Photos by Keeley Parenteau
For Chicago artist Rich Robbins, music is a journey.
Anyone who creates anything uses their own experiences to make it, but Robbins truly pours his soul into his work. Navigating this thing called life while dealing with inner monologues, anxiety, and the general sense of possible failure, Robbins mines his reality to create a sonic dissonance that connects his listeners to what he he was feeling in a moment. But, it also gives way to a larger thought experiment on actually giving it a shot regardless of the consequences. It’s what he refers to as a fluid cycle of inspiration.
The best part is, in an age when self-care and shortcomings are often manufactured, Robbins wears his heart on his sleeve and lets things come as they should.
Continue reading Rich Robbins Is Leaning Into Himself With New Album, ‘On The Horizon’
Originally Appeared on Billboard
Reflecting on a historical year-long run that saw him ascend to the national throne, win three Grammys and assert himself as one of the world’s biggest stars, Chance the Rapper comfortably raised a glass to the crowd at Studio Paris in Chicago’s River North neighborhood on Sunday night (Apr. 16). As the clock rounded midnight and bottles with sparklers flew in from every direction — via waitresses dressed in brown overall and matching ‘3’ hats — the MC toasted those packed shoulder-to-shoulder before him and turned his sights towards 24 alongside longtime friends, and Ludacris and T-Pain. Continue reading Chance the Rapper Celebrates Birthday by Holding Special Charity Event With Friends: Recap
And so it is. After a long and well-documented battle against current landlords, the owners of the Double Door were finally served an eviction notice, delivered by the sheriff who subsequently had the locks changed. So ends a chapter in the history of Wicker Park, once a bastion for local artistry, now simply a continuation of the nearby Loop that seems to be creeping increasingly upward along Milwaukee Ave. Continue reading Double Door Closes, Signifying End Of Wicker Park As We Knew It
In 2017, the City of Chicago has found itself in need of heroes. With skyrocketing shootings, rising socioeconomic disparities and a city teetering on the edge of bankruptcy where fraud runs rampant, the city is desperate for someone to show us a way forward. Lately, 23-year-old Chancelor Bennett has emerged as the catalyst for what’s next by championing individual rights, helping organize communities from the ground up and, just this week, putting $1 million dollars of his own money towards closing the massive funding gap within the Chicago Public Schools. So, it seemed odd then to pick up the Chicago Sun-Times, the paper I first wrote about Chance The Rapper for, to see a story by Mary Mitchell essentially belittling the Grammy winner’s contributions by pointing to problems he allegedly had with the mother of his child. That the story, which is wrought with reporting holes and an honest understanding of the situation, ran on the front page is an affront to not only what Chance is doing, but where many of those living here would like to see the city go. Continue reading In Response • Chicago Sun-Times Embarrasses Itself, Further Alienates Young Readers With Irresponsible Chance The Rapper Cover Story
Over the course of the last half-decade here in Chicago we’ve collectively been lucky enough to enjoy as one wave after another has built, crested and broke onto the shores of the country at large. For whatever reason, I’ve found myself in rooms with many of those types, and a couple weeks ago was another unexpected opportunity as I was afforded an opportunity to catch a familiar face on the scene, but a relatively fresh name on the music side of things in the form of 23-year-old TASHA. Continue reading Home Team • TASHA
It took about twenty minutes into their set for Francis White to stand up and tear off his Thrasher sweatshirt, revealing a sweaty and taut torso accented from behind by his bright red frock of hair. Now standing, throwing his top stage left, he smashed down hard on a cymbal with a drumstick clutched in his right hand and looked into the crowd with a vengeance. A sly smile crossing her face, his sister Alex White stood in a prepared stance, her guitar perched on her hip. “We’re White Mystery, and this is song is called “Fuck Your Mouth Shut” she said before tearing into a series of riveting guitar riffs that moved Francis quickly back to the kit. Continue reading White Mystery Continues To Evolve, Kick Ass With New Album, ‘Fuck Your Mouth Shut’
As The Clock Neared Midnight On December 31, 2016 Kaina Castillo, Clutching A Microphone In One Hand And Bottle Of Champagne In The Other, Led A Packed Room As She Counted Down The Final Moments To The New Year…
To her right was a set of fresh-faced twins named Eddie and IZ, emphatically jumping up and down with the passing seconds. To her left, horn players Sen Morimoto and Sam Veren urged the crowd before them as the countdown hit three, and then two. A moment later, the whole group stood under a shower of bubbling champagne as Castillo exclaimed “Happy New Year,” popping the cork from the bottle in the process. As the suds rained down on the group of young friends from the ceiling, it was immediately evident that 2017 would have plenty in store for the central figures in what’s quickly becoming the next wave of Chicago music. Continue reading Chicago Renaissance Continued: Meet The City’s Next Wave Of Musicians
As the first snow of December laid its foundation outside my window, I found myself seated across my kitchen table from Chicago rapper Saba. As the TheseDays team settled into chairs and couches around the floor, we gave the man a few minutes to warm up from the photoshoot outside in the newfound winter. It’s been three years since last sitting down like this with Saba for a story and in the time since the young man from the Austin neighborhood on the west side of Chicago has come a long way. From performing alongside Chance The Rapper on ‘The Late Show’ to touring across the country and Europe, his horizons have certainly expanded from his Grandma’s basement out west. That three year journey manifested itself in September in the thirteen song collection, The Bucket List Project, a thoughtful, charged glance at life’s experiences juxtaposed with early success. While the stages may have gotten larger, the lights a bit brighter and the stakes ever higher, life isn’t all that different for the kid I first saw spitting raps on a Tuesday night at Young Chicago Author’s Wordplay open mic. Continue reading Saba’s Westside Tales: Chicago Artist Offers Relatable Voice On ‘Bucket List Project’
It’s 3:30 in the afternoon on a sunny Fall Tuesday in Madison, Wisconsin and I’m about three feet deep in a decades-old tweed couch. To my left is 18-year-old Davon Prather, better known to the world as Trapo; the only artist that’s pried us from the bustle of Chicago since our foray to Milwaukee a year ago.
Ahead of me, one of our crew, Westley, sits perched on the edge of the adjacent couch leaning aggressively into a Nintendo 64 controller, squaring off against Tray, who’s apartment we find ourselves in. Set amongst the high-pitched hum of the Super Smash Bros. backing track, Trapo tells us of making a name for himself from humble beginnings while carefully rolling a blunt on the table before him. Continue reading The Trapo Story: Madison’s Finest Gears Up For His Next Chapter with ‘Shade Trees’
Detroit and the area surrounding it has found itself in headlines for a variety of negative reasons ranging from lost jobs to toxic drinking water. While the area has been blighted by a decade of malfeasance from a variety of directions, it never seemed to lose its drive, it’s soul, it’s ability to create that manifested itself a generation earlier as ‘MoTown’. While the city has seen a resurgence lately piqued by a millenial generation eager to reclaim the desolation of the Baby Boomer narcissism one voice in particular has stuck out as a sort of forlorn rallying cry for a city on the brink of a new chapter. That person is Tunde Olaniran.
Continue reading Tune Olinaran Shows Off A Fresh Side of Detroit