Rapper Rhymefest Sheds Light on Autism in Rap: Exploitation of Chief Keef


Photo by Jesus Montero/The Early Registration
Photo by Jesus Montero/The Early Registration

Autism is a rarely talked about subject in the rap world. Although studies show that nearly 1 in 68 have some form of autism in the U.S., you don’t hear about a rapper with Asperger’s or a bipolar disorder, for example. And while some have debated whether their favorite rapper may suffer from autism or not (Kanye West and Travis Scott, to name a couple), rapper Rhymefest has shed some light on the issue in relation to Chicago’s own, drill rapper Chief Keef.

Although others before have speculated whether Chief Keef may suffer from autism, Rhymefest is fully convinced and has issue with how Keef is used by many in the music industry. “He’s exploited,” said Rhymefest. “I think many rappers these days have afflictions, such as Asperger’s, bipolar disorder, or autism. They need advocates, but we turn it into entertainment. The media is turning autism into entertainment.”

Rhymefest continued to say, “When I look at Chief Keef, I clearly see someone who has autism. Look at the way his face is structured, or his insensitivity to violence. He needs an advocate. But someone put him out there and exploited that child.”

Despite a slight controversy from a J. Cole lyric, where he rapped “I’m artistic, you niggas is autistic, retarded”, autism is almost never talked about in rap music, and Rhymefest certainly has a point. Should someone step in and speak up for rappers who have have autism, and as an result are exploited? Or should everyone just step back and let rappers like Chief Keef (who may or may not have a form of autism) speak for themselves, even if they are being exploited or promoting a bad message when doing so?

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