Chief Keef (left) & his cousin Fredo Santana (left)//Courtesy of Fredo Santana's Instagram

We’re using this week to discuss rapper Fredo Santana’s tragic death. Content creator Mikki Veal shared her thoughts on Chicago’s PTSD problem. Below, Merk Murphy, of Glory Boyz Entertainment’s management team, shares his thoughts on Santana and other Drill rappers not being accepted in Chicago.  As told to Tiffany Walden.

I woke up yesterday morning to the news about Fredo Santana. About 10 or so people called me before 11 AM. They were either telling me what happened to Fredo, or asking questions about what happened to Fredo. Man. He was only 27. He’d just had a baby not too long ago. That’s all I could think about. That’s the most heartbreaking aspect of it all.

Then, I got on Twitter. Everybody had a story about how Fredo or his music personally touched their lives. Every news story passively linked Fredo’s death to all the drugs – the lean, specifically – that he rapped about and took photos with. And there was a firestorm of tweets from the average joes and janes about how his mental health led to his death.

Man. I’m not a therapist. I don’t know much about mental health. I know he was dealing with health issues, liver and kidney failure, for a while. But, I do know this. When I saw him in Los Angeles last year, he seemed to be in one of the best spaces I’d seen him in since we started doing business together on 2012’s It’s A Scary Sight tape. And I say that because, in LA, Fredo could be the entrepreneur Chicago wouldn’t allow him and his Drill cohorts to be.

Weed is legal in California. So Fredo started a weed company out there. He was living in LA and making money. That inspired him to create Savage Squad Records, and take his impact on music to new heights. He was like the big cousin of Glo Gang. The man was maturing into the boss he and others always foreseen him to be.

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, these guys are not welcomed. And I’m not talking about no street shit. On some political shit, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department exiled Fredo and everybody associated with Glory Boyz Entertainment from the city years ago. We’re talking about Fredo, one of the pioneers of Drill. Chicago music wouldn’t be buzzing like it is today without Fredo, his little cousin Chief Keef and the rest of GBE. Think about the affect not being able to come home and perform and feel the love from your fans can have on an artist, a Black man, a human.

Whenever somebody dies, I always think of the term “two weeks.” The first week is the wave of attention the artist gets – whether that’s an increase in record streaming and sells or press. The second week is the big funeral. Once those two weeks have passed, everyone settles back into their normal routine, looking for another issue to fake care and fake protest about.

So for the next two weeks, we’re going to see a lot of love given to Fredo. We’re going to see a lot of RIPs. We’re going to see a lot of, “he was a legend,” type shit. But the best way to honor and celebrate Fredo’s life and contribution to rap is to endorse what he truly represented – entrepreneurship. He would want to see the doors open for not just rappers but particularly Black rappers from the hood who make Drill music. He would want to see not just performance opportunities for Drill rappers, but business opportunities so they can help better the hood and their people. Drill rappers are clearly the biggest voices of our youth. If Rahm Emanuel wants to keep kids in school, there’s no way I wouldn’t be trying to get involved with Keef. The gimmicks will never work in the hood.

So how can we anchor our voices to open up a better relationship with Drill rappers and the city of Chicago? The fact that Keef can’t do shows in Chicago or anywhere remotely close to here yet, in the same breath, thousands of people are mourning Fredo’s death… does that sound right to you?

We’ve gotta stop sitting on the sidelines when it comes to the issues we could really fight to change. Let’s do it. 

If you’ve got an opinion about something Chicago-related, email us at info@thetriibe.com.

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