RhymefestChicago, Illinois
Che Smith
July 06, 1977
Rapper, Songwriter, Activist
Years Active
1996 - present
Allido Records, J Records dNBe Entertainment
Associated Acts
Mark Ronson, Kanye West, Citizen Cope, Common



Rhymefest is a rapper and activist from the Jeffery Manor neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Before he could fully dedicate his time to music, Rhymefest held down various blue collar jobs to support his family while his wife attended college. Still, Rhymefest was able to make a name for himself at battle rapping events such as Scribble Jam, where he beat Eminem in 1997.

Once his wife graduated and became a chemical engineer, he started rapping full-time. In 2003, Rhymefest signed with Allido Records, a subsidiary of Sony’s J Records, despite having an offer from childhood friend Kanye West to sign to GOOD Music. He released his debut album, Blue Collar, in 2006 through J Records, but dropped his next album, El Che, through his new label, dN|Be ENT, in 2010. 5 years later, Rhymefest dropped his latest album, titled, Violence Is Sexy.

Rhymefest is also known for contributing as a songwriter to Kanye’s “Jesus Walks,” which earned him a Grammy. He has also contributed to songs by Queen Latifah, Lil Jon, Common and John Legend. He also is active in politics, meeting with the United Kingdom's Parliamentary Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron in 2006 as an advocate for hip-hop. In the same year, he ran for a position in Chicago’s City Council. He has also made an appearance on the hip-hop TV show Wild 'N Out.