A feature by Holiday Kirk (@HolidayKirk)
Rap Dreams is an examination of individuals who have decided to make rap music their career but haven’t broken through to a mainstream level of success. For them, rap music is a drain. It requires huge investments of time and money for little reward. These are people who rock shows sober so they can get up for their day job in the morning then work double overtime in order to afford studio sessions on the weekend. So why do they do it? For some it’s a matter of passion, the chance to make art and be recognized. Others see it as a way out, to pull themselves out of their circumstances along with their families and friends. For those that reside in the crowded inner city, it’s the only opportunity they’ve got.
In 2012, packed to bursting with talent, Chicago’s rap scene exploded outwards. Residents of the city’s north side, west side, and southside became national superstars. The city seemed to grow a new economy overnight as artists of all kinds tumbled into the scene. Presented by LA’s Passion of the Weiss and Chicago’s Fake Shore Drive, Holiday Kirk’s Rap Dreams is a chronicle of those artists still striving to make it in a high turnover industry. In Episode Two, Clinton Sandifer aka ShowYouSuck explores his long journey to success, beginning in the pre-internet age and constructing his unique style, honing his stage presence through basement shows before packing some of Chicago’s bigger venues and festival stages, even touring with major label artist Yelawolf.
With a flair for distinctive visuals (the pizza, the polka dot shirt) and an out there taste in beats, ShowYouSuck has garnered a cult fanbase by as friendly and approachable on record as he is on life, peppering his lyrics with references to creeping on Tumblr or listing his favorite sets of 80s boobs. On stage, his energy is a product of the basement hardcore shows he came up on, storming around the stage and filtering even the most laid back rhymes through a commanding bark. This on record friendliness and on stage intensity has given ShowYouSuck a dedicated set of fans, packing his venues and festival stages across the city and enabling major touring. But as grateful as he is for all he’s achieved, he still has a day job, and Rap Dreams: Episode Two finds Show reflecting on his success along with an awareness on how much further he has to go.
Check out the video below.
Words by Kevin Coval (@KevinCoval). Photo by Bryan Allen Lamb.
Welcome to a new FSD Feature from Chicago poet/activist/artist/philanthropist Kevin Coval, where he uses “verse-journalism” to review shows, events and other dope activities and ongoings in the City of Chicago.
Kevin sees this as a way to document and practice what Gwendolyn Brooks calls verse journalism. Today Kevin kicks off the series with a verse review of Towkio’s headlining set at Metro, which took place last Saturday, May 16th.
Words and pictures by Seante Lackey (@HooliYNO)
Earlier this morning, Spike Lee took to the Southside of Chicago to hold a press conference at St. Sabina Church regarding his pending controversial film, Chiraq. The theme of Spike’s speech was overwhelmingly “Don’t worry about it, I’ve been here before.” He quickly let the crowd know that most of the comments and controversy surrounding this project are being fueled by people and press who have no idea what the film is about.
As John Cusack (who was in attendance) put it, we’re all being exposed to “manufactured controversy.” Spike eluded to Do The Right Thing, his 1989 film that was controversial and groundbreaking in its own right, and how the media responded to that movie before and after it was released. He mentioned how he was ridiculed in the media, and critics said the film would cause black people to riot — now 26 years later, we know the film did nothing of the such and according to Spike those people “are on the wrong side of history.” He believes this time he will prove them wrong again.
Spike’s hope is to bring attention to the gun violence on the Southside Chicago and to help put it to an end. Spike also had quite a few parents whose children were victims of Chicago gun violence on hand to express why the film was important. They supported Spike’s message of how the film was not to inspire or popularize gun violence, and that the portrayal of a “war zone” on the Southside is accurate and that this film can help end it. Spike left us with one clear message he wanted to drive home: that he is an artist and he wants to “expose the truth” to the people.
“How can you tell the truth when you have fear?” – Spike Lee
Photos by Demi Richardson (@DemiRiches)
On Friday night, the artist formerly known as Mos Def, descended upon Chicago for a live performance at the Metro Theater. The show, VIP and general admission, sold out almost instantly, as most fans and potential concert goers believed Mos Def was banished from the United States all together.
Well, that’s obviously not true, as Mos is currently bouncing around the country doing a few select dates before heading back overseas (he reveals why he no longer lives in America here). So fans flocked to see what could be his last show in Chicago? While that’s probably unlikely, Mos always draws a crowd in the Chi, so the place was packed.
Malik Yusef and All Be Black opened up the evening and got the crowd warmed up for Yasiin’s takeover, which included the artist performing a what could be best described as a stream of consciousness set. As he told the crowd, “I’m not a robot,” so those expecting Mos to get up there and kick bars were sorely disappointed.
Yasiin’s set included dancing (lots of dancing), singing, and loose renditions of plenty of his fan favorites. I’ve seen a number of his shows over the past 15 years, and each one is different from the last — you really don’t know what to expect. He did come out to a stage littered in rose petals, which was unique to say the least.
We had photographer Demi Richardson in the house to snap a few flicks of the evening, which you can now see below (as well as some video). Hopefully, we see Yasiin again sometime soon.
Update: We’ve also included a recent interview Yasiin did with Beats by Dre where he discusses a number of intriguing subjects. It’s a must watch, and it’s now below.