WBEZ | Common http://www.wbez.org/tags/common Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Hip-hop artist Common announces Chicago youth job program http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/hip-hop-artist-common-announces-chicago-youth-job-program-110003 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/common_140409_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Hip-hop artist Common and the Chicago Urban League are teaming up for a youth jobs initiative as a way to prevent violence and whittle down a high teen unemployment rate in the city.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I see what&rsquo;s going on in the city. We all see it. Anytime I hear about anybody getting shot, young people with guns, it hurts me,&rdquo; Common said Wednesday at the Museum of Contemporary Art. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not proud to be like, yeah, we&rsquo;re &lsquo;<a href="http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/01/chiraq_war_in_chicago_prevents_solutions.html">Chiraq</a>.&rsquo; At certain points I feel like I have to do more.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative will focus on securing year-found jobs for people ages 16-24. The target is 15,000 youth over the next five years. The program is set to launch this fall with 1,000 young people.</p><p dir="ltr">Private money will be raised to subsidize salaries for some of the jobs. A key piece of the collaborative is engaging the private sector to identify jobs, from corporate to manufacturing to nonprofit. Organizers don&rsquo;t want jobs to end when the summer ends. Employing 1,000 youth would cost approximately $2.4 million, according to the Chicago Urban League.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just jobs, it&rsquo;s mentoring and support so they [young people] know that there&rsquo;s a group around them supporting their success so they know there&rsquo;s a future for them in this city,&rdquo; said Andrea Zopp, CEO of the Chicago Urban League.</p><p dir="ltr">Teen unemployment in Illinois is among the highest in the United States, and for low-income minorities the rates are even higher.</p><p dir="ltr">Researchers at Northeastern University released a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/stagnant-employment-picture-illinois-teens-105108">report </a>last year noting that teens&#39; lack work of experience adversely affects their future employability and wages. The conclusions mirror previous studies that suggest job experience can help deter teens from involvement in the criminal justice system.</p><p dir="ltr">The report&rsquo;s authors found only 8.7 percent of black teens in Chicago were employed in 2010-2011. The rate for Asians, though, was 15.5 percent. Twenty percent of the city&rsquo;s Hispanic teens were employed, and the rate for whites stood at 21 percent.</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, across Illinois, the teen employment rate fell from just under 50 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2012 &mdash; the lowest rate in the 42 years for which such data exist. If Illinois teens had been able to maintain their 1999-2000 employment rates during the past year, there would have been another 151,000 teens at work in Illinois in 2011-2012, the report said.</p><p dir="ltr">Native son Common, whose mother Mahalia Hines is an educator and Chicago Public Schools board member, recalled meeting with young people in Englewood, a neighborhood with high crime and unemployment.</p><p dir="ltr">They told the rapper they needed money and jobs, underscoring the link between poverty and violence.</p><p>&ldquo;What do they want? They want opportunity and a chance,&rdquo; Common said.</p><p>This summer The AAHH! FEST, a two-day concert in September, will kick off. Common&rsquo;s foundation will partner with Kanye West&rsquo;s <a href="http://dondashouseinc.org/">Donda&rsquo;s House</a> in which emcee Rhymefest is the creative director. Part of the money will fund the year-round jobs initiatives.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a></em></p><p><em>Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 17:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/hip-hop-artist-common-announces-chicago-youth-job-program-110003 The battle for the soul of Chicago hip-hop http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/battle-soul-chicago-hip-hop-102642 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1Chief-Keef-550x537.png" style="height: 439px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>Even after the phenomenal worldwide success of Kanye West, in recent years Chicago hip-hop took a back seat to the sounds coming from the left and right coasts, as well as the Dirty South. You know the knock: The Windy City is the home of backpackers, granola-eating hippies and feel-good rappers like Common, Rhymefest, Lupe Fiasco, the Cool Kids, Kid Sister and Psalm One who, even if skeptics begrudgingly granted their skills, just weren&rsquo;t &ldquo;real hip-hop.&rdquo;</p><p>That idiotic slight comes, of course, from the fact that if any one thing ever has characterized the diverse group of musically inventive Chicago-bred rappers who&rsquo;ve grabbed the national spotlight in the past, it&rsquo;s been the refusal to exclusively pander to gangsta stereotypes, the same old nihilistic celebrations of hopelessness, sexism and violence, instead collectively painting a much more nuanced, often more positive and ultimately more realistic portrait of the lives of the majority of young African-American men and women.</p><p>In the hip-hop underground, the rise of the troubled teenage rapper Chief Keef and so-called Chicago &ldquo;drill music,&rdquo; with its celebration of all those tired but still lucrative gangsta clichés, has been the major story of 2012. And thanks to Keef&rsquo;s repellant shenanigans&mdash;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/more-trouble-congress-theater-98249">from the use of a weapon in a run-in with police that first gave him bad-boy bragging rights</a> to his <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-09/chief-keefs-taunting-tweet-has-him-hot-water-102220">now-infamous Tweet about the shooting of rival Lil Jojo</a>&mdash;the &ldquo;new Chicago hip-hop&rdquo; is becoming a topic for the national mainstream media, with stories running side by side with coverage of the city&rsquo;s increasing gang problems and skyrocketing murder rate.</p><p>And let&rsquo;s not even go near <a href="http://www.theroot.com/views/chief-keef">the more exploitative end of things</a>, including Pitchfork taking Keef to a gun range for a video shoot and then <a href="http://pitchfork.com/news/47032-watch-chief-keef-freestyle-at-a-gun-range/">pulling the clip from the site</a> once things got a little too controversial and too real.</p><p>Disappointingly, West has given Keef&rsquo;s soulless rap his endorsement by including a remix of the 17-year-old&rsquo;s &ldquo;I Don&rsquo;t Like&rdquo; on <em>Cruel Summer</em>, the new and largely underwhelming compilation album from his G.O.O.D. Music crew. Not that Keef is signed to &rsquo;Ye&rsquo;s label: He&rsquo;s inked a multi-million-dollar deal with Interscope for his forthcoming major-label debut. As the man behind Dr. Dre, Marilyn Manson, 50 Cent and Eminem, and a tireless champion of cheap shock and desperately offensive schlock, we expect Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine to be a Keef fan. But we expected better from West.</p><p>In recent days, other established Chicago stars have reacted differently to Keef&rsquo;s rise. Common, who also appears on <em>Cruel Summer</em>, has called for a summit between the old-school rappers and Keef and the new breed. &ldquo;I feel like we just gotta sit &lsquo;em down and build with them,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.bet.com/news/music/2012/09/19/common-wants-to-host-peace-summit-with-chief-keef.html">Common told BET</a>. &ldquo;Talk to them, get some type of peace thing going. It&rsquo;s bigger than rap. Kids is dying. I would tell Keef and all of them cats, &#39;Man we gotta sit down and figure out how we&rsquo;re gonna get to a peace meeting.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, even as he&rsquo;s dropping his fourth studio album <em>Food &amp; Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, </em><a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1693272/lupe-fiasco-chief-keef-considers-retirement.jhtml">Lupe Fiasco is saying he&rsquo;s considering quitting rap</a>, largely because the success of artists such as Chief Keef disgusts him. The two rappers fought it out on Twitter after Lupe said the following in a radio interview: &ldquo;Chief Keef scares me. Not him specifically, but just the culture that he represents&hellip; The murder rate in Chicago is skyrocketing, and you see who&rsquo;s doing it and perpetrating it&mdash;they all look like Chief Keef.&rdquo;</p><p>Fired back the ever-eloquent Keef: &ldquo;Lupe fiasco a hoe ass n---a And wen I see him I&rsquo;ma smack him like da lil bitch he is.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1Keef_0.jpg" style="height: 297px; width: 450px;" title="Chief Keef." /></p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1lupe.jpg" style="height: 310px; width: 450px;" title="Lupe Fiasco." /></div></div><p>Will empty nihilistic drill music come to represent the new sound of Chicago for the world, flipping the script on what Keef&rsquo;s predecessors have built up as the city&rsquo;s hip-hop legacy? Is it part of the problem on the streets, or a symptom? And what are its merits and demerits on a purely musical level?</p><p>These are complicated questions that this blogger only is beginning to wrap his head around. Meanwhile, <a href="http://thedailyswarm.com/swarm/rational-conversation-fake-shore-drives-andrew-barber-chief-keefs-rise-amidst-chicagos-murderously-successful-hip-hop-moment/">the most cogent and insightful conversation on the topic that I&rsquo;ve encountered</a> to date was posted yesterday by the invaluable music-news aggregate <a href="http://thedailyswarm.com">The Daily Swarm</a> (which has its roots in Chicago). The latest installment of the site&rsquo;s &ldquo;Rational Conversation&rdquo; series, editor Eric Ducker talks Keef and drill music with Andrew Barber of the Chicago hip-hop website <a href="http://www.fakeshoredrive.com/">Fake Shore Drive</a>. Among his comments:</p><blockquote><p>The scene still has its supporters and stars. It&rsquo;s by no means dead, and there is more to Chicago than just the &ldquo;drill scene.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s what bothers me the most about the coverage Chicago is getting right now. All anyone wants to talk about is Chief Keef, but there are a ton of other artists here whose content is completely different. Artists like Rockie Fresh, YP, Spenzo, Chance the Rapper, Sir Michael Rock, and Kids These Days are incredible talents and deserve the same recognition. Around ten artists and producers from Chicago were signed in 2012; many of them sound nothing alike and have their own styles and movements. Record execs and A&amp;Rs hit Chicago like the gold rush this past spring and summer, and I think a lot of artists&rsquo; stuff will see the light of day on a major label. Now the artists just have to stand out, but all eyes are on Chicago right now, good or bad&hellip;</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>I can say that as far as cities go, Chicago has had a big year&mdash;its biggest since Kanye first emerged, and arguably the biggest in all of hip-hop in 2012. I just hope that when it&rsquo;s all said and done, the scene is remembered for the music instead of the controversy surrounding it.</p></blockquote><p>The interview is a must-read. And here is another, <a href="http://gawker.com/chief-keef/">a provocative think-piece from Gawker</a>. As for Keef&#39;s music being a must-listen... well, as I said, I&#39;m still grappling with that.</p></p> Tue, 25 Sep 2012 10:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/battle-soul-chicago-hip-hop-102642 Eminem gets 10 nods 10 years after he mattered (and other dubious wonders in the 2010 Grammy nominations) http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/eminem-gets-10-nods-10-years-after-he-mattered-and-other-dubious-wonders-2010-gra <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/eminem grammy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="400" width="522" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-01/eminem grammy.jpg" /></p><p>&nbsp;With their stated mission &ldquo;to honor artistic achievement... without regard to album sales or chart position&rdquo; once again more of an ideal than a reality, Grammy sponsors the Recording Academy have announced the nominees for the 53rd annual awards, the most prestigious if chronically misguided in the music industry.</p><p>Topping the list of multiple nominees with a number that puts him among such Grammy favorites as Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, and Bonnie Raitt&mdash;even though his last album &ldquo;Recovery&rdquo; <a href="../../../../../jderogatis/2010/06/album-review-eminem-recovery/28132">was one of the most mediocre of his controversial but platinum-selling career</a>&mdash;Eminem garnered 10 nods, including the most prestigious, album of the year, as well as two more of the &ldquo;big four&rdquo; prizes, record and song of the year (for &ldquo;Love the Way You Lie&rdquo; featuring Rihanna).</p> <p>The rest of the album of the year contenders are divided between worthy contenders&mdash;orchestral-popsters Arcade Fire (for &ldquo;The Suburbs&rdquo;) and pop phenom Lady Gaga (for &ldquo;The Fame Monster&rdquo;)&mdash;and sheer commercial pabulum (country-pop merchants Lady Antebellum for &ldquo;Need You Now&rdquo; and Katy Perry for &ldquo;Teenage Dream&rdquo;).</p> <p>Trailing Marshall Mathers with seven nominations is pop producer, singer, and songwriter Bruno Mars. Hip-hop CEO Jay-Z and the aforementioned Ladies, Antebellum and Gaga, each claimed six Grammy nods, while five nominations apiece went to the venerable guitar hero Jeff Beck, B.O.B (a.k.a. rapper Bobby Ray Simmons), easy-listening soul man John Legend, rising pop/R&amp;B star Philip Lawrence, and classical music producer David Frost.</p> <p>Completing the roster for record of the year (which is awarded to the artist and producer) along with Eminem are B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars (&ldquo;Nothin&rsquo; On You&rdquo;), the indomitable Cee Lo Green (&ldquo;F*** You&rdquo;), Jay-Z and Alicia Keys (&ldquo;Empire State Of Mind&rdquo;), and Lady Antebellum (&ldquo;Need You Now&rdquo;).</p> <p>And joining Slim Shady in competition for song of the year (which is awarded to the songwriter) are Ray LaMontagne (&ldquo;Beg Steal Or Borrow&rdquo;), Cee Lo with &ldquo;F*** You&rdquo; again, tunesmiths Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin, who wrote &ldquo;The House That Built Me&rdquo; for Miranda Lambert, Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, and Hillary Scott, who wrote &ldquo;Need You Now&rdquo; for Lady Antebellum.</p> <p>Then, of course, there is the always laughable best new artist prize, whose contenders this year are bad-haircut pop hearthrob Justin Bieber, hip-popper Drake, Florence &amp; the Machine, Mumford &amp; Sons, and Esperanza Spalding.</p> <p>The Chicago chapter of the Recording Academy will release its tally of local artists honored with nominations later today, and we&rsquo;ll duly post it. But a quick scan of the complete list indicates a real shortage of hometown talent, save for the dubious inclusion of fading but acquitted R&amp;B superstar R. Kelly, who was nominated for best contemporary R&amp;B album (&ldquo;Untitled&rdquo;) and best traditional R&amp;B vocal performance, and one minor nomination each for the American treasure Mavis Staples and wayward hip-hop hero Common.</p> <p>The full list of nominees in all of the 7,894 categories (give or take) <a href="http://www.grammy.com/nominees">can be found online here.</a> Meanwhile, a look at some of the other key categories follows below. And the golden gramophones themselves will be given out on Feb. 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during a ceremony televed on CBS and theoretically lasting 3&frac12; hours, though it will of course feel three times as long.</p> <p><strong>Best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals</strong>: &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t Stop Believin&rsquo; (Regionals Version)&rdquo; &mdash; the cast of &ldquo;Glee&rdquo;; &ldquo;Misery&rdquo; &mdash; Maroon 5; &ldquo;The Only Exception&rdquo; &mdash; Paramore; &ldquo;Babyfather&rdquo; &mdash; Sade; &ldquo;Hey, Soul Sister (Live)&rdquo; &mdash; Train.</p> <p><strong>Best pop collaboration with vocals</strong>: &ldquo;Airplanes II&rdquo; &mdash; B.o.B, Eminem &amp; Hayley Williams; &ldquo;Imagine&rdquo; &mdash; Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No. 1, Jeff Beck &amp; Oumou Sangare; &ldquo;If It Wasn&rsquo;t For Bad&rdquo; &mdash; Elton John &amp; Leon Russell; &ldquo;Telephone&rdquo; &mdash; Lady Gaga &amp; Beyoncé; California Gurls&rdquo; &mdash; Katy Perry &amp; Snoop Dogg.</p> <p><strong>Best dance recording</strong>: &ldquo;Rocket&rdquo; &mdash; Goldfrapp; &ldquo;In For The Kill&rdquo; &mdash; La Roux; &ldquo;Dance In The Dark&rdquo; &mdash; Lady Gaga; &ldquo;Only Girl (In The World)&rdquo; &mdash; Rihanna; &ldquo;Dancing On My Own&rdquo; &mdash; Robyn.</p> <p><strong>Best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals</strong>: &ldquo;Ready To Start&rdquo; &mdash; Arcade Fire; &ldquo;I Put A Spell On You&rdquo; &mdash; Jeff Beck &amp; Joss Stone; &ldquo;Tighten Up&rdquo; &mdash; the Black Keys; &ldquo;Radioactive&rdquo; &mdash; Kings Of Leon; &ldquo;Resistance&rdquo; &mdash; Muse.</p> <p><strong>Best hard rock performance</strong>: &ldquo;A Looking In View&rdquo; &mdash; Alice In Chains; &ldquo;Let Me Hear You Scream&rdquo; &mdash; Ozzy Osbourne; &ldquo;Black Rain&rdquo; &mdash; Soundgarden; &ldquo;Between the Lines&rdquo; &mdash; Stone Temple Pilots; &ldquo;New Fang&rdquo; &mdash; Them Crooked Vultures.</p> <p><strong>Best rock song</strong>: &ldquo;Angry World&rdquo; &mdash; Neil Young; &ldquo;Little Lion Man&rdquo; &mdash; Mumford &amp; Sons; &ldquo;Radioactive&rdquo; &mdash; Kings Of Leon; &ldquo;Resistance&rdquo; &mdash; Muse; &ldquo;Tighten Up&rdquo; &mdash; the Black Keys.</p> <p><strong>Best alternative music album</strong>: &ldquo;The Suburbs&rdquo; &mdash; Arcade Fire; &ldquo;Infinite Arms&rdquo; &mdash; Band Of Horses; &ldquo;Brothers&rdquo; &mdash; the Black Keys; &ldquo;Broken Bells&rdquo; &mdash; Broken Bells; &ldquo;Contra&rdquo; &mdash; Vampire Weekend.</p> <p><strong>Best R&amp;B performance by a duo or group with vocals</strong>: &ldquo;Take My Time&rdquo; &mdash; Chris Brown &amp; Tank; &ldquo;Love&rdquo; &mdash; Chuck Brown, Jill Scott &amp; Marcus Miller; &ldquo;You&rsquo;ve Got A Friend&rdquo; &mdash; Ronald Isley &amp; Aretha Franklin; &ldquo;Shine&rdquo; &mdash; John Legend &amp; the Roots; &ldquo;Soldier Of Love&rdquo; &mdash; Sade.</p> <p><strong>Best contemporary R&amp;B album</strong>: &ldquo;Graffiti&rdquo; &mdash; Chris Brown; &ldquo;Untitled&rdquo; &mdash; R. Kelly; &ldquo;Transition&rdquo; &mdash; Ryan Leslie; &ldquo;The ArchAndroid&rdquo; &mdash; Janelle Monáe; &ldquo;Raymond V Raymond&rdquo; &mdash; Usher.</p> <p><strong>Best rap/sung collaboration</strong>: &ldquo;Nothin&rsquo; On You&rdquo; &mdash; B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars; &ldquo;Deuces&rdquo; &mdash; Chris Brown, Tyga &amp; Kevin McCall; &ldquo;Love the Way You Lie&rdquo; &mdash; Eminem &amp; Rihanna; &ldquo;Empire State Of Mind&rdquo; &mdash; Jay-Z &amp; Alicia Keys; &ldquo;Wake Up! Everybody&rdquo; &mdash; John Legend, the Roots, Melanie Fiona &amp; Common.</p> <p><strong>Best rap album</strong>: &ldquo;The Adventures of Bobby Ray&rdquo; &mdash; B.o.B; &ldquo;Thank Me Later&rdquo; &mdash; Drake; &ldquo;Recovery&rdquo; &mdash; Eminem; &ldquo;The Blueprint 3&rdquo; &mdash; Jay-Z; &ldquo;How I Got Over&rdquo; &mdash; the Roots.</p> <p><strong>Best country song</strong>: &ldquo;The Breath You Take&rdquo; &mdash;George Strait; &ldquo;Free&rdquo; &mdash; Zac Brown Band; &ldquo;The House That Built Me&rdquo; Miranda Lambert; &ldquo;I&rsquo;d Love to be Your Last&rdquo; &mdash;Gretchen Wilson; &ldquo;If I Die Young&rdquo; &mdash;The Band Perry; &ldquo;Need You Now&rdquo; &mdash;Lady Antebellum.</p> <p><strong>Best country album</strong>: &ldquo;Up On the Ridge&rdquo; &mdash; Dierks Bentley; &ldquo;You Get What You Give&rdquo; &mdash; Zac Brown Band; &ldquo;The Guitar Song&rdquo; &mdash; Jamey Johnson; &ldquo;Need You Now&rdquo; &mdash; Lady Antebellum; &ldquo;Revolution&rdquo; &mdash; Miranda Lambert.</p> <p><strong>Best Americana album</strong>: &ldquo;The List&rdquo; &mdash; Rosanne Cash; &ldquo;Tin Can Trust&rdquo; &mdash; Los Lobos; &ldquo;Country Music&rdquo; &mdash; Willie Nelson; &ldquo;Band Of Joy&rdquo; &mdash; Robert Plant; &ldquo;You Are Not Alone&rdquo; &mdash; Mavis Staples.</p> <p><strong>Best traditional blues album</strong>: &ldquo;Giant&rdquo; &mdash; James Cotton; &ldquo;Memphis Blues&rdquo; &mdash; Cyndi Lauper; &ldquo;The Well&rdquo; &mdash; Charlie Musselwhite; &ldquo;Joined at the Hip&rdquo; &mdash; Pinetop Perkins &amp; Willie &ldquo;Big Eyes&rdquo; Smith; &ldquo;Plays Blues, Ballads &amp; Favorites&rdquo; &mdash; Jimmie Vaughan.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 02 Dec 2010 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/eminem-gets-10-nods-10-years-after-he-mattered-and-other-dubious-wonders-2010-gra