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Rhymefest Runs For Seat On Chicago’s City Council

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Chicago’s hip-hop community has always had a social conscience. Rappers like Common, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco has made it a point to address their concerns for the inner-city struggle. Plenty of lesser-known artists continue to preach that gospel at underground shows around the city. Sources say that during today’s municipal elections, several young men of the hip-hop generation hope to take that spirit of empowerment to the very halls of established power, as they rally for seats on Chicago’s City Council. Among those voices: Grammy winning rapper and activist Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Hector Gonzalez, former instructor at the University of Hip-Hop on the South Side, a Philly-raised hip-hop lover turned education lawyer Rafael Vargas, and Brian Sleet, whose neighborhood ties and hip-hop connections run deep. Rhymefest was raised on Chicago’s South Side, but went on to national and international stardom, testifying before Congress on artists’ rights and meeting with now-Prime Minister David Cameron in England after Cameron decried hip-hop for inciting violence. But ‘Fest is back in his home neighborhood now, fighting to back his words up with actions. During an interview the rapper stated “There’s a lot that rappers do, we talk about the hood where we’re from, how hood we are. In my hood, I live in a community with 28,000 vacant city-owned lots. I live in a community where you have to drive two miles to get fresh fruits and vegetables. I live in a community where they dump thousands of tires behind people’s houses because they know people won’t fight it.”

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