South-Side Rappers, The Real Deal

My original intent to uncovering the root behind the unfavoring demeanor of the ‘typical south side rapper’ has been made almost entirely in vain. I’ve learned there is some validity to the stereotypes, albeit truisms, of this particular breed of artist. I should have listened to my good friend ILLAPhant who says,  “good luck with making a 14 year old boy who raps about guns females and money look good!”

Still, in communities where violent crime, disputes, and retaliation have become the norm, it makes sense for these artists to act out the way they do–most of the time it’s all they know. Another reality to make note of is the fact that heightened criminality in the Chicago area is nothing new, nor is it’s rap influence.

“Violence in Chicago is not a new occurrence and neither is the imagery of violence portrayed in hip-hop,” says TheGrio’s Taleah Griffin.

It’s not the first time rap has been blamed for increased crime waves throughout the country, or even in Chicago. However, it is a phenomenon that has plagued underprivileged black and brown communities for quite some time, and has been the recent topic of discussion as America zooms it’s lense on the greater Chicago area.

The key component in most discussions though, is the rap communities affect on local area youth and how vulnerable they are to it’s so-called turmoil.

In an interview with a Baltimore radio station, Lupe Fiasco had this to say about the (at the time) newly discovered south side icon, Chief Keef:

“When you drive through Chicago…the hoodlums, the gangstas and the ones you see killing each other, the murder rate in Chicago is sky-rocketing, when you see who’s doing it and perpetrating it, they all look like  Chief Keef. He looks just like Chicago…he could be any kid on the street…”

“Any kid” is right. Especially when there exists 14-year-old artists like Lil Mouse, who also considers himself a hard-core, gangster rapper. Like Keef, the rising youngster, inspite of his wide range of criticisms, continues to promote the negative, violence infused misogynistic side of Chicago rap culture. While celebrating his 14th birthday over the weekend, Mouse retweeted:


However, when asked to shed light on his perspective of the industry (in hopes to give himself what I thought would be a positive image) he refused to give a comment. It’s almost as if Mouse, like others, wants to perpetuate his unfavorable image, or like he wants to have a bad rep.

To their defense, though, Griffin believes artists like Chief Keef & Lil Mouse are just scapegoats for the larger problem at hand.

“Chief Keef is not the originator of gangsta rap nor is he the first gang member to be signed to a major record label,” she says proudly. “What is notable [though] about Keef’s rise to the top is that he emerged from Chicago at a time when the nation is zoomed in to Chicago violence,” she continues.  “He’s emerged as the bad guy, the face of Chicago violence and the voice of a thugged-out culture.”

Your thoughts?

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Reflecting On Internships



After listening to Randi Belisomo’s advice last night in class, I continue to question how important internships are. I have found several articles that questioned the worth of unpaid internships. However, after listening to Randi talk about her career, I am reconsidering the importance of internships. Randi discussed how she landed her job at WGN. She started out as an intern with CLTV and then was referred and hired by the company, which later was bought by WGN. Randi used her internship to network and build relationships, which helped her to land a job in her field. After hearing Randi’s success story, I have gained more confidence back in the worth of unpaid internships. However, I would like to explore more studies and find out how many students with unpaid internships land jobs in their field.

I found an article on that gave tips for students who are considering taking an unpaid internship. One thing the article discussed was researching the track record of the company to see if they are known to hire interns. Possibly WGN is more prone to hire interns then other companies. The article also said to consider if the internship is going to help widen and sharpen your skills in your field. Maybe the internship will add to your skill set and help to give you the experience that you need to land your dream job. Or you could just be grabbing coffee for your boss during the whole internship and be wasting away your skills and failing to gain beneficial experience.

I want to talk to several students who have interned or who are interning right now. I want to find out their experiences and what they are getting from their internships. I also want to weigh out the options and help to give better insight into the worth of internships and how beneficial they can be.

What Now?: Next Steps in Hip-Hop Discussion


Last week I touched on the differentiating perspectives of rappers from Chicago’s north side and rappers from the south side. The one that stands out the most is the emphasis on criminality. While I do believe that the “thug-life” mentality is an aesthetic all rappers use, when it comes to Chicago, I think it affects south side rappers more than it does north side ones.

At this point, I want to delve into this negative perspective of south side rappers and shed some light on just how different their perspective is.

Here’s a list of some references/articles I’m building off:

Chief Keef Arrested in Atlanta

Party Police

Seven Shot at Mr. G’s Club in Gresham Neighborhood

Chicago Parents Condemn 13-Year Old Rapper, Lil Mouse, Appearance at Nightclub

The plan is to speak to at least 2 of the rappers mentioned in these articles so that I can generate their perspective and report on it. I know it may seem outdated, but this aspect of policing and criminality can be translated to a lot of injustices in Chicago, not just hip-hop music; especially CPS school closings (I won’t go there today). Whether we like it or not, every experience in Chicago can have either a negative or a positive effect just by simply being in a specific “side” of town. I think that looking at hip-hop trends in Chicago is one of the many ways we can address this everlasting elephant in the room and may be a creative way to come up with ways to resolve those problems in perspectives.

Follow Me @AllieLyke

How Useful Are Unpaid Internships


While examining how worthwhile internships are, I wanted to focus specifically on unpaid internships. I found an article from last summer in the Wall Street Journal that focused on unpaid internships. The article discussed a 2012 survey from the National Association of Colleges and employers, which found that students chances of getting a job are better if they are getting paid for their work. The study revealed that 60% of 2012 graduates who worked a paid internship got at least one job offer, while just 37% of those in unpaid positions got any offers. The article also reported that Intern Bridge, a recruiting research and consulting firm, found that more than half of internships reported for its 2011 Internship Salary Report were unpaid.

These reports suggest that unpaid internships aren’t worth the effort. I agree that unpaid internships can be a hassle. Although interning can provide students with hands-on experience, they also can be time consuming. Many students can’t afford to intern full time without any compensation. I was fortunate enough to have an unpaid internship that was flexible. My internship didn’t require me to go into the office and I was still able to work part-time. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have an unpaid internship that allows them to still work and bring in an income.

I want to explore how students are able to survive while working an unpaid internship. Do they work other jobs outside of their internship? Do they rely on their parents? Do they find their internships to be worthwhile? Have they been able to find jobs after their internships?




Gentrification: Changing the Face of Logan Square and Wicker Park

Wicker Park

Wicker Park

For my final story I’m looking to take a dive into the topic of gentrification and the impact its had on the Wicker Park and Logan Square communities during the last decade.

This topic is particularly interesting to me, given that I’ve grown up around these areas and have seen them transform before my eyes in a matter of years.

Logan Square is a neighborhood that I grew up in and in a matter of 5 or 6 years it has been slowly experiencing change evident through the new faces in the neighborhood, new restaurants, boutiques, and demographics in general.

There are a couple of streets which clearly reflect the changes taking place in Logan Square, such as the intersection of Kedzie and Milwaukee. At this intersection, Kedzie has become populated with small trendy restaurants, including a tapas bar/lounge whose atmosphere and look is reminiscent of those in Wicker Park.

As far as Wicker Park goes, the neighborhood has become inhabited with a ton of trendy and many times pricy boutiques which reflect the income levels and changing demographics of the area. Wicker Park has transformed from a high crime neighborhood into a neighborhood full of pricy shops, real-estate, and an abundant amount of restaurants and bars.

However, although all may seem great from the outside, in conducting my research and interviews for this story I am looking to see what the impact of these changes are on the longtime residents of the area and am looking to figure out how these communities deal with these changes.

The Debate On Internships


For my final article I am going to build off of my midterm and focus on young adults doing internships in order to gain more experience in their field. Using the young girl from my midterm as inspiration, I want to focus on the idea that many young adults are going back to school or taking unpaid or underpaid jobs as interns so that they can qualify for positions in their field of study.

A recent article in the New York Times focused on the struggles of internships. Many young adults are working short hours, for even shorter amounts of pay. According to the article, the idea of entry level positions are disappearing and internships are taking over. The article focused on the negativity of internships and how they seem to drag on forever.

The girl from my midterm has spent her last year of grad school interning at several different clinics. She has spent her last two semesters interning at two different internships that are both unpaid. Although she is gaining experience in her field of study, she is unable to work. She still has to rely on her parents for money and she is still unsure if she will have enough experience to qualify for a position in her field. As graduation approaches, she finds herself applying for jobs in her field and finding very few jobs that are offering entry level positions.

I am curious to see the affects that internships are having on young adults and if they are really helping them to qualify for jobs or if they are holding them back from a steady income.