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Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel resented the Chicago drill scene so much, he didn’t even want a hologram of Chief Keef to perform in the city, arguing that it “posed a significant safety risk.”

In 2015, Chief Keef planned to hold a benefit performance for 22-year-old Marvin Carr and 13-month-old Dillan Harris, who were killed by stray bullets during the fatal shooting of GBE rapper Capo. Keef, still exiled from Illinois because of child support warrants, devised a plan to beam into the venue from LA via hologram. But first, he had to find a venue.

Keef’s co-manager Merk Murphy diligently worked to book the benefit concert, but the Emanuel administration, a local alderman, and even local pastors were on the prowl to deter venues from hosting it. Murphy tells Complex that city officials repeatedly called him about the show, and for weeks, Chicago cops followed a truck containing hologram equipment to such an extent that Murphy had to hide it with large drapes whenever it was parked. 

“There were a bunch of threats,” he reveals. “First they were real subtle, like, ‘Hey, man, what’s going on? We just want to make sure that everything is OK.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean? Everything’s fine.’ Next thing you know, a venue would call and be, like, ‘Yeah, we can’t do it.’”

Murphy struck out on “two or three venues” in Chicago before he looked beyond the city for a place to hold the concert. He settled on nearby Hammond, Indiana, where two of his peers were putting on an event called the Craze Fest, which is a fitting name for what happened during Keef’s performance. 

By now, you may have heard stories about Keef’s hologram performance—which consisted solely of him playing “I Don’t Like” and urging the crowd to “stop the violence, let our kids live”—getting shut down by overzealous Hammond cops. But Murphy says the cops forcefully went about making sure the hologram was turned off. They even started beating on Keef’s electronic visage with billy clubs. 

“The second them lights came on, these niggas [were] really swinging at lights,” Murphy says. “It’s like they got their mind made up that this music is a satanic portal that’s led to the demise of their friends and family.“

That sensationalistic stigma can be heavily attributed to Emanuel, who consistently shut down Chicago shows for hometown heroes like Keef and Lil Durk, which ultimately contributed to each of them moving away from the city. After the failed hologram performance, Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott boasted, ”We’re not going to let you circumvent Mayor Emanuel by going next door.” He also admitted, “I know nothing about Chief Keef. All I’d heard was he has a lot of songs about gangs and shooting people—a history that’s anti-cop, pro-gang, and pro-drug use.”

That reductive perspective exemplifies how so many scapegoat-seeking politicians feel about rap, particularly drill rap, the brutally honest subgenre that grew from the trap music tree and bore fruit that much of the rap world fed from. The CPD acted on Emanuel’s orders by routinely shutting down shows, which in turn made promoters reluctant to even book drill acts. That lack of opportunity (along with the threat of gun violence) caused some of the city’s biggest acts to leave Chicago, while others stayed too close to the streets and faced fatal consequences. But it didn’t have to be this way. If Chicago’s conservative base respected the scene and its artists on artistic merits, they would’ve realized how impactful it was (and still is).