If you live in New York City and frequent the subway, you might have noticed a certain “humanitarian hip-hop artist” on Kenneth Cole ads. It’s Rhymefest, the Chicago rapper who once beat Eminem in a battle at the 1997 ScribbleJam and helped co-write Kanye West’s first huge single, “Jesus Walks.”
But despite also getting writing credits on Common and John Legend’s “Glory,” Fest says he’s tired of writing other people’s songs. In a new interview, he admits to being jaded with ghostwriting. “It does kind of bother me that I go to my friends’ $20 million houses, and last year I was trying to figure out how to pay my mortgage,” he says.
He also says Chief Keef, another notable Chicago rapper, has been taken advantage of throughout his career. “When I look at Chief Keef, I clearly see someone who has autism,” says Rhymefest. “Look at the way his face is structured, or his insensitivity to violence. He needs an advocate. But someone put him out there and exploited that child.”
Fest is in the middle of promoting a documentary called In My Father’s House about finding his estranged father homeless on the streets and his journey towards rehabilitation for his pops. Watch the powerful trailer below.