WBEZ | hip-hop http://www.wbez.org/tags/hip-hop-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A Group of Writers Listening to Kanye, Awaiting SWISH http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/group-writers-listening-kanye-awaiting-swish-114732 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/495178202_wide-94564255585b0c0051bcae7b8cafeef65a768652-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463714006" previewtitle="Kanye West at LAX in October, looking like us."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Kanye West at LAX in October, looking like us." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/20/495178202_wide-94564255585b0c0051bcae7b8cafeef65a768652-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Kanye West at LAX in October, looking like us. (GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Maybe we have jumped the gun. We very badly want G.O.O.D. Fridays back (<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/microphonecheck/2015/12/22/460643218/pusha-t-this-is-what-i-like-to-make" target="_blank">we&#39;re not alone</a>). Surprise releases are fun and everything, but the build of a month(s)-long stretch is better. We would like to talk about music together, and not only by collectively spazzing out and crashing Livemixtapes. We would like to Monday morning quarterback the art and announcement punctuation and where we heard it over the weekend and the context and the song itself. We&#39;d like to compare this week&#39;s offering to the last couple and use all that to debate the emotional state and practical concerns of Kanye and us and try to divine, somehow, where all this is going. The Internet wasn&#39;t quite what it is now the last time this happened, and we&#39;re thinking about how that changes our coverage. So here we are, weighing in, doing our best to do our part as listeners and readers and thinkers, even though it&#39;s not real clear if #EveryFriday means G.O.O.D. Fridays Part Deux or not.</p></div></div></div><p>Definitely we are not dealing with the clockwork delivery and full team effort of the fourth quarter of 2010. Sample email from my inbox: &quot;Hope you&#39;ve had an enjoyable weekend! It seems Kanye is still enjoying his since there&#39;s still not a new track.&quot; And Kanye talking that &quot;<a href="https://twitter.com/kanyewest/status/688973542524719104" target="_blank">very very extremely soon</a>&quot; business but not really being done for another six hours, tweeting only &quot;It&#39;s up&quot; when the full version of &quot;No More Parties in L.A.&quot; went public on Soundcloud, resurrected all my old blown deadline, high school term paper overnighter, the news that Michael Jackson died hit at 5:20 pm ET stress like here, take it, I think it&#39;s done, who knows what it says. The only time I&#39;ve ever felt closer to Ye was when he tweeted about waking up on a plane and finding himself responsible for a water bottle he didn&#39;t even ask for.</p><p>The responses of the writers below have in common enthusiasm for the project ofSWISH&nbsp;and the artist that Kanye is. Frustration is often present. The relief at his recovery from &quot;FACTS&quot; is strong, strong enough to intensify the warmth of this group&#39;s embrace of &quot;No More Parties in L.A.&quot; In my opinion. This is a line of conversation we&#39;d like to have the opportunity to follow over the next few weeks: What are these songs on their own? What are these songs in relation to each other? As part of the lead up to an album? To this album? What are these songs because of Kim&#39;s Twitter life? What are they while Future and Drake and Metro and Esco and Kendrick and Cole and Travis and Adele and Soulection and Bieber and The Weeknd and Chris Stapleton are doing their thing?</p><p>We&#39;ll collect reactions as we proceed; we&#39;ll keep them all here. Everybody can change their mind. Everybody is free to be disappointed. Nobody is allowed to give up. We&#39;re at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/nprhiphop" target="_blank">@NPRHipHop</a>&nbsp;if you&#39;d like to get involved.</p><div><hr /></div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>&quot;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/facts-explicit" target="_blank">FACTS</a>&quot;</strong></span></p><p>He should&#39;ve just titled this &quot;Jumpman 2.0,&quot; or called it a remix, because what else is it? If he had I don&#39;t think I would be this annoyed. West, boastfully and brashly, takes digs at Nike for the failed collaboration he shared with the corporation before heading to Adidas. He has a point, seeing that the President now rocks Yeezys, but it&#39;s almost too much. To calm my nerves, three weeks after its release, I imagine Ye and the usual suspects getting all excited when out, leaving &quot;Jumpman&quot; on repeat and deciding to throw something together in time for New Years. I refuse to take this seriously. &mdash;<em><a href="https://twitter.com/3rika" target="_blank">Erika Ramirez</a></em></p><p>On New Year&#39;s Eve before the ball dropped and Yeezy was preparing to drop this song I was racked with anticipation. New Kanye music, something we&#39;ve been waiting for ALL YEAR (remember we thought the album was coming last February). What I heard on first listen disappointed me. I listened a second time just to make sure my ears weren&#39;t deceiving me, but my initial reaction was spot on: Kanye was chasing Drake and Future&#39;s sound. I was heartbroken. Not Ye, not the innovator&#39;s innovator. If Kanye&#39;s new album is going to sound like this then we&#39;ve finally lost him. <em>&mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/nprhiphop" target="_blank">Cedric Shine</a></em></p><p>So ... no comment on &quot;Facts.&quot; (Mostly because I&#39;d rather not listen to it more than once, if I can help it.) <em>&mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/KianaFitz" target="_blank">Kiana Fitzgerald</a></em></p><p>&quot;Facts&quot; is real petty. The last song of 2015, it was appropriately dropped at the end of a year of fraudulence (&quot;Back to Back,&quot; the dress meme, Zola&#39;s story and Rachel Dolezal). On &quot;Facts&quot; Kanye canvases for the #clapback throne in his campaign for 2020 Presidency. Of course, Ye&#39;s Nike diss couldn&#39;t go without mentioning Drake. Lucky for Drizzy, Ye generously gave him a gentle slap on the wrist by mocking his Canadian cadence while simultaneously wishing him well on his venture with the company. Kanye reminds us that he stands on the backs of giants (and Kim&#39;s empire), while junior artists are left in his shadow. &mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/nellienooks" target="_blank">Chanelle Adams</a></p><p>The Internet all but had a public burial for Kanye West going into the new year when he dropped this obviously &quot;Jumpman&quot;-inspired song. It was a weird outcry considering that 1) people actually thought that&#39;d be his only musical identity going forward with&nbsp;SWISH&nbsp;and 2) that the track will even make the cut. <em>&mdash;<a href="https://twitter.com/TrueLaurels" target="_blank">Lawrence Burney</a></em></p><p>I think it&#39;s really cute when toddlers dab. &mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/people/184760074/frannie-kelley" target="_blank">Frannie Kelley</a></em></p><div><hr /></div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>&quot;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/real-friends-no-more-parties-in-la-snipped" target="_blank">REAL FRIENDS</a>&quot;</strong></span></p><p>&quot;Real Friends&quot; is reminiscent of the vulnerable, introspective&nbsp;Graduation&nbsp;verses that secured my love for Kanye forever. An artist that has always struggled with being misunderstood, Kanye opens up yet again to share his more intimate sentiments. For the first time Kanye sounds tired. As he croons about his struggle to find genuine friendship amidst success and fame, he shares a level of loneliness and work ethic that can only be described as that of a mad scientist or lonely suburban dad. &quot;Real Friends&quot; is a confessional phone call at 3AM, a more sophisticated &quot;Hotline Bling.&quot; As he starts his own family, he makes us aware of how far he&#39;s come from the days of&nbsp;College Dropout, a time when he would have never been called a &quot;deadbeat cousin.&quot; On the grind for decades now, Ye&#39;s put work before all else and now it&#39;s catching up to him. <em>&mdash;Chanelle Adams</em></p><p>This one had me scrambling to find a surviving link after its convoluted rollout. On the second release in the second coming of G.O.O.D. Friday, Ye and Ty Dolla $ign vent and advise on the most effective and least affective ways to address soured relationships, low-key two-stepping through a space that reminds me of the gently introspective &quot;Heard &#39;Em Say.&quot; As he categorizes loved ones into silos of family, foe or frenemy, Mr. West reminds us yet again of the hard-knock life of a rap supernova. &mdash;<em>Kiana Fitzgerald</em></p><p>You know what that is that you feel when you listen to &quot;Real Friends&quot;? Hope. With this song Kanye West rekindles our longing for the portion of his work in which he rapped honestly, sugar free, over lush production laced with soul samples. Think of &quot;Wedding Dress,&quot; &quot;Gorgeous&quot; (the majority of&nbsp;My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, really) and, of course,&nbsp;College Dropout. &quot;Real Friends&quot; is just that, on which Ye, alongside the harmonious Ty Dolla $ign, check the loyalty of their real to so-called friends and tell it how it is. This is the Kanye West I love: brutally straightforward, heavy and true to life. It almost makes me forget &quot;Facts&quot; exists. Almost. &mdash;<em>Erika Ramirez</em></p><p>Kanye West doesn&#39;t care about us; he never has&mdash;at least not past our ability to magnify his own sense of purpose. We, the audience, have always been surrogates for his sometimes righteous rage, lenses through which he can see and project himself. It&#39;s great that he comes close to admitting as much in &quot;Real Friends.&quot; He cares enough to take pictures with your sister, but not enough to engage us about this series, instead empowering Kim Kardashian West to speak on his behalf, as if anyone ever wants to hear her talk about &quot;bars,&quot; ever. It&#39;s the civil distance through which we engage our exes once we&#39;re done with them, because, as KKW tweeted, he&#39;s focused on dealing with Adidas in Italy. &quot;I can&#39;t be bothered,&quot; he raps. &quot;I&#39;m just doin&#39; my thing / Hope you&#39;re doin&#39; your thing, too.&quot; We get it, bruh. You can keep the toothbrush and the T-shirt. &mdash;<em><a href="https://twitter.com/fullmetallotus" target="_blank">kris ex</a></em></p><p>I think I admire Kanye&#39;s heart the most. Next to Ty his voice is thin, but he&#39;s always saying more. He has more skin in the game. The tone of this song is closest to the weather I&#39;ve been in recently&mdash;ignorantly cold, then artlessly warm, damp everywhere&mdash;kind of paranoid, probably should be regretful but can&#39;t summon it, fine being destabilized, gotta get up and go to work anyway type of vibe. This is the Kanye mood music that I needed. &mdash;<em>Frannie Kelley</em></p><div><hr /></div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>&quot;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/nomorepartiesinla" target="_blank">NO MORE PARTIES IN L.A.</a>&quot;</strong></span></p><p>This is the closest to what Ye-purists have been begging for over the majority of this decade: Kanye getting back to his sonic roots. He&#39;s still unapologetically black, concerned with his family life (dressing Nori like Cam) and existing on his own terms. &mdash;<em>Lawrence Burney</em></p><p>Was this the official soundtrack to the iconic 2012 moment when Kanye threw out most of Kim&#39;s wardrobe on&nbsp;Keeping Up With The Kardashians? I really hope so. It was Kim, acting like she&#39;s in some capacity A&amp;Ring the album, who assured fans that &quot;Noah&quot; was flown out to Italy to finish the track with Ye. Ever since Kendrick revealed his questionable racial politics and came out with an exaggerated voice production on &quot;Alright&quot; that made him sound like a rapping Bob Dylan, I&#39;m not really a fan of Kendrick. Madlib&#39;s beat from 2010 leads me to believe this album will hold fewer radical &quot;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuhl6Ji5zHM" target="_blank">Black Skinhead</a>s&quot; and more&nbsp;808s and Heartbreaks, with the added ingredients of love and fatherhood. &mdash;<em>Chanelle Adams</em></p><p>Something unusual here: Kanye actually shows K. Dot up. (Still, they sound so damn good next to each other.) Admittedly, some of that has nothing to do with Kendrick&mdash;it&#39;s the circumstances. His brief appearance versus Ye&#39;s #90bars; Ye&#39;s penetrating voice versus his overworked one. Also, this beat was just made for Kanye, and he owns it: &quot;I know some fans thought I wouldn&#39;t rap like this again / But the writer&#39;s block is over, emcees cancel your plans.&quot; There you are, Yeezy. <em>&mdash;Kiana Fitzgerald</em></p><p>I forgive Kanye West for &quot;FACTS.&quot; What is &quot;FACTS&quot; even? I forgive him for still not releasing an official CDQ of &quot;Wolves.&quot; I forgive everything now that I have &quot;No More Parties in L.A.&quot; The third song from the second installment of G.O.O.D. Fridays is Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar&#39;s first collaboration ever, and it&#39;s one for the books. It&#39;s luscious. The song is produced by Madlib (who flips Junie Morrison&#39;s &quot;Suzie Thundertussy&quot; and Ghostface Killah&#39;s &quot;Mighty Healthy&quot;), and features a few lines that Ye&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/kanye-west-talks-dilla-creating-wrong-music-in-stones-throw-doc-20140528" target="_blank">debuted in a Stones Throw documentary</a>. Perhaps the beat is one from the stash that Madlib produced for Ye during the&nbsp;MBDTF&nbsp;days, none of which made the cut. On &quot;No More Parties in L.A.,&quot; Ye is hungry and aware, and it&#39;s palpable. As I currently listen to &quot;No More Parties in LA,&quot; I&#39;m not even thinking about the Kardashians. I&#39;m trying to figure out which of Ye&#39;s cousins stole his laptop. <em>&mdash;Erika Ramirez</em></p><p>Real rap signifiers everywhere, including an unnecessary percentage of all those bars devoted to women at fault. Kendrick and Kanye feel far away from each other, reminding me of their dynamic in that&nbsp;New York Times Magazine&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/magazine/kendrick-lamar-hip-hops-newest-old-school-star.html?_r=0" target="_blank">profile</a>&nbsp;from the Yeezus tour, and then the 38-year-old 8-year-old comes out on top. I wish Ye saying he&#39;s got a psychiatrist would destigmatize therapy. I really loved&nbsp;Yeezus, so I&#39;m not rooting for a return to form. If he&#39;s gonna do this&mdash;be the anxiety-baring Ye on record, represent himself as the moody father of very young children who&#39;s got car troubles and distractions&mdash;I need him to give me more than I can get from KUWTK or&nbsp;Late Registration. <em>&mdash;Frannie Kelley</em></p><p>This is the climax of anti-climax. The vocal mix makes it sound like a radio freestyle&mdash;and it would be great were it a radio freestyle. Kendrick&#39;s bars are astounding acts of rhyme that poke fun of lyrical/spiritual/miracle tropes with a side of Cap&#39;n Crunch cereal and a Nichiren Buddhist mantra. Next to them Kanye sounds labored and trying too hard. But over-effort has always been intrinsic to his appeal, and here he&#39;s urgently dropping lines only he can: shouting out E!, forgiving his cousin that stole his laptop, expressing understandable concern for the safety of his camera-famous family. It&#39;s the Kanye we haven&#39;t heard in a minute, but this isn&#39;t on par with the end of the weeks that brought us the &quot;Power&quot; remix, &quot;Monster&quot; and &quot;So Appalled.&quot; It&#39;s exciting by diminished expectations. Facts, only. <em>&mdash;kris ex</em></p><p>I liked &quot;No More Parties&quot; better when we just had the snippet.&nbsp;<em>&mdash;Cedric Shine</em></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2016/01/20/463708964/a-group-of-writers-listening-to-kanye-awaiting-swish?ft=nprml&amp;f=463708964"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/group-writers-listening-kanye-awaiting-swish-114732 Chicago hip-hop stars team up to teach kids how to write music http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-hip-hop-stars-team-teach-kids-how-write-music-108202 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RHYMEFEST-KANYE_130726_JC (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Kanye West and Rhymefest are collaborating on a free music writing program to assist at-risk youth on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side.</p><p dir="ltr">The &ldquo;Got Bars?&rdquo; program will teach young people how to write and record their own music over the course of 10 weeks. It&rsquo;s a collaboration between West&rsquo;s non-profit, Donda&rsquo;s House &mdash; named in honor of his late mother &mdash; and St. Sabina Church.</p><p dir="ltr">Donda&rsquo;s House Executive Director Donnie Smith said music writing helps the students, who will be between 15 to 24 years old, develop problem-solving skills.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Art instruction and particularly music instruction leads people to become better problem solvers, more flexible,&rdquo; Smith said. &ldquo;There are just so many outcomes that come from the study of music and particularly music writing.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">She said the program&rsquo;s targeting at-risk youth between 15 and 24 because there aren&rsquo;t enough activities for them.</p><p dir="ltr">Rhymefest, who&rsquo;s co-founder and assistant director of Donda&rsquo;s House, will help kids write and record music in a studio. The program also includes lessons about exercise, nutrition and life skills.</p><p dir="ltr">Donda&rsquo;s House will release an EP that includes the participants&rsquo; songs.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/jclee89" target="_blank">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 26 Jul 2013 09:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-hip-hop-stars-team-teach-kids-how-write-music-108202 Wrestling with the moral dilemma of Chief Keef's art http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-12/wrestling-moral-dilemma-chief-keefs-art-104407 <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/chief%20keef%202.jpg" style="height: 620px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>If, in the wake of the horrific happenings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, a soulless, amoral and blatantly sensationalist musician released an album glorifying the deranged mindset, unspeakably selfish and evil worldview and embrace of indiscriminate violence that led to the mass killing of 26 innocents, the condemnation of that dubious art would be instant and universal, regardless of whatever imagined merits it might have beyond its abhorrent subject matter.</p><p>On Tuesday, a 17-year-old South Side rapper born Keith Cozart but better known as Chief Keef will release <em>Finally Rich</em>, his major-label debut for the morally vacuous Interscope Records. The album is a bleak, nihilistic celebration of street violence, gang culture, drug use, disrespect for women and the worship of the almighty dollar above all humanistic conscience, arriving as Chicago nears the end of a year that&rsquo;s seen an epidemic of violent killings in African-American neighborhoods every bit as tragic&mdash;and preventable, if the political will was present&mdash;as those in Newtown, Conn.</p><p>This is not to equate the words of Chief Keef with the actions of the Newtown assassin. Yet neither can the lyrical messages of the Englewood rapper be dismissed as mere fantasy or &ldquo;street reportage.&rdquo; He clearly is on the same path of confusing the gangsta pose with violent gangster realities that infamously led to the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls before him, and which had become a pathetic, played-out cliché in hip-hop even at that time, a decade and a half ago.</p><p>A police investigation into <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-09/chief-keefs-taunting-tweet-has-him-hot-water-102220">Cozart&rsquo;s possible connections to the shooting death of fellow rapper and Englewood resident Joseph &ldquo;Lil JoJo&rdquo; Coleman</a> is ongoing. And today, Cozart will appear in Cook County Juvenile Court, where a judge will decide whether he will return to jail for violating the terms of his probation for a conviction on the unlawful use of a weapon&mdash;he pointed a gun at police&mdash;by appearing at a gun range for an interview with the Pitchfork webzine last June.</p><p>Like many media outlets, the formerly Chicago-based Pitchfork is nearly as complicit in the rise of Chief Keef as Jimmy Iovine&rsquo;s Interscope Records or the long roster of rap stars and others who&rsquo;ve endorsed the young rapper because of his &ldquo;authenticity.&rdquo; (The album features guest appearances from 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross and Young Jeezy, fellow Chicagoan Kanye West has remixed Cozart in the past and the track &ldquo;Love Sosa&rdquo; features in the videogame <em>Grand Theft Auto 5</em>.) The hipster Web site has been ordered by the court to turn over the unedited tapes of that gun-range interview, which it posted but quickly removed after Coleman&rsquo;s shooting, and it&rsquo;s fighting that demand by <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2012/12/05/chief-keefs-probation-the-ultra-lounge-shooting-and-more-music-news">citing its protections under the First Amendment and the Illinois Reporter&rsquo;s Privilege Act</a>.</p><p>On Friday, Pitchfork posted <a href="http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17477-finally-rich/">a review of <em>Finally Rich</em></a> as laudable art, giving the album a brag-worthy rating of 7.5 on its vaunted 10-point scale. The logic of critic Jayson Greene is hard to follow: The album &ldquo;proves that Keef has a lot of potential&mdash;much more than his detractors might have hoped,&rdquo; he writes. Yet his descriptions of the artist&rsquo;s musical merits hardly are glowing&mdash;&ldquo;Keef mutters through a thick wall of processing,&rdquo; he notes of the rapping&mdash;and he&rsquo;s even less enthusiastic about the message. &ldquo;Chief Keef isn&rsquo;t a lyricist. At all. His lyrics on <em>Finally Rich</em> are almost entirely composed of rudimentary gangsta-rap boilerplate, which he treats more like a graffiti bomber than a rapper, tagging his beats with slogans meant for maximum impact and minimal scrutiny.&rdquo;</p><p>This critic&rsquo;s take: Chief Keef is a thick-tongued, mush-mouthed rapper with little grace and stilted flow who stumbles through generic, unimaginative, frequently plodding and numbingly repetitive backing tracks bragging with little imagination and forced conviction about his bad-ass self and utter disregard for anyone else in the universe. The cynicism is bottomless; in his view, one either exploits his own community or is one of the exploited. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m laughing to the bank/Ha, ha, ha/I&rsquo;m laughing at the slave&rsquo;s life/Ha, ha, ha,&rdquo; he raps. His attempts to shock with exaggerated tales of senseless violence were old decades ago, as noted earlier, already transparent by the time N.W.A lost Ice Cube and its political edge and gave us nothing but empty gangsta porn on <em>Niggaz4Life </em>in 1991. Forced to rate it on this blog&rsquo;s own scale, it ranks at exactly zero stars.</p><p>Of course, saying that carries the risk of being dismissed as clueless and chronically out of touch&mdash;a &ldquo;rockist&rdquo; (code for &ldquo;racist&rdquo;) who doesn&rsquo;t understand hip-hop culture unless it&rsquo;s of the positive (code for &ldquo;boring,&rdquo; &ldquo;feel-good&rdquo; and &ldquo;phony&rdquo;) variety that, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/battle-soul-chicago-hip-hop-102642">as noted here before</a>, previously characterized much of the rap music that brought the national spotlight to Chicago in the past, courtesy of artists such as Kanye, Common, Rhymefest, Lupe Fiasco and Kid Sister.</p><p>To be clear, as a First Amendment absolutist, I believe Keef unquestionably has the right to say anything and everything he chooses to say. Stifling that speech to any degree is despicable, whether it&rsquo;s the court going after Pitchfork&rsquo;s tapes, or police apparently <a href="http://www.redeyechicago.com/entertainment/music/redeye--keef-manager-comments-unfair-20121213,0,623106.story">selectively targeting the street teams</a> who&rsquo;ve plastered the South Side with promotional posters trumpeting the release of <em>Finally Rich</em>.</p><p>Yet, given that, critics need more urgently than ever to consider not only the strictly musical merits of a controversial artist&rsquo;s work, but the moral ramifications of the worldview it champions or espouses. To do anything less indicates the real failure to understand and respect hip-hop, which remains an art form where the words absolutely matter&hellip; and arguably now more than ever, as the Chicago body count piles up.</p><p>If, in the wake of the horrific happenings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, an artist glorified that violence, condemnation would be universal. And so it should be for <em>Finally Rich</em>.</p></p> Mon, 17 Dec 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-12/wrestling-moral-dilemma-chief-keefs-art-104407 Rising rap star King Louie performs and talks about his upcoming album, his early days as a rapper and more http://www.wbez.org/blogs/mark-bazer/2012-04/rising-rap-star-king-louie-performs-and-talks-about-his-upcoming-album-his <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/kinglouie2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>King Louie, one of Chicago's fastest-rising rappers, talks about his upcoming CD, <em>Dope &amp; Shrimp</em>, as well as about, well, dope and shrimp. Louie also talks about his beginnings as a rapper, his work ethic and more. Plus, he performs his viral hit "Too Cool." If you don't know Louie's music now, you soon will.&nbsp;</p><p>(Some adult language, so use headphones at work.)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kdXM94OPnSo" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe></p><p>(The next <em>Interview Show</em> is May 3, 2012, at Union Hall in Brooklyn. Guests included writer Chuck Klosterman and <em>Delocated</em> star Jon Glaser. More info <a href="http://www.markbazer.com">here</a>.)</p></p> Mon, 23 Apr 2012 09:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/mark-bazer/2012-04/rising-rap-star-king-louie-performs-and-talks-about-his-upcoming-album-his Das Racist on the four elements of hip-hop, white wine and how they'd like to be described http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-07-15/das-racist-four-elements-hip-hop-white-wine-and-how-theyd-be-described-89 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/dasracist_flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>With Pitchfork this weekend, a lot of the attention has been been on shock rappers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oddfuture.com/en/">Odd Future</a> performing, but <a href="http://dasracist.net/">Das Racist</a> is the fest's rap group that would be on my must-see list (they perform tonight at 6:30 p.m.) if I didn't have to spend the evening saying, "No, you can't have/do that" to my 6-year-old son.</p><p>The threesome, which first gained attention with the song "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" and has since released two mix-tapes (that is, free albums), are smart and funny and also physically strong and very good-looking. If I could use one word to describe Das Racist, it'd be rippling.</p><p>The group, which has its first CD, <em>Relax</em>, coming out sometime soon, performed and talked on <em>The Interview Show</em> when we recently did the show at <a href="http://www.unionhallny.com/home.php">Union Hall</a> in Brooklyn. Here for the first time is the video of their appearance.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/jVsgDnKMWmA" width="560"></iframe></p><h3 style="color: red;">IN OTHER NEWS . . .&nbsp;</h3><p>I'll be reading/performing at <a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/">The Paper Machete</a> tomorrow (Saturday). It's at 3 p.m. at The Horseshoe (4115 N Lincoln Ave.). It is FREE.</p></p> Fri, 15 Jul 2011 13:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-07-15/das-racist-four-elements-hip-hop-white-wine-and-how-theyd-be-described-89 Rubberoom Strikes Back: The reunion of Chicago’s hip-hop powerhouse http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-17/rubberoom-strikes-back-reunion-chicago%E2%80%99s-hip-hop-powerhouse-86646 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-17/Rubberoom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Before there was Kanye, before there was Lupe, before there was Common, there was Rubberoom.<br> <br> The guys from the Chicago hip-hop crew caused more than a tiny rumble back in the 1990s. Big beats, bold rhymes and an influx of rock and roll riffs were the group’s signature. They were on a serious upward path, but just as they were about to take off, they imploded.<br> <br> Four of Rubberoom’s original members have reunited, and will put on a show on Sunday at the <a href="http://www.abbeypub.com/last-rites-presents-rubberoom" target="_blank">Abbey Pub</a> in Chicago. And it’s not all old songs, they’ve got some new material waiting to come out as well.<br> <br> Aaron Smith (The Isle of Weight), Kevin Johnson (Mr. Echoes), Brian Hines (<a href="http://www.myspace.com/morph2meta" target="_blank">Meta-Mo</a>) and Jon Bostic (<a href="http://www.myspace.com/lumbablackwood" target="_blank">Lumba</a>) joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>, and spoke about the group's formation, break-up and eventual reunion.<br> <br> Rubberoom will also perform at the <a href="http://www.soundsetfestival.com/2011/03/official-2011-soundset-lineup-announced/" target="_blank">Soundset Hip-Hop festival</a> in Minnesota on May 29.</p><p>Check out Aaron and Kevin's other project, <a href="http://www.theopusonline.com/" target="_blank">The Opus</a>.</p></p> Tue, 17 May 2011 14:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-17/rubberoom-strikes-back-reunion-chicago%E2%80%99s-hip-hop-powerhouse-86646 Tag-team production crew The Opus performs http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-18/tag-team-production-crew-opus-performs-82519 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//The Opus.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For nearly two decades, music producers Kevin Johnson and Aaron Smith have been joined at the hip-hop intersection of beats and samples. They started out in<a href="http://www.superbro.com/RubberRoom.htm" target="_blank"> Rubberoom</a>- one of the best-known crews of the 1990s. But just as Rubberoom was breaking big, financial realities and personal adversities derailed the band. Fortunately Johnson and Smith were already developing their production team, <a href="http://www.theopusonline.com/" target="_blank">The Opus</a>. As producers, they go by Mr. Echoes and the Isle of Weight, respectively.<br> <br> Friday night they perform at <a href="http://www.doubledoor.com/" target="_blank">Dre Day</a>, a hip-hop showcase at the Double Door in Wicker Park honoring the work of hip-hop legend Dr. Dre.</p><p>The Opus performed all hour for <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> and sat down with host Alison Cuddy to talk about their journey as part of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/DJ"><em>DJ&nbsp;Series: A Spinning Season</em></a>. Their latest album, <a href="http://theopus.bandcamp.com/album/praying-mantis-plus" target="_blank"><em>Praying Mantis-Plus</em></a>, is out now.<br> <br> <strong>Complete list of music during The Opus segment:</strong><br> Music Button played before segment: The Opus, “Save Me (Void Pedal Remix)”, <em>The Save Me Remix Project</em><br> <br> <strong>First song performed live:</strong><br> The Opus, “Constellation Nine”, originally appears on <em>Praying Mantis-Plus</em><br> <br> <strong>Music played during interview:</strong><br> Rubberoom, “Born”, <em>Architechnology</em><br> Public Enemy, “Brothers Gonna Work It Out”, <em>Fear of a Black Planet</em><br> The Opus, “Serpent’s Fruit”, <em>Praying Mantis-Plus</em><br> The Opus, “Praying Mantis”, <em>Praying Mantis-Plus</em><br> Rubberoom, “Architechnology 9”, <em>Architechnology</em><br> <br> <strong>Second song performed live:</strong><br> The Opus, “Eons”, originally appears on <em>Praying Mantis-Plus</em></p></p> Fri, 18 Feb 2011 16:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-18/tag-team-production-crew-opus-performs-82519 DJ AMPM lives on music day and night http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/dj-ampm-lives-music-day-and-night <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Picture 048.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the a.m., DJ AMPM-aka Alycia Ryan-works at <a href="http://www.gramaphonerecords.com/" target="_blank">Gramaphone Records</a> as their hip-hop buyer. In the p.m., she spins everything from southern hip-hop to R&amp;B and old-school soul music. Friday on &quot;Eight Forty-Eight&quot; she gave a sampling of her sound throughout the hour. At the end of the program, <a href="http://www.mixcloud.com/djampm/" target="_blank">DJ AMPM</a> down with host Alison Cuddy to talk about what gets her turntables spinning.</p><p>DJ AMPM spins a couple of weekly residencies: Thursday nights she&rsquo;s at <a href="http://www.facebook.com/people/Barra-N-Elston/1739660584" target="_blank">ñ&nbsp;</a> in Chicago&rsquo;s Avondale neighborhood and Fridays she spins southern hip-hop and more at <a href="http://www.zentranightclub.com/" target="_blank">Zentra</a> on Chicago&rsquo;s near North Side.</p><p><strong>DJ AMPM Mini-Set:</strong><br />Sugar Hill Gang, &quot;Apache (Jump&nbsp; On It)&quot;<br />Bobby Byrd, &quot;I Know You Got Soul&quot;<br />Willie Hutch &quot;Brother's Gonna Work it Out&quot;<br />Showbiz and A.G., &quot;Party Groove&quot;<br />J. Cole, &quot;Who Dat&quot; (instrumental)<br />Slim, &quot;So Fly&quot; (instrumental)<br />Big Pun, &quot;You Came Up&quot; (instrumental)</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Jan 2011 16:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/dj-ampm-lives-music-day-and-night