Kevin Coval Announces New Book: more shit Chief Keef don’t like
Poet, author, and activist, Kevin Coval, has never been one to shy away from tackling tough issues, nor calling out people, events, and institutions he sees as hypocritical or unjust. Earlier this year, Coval put a heavy microscope on music and race in his one-man show and book, L-Vis Lives! Coval continues his examination of Hip Hop music and culture with his new book, more shit Chief Keef don’t like, which will be released in October and is comprised of poems set to build context around Chief Keef, his music, and the environment in which he was raised. Coval also comments throughout the book on role that the media, and the music industry have played in Keef’s incredible journey thus far, and those that have made Keef a scapegoat for the Chicago’s violence.
“In light of a cruel summer, the preponderance of bodies of color murdered and the news media’s fear-mongering and racialized hucksterism, the world, it seems, has all eyes on Chicago,” Coval writes in the book’s intro. “A city that moves in and out of the horrific distinction of being the murder capital, was recently embroiled in a teacher strike, in part around a conversation regarding the future of public education for a nearly 85% student population of color, and is also the adopted home-town of a president in a campaign year.”
Kevin Coval has spent years working with youth in Chicago Public Schools and through his own Louder Than A Bomb organization. Those experiences have provided inspiration for Coval to write this book, as he sees the vast similarities between Keef and his own current and former students. Coval writes, “Keef is a young man in Chicago who looks and sounds like thousands of young people I’ve met and heard and worked with here. Which is to say he is not perfect. He is young and makes mistakes and triumphs and is misguided. He has been reared in a culture of nihilism, death and capitalism and we should not be surprised when he sounds like the value system of our country.”
Coval early and often points out that Keef is a product of Chicago, it’s failed systems, it’s violence, capitalism and more. “Chief Keef is Chicago’s son, in all the boy-man Glory and horror. He and the conditions that surround his neighborhood and populate his rhymes are currently, and in part because of him, more visible than they have ever been to folks outside of the neighborhood,” he writes. “The conditions on which this young man is reporting and referencing are not of his own invention. Keef does not manufacture the guns or drugs that plague his neighborhood. He is not the builder of prisons, nor is he the architect of globalization and de-industrialization that eradicated jobs from urban america. He did not sign NAFTA nor push it through congress as this city’s current mayor did, which sent union jobs packing south, which helped to erode a Black middle class. Keef did not make crack nor import it, with the help of the CIA, into Black neighborhoods.“
I was able to read Kevin’s new book over the weekend, and it’s executed very well. Kevin does a great job, and echoes thoughts and feelings that I’ve had and I know that many in Chicago have had as well. Next week we will be premiering a poem from the book, and Kevin will also join me on my radio show this Friday on WindyCityUnderground.com. Stay tuned.