Chicago

Chance the Rapper Buys Chicagoist, Promises to Investigate Rahm Emanuel

"And Rahm, you done, I'm expectin' resignation..."

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|||Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/Newscom
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/Newscom

Chancelor Bennett, known by his stage name, Chance the Rapper, recently announced that he is the proud new owner of Chicagoist. The purchase was announced in "I Need Security," one of four new songs that he released late Wednesday evening.

Chicagoist was part of the local news empire that started with New York City's Gothamist, founded in 2003. The group of sites was purchased by billionaire Joe Ricketts in 2017, who shuttered the suite later the same year after employees voted to unionize. The closure affected 115 journalists, including those who worked for Chicagoist, DCist, LAist, and similar city publications. Three of the publications affected—Gothamist, DCist, and LAist—were relaunched in February by New York public radio station WNYC.

According to Gothamist, Chance's Social Media LLC purchased the Chicagoist website from WNYC.

"I'm extremely excited to be continuing the work of the Chicagoist, an integral local platform for Chicago news, events and entertainment. WNYC's commitment to finding homes for the -ist brands, including Chicagoist, was an essential part of continuing the legacy and integrity of the site. I look forward to re-launching it and bringing the people of Chicago an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and content," he reportedly said in a statement. Or as he rapped in song form, "I bought the Chicagoist just to run you racist bitches out of business."

It would appear that Chance is already getting into the investigative spirit with a set of lyrics directed to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel:

And Rahm you done I'm expectin' resignation

An open investigation on all of these paid vacations for murderers

(As Genius notes, Chance's anger is motivated by Emanuel's 2017 proposal to spend $95 million on a police and firefighter training center in response to a Justice Department investigation that concluded excessive force was disproportionately used against black residents. In November, Emanuel walked out of Chance's speech to city council when the rapper suggested that the city should put the resources into public schools and mental health programs.)

The move is in sharp contrast to a news experiment currently being explored by the state of New Jersey. As Reason's Joe Setyon previously reported, New Jersey has put aside $5 million to subsidize local news in response to a "growing crisis" in local coverage. If the concerns associated with such a move being carried out by one of the most corrupt states were not obvious, Politico's Jack Shafer explains:

Even if the consortium stays clean, won't it avoid politically charged stories of great watchdogging potential because it will fear to bite the hand that feeds it? Government-funded news outfits like NPR and PBS, ever fearful of offending their funding sources, avoid hard-hitting government news for this reason. Public media may follow the news pack on a story about government corruption, but generally, they're too compromised to lead.

Chance's venture into local media is consistent with his recent embrace of political activism. He met with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) in 2017 to talk about Chicago public schools and later reported disappointment with the governor's vague answers. Just a few months ago, he tweeted that black Americans were not required to vote for Democrats.

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61 responses to “Chance the Rapper Buys Chicagoist, Promises to Investigate Rahm Emanuel

  1. Just a few months ago, he tweeted that black Americans were not required to vote for Democrats.

    Until he recanted.

    1. He didn’t recant. He apologized for the inappropriate timing but affirmed that black people don’t have to be Democrats, while criticizing the party’s control of Chicago.

        1. Shhh, I’m arguing with myself.

          1. I knew it! Did Putin put you up to this?

            1. You forgot to sign in as Tulpa. Or did you decide to stop doing that?

              1. I’m Tulpa? You’re Tulpa!

                1. It’s interesting that you think running 3 socks would be hard.

                  Says a lot about you.

                  1. Hey- I’m you, apparently.

                    1. Haven’t seen Sparky’s sock, “NotoriousD-Bag” in quite a while.

                    2. I don’t use socks around here because I’m not a scaredy poo poo pants.

                    3. Numb nuts, I’m not Tulpa

                    4. If I wanted to tell you that your comments are profoundly stupid and ill-informed then I would do it under this profoundly stupid screen name

                    5. Numb nuts, I’m not Tulpa

                      I like how you take five comments in response to each other to say what you need to say. Just like Tulpa.

                    6. You misspelled liar.

                    7. “I don’t use socks around here because I’m not a scaredy poo poo pants.”

                      So you admit you do use socks elsewhere, and there you are a “scared poo poo pants”

                      No wonder you only took bronze.

                    8. Look, all y’alls can gargle m’balls.

                    9. It’s gargled balls all the way down.

                    10. Look, you don’t have any horse in this race. I don’t know why you’re getting involved in this argument. And I don’t know why I’m getting involved in this argument. And I don’t know why X is involved in this argument. All I know is Tulpa belongs in this argument.

                    11. That’s my line

                    12. So you admit you do use socks elsewhere

                      I do! They’re on my feet right now.

                    13. A bronzeworthy effort.

      1. The Democratic Party doesn’t necessarily control Chicago. There’s basically two Democratic parties in Chicago- “regular Democrats” and “independent Democrats”. “Regular Democrats” are more pro-business and favor lower taxes generally coupled with less regulation (like the Daleys and to a lesser extent Rahm). “Independent Democrats” are nearly indistinguishable from socialists, in the truest sense of the word.

        Anyone who thinks that “corruption” is Chicago’s problem and not public sector worker pay and benefits which will consume nearly half of the City’s corporate fund should probably read Yates v. Shakelford

        1. The only mentions of “corruption,” besides yours, were in reference to New Jersey, so I’m not sure who you’re arguing with. Chance did not accuse Chicago Democrats of corruption.

          1. I was referring to a common refrain that gets brought up about Chicago. The first part was in response to Democratic control of the city. Take it down a notch.

            1. No you take it down a notch.

        2. “Anyone who thinks that “corruption” is Chicago’s problem and not public sector worker pay and benefits which will consume nearly half of the City’s corporate fund”

          So the public-sector pay and benefits situation *isn’t* corrupt?

          1. No more corrupt than the usual political machinations where you reward your voters (in this case public sector unions). The days of aldermanic patronage ended in the early 90’s.

            1. So it’s no longer old-style corruption, it’s Corruption 2.0 (or 3.0 or 13.0 or whatever)

        3. There’s basically two Democratic parties in Chicago- “regular Democrats” and “independent Democrats”. “Regular Democrats” are more pro-business and favor lower taxes generally coupled with less regulation (like the Daleys and to a lesser extent Rahm). “Independent Democrats” are nearly indistinguishable from socialists, in the truest sense of the word.

          That pretty much exactly describes San Francisco politics, except the “regular Democrats” are known as “Downtown Democrats” and serve as proxy Republicans for purposes of drawing populist ire. For the folks at home, these would be people like Feinstein, Pelosi, Newsome and Brown.

          Yes – you heard that right. Those people that many in the country think of as communists are seen in the Bay Area as being effectively Republicans.

          1. “Yes – you heard that right. Those people that many in the country think of as communists are seen in the Bay Area as being effectively Republicans.”

            Eegads! The “Regular Democrats” in Chicago are not nearly that left-wing, but they have gotten significantly more left-wing ever since their voting base (middle income families) have been fleeing the City since the 90’s and have been replaced with young singles.

            1. I think it probably depends on how you define “left wing.” Socially speaking, SF and the Bay Area are pretty libertarian (to the point of libertine, at times) when you get down to it, but Bay Area folks tend to be deeply suspicious of economic freedom. There’s more sympathy for free market principles in the South Bay (i.e. Silicon Valley), but there’s also a serious technocratic streak that sees market forces as something to be “consulted” within very tightly designed frameworks.

              Plus, the area attracts a lot of artists and creative types, whose political opinions tend to boil down to things like “I’m a supporter of Beauty and Harmony” and “Our budgets should reflect our values, and the arts should be what we value most; especially my art.”

              Navigating these demographics will tend to make coastal CA politicians seem certifiably insane. And in fairness, many of them are.

              1. “Socially speaking, SF and the Bay Area are pretty libertarian (to the point of libertine, at times) when you get down to it”

                I see your point here, but this is the problem that I have with the label “socially liberal”- it usually means “socialize culture war issues”. I may be wrong here, but wasn’t there an effort in San Francisco to force Catholic hospitals and groups to provide contraceptives, abortions, and transgender surgeries? I may be confusing the City with the State, but that isn’t “socially liberal” to me- that’s forcing people to abide by your values. No different from religious people trying to stop the sale of those practices through legislation.

                Chicago is the same kind of “socially liberal”, but even the left-wing in Chicago hasn’t attempted such a brazen assault on Catholic institutions. There is still the lingering after effects of Catholic immigrant sentiments left in the City, even if there are hardly any immigrants left anymore (census figures show that most new immigrants move to suburbs instead of cities now).

                1. wasn’t there an effort in San Francisco to force Catholic hospitals and groups to provide contraceptives, abortions, and transgender surgeries?

                  Sounds familiar, and wouldn’t surprise me.

                  I may be confusing the City with the State

                  No – that sounds more SF than CA.

                  I definitely sympathize with what you’re saying – when I was in my late teens in the very late 80s I was a pot-smoking, LSD-obsessed anarcho-communist, and a friend and I made something of a pilgrimage to Santa Cruz to visit some hippy friends in their communal house.

                  Upon spending a few days in Santa Cruz, it struck me that these people were mostly not anarchists at all, and they were not the individualists that they claimed to be, either. They just had a narrow and far-off-the-mainstream notion of how everyone should be and they were more intolerant of diversity than the fundamentalist Christians I grew up among in Orange County.

                  Berkeley (where I wound up going for undergrad) is very similar, and there are elements in SF, too.

                  But most in CA have the attitude of “to each their own, as long you’re not hurting anyone.” Those who want to force the Catholic institutions to provide birth control and abortion services (a vocal minority, IMO) have done the mental contortions to convince themselves that these institutions, as healthcare institutions, are denying things rather than simply failing to actively provide things.

                  1. So in short, I think that that kind of thing is more of a cognitive dissonance than a reflection of core values, while the generalized suspicion of free markets I would characterize as a core value.

        4. There is plenty of corruption to go around in Chicago. Right wing republicans grow just as fat at the teat as democrats. Public sector is an issue, but there is way more wrong with Chicago than just that.

  2. Another guy i never heard of.

    1. Another guy i never heard of.

      He keeps popping up in the local news so I’ve heard of him before. I have yet to here a concert performance or an album advertised anywhere, his name in somebody else’s song, producer credits… anything. Between him and Cardi B, I’m beginning to think the social medias have invented a new kind of music artist who doesn’t perform or make music. Like the Kardashians except with the additional claim of being some manner of talented.

      1. Cardi B was the fifth female rapper to ever have a Billboard No. 1 record, the first since 2012, and you think she…doesn’t perform or make music?

      2. His big break was Coloring Book back in 2016, he received a lot of critical praise and was one of the most highly reviewed acts of that year. He was also heavily involved with Kanye and his work.

        So, that’s where he is. I’m not big into rap, but I’ve heard him, and I’ve heard his music. He’s not particularly rare.

  3. Ah yes, this is good you see, because without Rahm Chicago will develop into “libertopia”. Oh wait, no, actually it would appear that Chance and Rahm’s opposition is straight-up socialism.

    Woke af, though

  4. Chance’s anger is motivated by Emanuel’s 2017 proposal to spend $95 million on a police and firefighter training center in response to a Justice Department investigation that concluded excessive force was disproportionately used against black residents. In November, Emanuel walked out of Chance’s speech to city council when the rapper suggested that the city should put the resources into public schools and mental health programs.

    I suppose NOT spending that $95 million just isn’t an option.

    1. It’s already in the bank vault and they can’t just give it back.

      1. They can’t. There was a federal consent decree.

        1. People should really know something about the local politics they write about before…..writing about it

  5. “In November, Emanuel walked out of Chance’s speech to city council when the rapper suggested that the city should put the resources into public schools and mental health programs.”

    Chance should start critiquing Emanuel by first learning what he’s talking about. Chicago Public Schools is a separate governmental entity from the City of Chicago.

    1. Chicago Public Schools is a separate governmental entity from the City of Chicago.

      It’s amazing how few people understand this. Cities and school districts often have a fundamentally adversarial relationship, in fact, competing for the same resources the way they do.

      Which is Reason #3,744 why the public school system should be abolished.

      1. To be fair, in some states local school districts are part of local government. This is usually only the case on the east coast, though

        1. It occurred to me after I posted that this is a very CA phenomenon that might be different in other states.

          In CA, we have a state-level agency called DSA (Division of the State Architect), which has absolute permitting authority over public schools. The agency was created in the 1930s after about 100 kids were killed when a public school collapsed in an earthquake, and a court found that if the state was going to compel attendance at a particular site, then that site needed to be made safe (and now we pay 4x the national average for public school construction).

          We do the same thing for hospitals with an agency called OSHPD, which is why we don’t need those clumsy “Certificate of Need” programs the elder states rely on.

          The practical upshot is that public school construction is not subject to local oversight by the City at all. As long as what you are doing is confined to the school’s own property, it is only subject to the authority of DSA and the school can build whatever it wants.

          Lots of District Facilities Departments in CA don’t have the bandwidth or foresight to realize that if they flip the City the bird on all their projects, when the time comes that they need to tie a new line into the City sewer system the City is going to be pointedly uncooperative.

          1. Yup. Which is not to mention all the different development districts that exist in CA which are also independent governments.

            There was a tendency during the progressive era to dissect local government into multiple different units and this first caught on in the Midwest where you have “townships”; “schools”; “fire districts”; “water districts”, and a whole host of different government essentially with a single purpose and completely separate from cities and counties.

            That sentiment moved further West with the population, but with a different flavor.

            1. This may sound dorky, but I enjoy these dorky conversations about local government. It’s pretty fascinating. Thanks for the insight.

              1. I enjoy them, too – most people don’t realize that local government is where the things that effect them the most actually happen, and local government is exactly where these sticky conflicts between different management districts impact people.

                I didn’t know about that history of Progressivism structuring the government that way, but it makes sense with CA political structures having essentially evolved during the Progressive era.

                I do public works construction management in CA, and understanding the overlapping Authorities Having Jurisdiction (or AHJs as we call them in the business) is part and parcel of being able to get things done. As you say, you’ll have local water district, sanitary sewer district, watershed authority, air quality authority, traffic management authority, and any number of other “stakeholders” whose jurisdictions don’t overlap.

                I actually have hope that CA culture is going to start reacting against this, as it’s getting difficult not just for private business (which no one in the government cares about), but it’s getting difficult for public agencies to navigate the regulatory frameworks of other public agencies that regulate them. The government is actually paralyzing itself at this point.

                1. “The government is actually paralyzing itself at this point.”

                  Not sure what’s bad about that …

  6. ‘Government-funded news outfits like NPR and PBS, ever fearful of offending their funding sources, avoid hard-hitting government news for this reason.’

    Ha ha ha ha…oh, you’re serious?

    1. Yeah – NPR and PBS do very hard-hitting government news when Republicans are in charge.

  7. And Rahm you done I’m expectin’ resignation

    Chance goin’ full Tom Wolfe on a brother.

  8. “The group of sites was purchased by billionaire Joe Ricketts in 2017, who shuttered the suite later the same year after employees voted to unionize.”

    Ha! Ha! Ha! HA! HA!

    LOL

  9. New Jersey has put aside $5 million to subsidize local news”

    1. nothing like have to compete with the never ending funding form the government
    2. When government pays it gets a say as to what is news and what is fake

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