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The Roots of Rhythm Remain

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 4, 2005 7:30PM

For anyone who still hadn’t seen it, the line that can be drawn as the shortest distance between the two points of gospel and soul music was sketched quite neatly in a sequence from the film Ray. As Jamie Foxx’s Ray Charles is wooing his soon-to-be wife he steps into a version of “I Got A Woman” that’s even more tinged with the rhythm and movements of gospel than the version eventually laid down on record. Flash-forward into the present and you’ll see the same 2005_02_04_hiphop.jpgreach back into the past with tracks from R. Kelly and Nas’s blues-tinged single “Bridging The Gap.” Black History Month began this week and the weekend provides you with a few opportunities to trace the development of the African-American experience through music.

If you want to get a taste of Chicago’s current hip-hop scene then hit the Abbey Pub tomorrow night at nine for WNUR’s Hip-Hop Showcase. Northwestern’s own DJ Deluge and DJ Verbatim will be hosting artists from several local labels (Frontline, Galapagos 4, All Natural Hip Hop) with Qwell of Typical Cat headlining. Tickets are $12 and doors open at eight.

Then take it back to the beginning by catching the Green Line into Oak Park for the Gospel Heritage Concert at the Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple on Sunday. Goldenvoice Audio Productions will present a tribute to gospel greats like Paul Robeson, Mahalia Jackson, The Five Blind Boys and more through the artistry of Felicia Coleman-Evans, the Phava Quartet, and Roberta Thomas. The two-hour show starts at 6 PM and tickets are $10-20.

Lastly, tickets for the man who could easily be called the conscience of hip-hop go on sale this Saturday at noon. KRS-One has been “The Teacher” since leading Boogie Down Productions in the 80s and he headlines an old-school hip-hop army on March 18th at the Metro with Kool Moe Dee, Melle Mel, Busy Bee, Kool Herc and Grandmaster Caz. Also on sale tomorrow are tickets for Dizzee Rascal’s April 30th show at Double Door.