Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

During a sit down with AllHipHop, Chicago rapper Rhymefest offered his thoughts on Spike Lee’s soon to be released film, Chi-Raq, a controversial play on words combining Chicago and Iraq which judging by the title and Lee’s recent interviews – will shed light on Chicago’s drastically high crime rate and issues of gun violence.

According to Rhymefest, the only member of the community Lee met with for approval of the content was a white priest. He also spoke about Lee exploiting poor people with the film and compared Chi-Raq to someone making a satire about the Holocaust as it was happening.

“The process that Spike Lee used to come into Chicago and exploit poor people—And I’ll go through a little bit of the process,” Rhymefest said.

“Coming in, going to a white priest. And that’s the only community member that you go to to justify you making a film. When there are a lot of different community people that if you’re gonna make a film like this, about this, that you should speak to. I think it was kinda like in the middle of the Holocaust saying ‘I’mma make a satire about the Holocaust while it’s happening.’ We’re in a crisis in Chicago. You can’t satirize the crisis while it’s happening…You don’t have no Chicago writers on this film. So, the voice of it is not even authentic to the city.”

Rhymefest also criticized Russell Simmons, who he says also exploited black people, over the recent Rush Card failure.

Chi-Raq hits theaters December 4th 2015. Will you be watching?

Peep the Rhymefest’s AllHipHop interview below:

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  • OSHH

    Well he has a point . Russell Simmons’ Rush card was predatory from the beginning. Quite a few folks that have means and you would think desire to help the community, are really poverty pimps.

  • Kwazi Style

    I’ll save my critique till after I view the movie. Rhyme Fest has no idea the direction Spike took with this film let alone if he’d approve it since he hasnt seen it.

  • Rastaman

    When folks in a community are making a concerted effort to make themselves look bad how do you turn around and blame someone else for commenting. People in Chicago called their community Chiraq. They called it that because the amount of shooting and killings occurring made it feel like a war zone. spike Lee is an artist who observes this and reflecting it in his art. Haven’t rappers for decades defended their violent, misogynistic and nihilistic lyrics as artistic expression based on their observations and experiences. Is that freedom reserved for only expression they find agreeable?
    I am going to go out on a limb and say I beginning to think some of these folks are salty because they were never asked to be in the project and so there is no way it can be anything good about it. If you don’t like how your city is being portrayed then do something about it rather than throw shade.

    • pragmatic maxim

      …and the people stood and applauded!!!!

  • Rhymefest is a Brother is from Chicago, so he is entitled to speak about issues related to his city. He made the great point about the Rush Card since the Rush Card situation is very similar to payday loans in how it exploits the poor and working class people. He made a great point about the black elites and the black poor. There is a real problem of the black misleadership class (or what has been called historically the black bourgeoisie) exploiting the black poor for economic gain not for economic justice. So, I have questions about the title of Spike Lee’s movie. I know what Spike Lee is trying to do. He’s trying to make a satire and expose the viciousness of gun violence. Yet, no movie is immune from critique. We have to wait and see what the whole movie entails totally. He gave great advice to Spike Lee in wanting him to create a film school for black people in Chicago. He is accurate to talk about collectivism. Also, Rhymefest hasn’t just talked about problems in Chicago. He is active in programs that are helping people in Chicago in real life, so one can accuse him of not being involved. People can disagree with him, but they can’t stay that he’s doing nothing. Therefore, the film is controversial and time will tell about its impact.

    • pragmatic maxim

      Any conversation about the Black elites or bourgeoisie in Chicago can’t be had without a joint discussion on our President and his role among them. It’s a very tight knit group

    • I agree with you. There should be a discussion of many issues including the black bourgeoisie in Chicago. The President wasn’t born in Chicago, but he was definitely lived in Chicago for years and decades.

  • Mico

    Yeah as much as I have both liked and supported spike lee and many of his movies in the past, it doesn’t look like I’ll be supporting this one. I will have to agree with rhymefest on this one. I listened to one of the songs that was put out to promote the movie and it was nothing more than the talking points of faux news and new blacks, talking about blacks are the only ones killing each other and how can we say blm when we’re killing each other verbatim. The lyrics weren’t even creative smh. And the mysgynoiristic themes of this film and the fact that its insinuating that it is exclusively black womens’ role to end black gang violence.