'Chiraq' rapper King Louie shot

King Louie in a screenshot from an online video.
King Louie in a screenshot from an online video.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

CHICAGO (AFP) - King Louie, the Chicago rapper credited with coining the term "Chiraq" to describe the city's sometimes violent streets, has been shot and wounded.

The rapper was in a car on Wednesday on Chicago's South Side when an unidentified assailant approached and shot him in the head, police said.

It was unclear the extent of his injuries but the Chicago Sun-Times quoted a member of his management saying the rapper was "awake and talking."

Soon after the shooting, King Louie's Instagram account showed a picture of him with three children in front of a Christmas tree as he promised to care for them "as long as I'm living."


King Louie, whose real name is Louis Johnson and also goes by the stage name King L, has been a prominent figure in the drill music scene that emerged several years ago in the Midwestern metropolis along with controversial rapper Chief Keef.

Drill music takes the hard-driving beats of trap - a type of hip-hop originating in the Southern United States - but brings in especially dark lyrical content about street life.

King Louie was tapped by Chicago-bred rap superstar Kanye West for his drill-influenced album Yeezus, with their politically charged collaboration New Slaves nominated for the 2014 Grammy for Best Rap Song.

King Louie's 2012 album Showtime culminated in the track Chiraq Playaz, the title a portmanteau of Chicago and Iraq.

Director Spike Lee recently released a film entitled Chi-Raq that satirises gang violence in Chicago using elements of classic Greek comedy.

The film by New York-based Lee has upset some in Chicago, with politicians urging him to change the name and one of the city's leading hip-hop artists, Chance The Rapper, calling it exploitative.

Chance The Rapper voiced hope for King Louie's recovery, tweeting: "Send prayers to him in his battle."