Think back to when you were nine years old. At this age, most kids in America are able to live care free, jovial lives contemplating about what cool new gadget they want from Santa for Christmas. For African-Americans in urban areas throughout America, their experience is totally different. When Robert ‘Yummy’ Sandifer was only nine years old, he had already been in and out of jail multiple times, deeply involved in the South Chicago street life, committing a series of armed robberies and arsons.
While most kids during this time period were trading Pokemon cards, Yummy was trading drugs for profit, committing burglaries and breaking into houses.
Yummy, hadn’t even reached his teenage years before he began carrying out murders for his local gangs. Worse yet, he didn’t even live to reach his teenage years.
At 4’6, he was armed with loaded guns and not even remotely afraid to use them. He received the nickname ‘Yummy’ due to his love for junk food. He lived his life as a drug dealer causing terror in his community by breaking into houses and stealing cars. Before reaching 5-feet tall, he was already putting people 6 feet in the ground. He committed recorded 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors while carrying out his missions for his local gang. The only picture available of him available of him on the net is a Mugshot—a photo that showcases pain, anguish, and depression. This same face and mentality can also be seen in Chief Keef rap videos.
This should come as no surprise. Both Chief Keef and Yummy are from the same Southside neighborhood in Chicago, and both are members of the Black Disciples. Yummy was killed in 1994, about a year before Chief Keef was born in mid-1995.The same narrative of drug leading, shooting, and criminal activities that are found in many of Chief Keef’s videos and other Hip-Hop lyrics are the only imagery that Yummy knew his entire life.
After Yummy shot and killed a fourteen year old, child police went on a manhunt searching relentlessly for him. It was soon discovered that members of his own Black Disciple Gang executed him fearing that he would become a snitch to the police and reveal secrets about their drug trade.
This is what the conditions of poverty fostered by racial segregation produce.
Rapper Tupac Shakur was deeply touched by Yummy Sandifer’s story. In his ‘White Man’s World” song Tupac gave his condolences by Yummy:
“Rest in Peace to Latasha, Little Yummy, and Kato. Too Much for this cold world to take, ended up being fatal.”
The truth is Yummy Sandifer never had a chance to succeed in this white man’s world, even in the post-Civil-Rights Era. Yummy was born to a 15 year old crack addicted prostitute and an incarcerated father.
That crackhead, or drug junkie, you see on the streets started off life no different from me or you. That person also had dreams, aspirations, goals, hopes, and loved ones at one point in their life. People in urban areas often turn to Marjuana, Cocaine, Crack and alcohol in an attempt to help them cope with or temporarily relieve themselves of the stresses and pains that they face every-day under this capitalistic society. This is a reason why ‘loud a type of Marjuanna’ is such a huge subject of Chief Keef rap videos.
Yummy was abused from an early age, having over 40 scars and parts of his skin burnt from cigarettes. He was eventually placed under the care of the state; once he escaped from his governmental mandated foster home he quickly took to the streets.
Hardaway, who was convicted for Yummy’s murder at fourteen years old, had this to say from prison:
“Yummy was the average black kid growing up in a drug infected community. It’s millions of Yummy’s it’s just that Robert Sandifer gained national attention. He was an impressionable kid who looked up to everyone that was in the streets. I knew him but he was a kid to me. I was a kid myself but I was older and involved in a lot more stuff.”
Indeed, there are millions of black children in urban areas throughout America, especially in the Southside of Chicago, who hang out on street corners, looking up to nobody but gang members and the illegal drug economy as the only mechanism to attain things that most whites have handed to them at birth— things like food, clothing, and shelter. Like Yummy, Hardaway is also a victim; a victim of a racist, capitalist society that created the conditions where an illegal economy was the only way to provide for loved ones and have the basic necessities of life.
Black people have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive, but because of economic conditions that have been imposed on us by malicious outside forces. The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place, to halt black socioeconomic aspirations, has resulted in black youth acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the Gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The Gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray in the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism.