angeles and some other cities."