Chicago rapper Chief Keef is one of the biggest music stories of the year—both his sudden rocketing to fame and fortune based on a handful of YouTube clips and his callous response, just as his career seemed to be reaching critical mass, to the shooting death of a rival rapper that very likely had something to do with both artists’ gang connections. While many critics have condemned Keef for glamorizing street violence, many others—myself included—see him more as a reflection of how badly some parts of Chicago have been allowed to deteriorate. Leor Galil is also of the latter camp, and in this week’s music feature he points out the silver lining to the Chief Keef situation, which is that people who don’t live on the south and west sides of Chicago are finally paying attention to the violence in those neighborhoods that over the course of 2012 has escalated to a sickening level.
In less awful (but still kind of awful) news, Three Beats has the story on the ongoing DJ lockout at WZRD, one of the last free-form radio stations left in America; there are also items on a new album by bassist Josh Abrams and new amps from the metalhead artisans behind Emperor cabinets. Gossip Wolf has the dish on an upcoming Chicago appearance by legendary punk zinester Legs McNeil, the new Black Dot Music Festival, and Mountain Dew’s recent hangouts with local hip-hop muckety-mucks. On Soundboard we recommend shows by Natural Child, Ravi Coltrane, Grizzly Bear, ZZ Top, and more, and we’ve got a guide to this weekend’s Hyde Park Jazz Festival too.