ROGERS PARK — Keno Glass, the Rogers Park teen gunned down in April north of Howard Street, was recording what turned out to be his final song the morning he died.
His friends — who recently released a version of the song in a video online in his honor — said it was the 16-year-old rapper's best yet.
But unfortunately, they said, the song was also all too prophetic.
"I wanna live forever," the chorus repeats. "I wanna live forever/But I know it's gotta end/Everybody can't get rich/We all can't reach the top."
Ben Woodard updates the Keno Glass case and discusses what leaders are saying about the violence in Rogers Park:
Glass's rap-star aspirations ended early on the morning of April 15 when someone opened fire from a passing car in the 7600 block of North Ashland Avenue as he returned from his friend's amateur recording studio in West Rogers Park.
"It was creepy. When I hear the song, it gives me chills," Kenneth "KenBen" Sandy said Wednesday. "He made that song the day he died."
Sandy, 21, and Glass's family and friends had been working on a tribute music video using the song.
Late last month, they uploaded the video — filmed in Rogers Park and on the West Side — to YouTube.
"It's something he would have been proud of," said Glass's girlfriend, Tori Flowers, 19. "It makes you feel better. It uplifts you."
The video features Glass's loved ones dancing to his song, and ends with personal tributes to his life.
His mother, Vivian Slaughter, said in the video, "Keno I love you and I miss you, and I hope you're resting well."
Glass, through his lyrics, references the city's gang culture and consequences of the city's addiction to gun violence.
"I love my gang/I love my squad/B---- I'm rockin' with my mess," he raps. "I lost so many n----- I don't know where to start."
Flowers, Glass' girlfriend, said she "doesn't even listen" to the song because of the emotion it carries.
"I can listen to all his other ones, but that song I can't listen to," she said.
Despite the lyrics, she said, Glass — whose rap nickname was Kay Pee Lashore — wasn't part of a gang.
"All that happened because he was guilty by association," she said. "The people that killed him, they supposedly put out a message that they were looking for anybody. I feel like anybody they seen they would have killed him. And it's just unfortunate they seen him."
For years, Rogers Park has been plagued by what police have called tit-for-tat shootings between two rival gang factions, one laying claim to the area near Howard Street and the other to the area near Morse Avenue.
Flowers said Glass had spent nearly every day — "sun up to sun down" — at her Rogers Park home before she moved to the South Side last year.
Before Glass died, she saw him less often but several times a week, she said. They last were together four days before the shooting.
When she found out what happened, she didn't eat for days, she said.
"I wasn't eating. I wasn't talking," she said. "The hardest part was the days leading up to the funeral. Most days I'm OK, I keep myself busy."
Her family misses Glass, too, she said, especially her little brother who idolized him.
"He lost his best friend. He's only 7," she said. "All he talks about is Keno. My mom feel like she lost a son, too. My mom was really close to him."
Flowers said she had a message for the perpetrators of Chicago gun violence.
"Look, think about how much hurt and pain you're causing other people. When you decide to shoot and kill somebody, you're taking away somebody's son, somebody's brother," she said. "They don't understand the pain they are inflicting on other people."