After 24 years, Grammy-Award winning rapper Che "Rhymefest" Smith has finally been reunited with his father, Brian Tillman. The last time the two saw each other, Che, now 35-years-old, was only 11.
Last July, Rhymefest moved into his father's childhood home in the Chatam neighborhood of Chicago, and began searching for him after his wife suggested he do so, The Chicago Tribune reports.
The rapper's search led him to a library on Chicago's Near West Side last week. He walked in and called out the name "Brian Tillman." Tillman, 54, looked up at his son from a crowded table of other homeless people and the two began crying. Then they hugged.
"It was not until I hugged him that I realized how much I missed having my dad around," the Chicago emcee, who won a Grammy Award for writing Kanye West's "Jesus Walks," told DNAinfo Monday.
"I immediately started hugging him as I cried my eyes out. I had been telling people my son was a famous rapper, but nobody believed me," Smith's father, Brian Tillman said.
Since reuniting, the two have eaten breakfast everyday, The Chicago Tribune reports. Smith has also bought his father a cell phone, new clothes, and has taken him to get a haircut as well as a state ID. The two are slowly building a relationship, and Tillman would also like the chance to build a relationship with his two grandchildren.
Tillman admitted to DNAinfo that he has been fighting a drinking problem. He said he is getting "treatment" for his problem and "developing a relationship" with his grandkids."
"I will continue to help him as long as he continues to try and help himself," Smith said. "I am willing to do what I can to help my father because I do love him."
In addition to rapping, Che "Rhymefest" Smith is a community activist. In 2010, he announced plans to run for 20th Ward Alderman. He narrowly lost the bid to incumbent Willie Cochran by just over 300 votes.