US & Canada

US rapper Rhymefest invites Donald Trump to Chicago

Hip-hop artist, songwriter and activist Che "Rhymefest" Smith performs at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rhymefest says addressing Chicago's gun violence is a community issue

US rapper and activist Che "Rhymefest" Smith has invited Donald Trump to Chicago to counter the Republican nominee's bleak picture of the city.

"I will walk you down a block, Mr Trump, and I guarantee you won't get shot," he said on CNN.

The rapper made headlines after he said he was mistreated by police officers while reporting an armed robbery.

The invitation comes after Mr Trump said he had the solution to combat Chicago's soaring murder rate.

He did not specify how he would solve the problem but he promised to improve African American lives across the US.

"Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living… We'll get rid of the crime. You'll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot."

Then he sparked controversy on Saturday after he apparently used the murder of NBA star Dwyane Wade's cousin to court African-American voters.

The professional basketball star's cousin, Nykea Aldridge, was fatally shot while pushing her baby in a pram on the South Side.

The 32-year-old woman was not the intended target, police said.

Mr Trump weighed in on the high-profile murder, tweeting: "Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!"

Critics lashed out against the New York billionaire for trying to leverage the murder as a reason African-Americans should vote for him and for spelling the Chicago Bull's name wrong in his initial tweet. He later corrected it.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

Senator Tim Kaine, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's running mate, called out Mr Trump for politicising the murder.

"We ought to be extending our sympathy to the family - that's the only reaction that is appropriate right now, and maybe a sadness about this gun violence issue, which we know is complicated," Mr Kaine said.

Hours later, Mr Trump tweeted his condolences for the basketball star's family.

An uptick in shootings in Chicago culminated with the death of Wade's cousin last week, drawing national attention to the city's soaring murder rate.

The city of 2.7 million has more shootings and murders than any other US city, according to FBI and Chicago police data.

On Saturday, Rhymefest, whose real name is Che Smith, tweeted his disgust with Chicago police after he tried to report a robbery in which he was held at gunpoint.

The Grammy award-winning artist posted a video of himself arguing with officers at the front desk.

The Chicago native told CNN on Monday he did receive an apology from the police, but that law enforcement needed to work with its communities to quell the rise in violence.

Rhymefest also addressed Mr Trump's controversial tweets, challenging the Republican nominee to come to Chicago to see that it is not just a city known for its gun violence.