How Pitchfork Might Have Sent an Artist to Jail

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Sure lots of people complain about Pitchfork's reviews, but Chicago rapper Chief Keef might have a real bone to pick with the sometimes snobby music site. An interview he did with the site back in June which involved video of Keef at a gun range seems to have directly violated his probation orders, meaning he could be facing jail time.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Frank Main and Jon Seidel report:

Prosecutors argued [Keef] violated the probation by having a gun in a video posted online. They pointed to a recorded media interview the rapper did in June at a gun range in New York, where he can be seen with a gun. That’s a probation violation, prosecutors argued, because his probation bans him from having any guns or illegal drugs or associating with gang members.

Pitchfork's interview splices footage of Keef performing a "freestyle" verse with footage of the then 16-year-old shooting a rifle. It's a "tough guy" setting for a "tough guy" rapper. 

The offending screen caps: 

Chief Keef holding a gun: a violation.

Chief Keef shooting a gun: a violation. 

Chief Keef, nee Keith Cozart, is one of the hottest young rappers on the scene, with his legal troubles (and reverence for guns) becoming as much a part of his mythos as his music. He got popular at the beginning of the year while he was still on house arrest for pointing a gun at a police officer. He's now serving 18 months probation while recording new songs for Interscope

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Pitchfork has already removed the damning video from its site, but for reasons unrelated to Keef and his legal issues. They pulled and retracted the video in September, saying: "The horror of the gun violence that has plagued our hometown [Chicago] is something we all take very seriously. Many people have pointed out that this episode could be seen as trivializing gun violence, and we feel they have a good point." 

So it seems everyone regrets this afternoon road trip. It was the middle of summer. They should have just gone to the beach.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.