The Good Book known as the Bible says that after God flooded the world for 40 days and nights, It unveiled the rainbow as a peace offering. Although this writer has often turned water to wine, walked on it, and parted it for editors, the best he can offer for missing in action on account of exhaustion is the bonus plan of this Haymarket Riot (and folk thought exhaustion something old workhorses like Kate Hepburn were afflicted with).
In case nobody’s noticed, Madeulook.com is back up and running after a hiatus brought by the untimely death of an affiliate while bombing along the Chicago Transit Authority El tracks. The new and improved site features a futuristic fonts and layout, including a slightly easier way to find news under the Music section. Teel One plans to add some new shows under webcasting Metropolis Radio, including interviews with Rasco, Masterminds, and Edo G. Madeulook.com also plans to put more commentary back under Jacquerie. Jacquerie, by the way, is a French term meaning peasants revolt. It’s derived from Jacques Bonhomme, or Jack Goodfellow, a condescending term for the peasantry around the time of the French Revolution.
The Chicago Urban Mines Network Newsletter has moved to the URL address of Urbanizedmusic.com, along with the One Love Tour that kicked off Jul. 1 at the Wicker Park club Subterranean. As its name suggests, One Love is out to confederate Chicagoland’s stratified hip-hop scenes within a metropolitan and megapolitan scene and exude that spirit of a Midwestern house united in forums, grassroots organizing sessions, some concert gigging between the Rocky Mountains and Hudson River, showcasing-networking socials around central Cook County, Ill. (Urbanized Music is the production company owned and operated by Chicago Urban Mines director Amina Norman-Hawkins and her husband, Chris Hawkins of the newly reunited west suburban rap group Spalaneys, in case you haven’t caught a clue).
Love Tour Kickoff acts of note which Dirty MF checked out just before that weekly Sunday gig across the street at The Note with his band Smokin Session included the following:
Lunatic The Messiah (Christopher Tolen), who’s made a name for himself barnstorming open mic and on the Chicago-based do-it-yourself independent label Cadre. Lun singed the mic several times, on one occasion during an open mic cipher with his milk chocolate queen PMS and some unidentified fam.
Kenny Bogus, the newest darling on west suburban Maywood, Ill.-based do-it-yourself independent label Clockwise Entertainment. Kenny exuded a player-hale-met flow on the mic, especially for one number in which he sot the gift to the backdrop of Clockwise CEO Tony Wilson and Spalaneys Tony Baines pitching pennies for some sumptuous-looking legal tender (actually $20 spread out to look like major paper).
Amina, who proved that spoken word rapetry poetics are not her only forte on the mic (for those who remember her brainstorming days some five years ago with Rickey X as half of the extra soulful womanist duo Black Earth). Looks like minty fresh sister time in rhyme didn’t end with Yo-Yo having that baby or Latifah attempting to sing R&B.
Spo, the artist former known as Supreme Poetical Orator, now known as Savior Power Cypher, showing off the best of his new do-it-yourself independent label Windy Whooosh. The ragga B-kid cut Who Wannit didn’t quite sound the same without that Panamanian-Jamerican DJing, as in mic-controlling, of Zulu (Dominique Rowland), who was stuck on pediatric nursing duty at somebody’s hospital. Spo himself even acknowledged the difference. Other than that, Spo has improved tremendously with time and some distance from Rubberoom. And it’s nice to know that some from Rubberoom is riding a mic-controlling whooosh of fresh air.
Skunk Millitia, the Chicago Southland group formerly known as Figure Av Speech and The Figure, who delivered the smoothest set by slyly handing off the technically sound mics among each other as their moved about the stage so that the crowd didn’t miss a beat of their skills. Skunk mic-controller LTD says the group is about to have new music out for public consumption around September and freaked by their fast-rising producer Xtreme. Speaking of Xtreme, he’s spending a couple of weeks in the Greater Philadelphia area producing some tracks under contract for Musiq Soulchild and the soul R&B crooner’s girl group Aires. Watch Xtreme. His sun rises on a diamond dawn, flies on platinum wings, and sets on a ruby dusk, if that’s not too metaphorical on how big he’s going to blow in a few months.
Rugged Science, a Maywood, Ill. group that, like its name, comes rough and ready but cultural about the B-kid life. A very hungry group that acts like it, Rugged Science has gigged all over Chicagoland. And when folk say all over Chicagoland, they mean all over they mean alllllll ooooooooverrrrrrr from Subterranean to the Expo For Today’s Black Woman at McCormick Place (and they’re slated for an upcoming hip-hop concert at Triton College in west suburban River Forest). The lads currently have an EP titled RS (Battlecats), with cuts from their forthcoming album The Wicked City. Among the those cuts, Windy City Hawks is the right ticket for those Chi-Tilla patriot, and Puerto Rican Rum goes nicely with a hip-hop cocktail party (especially when 151 proof Ronrico is the main ingredient). For more info, contact their manager Bakari Baker at email@example.com or (708) 828-6455 and (708) 466-2143.
Hosts Absolute Ikon from the far west suburban Elgin, Ill-based Rec Center-Rottensoil crew and Cool-Out Chris (Chris Hawkins). For his quart size, Ikon packs a mic-controlling wallop after living about the west suburban interior and frontier. Chris has recovered the old magic of his earlier Spalaneys days, so much so that they would want to get that Spalaneys album produced and distributed with the motherliving quickness. Together, Ikon and Chris were the Lawrence Welk twins with hepcat flavor instead of schmaltz.
Emmaculate (Eric Welton), well what more can you say about a DJ-turntabling linchpin for Rec Center and Rottensoil who has a love instead of a mere lust for hip-hop music. Rottensoil is on its own little vacation with the monthly MC battle it was throwing upstairs in Subterranean’s Cabaret Room. Get the scoop by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chicago Urban Mines’s monthly networking social is on vacation till September. For information about One Love participation, sponsorship, and advertising, contact Amina at email@example.com.
The Jul. 7 release pre-party for E.C Illa’s Natural Born Illa LP (A-List Audio) was star-studded enough at Subterranean’s Cabaret Room, although some of us couldn’t stay for the release party proper, when His Melanin Deficiency Himself came up from air from running his Ill Tip record store in the North Side’s Rogers Park neighborhood and looking after his family of three to make a rare appearance nowadays the mic. L.A. Symphony and Profound threw intriguing sound checks, and DJ Risky Bizness was factotum over the turntabling technology onstage while Illinois Entertainer Bandwidth editor Matt Sonzala ran around getting the public relations and publicity in balance.
Los Marijuanos producer and mic-controller Pony Boy appeared with Mickey Sleepy Elahai, E.C’s longtime pal and head of the indie label Wicked Entertainment label he was formerly signed with. Pony got to host the party after the marijuanistas missed their flight for a hip-hop tour of Belize that included Chicagoland hardcore colleagues Qualoheem and Triple Darkness. Kingdom Rock spiritual leader of E.C’s Ill State Assassins crew who’s now dividing his time between playing a family man, a full-time student at Columbia College (and don’t y’all dare say, Till eternity), and a member of Mob Axkshin.
We’re told that Indianapolis top DJ Top Speed (Alan Robert) and Madeulook.com publisher Teel One made it for the release party proper. Would love to give you URL details about the Natural Born Illa project, but neither the E.C nor A-List Audio sites are fully up yet. In the meantime, hit up Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Michigan hip-hop web site Break-Bread.com, writer Ingenue raises questions of whether Silent Records head Marc Kempf was more interested in uplifting hip-hop or raping and ravishing it during the 100 Percent Live Hip-Hop Tour from the Midwestern interior to New York City. Read her essay and Marc’s rebuttal in the news section at www.break-bread.com.
After weeks of heavy promoting him with the naked chest and corpuscled arm bearing a Celtic cross, Blackground Record’s R&B crooner Tank showed what he had during a Jul. 3 concert sans opening acts at House of Blues in Chicago. Tank certainly had the girls hot and bothers before he even uttered a note, and whipped them up to a sizzling frenzy by begging on his knees, rolling over the stage, lying prostrate, and finally touching some quivering hands after he got more warmed up to the crowd.
As far as Tank’s singing is concerned, it’s somewhere between a clipped R. Kelly and a Brian McKnight with limited range. More deserving of a record deal was Tank’s backup boy singers Met (who boasted their own following of groupies from the HOB Concert Hall across Marina City to the HOB Loews Hotel. Let’s hope that they don’t get at a label like Blackground, where the publicity department or promotions doesn’t return a phone call.
Barry Hankerson’s label must have put a gang of loot into Tank, considering the limited lineup and that Power 92-challenged WGCI-FM sponsored the event. And considering that managers for both acts were jocking music retailer George Daniels of George’s Music Room backstage, the fix could possibly be in. And that leads us to the POLITRICK OF THE MONTH:
If you don’t have solid skills, you might be able to get over on ladykiller looks, a dynamite bod, and a manager who’s savvy on working the system in the music industry’s pecking order.
News has just reached our ears that a split is brewing in the Skribblejam camp. For the first time since the Ohio B-kid festival began in the latter 1990s, the graffiti magazine Skribble is organizing the event that’s running next weekend instead of leaving those matters up to Mr. Dibbs partner G-Fresh. G-Fresh, in turn, is organizing a similar fest know as Squabblejam at the same time. Holy Buckeye State and Queen City divisiveness.
The Mix-Tape Show featuring the Radio Bums airs at 11 p.m. Sundays on Great Denver-Boulder-Colorado Spring area station KS 107.5. But don’t look for Chonz as a host at this time. He’s currently interning at someone’s record label in Southern California.
STANK NEWS: Malik Yusef’s proposed deal to put out the first spoken word album on Bad Boy Entertainment fell through. GOOD NEWS: Malik’s not waiting to ride P-Ditty or Carl Thomas coattails and is putting out the album independently (with a little production help from Xtreme, we hear).
Lomai’s just this close to having his music video filmed by by Chicago-based graphic artist and cinematographer Chris Adams (who filmed one of Public Enemy’s first videos in the post-Def Jam era). Without letting too much of a cat out the bag for Lo, let’s just say that the visuals for this mic-controller from the depressed Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side will feature martial arts and a quaking climax.
Raw Fusion finished its season and aired its last show on cable access Jul. 6, marking the end to a variety show approach toward urban underground community television. The show is know for its timely music videos, urban entertainment industry interviews, and a lively soap opera titled Temptations that revolved around the music recording industry and a talk show in the mode of Jerry Springer. Kevin Brown, aka King B., says he’s ready to move away from public access to commercial television. Raw Fusion successfully aired a special of Janet Jackson music videos on Chicagoland commercial television. Brown who is an actor by profession and has a production studio in Chicagoland’s northwest suburbs, still plans to host the show and play the leading male Temptations role of Suge Knight-type record label owner Manoshua Johnson once Raw Fusion is up and running again.
THE BEST FOR LAST: Give it up to Chicagoland native turned Southern Californian Jimmy Sommers for winning over a crowd at the Chicago Historical Society with that magic saxophone of his after zooming onto the Georgian-style building’s patio on a Harley-Davidson with blond streaks among his auburn locks. The crowd was comprised of industry folk and paying customers on the patio and the non-paying groundlings on Lincoln Park’s adjacent green.
But don’t be fooled by the smooth jazz label that been attached to his genre and current LP album 360 Urban Groove (Higher Octave Jazz). No Kenny G. clone is he (who began axing at the tender age of 10). With cordless mic attached to the bowl of his sax, Jimmy can stealthily pimp walk into a crowd and make em holler till they’ve had enough. In fact, plenty of buppie scum dames found themselves clutching their chests or cooling off with church fans behind his handiwork (or should we say mouthiwork?).
Considering the heavyweight talent Jimmy has on the album, his salt-and-pepper girl backup made the live performance versions sound better than many of the recorded originals. Steve Huff the man behind R. Kelly, Joe, and Avant’s sound appeared just in time for the performance of Lovin You, featuring Sparkle’s guest vocals on the Hollywood-recorded album. As well Steve should have. He wrote the song, produced it, and even added some instrumentals on the recorded version (Steve also intimated that he’s currently working on Avant’s second album, which should be released around December). In any case, Steve and Avant couldn’t stop shaking their heads and the rest of their bodies all over the patio throughout Jimmy’s set.
Milwaukee native Eric Bent couldn’t make it for the performance of his 360 Urban Groove single Let’s Go Party, but we can’t have everything we want in the Midwestern scheme of things. Although they’re not Midwestern, also 36o guest appearances to check for are Les Nubians, Ginuwine, Raphael Saadiq, and Coolio. Or course WNUA and WGCI could stand to give some more love (maybe shifting to Power 92 and webcasting college radio could extract it out of them). If that Chicago Historical Society gig was Jimmy’s way of demonstrating how to bend the rules of jazz and hip-hop while making the twain meet, may he never go straight again! Or as we say in the Midwest, before you get cold you first got to get hot. Anyways, learn more about Jimmy and his project at www.jimmysommer.com and www.higheroctave.com.
MARK FITZGERALD ARMSTRONG
11706 SOUTH THROOP STREET
CHICAGO, IL 60643