WBEZ | Chance the Rapper http://www.wbez.org/tags/chance-rapper Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en With 1833, a nightlife scene grows in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-07/1833-nightlife-scene-grows-chicago-108022 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Z&amp;B-10.jpg" title="(Photo courtesy of Chuck Olu-Alabi)" /></div><p dir="ltr">Perhaps more than any other city, Chicago&#39;s music promoters must distinguish themselves to find success in this sprawling nightlife scene. In a city as diverse and segregated as ours, bringing people together is forever a challenge. But great promoters can foster an experience that is unique and particular, every time.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516"><strong><a href="http://www.1833presents.com/" target="_blank">1833 Presents</a></strong>&nbsp;is one such company well on its way to doing just that. Founders Blake Witsman, 27, and Zack Eastman, 28,&nbsp;log long hours every day to organize events from start to finish. Whether it&#39;s for a musician they&#39;ve invited to perform locally, or the Chicago act for a national tour, 1833&nbsp;manages booking, marketing, accounting, and everything in between for each show.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about the fan. It&rsquo;s all about the artist,&quot; Eastman said.&nbsp;&ldquo;Our goal is to become a brand in Chicago that you can trust.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">This means curating and organizing a series of nightlife events and concerts at venues across the city, spanning genres from rap to post-dubstep, and always pushing the envelope. Artists Eastman and Witsman have&nbsp;featured or booked recently include local hip-hop star Chance the Rapper,&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, 'Palatino Linotype', 'Book Antiqua', serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22.5px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">downtempo electronic duo&nbsp;</span>Beacon, and rapper and Three 6 Mafia member&nbsp;Juicy J.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The Logan Square-based company, founded in February, makes it a point to be distinctly Chicago: their name is a shoutout of the year the city was founded, as well as an ironic nod to their targeted demographic, the 18 to 33-year-old.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/xheader-logo1.png.pagespeed.ic_.m-VM0G65np.png" style="float: left;" title="(Logo/1833)" /></p><p dir="ltr">And for every show 1833&nbsp;works to book, it aims to create a one-of-a-kind experience true to the tastes, expectations, and excitements of its audience.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We look at each show uniquely and give it a certain TLC that doesn&rsquo;t come with someone mass producing a show,&rdquo; Eastman explained.</p><p dir="ltr">Moreover, what the company is doing right, is tapping into the changing cultural landscape of the city. They recognize the shift and renaissance of local culture. Chicago is in a state of flux &mdash; one that can potentially radicalize the stature of the city as a place and incubator of culture &mdash; and suddenly, to foster nightlife in the city is both possible and a thriving business. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Why? For one, artists of all fields are finally staying in the city.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;In the past, I&rsquo;ve seen people wanting to leave here, and now it&rsquo;s not necessary,&rdquo; Witsman said.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>In the past, community was in many ways the deciding factor in whether or not an artist or creator decided to stay within the city. Two or three artists might thrive nationally or internationally, but there was little room for more to succeed, creating an uncomfortable, even unwelcome environment for artists who aimed to call Chicago their home. But now, community thrives on a larger scale.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s so many different people and scenes,&rdquo; Eastman said. &ldquo;I just think it&rsquo;s growing and it&rsquo;s robust and it&rsquo;s exciting.&rdquo; </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>A larger network means more professionals and more artists to showcase. When organizing shows with global acts, 1833 often brings in local performers to complement the act and surprise the audience.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Untitled drawing (3).jpg" style="float: right;" title="(Photo courtesy of Chuck Olu-Alabi)" />Simultaneously, the city itself is growing exponentially. Artists here are finding more outlets for their work, be&nbsp;it a new independent art gallery or a new theater company. In terms of music, the increase of venues (legal and not, traditional and nontraditional) allows musicians of all backgrounds to perform.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516">This plays directly into 1833&#39;s&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.homebaseparty.com/images/header-white.gif" target="_blank">Home Base</a>&nbsp;</strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516">&mdash;</span>&nbsp;a series of&nbsp;parties and events featuring underground and experimental electronic music of the post-dubstep and future-bass variety. Past performers include Nguzunguzu, Groundislava and Teen Witch.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Witsman describes the project as a &ldquo;home for music that didn&rsquo;t have a home.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516">&ldquo;One thing we try to push for is to be on the forefront,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They might not be a slam dunk the first time, but in a year, they&rsquo;ll be huge.&rdquo; </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>For Home Base, that means booking acts that are growing locally, nationally, internationally, or online, but have yet to find large audiences.</span>&nbsp;In many cases, the fans for the music are here, but they have yet to find outlets that cater to their tastes, and many musicians go unnoticed. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are creating something that houses a certain sort of artist,&quot; Eastman said. &quot;It could be broad, but it&rsquo;s a brand that you can trust even if you don&rsquo;t know the artist.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span>In the end, that is what a party should be: a place for good expectations and even better surprises.&nbsp;</span>Knowing friends who have left the city because it lacked the cultural drive they wanted, it is a heady experience to attend Home Base knowing that there are others out there who are excited by these new sounds&#39; bubbling weirdness and beauty.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">And because Chicago is of a size that means a hundred things could occur at one time, 1833 knows they have to foster experiences like these that are memorable long after they end. So far, they&#39;re well on their way to doing just that.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><em><strong>Britt Julious</strong>&nbsp;writes about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 17:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-07/1833-nightlife-scene-grows-chicago-108022 Long Hot Summer: The tension between hip hop and violence http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-tension-between-hip-hop-and-violence-101110 <p><p><em>Summer after summer, Chicagoans are consumed by violence and a seemingly exponential murder rate. And, it seems, summer after summer, we talk about the need for whole families, better education, jobs and police boots on the ground&mdash;yet, the cycle continues. This year, </em>Afternoon Shift <em>hopes to move beyond the headlines in hopes of better understanding the violence&mdash;it roots and possible remedy&mdash;through frank, forward-thinking, holistic conversations in a series we&rsquo;re calling, </em>Long Hot Summer.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chiefkeef1.jpg" title="Chief Keef" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="125" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53856981&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false&amp;color=ff7700" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Hip hop and violence often intersect. Theirs is a tense and complicated dance where no one leads&mdash;either component can serve as a catalyst or outlet for the other. And Chicago now finds itself at the epicenter of violence and mainstream hip hop&mdash;the city&rsquo;s street sound is getting serious, unprecedented play as the murder rate climbs. Chicago has certainly produced marquee artists in the past&mdash;the Windy City is, after all, the home of Kanye, Common and Lupe Fiasco, to name a few. But artists from Chicago have typically been associated with rap&#39;s indie and conscious styles. In other words, Chicago has never had its street moment&mdash;until now.</p><p>As cheap internet access became readily available in Chicago&rsquo;s poorest neighborhoods, young artists came online in droves. They flooded YouTube with their rhymes and homemade music videos; they took to Twitter and Facebook en masse. Suddenly, sending a tape to Kanye wasn&rsquo;t the only option.</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/ChiefKeef" target="_blank">Chief Keef</a> is arguably the biggest name in Chicago hip hop right now. The internet sensation&rsquo;s breakout video, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WcRXJ4piHg" target="_blank">&ldquo;I Don&rsquo;t Like,&rdquo;</a> at press time, had nearly 9.5 million views on YouTube. He <a href="http://www.fakeshoredrive.com/2012/06/chief-keef-gets-gbe-imprint-movie-deal-beats-by-keef-headphones.html/" target="_blank">reportedly</a> signed a deal with Interscope Records worth millions in June. Freelance writer <a href="http://www.spin.com/articles/chicago-rap-blazes-streets?page=0" target="_blank">David Drake recently profiled</a> Keef and other up-and-coming Chicago artists for <em>SPIN</em>.</p><p>&ldquo;Much of what has made Keef&#39;s controversial music resonate so widely throughout the city is that his young age and seemingly reckless lyrics &mdash; dense with references to local sets, cliques, neighborhoods, and gangs &mdash; appear to epitomize this very sense of having lost control of the younger generation,&rdquo; Drake wrote.</p><p>That uncontrolled, reckless vibe that&#39;s resonating amongst Chicago&rsquo;s young emcees is what concerns veterans like <a href="http://www.elchethemovement.com/" target="_blank">Che &quot;Rhymefest&quot; Smith</a>. The hip-hop artist and activist, who shares a Grammy with Kanye West, considers it a personal responsibility to educate younger generations about the potential impact of music&mdash;that rhymes can be used as a tool or a weapon. And he has no patience for the latter.</p><p>Rhymefest is hoping to drown out the negative notes with theme songs for life. In an effort to stem the violence in Chicago through music, his foundation, Power of Purpose, has teamed up with the Black Youth Project to provide a platform for positive plays. <a href="http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2012/07/calling-all-artists-sumbit-music-to-the-pledge-mixtape/" target="_blank">The Pledge Mixtape</a> will be a 13-song CD comprised of songs from various local artists hoping to take back their communal power through music. Artists like Mikkey Halstead, K. Fox and Rhymefest himself will provide tracks to bring attention to the tunes&mdash;but will they grab 9.5-million-views-type attention?</p><p>Rhymefest joins host Steve Edwards, music writer Jessica Hopper, Pastor Phil Jackson and emcee Teh&rsquo;Ray &quot;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/PHENOM/169023961506" target="_blank">Phenom</a>&quot; Hale for an hour-long discussion about the relationship between hip hop and violence. <em>Afternoon Shift</em> will also hear from up-and-coming emcee, <a href="http://www.facebook.com/chancetherapper" target="_blank">Chance the Rapper</a>. To join the conversation, call <strong>(312) 923-9239</strong> or chime in on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23AfternoonShift" target="_blank">#AfternoonShift.</a></p></p> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 12:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-tension-between-hip-hop-and-violence-101110