So for those of you keeping score at home, a small battle/debate exploded here on FSD over the past few days regarding the “Nouveau Chicago” t-shirt that has been making waves all over the internets. For those not keeping score at home, Enstrumental and Eschmitte came together to create a t-shirt honoring some of Chicago’s rising stars and buzz-worthy artists. Certain FSD readers didn’t seem to care for the lineup chosen for the shirt which sparked all sorts of controversy in the comments section. 100-and-some-odd comments later everyone from Mic Terror to Million $ Mano to Ivy League to the Boardroom to Prolyfic had chimed in giving their two-cents on the matter, prompting one of the shirts creators, Eschmitte, to release a statement via their blog:
Nevertheless, hip hop’s blog task force jumped on the tee to express their approval and, in some cases, disproval (see www.fakeshoredrive.com). Why isn’t so-and-so on the tee? Why IS so-and-so on the tee? So-and-so aint real hip hop….So-and-so wears his jeans too tight….
…Bottom line – we chose to show our support for a few of the Chi’s young rising artists (and DJ – we got you Tim). The tee doesn’t say “Chicago’s top 10 emcees of all time,” nor does the tee say or suggest that anyone NOT on the tee is wack. Chicago has countless dope artists, deejays, producers and trendsetters (see: GLC, Mikkey Halsted, Juice, Young Prince, Que Billa and Really Doe, just to name a few). We could’ve put 30 cats on the shirt and still not have covered the Chicago hip hop landscape in its entirety. That wasn’t our mission in the first place. If Chicago is to continue to make a mark on the culture and sound of hip hop, those of us here must not only support our homies that make music that we like, but we must also support (on some level) artists that aim to broaden the spectrum of what traditional (Chicago) hip hop sounds and feels like (didn’t we go through this with Common and Kanye?). “Liking” an artist or a sound is not a pre-requisite to showing support or at least appreciating their contribution. Ok, you don’t like so-and-so cuz he’s arrogant, doesn’t rep your hood or doesn’t create the types of metaphors you think are dope….that doesn’t make the artist wack or mean that he isn’t talented, that simply means you don’t like him. Fair enough. But you can’t deny the accomplishments or contributions he may make to the larger culture, despite what you think of his talent (Note: there IS such a thing as a talentless rapper…but that’s another blog, soulja).
Honestly, when I first posted the picture of the shirt, I had no idea it was going to spark such a debate. It actually turned out to be (somewhat) healthy, and managed to get various factions together to discuss an issue that hadn’t really been brought to light – hell, it almost made me want to start a forum. At least it’s a step in the right direction as far as unifying Chicago’s hip hop scene. I know the “grittier” side is a bit underrepresented at this time, and hopefully that will change.
There is enough room for everyone to shine here, and optimistically we can work together to make that happen. I’m just sayin…