On the heels of an extremely violent first Saturday in Chicago, news comes this week that rapper Chief Keef's stepbrother, also a young Chicago rapper, was shot dead on the Far South Side.
Ulysses "Chris" Gissendanner III was gunned down in a car near 124th Street and South Union Ave while visiting his uncle. Authorities say that Gissendanner was shot in the back of the head. He later died at Roseland hospital.
Chief Keef sent his condolences via Twitter:
Related by marriage, Chief Keef and Gissendanner were close as children, according to Gissendanner's mother, Aridecy Tate, but were not in contact in recent years.
“They were brothers,” she said. “They used to play together, coming over to our house, getting haircuts together. A lot of brotherly stuff.”
But as they got older, the boys drifted apart. Gissendanner visited Chief Keef while the teen was under house arrest on the South Side last year, but the pair didn’t hang in the same circles or have the same friends, Tate told DNAinfo.com Chicago.
Chief Keef and his immediate family, however, do not recognize Gissendanner — or Alfonso Cozart for that matter — as family, the rapper’s lawyer and maternal grandmother said.
Chief Keef “wasn’t friendly” with Gissendanner and had “nothing to do with the kid,” attorney Dennis Berkson said. “And [Chief Keef] has no relationship with his father.”
Gissendanner's hip-hop moniker, YPN Boomtown, was modeled after Chief Keef, but the 19-year-old also took lyrical cues from Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Eminem.
“He rapped about struggling and what he was going to do,” said Gissendanner’s friend and manager Tommy Rice, founder of Chicago-based record label Tru Biz Records. “He was going to make it big. We were going to make it big.”
Gissendanner's stepfather, Alfonso Cozart, who is also Chief Keef's (Keith Cozart) biological father, says the slaying of his stepson makes him worry about the infamous 17-year-old rapper, who he no longer talks to.
“As a caring father, who wouldn’t worry about that?” Cozart asked. “I do want my son to have success and have a long, positive life, and I hope the best for him.”
But Alfonso Cozart said he doesn’t want any Chief Keef connection to distract from the tragedy of Gissendanner’s slaying.
“He just graduated high school, and was in college and had a job. He was a positive person,” Cozart said. “I’m not trying to get publicity of Chief Keef being my son. I want you to focus on Ulysses. He’s the one that’s gone.”
This marks the fourth shooting of a rapper in Chicago since September. We MUST do something to protect our youth.