Let’s Do It for the CHI

“I think it’s so dope that I’m here in Chicago and contributing to the music scene that’s thriving. People are so happy Chicago’s shining that everyone is willing to say ‘I represent Chicago.’ That wasn’t always the case.”

– Chance the Rapper


Now throw yo hands up for the CHI!! Today as we celebrate the founding of Chicago by Jean Baptist Point Du Sable, a black pioneer and trader, we are also shining the spotlight on some of the dopest artists from the Windy City.

Chi-Town, as it is affectionately called by black folk, has an illustrious history of rich contributions to Black Culture and Black Music. You know we had to give a very special shout out to the home of Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Black Music Research , Chicago Style Stepping, and the iconic movie “Love Jones”.

Musically, contemporaty hip-hop artists from CHI-TOWN are making tremendous noise domestically and internationally. The seasoned veterans and new breed of artists coming out the Chi are not bashful about creating their OWN lanes and changing the game.


I have used Common’s music as text in the classroom many times. His songs feature a poetic cadence and his word play leaves a lot room for interpretation and analysis. Common’s evolution over the years as an artist, actor, author, poet, and orator speaks to the undeniable tentacles of his artistry. He has consistently solidified his place as one of Chi-town’s greatest MCs, while expanding his platform to performing on stages like the White house and the Oscars. Common’s recent Oscar win illuminates the fact that he is just getting started and will continue to be an artistic force to be reckoned with.

Favorite Common Albums: “Like Water for Chocolate” and “BE”

An excerpt from Common’s “Black Maybe”

I heard a white man’s yes is a black maybe
I was delivered in this world as a crack baby
Hard for me to pay attention and I act crazy
Gotta get over from the tip, I watch the fat lady
Sing a song, on how we guerillas in warfare
And I’m the kingest kong
They say we dreaming wrong
Them same strips that them older cats lingered on
Now the Walgreens is gone, hope is killed fiends are born
We leanin on a wall that ain’t that ain’t stable
It’s hard to turn on the hood that made you
To leave we afraid to
The same streets that raised you can age you
With other black birds that’s caged too
A rage up in Harlem and the southside
Brothers is starving with their mouth wide open
Floating across state got the workout plans so they can move weight
The fate of the black man, woman, and child: maybe

Can’t come around
They gon’ wanna bring you down
No one knows just what’s inside
Doing dope and doing time
Why they messing with your mind
Black maybe

Here is one of my faves, ENJOY





Chance the Rapper

Chance for President!! Chance the Rapper is currently one of the most sought after names in hip hop after coming off of a stellar year and completely revolutionizing the music industry. Chance and his team have successfully and adamanly remained an independent entity in a music industry usually driven by big label affiliation. He made history this year by winning 3 Grammys for his album “Coloring Book”, while prompting the institution to change their submission policy to include streamed albums. DOPENESS!!! From ripping up Ellen’s stage while performing “No Problems” to donating $1 million to Chicago public schools to cutting exclusive deals with Apple Music and Kit Kat, Chance is shutting down all of things industry! At this rate Chance poised to obliterate anything that attempts to stop him. We have mentioned Chance the Rapper in the past at CREAD here, here, and here.

Can’t say we ain’t tell you…..





No Name

One of my former students put me on to No Name a while ago. She just kept insisting that I listen to her and vibe on her music. Well, I did and was feeling her! Her every day experiences, pain, and social commentary are reflected in the singsong tone of her voice. No Name’s pen is witty, articulate, and full of vivid pictures. I haven’t used her music in a workshop or classroom setting yet, but I anticipate the many conversations about style, content, and delivery that her songs will generate.

Check out some lyrics from No Name’s “Casket Pretty”

All of my niggas is casket pretty
Ain’t no one safe in this happy city
I hope you make it home
I hope to God that my tele’ don’t ring
Niggas is casket pretty
Ain’t no one safe in this happy city
I hope you make it home
I hope to God that my tele’ don’t ring

I‘ve been searching for God in the bottle he gave me
Ashes to Ashes, dearly departed, regarded as Holy
Dont hold me, dont hold me
When niggas is dying and dying
And I’m afraid of the dark
Blue and the white
Badges and pistols rejoice in the night
And we watch the news
And we see him die tonight
Tonight the night his baby said goodbye
Roses in the road, teddy bear outside
Bullet there on the right
Where’s love when you need it
Too many babies in suits
Too many babies in suits
Back before the dawn
Ricochet the pawn
Bullet in the chest
You ain’t mean no harm
Collecting your check mate
I know you in love with the power
It’s flowers at every occasion
I need me a medicine man
Somebody heal me
Somebody take my hand

And her Tiny Desk Concert….


Shout out to the CHI for continuously keeping it FLY!!!!

Love and Light.

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