From the first time I saw his refrigerator video, I constantly wondered whether Mr. Chi-City was playing a character or if he was just a naturally hilarious person who had the good sense to videotape himself. As it turns out, Mr. Chi City is a little of both.
Even though Mr. Chi-City lets the world into his life via his autobiographical videos, he doesn’t strike me as someone who craves attention. As you’ll see from reading this interview, the fast-talking, ass-chasing Internet legend is an introvert who enjoys his peace and quiet. But ayo, fuck that shit! CHI-CITY MAYNE IN THIS BITCH!!!!!
ML: What’d you do today?
C-C: Went to work, worked too damn hard. Basically I’ve been at Buffalo Wild Wings damn near for the past three hours and I came in here and I’m trying to answer all these messages. I remember back in the day I used to get three messages. Dude, I got 489 messages, I’m trying to answer every single one!
ML: You’re famous now.
C-C: But that’s the crazy thing, ’cause I’m really not though. Dude I can go anywhere at anytime. Don’t nobody know me. A few people know me here and there, but I personally don’t feel like I’m famous. I ain’t even in the top biggest people on YouTube or any part of any Internet man, I’m just a smalltime dude that a few people like to watch.
ML: So you don’t feel famous?
C-C: Hell nah! Hell motherfuckin’ nah. When I go to work, they don’t treat me like I’m famous, my relatives don’t treat me like I’m famous and when I step outside the crib, ain’t nobody askin’ for autographs or nothing like that.
ML: You never get recognized?
C-C: Hell nah. The only way you could recognize me — you have to really watch my videos and you really have to know my voice and when I’m out in public I don’t really talk that much. It depends on where I’m at, I may not even be speaking, which is cool about my situation: I can do my thing and still just be undercover with it.
ML: What does Mr. Chi-City aka Mr. 7.63 do for a living?
C-C: Well, I do it like this because a lot of people ask that question because everyone’s trying to figure out like, ‘Damn, you say you make x amount of dollars but you seem to have things that a person who would have to make more can afford,’ right? But people not understanding, truth be told, I get money for these videos now. YouTube — they cut checks. I can honestly say this: no matter what I do right now, like in terms of wake up in the morning and go to work, I make more money on YouTube than anything I’ve ever done in life.
ML: How do you make money on YouTube?
C-C: Aw, you never heard of the partnership program?
ML: Oh, that’s what it is.
C-C: Yeah, mayne.
ML: They pay you for your views, right?
C-C: Views, videos, it’s a whole long list of ways for you to get that dough, but the funny thing for me is, if you look at anybody on there — and a lot of people don’t know this — behind the scenes, when it comes to YouTube, dude, when you in that top 100, or every time you drop a video and you was ranked high or whatever, yo it’s big business, man. Real talk, it’s money over there. But the difference between me and those people is, those people do it strictly for the money, so that’s why you seem them post a video every other day, or once a day, or they advertise other people stuff, or they giving stuff away. And if you look at me, dude, I’ve only posted 22 videos and I’ve been on there for a year. I mean it’s cool, the money come in, but at the same time, the money doesn’t motivate me, because if that was the case, if I was about that dough, dog I would post every day.
ML: You put your heart into it.
C-C: Yeah, but I feel like for me to be posting every day, it would really be garbage because, I gotta be honest dog, shit don’t happen to me every day. Some days I just wake up in the morning, go to work and come home and nothing happens and I can’t really post nothing on that. I only post when something pops off.
ML: Has anyone ever not taken kindly to being videotaped?
C-C: Maybe the one dude at McDonald’s, after the fact though. At first, you could see him in the video he was all excited to be on camera, but after he saw how it turned out, like he hates my guts to this day and shit.
C-C: Yeah, he doesn’t like me at all, matter of fact. And actually, I had to stop going to that McDonald’s because every time I would go in there, I was really concerned like he would spit in my food or do some crazy shit, so I was just like, ‘Fuck it, I don’t even have to go up there.’ He would be the only dude I could think of. Everybody else man, nobody really cares. I just go in there and be myself and just act cool and they just don’t care.
ML: So Rick from McDonald’s has beef with Mr. Chi-City?
C-C: Nah, I wouldn’t even really call it beef, but he felt like when I made that comment — “damn, that motherfucker a little too happy to be here,” — he ain’t like that. But the reality was, he was too happy to be there!
ML: What kind of camera do you use?
C-C: It’s funny people think it’s high quality. I use the Sony CyberShot 8.1 megapixels. It’s a handheld, dog. A regular camera that looks like it only takes pictures, but it takes movies too.
ML: Good quality, though.
C-C: Yeah the quality off the chain. That’s that 8.1 though.
ML: Does your family know what you do?
C-C: Nah, man. Real talk: other than maybe a few friends who have a slight idea, but nobody really knows how I get down over here, though, real talk.
ML: How much did you spend on all those drinks and the snacks on snacks?
C-C: On some real shit, that’s what’s so funny to me because people, they see some of the videos and they thinking it’s like a million dollar situation over here. Let’s break this down: the fridge, the Kool-Aids, you get six for a dollar, so that explains that; the Lipton Iced Tea, you get a pack of eight for like $2.89, I mean you can go anywhere, Walmart, Food 4 Less, it really didn’t cost as much as people think; a case of pop, twelve cans of that, that’s like two dollars right there. The whole refrigerator y’all seeing, that might have been a hundred fifty, maybe even two hundred bucks. And then maybe you figure the snacks on snacks. The closet, maybe eighty bucks.
ML: It’s worth it for the girls, right?
C-C: The funny thing is, you would be surprised how many big girls come over here and try to act like they don’t want any snacks. In my mind I’m thinking, ‘Now, you didn’t get that big on eating lettuce.’ I’ll be thinking about something like, ‘Okay am I fuckin’ trippin’ because, and no disrespect, but if you 260, there’s a high probability that you ate a snack sometime in life, but all of a sudden you get over here now you don’t want no snacks. Now you over here talkin’ about, ‘I’ll have a water.’ I’m like, ‘Chick, is you fuckin’ crazy?’
ML: What do you do for fun besides getting the drawls?
C-C: You know what man? I’ll be real. I play video games, I actually call people who watch my videos just to say what’s up, shit, I wash my car, ride in that motherfucker and play a little basketball. I don’t like being around people a whole lot. I’ll kick it with my peoples here and there but for the most part I just enjoy my own company.
ML: What videogames do you play?
C-C: Right now, I’ma be real dog. I’m still addicted to NBA 2K8, a little bit of NBA 2k9 and Army of Two for the Xbox.
ML: Do you wanna give out your Gamertag?
C-C: Actually, that’s what’s so funny because I gave it out in one of my videos but people still ask me, so I just assume they probably didn’t watch it. For the Playstation 3, it’s Chicago_Strong and for the Xbox it’s Chicagostrong.
ML: Getting the drawls is a recurring topic in your videos. If I gave you five free passes, who would you smash?
C-C: OK [clears throat]. Melyssa Ford, damn, Meagan Good, Lana Love, oh Angela Basset and damn, number five, gotta do this carefully, oh man, my next door neighbor.
ML: Does she know? Have you done it yet?
C-C: Nah man, but it would be crazy dude! Yo, I swear to God, I think she knows that I’m Chi-City because this chick never really paid me no attention. That Chevy y’all see on 24s — I park it in this garage. When I’m riding through my area and when I go to certain hoods, like when I was in Bellwood, I’ll actually hear people yell out, ‘Oh shit, that’s Chi-City’ as I’m driving by and shit. So, my car has become more and more recognizable and I think this chick knows because, she stares at me for long periods of time and shit. What I think I’ma do is, two or three days before I move out and go somewhere else, like if I ever move, I’ll probably try to see if she’ll let me hit it. Because I can’t do anything while she’s living here, it would just be a bad situation for me.
ML: Do ever try to play the ‘I’m Mr. Chi-City’ card when you’re trying to get some?
C-C: Nah man. I don’t even feel like I’m that important, dude. That’s just real talk and that would just be corny as hell for me to pull a move like that. Right now anyway.
ML: You can use that one when you’re 50.
C-C: The only time I even might have mentioned it was when recently I went to Best Buy — I had to buy a brand new cam, ’cause the one I had just kept fuckin’ up — so when I went in there and the dude was just asking like it was just general convo like, ‘What do you need this for?’ I was like, ‘I post a couple videos on YouTube.’ And he was like, ‘I be on there sometimes watching. You got a page? You got a lot of hits and stuff?’ I was like, ‘Nah, I got a couple but nothing too major’ and he was like ‘Really? What’s the thing?” and I wanted to see if he really knew so I was like, ‘Just some small page, they call it Mr. Chi-City and shit.’ And this dude acted like the world ended, he was just staring at me and I was like, ‘What?’ This dude just looked at me for ten minutes and it was making uncomfortable as hell! And then he’s like, ‘Let me get this straight, you’re Mr. Chi-City? You’re Mr. McDonalds?’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was like, ‘Oh shit.’ This dude ran all over the fuckin’ store, ’cause all the employees there watched the videos. It was weird as hell man. It actually reminded me of why I don’t do that, ’cause I got real uncomfortable real quick. Now everybody’s staring at me and shit and they’re all asking me questions like, ‘What’s your favorite video?’ You know, just shit like that.
ML: Every time I go on Facebook, someone is posting the refrigerator video, You’ve got the Internet going nuts.
C-C: It’s so funny because, if you ask me, straight real, out of all the videos I’ve ever done, that’s not really my favorite video though.
ML: Which would you say?
C-C: I’ma be real. I’ll do it like this. My most memorable, if I look back at everything I’ve done, that Christmas giveaway, because it got no more realer than that. Those people’s lives were touched. I’m just a regular dude and I wasn’t even gonna do the video. I was just gonna chill out on Christmas and at the last second I decided to do it and it was just so crazy how that whole day, everything fell into place perfectly. It was weird. That was like my most memorable, favorite video of all time. But then, the video that I had the most fun making, that would have to be the ticket destruction. It was fun as hell, dude!
ML: Have you gotten any offers for TV or endorsements or anything like that?
C-C: Man, all the fuckin’ time.
ML: Like who?
C-C: Let’s go down the list: three different shows from NBC, Speed Channel, Spike channel, Animal Planet, Comedy Central, HBO, three different shows from MTV. Actually, as a matter of fact, I just signed a licensing agreement with MTV. They wanted to use some of my videos in some show they got coming out in a little bit or some shit like that so y’all are actually gonna start seeing them on TV. G4 Television, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network. The only one I that I accepted was the cell phone company out of Canada that wanted to use my voice for some ringtones and shit like that, but even that situation was weird as fuck because these people hit me up, they started the conversation like, ‘We want to give you x amount of dollars. We just want you to say 25 lines and we gonna put it cell phones to let people buy them.’ I’m like, ‘Alright cool.’ They sent me half the money up front, so I’m like, ‘This cool as fuck like I’m getting paid to be myself and shit, damn!’ And then I never hear from them again. Check cashed, everything. The brother in me was like, ‘I ain’t calling those motherfuckers,” but then the good guy in me was like ‘Let me call these people up and see what’s up.’ Never heard from these motherfuckers again. Cut me a check and the check cleared. Then I got nervous so I took all the money out and put it somewhere else just in case they ask for it back and I have not been able to contact these people. I have never heard of no shit like that.
ML: That’s shady.
C-C: No, it’s not shady, it’s awesome! Dude, listen. I wish people would call me every day and give me a check and then never call me again. That’s fun as hell, shit!
ML: What do you listen to?
C-C: As I get older, I’m trying to broaden my whole situation. I used to be just straight hip-hop all day every day from Lil Wayne to Lupe Fiasco to people like Kanye, Common, Mos Def, motherfuckin’ Wu-Tang. But I get down with niggas in the south: T.I., Ricky Ross, shit like that. But lately, I don’t know dude. I’ve been feeling my suburban side. You may hear me listening to some old school Red Hot Chili Peppers. Matter of fact, I totally forgot. When I moved to the suburbs, everybody was bumpin’ that “Enter Sandman” from Metallica, so little bit of that. I respect good music, regardless of who makes it. I’m at a age now where I don’t have to prove I’m hood or I’m gangster or I’m black or no shit like that. I could just do my thing and still be who I am.
ML: Any local Chicago artists?
C-C: Aw shit. UNLADYLIKE, Shawnna, Teefa, DJ Pharris, Twista, Crucial Conflict, Do or Die, R. Kelly [laughs]. He makes good music, so you know. Lupe, Common, Kanye, all those people.
ML: Do you ever plan on showing your face?
C-C: You know what, that’s crazy because when I first did these videos, I never even realized I wasn’t showing it. I just felt like I had to point the video in the direction of what I was talking about and I realized that over time it just developed into that so at this point there’s no reason or purpose to show my face. What I say and what I do is so much more important and so much more bigger than, ‘let me see his face.’
ML: What’s next for Mr. Chi-City?
C-C: Ayo man. Real shit. Just keep pumping them videos, dog. Every time something happens, posting it. I try to keep a balance between going out, having adventures and then sometimes chilling like talking to the cam, because for me, it’s all fun. It’s just me being who I am. I feel like at this point for me to start trying to sign deals and do all this other shit — people don’t understand — if I start doing that, I’m not gonna be able to do what I want to do on the Internet. The whole situation with HBO, the reason why I had to turn it down was because — understand I’ve only posted technically like 19 videos, because the four seasons was one video that I broke into three pieces. So I’ve been on for a year, I’ve only posted like 20 videos, and these niggas at HBO was gonna cut me the biggest fuckin’ check I’ve ever seen, but the problem was, they wanted 16 episodes by August and I was gonna no longer be allowed to post any videos on YouTube or on the Internet. Anything I did would be owned by them. So what would have happened was, I sign that deal, now all of a sudden, everybody’s like ‘Where the fuck did that dude Chi-City go? Like he just vanished?’ And that was in January, so my last video for y’all would have been Christmas giveaway, you would’ve never heard from me again and then all of a sudden I would have randomly showed up on HBO with videos, but they would’ve all been garbage because you’re telling me to do a year’s work in like three months. And it would have been garbage because I would’ve ran out of real shit and then I would start inventing shit and I’m not that creative and I’m not a good writer, so they would’ve just all been garbage.
ML: You walked away with your pride.
C-C: It wasn’t even my pride, it was just like, I can’t do it. It’s not feasibly possible. That’s what a lot of these networks are not understanding. They approach me like I’m some character, like I write material and come in and turn the camera on. I’ve had a lot of them ask me ‘How long do you think you’ll be able to do this for?’ It’s like ‘As long as I keep being myself? I don’t know.’
ML: So you’re not a creative genius, you’re just an entertaining guy, right?
C-C: But that’s what’s crazy. I don’t even consider myself entertaining though. I’m just me, man.
ML: You don’t have to try.
C-C: Yeah, I just say whatever comes to my mind at that moment. In my last video, everybody kept asking me how I came up with raspberry fiesta. I don’t know, it just came to my mind and I said the shit. I can’t explain it. When I turn the camera on, I’m just myself, I’m chilling, I ain’t overdoing it comes out the way it comes out.
ML: You’ve got a gift.
C-C: I don’t wanna make it more important than it is, because it’s a lot of dudes out here who I personally feel are way funnier than me, they just don’t have Internet access and a digital camera. Even a person like you, shit, I feel like if you put the effort, you could be bigger than whatever you think I am. Real talk.
ML: What was the last thing you bought?
C-C: Oh shit. The last thing I bought. Some 26″ rims, dog. I just bought them 30 minutes ago. Hell yeah, man.