The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Living Hip Hop

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 19, 2005 6:10PM

Ever since Kanye West’s 157 Grammy nominations, Chicago’s hip-hop community has been placing bets that his high tide would raise all its boats. Nevermind that Kanye chills in NYC nowadays. Chicago’s underground hip-hop community is keeping hope alive that they 2005_04_19_hiphop.jpgexperience their own version of the major label feeding frenzy that greeted Chicago’s rock community in the early 90s. And so the foot soldiers have begun to mass at that haven of all things hip-hop: Northwestern University.

Today’s Chicago Tribune brings us the story of The Seminal, a monthly hip-hop publication started by some students at Northwestern University. While promoting his band Wine Poety on the El, editor Alex Thurston met future co-creator Jason Rosenbaum. After both ended up in a Dostoyevsky class together (the same way Ice Cube and Eazy-E met!), they shared their desire to bring together a fractionalized secene. The Seminal showcases local and national hip-hop artists and—like the music it covers—also offers commentary on contemporary issues affecting the community. You can pick up a copy at Gramaphone Records (2843 N. Clark) or preview the current issue online.

The people behind The Seminal aren’t the only ones that seek to promote and expand Chicago’s hip-hop community. In addition to labels like Galapagos4, Gravel Records and others, the StinkZone website posts event listings as well as radio shows featuring Chicago artists like the Molemen. And as you might expect, there’s a Chicago Hip Hop meetup group as well.

As these individuals lay the groundwork, the students at the University of Hip Hop will build on it. A program of the Southwest Youth Collaborative, the UHH uses the five pillars of hip-hop (rapping, breakdancing, graffiti, deejaying and beat-boxing) to further their mission of Healthy Independent People Helping Other People. Housed in a building at 6400 South Kedzie, they offer after-school and summer programs for youth ages 11-18. Their programs include neighborhood beautification, lessons on the history of activism, and instruction of those essential five pillars. For more information, call the SYC at 773-476-3534.