After some speculation, Rhymefest recently confirmed he will attempt to become alderman of Chicago’s 20th district. ‘Fest, whose real name is Che Smith, made a veiled reference to current alderman Willie B. Cochran, saying the district currently suffers from “an absence of transparency and an absence of leadership.’’ In turn, Cochran turned leveled his own accusations against the emcee.
“The voters of the 20th Ward know the difference between a professional public administrator doing an outstanding job for them…as opposed to someone who is a known Hip Hop artist who degrades women and promotes violence in his videos,” Cochran told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Smith, who co-wrote “Jesus Walks” and also authored “Band New” had a different take on the role Hip Hop could potentially play in his political career, as evidenced by his use of a Pac Div track in his official commercial to announce his bid.
“I believe—I know—that we can use Hip Hop to engage our youth and to engage our community,” Smith said. “The priority is to return the community back into the hands of the people who live here. For too long our communities have been dictated to. For too long our communities have been told what’s going to happen.”
Early voting for Chicago’s 20th Ward runs through October 28 at any of the available early voting cites in the city, including the 20th Ward’s Coleman Library location. More information about candidates, eligibility and the election process is available via the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners official site.