Local hip-hop band Aerias & The Clyde Project address Chicago crime and how their musical maturity transcends it’s negative influence on hip-hop music.
“I don’t think hip-hop music causes violence, it may be a consequence of it though,” says Josh Luis, lead guitarist and composer for the Chicago-based hip-hop band Aerias & The Clyde Project regarding concerns of Chicago hip-hop having an affect on the city’s crime and venue interests.
This is due to reports of Congress Theatre being shut down due to drug-related and other alleged violations at the popular venue, which may, or may not, pose a negative threat to Chicago’s hip-hop industry and how other venues tighten up to avoid potential suit.
But when asked if there were any noticeable changes in the Logan Square’s concert/venue community, the band was soft-spoken. As a matter of fact, the band considers the area their best venue and credits their success to fans in the area.
“The shows that we’ve done so far are shows that I’ve only dreamed of doing..[and the] wicker/Logan Square has always been a bit of a ‘hot spot’” says trumpet player, Tyree Williams, the band’s newest member.
While he feels Chicago crime has a major influence on hip-hop aesthetics in it’s music production, the musician argues that people who say hip-hop causes or encourages crime are just looking for a scapegoat.
“I think that [crime] effects [the hip-hop community] greatly. It effects the places we do shows at, It effects the shows that we get, and it also influences the lyrical content of many rapper’s songs,” says Williams. “[But], I feel like people that say that are ignorant and are looking for something to blame,” he continued.
Chi rapper Joey Price has this to say about Chicago hip-hop and crime.
A similar theory came from Bingo, the group’s hype-man, who says, “Sometimes the mood of the city sets the tone for an artist’s music” and most artists in the hip-hop industry “love to make music about their city.” Still, the young emcee does admit that Chicago crime has taken it’s toll with hopes that it will evolve back to great city he knows it can be.
“It’s just a bad time here in the Chi, but I know this city will rise again,” says Bingo. “ I’ve see this city at its best and i have faith that we can get there again,” he continued.
When it comes to their style, the band says that violence is their fuel, but not their fire. “Personally its my main drive because all the negativity you face will make you appreciate all the positive thing that will come,” says Bingo. Still the band does promote violence nor do they fit the typical hard-core rap persona you see in a lot of Chicago rap collectives like G.B.E. This speaks to their maturity as a band as well as their purpose.
“Hip-hop comes first,” says Luis. “[We] try to be ourselves.”
In summation, crime and hip-hop are two inevitable entities. Many artists in the area thrive off it’s influence. Mature groups like Aerias & The Clyde Project, however, use it as a way to tell the city’s story while still making good music for everyone to enjoy.
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