Che “Rhymefest” Smith just got a boost from his former opposition.
Aldermanic candidates who didn't make the 20th Ward runoff between Smith and Ald. Willie Cochran publicly threw their support behind the local rapper Tuesday during an endorsement ceremony.
In the Feb. 22 election, Smith kept Cochran from winning outright with 20 percent of the vote to the incumbent's 46 percent.
"We're here as people who want to see a better ward," Smith said during the ceremony. "We've slowly seen change but not fast enough. I will be looking to all of these people for guidance."
The extra camaraderie came as the candidate received a blow to his campaign.
With five weeks left before the April election, Cochran targeted the rapper's lyrics as a bad influence, saying the obscenities and racial and homophobic slurs Rhymefest uses in his songs aren't the kinds of things a public official wants to be known for within his community.
"Let's talk about somebody who is a trusted public employee who has a record of accomplishment, as opposed to someone who says, 'Give me an opportunity even though I've had a sketchy past,'" said Cochran.
Smith combated the criticism at the ceremony, saying "criminal activity and unemployment have nothing to do with rap."
He cited songs like "Jesus Walks," which he co-wrote with Kanye West, and "Bullet" as songs he's known for with positive messages.
"I don't know everything, but there's a lot that I do know," Smith said Tuesday. "I give my commitment, my dedication and my life to where I live."