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
It was about three in the morning Friday night when I was beginning to nod off on my couch when a sea of red and blue lights suddenly flooded my apartment, sirens not far behind. Looking out my window onto Halsted St. in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, I counted three fire trucks quickly pull west onto 18th, screaming down the street in the early morning hours of Saturday morning. The next day, I checked the news to find the story of seven fires set only a few blocks from my own home. Fires that killed one resident, threatened the lives of dozens more and left twenty-five Pilsen residents displaced without a place to go.
Godamnit Spike, I thought we were done with this.
After months of constant bullshittery about how much good your satirical look at a problem that affects hundreds of thousands of people each year has done for the affected, after you tried to tear down one of the purveyors of goodness in this city, after you convinced everyone in NYC that we here in Chicago actually use the word ‘Chiraq,’ you’re still not done?
The beautiful thing about Chicago as a creative outlet has always been the affordability it allows while interacting in a locale on par with Los Angeles or New York City. Lower rent and less people means a bit more room to move around, be creative and grow into one’s destined medium. There’s room to move around and explore and no one knows that better than 20-year-old singer/do-everything Kaina Castillo who has been making a name for herself around the city through a series of hustles that have only begun to find their way to the public. Continue reading Kaina Castillo Steps to the Front of the Stage
It appears as though the end is near for one of the city’s most talked-about groups as Hurt Everybody took to Twitter and Instagram Monday night to announce that they would no longer work together as a band after the release of Potion[s], their collaborative project with Mick Jenkins which is due out soon. Continue reading Hurt Everybody Announces Break Up Via Social Media
Driving in the car this morning, listening to DJ Hot Sauce on WGCI, the topic came up about yet another police-involved shooting video that a judge was ordering shown to the public. It’s crazy what you can get used to, the news simply the latest in an increasing trend for the Chicago Police Department as the noose gets tighter with the Department of Justice bearing down on them by the day. Listening to the radio as the morning DJs talked it over, one call-in struck me in it’s simplicity. One resident of the south side simply said, “I’m just tired of my city getting dragged through the news across the country everyday because of the people who are supposed to be on our side.” Truer words have never been spoken on the matter.
The City of Chicago is in an unprecedented time in it’s history.
Yet again, protestors have taken to the city’s streets to call for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the wake of the release of video showing Chicago Police Department officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times before trying to reload his weapon. Continue reading Protestors Take To Streets Demanding Mayor’s Resignation
Last week, it was reported that ISIS member Denis Cuspert was taken out by drone strikes in Syria.
What does this have to do with hip-hop? One headline for the story read: “German-Born Rapper Who Joined ISIS Was Killed In U.S. Airstrike.” I immediately clicked the link, scanning the story for any mention of an actual affiliation to music, and unsurprisingly I found none. As has been the case for years, media outlets love to use the genre of rap and rapper as an occupation to push an agenda associated with violence, anti-government and mayhem. Continue reading TO PIMP A GENRE: HOW RAP IS DEFINED IN MEDIA
At 19, Ric Wilson possesses a voice and worldview years beyond himself and isn’t afraid to take a stand with his carefully crafted raps. Having only popped up on our radar in the last six months, Wilson has made a splash with a recent run of singles and videos that resulted in his PennyRaps EP which caught the attention of outlets across the country including Ebony, The Source, BET and more. Continue reading Ric Wilson Proving He Has What It Takes Heading Into 2016
Last Thursday night, Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment’s album Surf appeared as a free download on iTunes (reportedly the first Apple had allowed), its arrival sudden yet highly anticipated. Promises that the album was coming soon—before the end of the year, then “soon,” then “very soon”—had been floating around since Chance the Rapper announced it in an interview with Billboard last fall, and hip-hop fans were eager to find out what the project that most saw as the follow-up to Chance’s acclaimed 2013 mixtape Acid Rap would sound like.
Surf sounds like a party. It’s a different sonic world from any other hip-hop album released this year, and its cast of contributors is impressive, featuring local Chicago friends like NoNameGypsy, Saba, and Joey Purp as well as big names like Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, Big Sean, and J. Cole. It’s also—although he’s the most well known name attached to it, and The Social Experiment is his touring band—not a Chance the Rapper album. It’s a collaborative effort with other band members Peter Cottontale and Nate Fox, overseen by Donnie Trumpet, a.k.a. Nico Segal.
“What I wanted to accomplish on this project most was to convey to people that I’m a producer and not just a trumpet player in Chance’s band,” Segal told me last Friday morning, groggy from an all-nighter scanning Twitter and reading initial reviews. “This is supposed to be the beginning of something, the first of its kind for something new.”