Rhymefest

To hip-hop artist, entrepreneur, father and husband Che "Rhymefest" Smith, a music career is a platform to stimulate social change.  In 2005, Che won a Grammy Award for “Jesus Walks,” which he co-wrote with childhood friend Kanye West.  Che has additionally released two studio albums and three mix tapes, successes that have fortified his dedication to develop the musical talents of at-risk youth in Chicago’s inner city. Che attended Columbia College and Purdue University, studying radio, communications and education. He has been a substitute teacher and youth counselor as well as a community corrections supervisor, working with convicted felons on completing their community service requirements. Che has testified before Congress, and was the first and only rapper to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Parliament to discuss the impact the hip-hop community can have on politics and social activism.  He supports countless community organizations as a mentor and motivational speaker. In 2011, Che was the first rapper ever to run for city council in Chicago. After successfully defeating three other candidates, he lost to the incumbent in a run-off race by a mere 200 votes. In 2013, along with Kanye West, Che launched Donda’s House, Inc. to honor the educational legacy of Dr. Donda West (Kanye’s mother) by offering youth transformational instruction in arts, health and wellness, and literature. He believes, "the only true power is the power to empower others."