What Now?: Next Steps in Hip-Hop Discussion

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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 I know it may seem outdated, but this aspect of policing and criminality can be translated to a lot of injustices in Chicago, not just hip-hop music; especially CPS school closings (I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.

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Hip-Hop Wake Up Call: North vs South

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Chicago tends to split views once you take into question how certain issues affect specific areas. As it relates to Chicago crime, there is a huge gap in perspectives between the North Side and the South Side.

Where I live in Uptown, there are always police officers, very little instances of crime, and when there are incidents, there is usually a quick response from the police department. A similar perspective can be felt in the Wicker Park area–at least before you walk into Humboldt Park territory. A lot of my friends argue this is due to the amount of white people who live in the area. No matter the reasoning though, the crime rate is still noticeably better.

Then there are areas like the Wild 100s and Washington Park, where police officers are scarce, resources are few and far between, and the death tolls are increasing daily–most of which are Black and Latino. It’s only Wednesday and the area has already reported five homicides according to the Redeye Homicide Tracker. All were African American males.

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Ryerson Elementary School Closing: Violence and Student Safety Concerns

Ryerson Elementary School C/O L.A. Times

Ryerson Elementary School Photo/ L.A. Times

As the date approaches for the 54 schools on the list of CPS schools closing this upcoming 2013-2014 school year, parents, teachers, students and communities at large prepare to take on the many changes that come with the closing of these schools.

Parents like those of Ryerson Elementary School, located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the northwest side of the city, who are fighting to try and keep their children’s schools open.

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The Fuel, Not The Fire: Aerias & The Clyde Project on Chicago Hip-Hop & Crime

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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.

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CPS School Closings: City’s West Side

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Yesterday, I took the opportunity to attend an open hearing at the CPS offices for the Ryerson Elementary School, which is on the list of possible school closings to take place during the Fall of 2013. Ryerson a school located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the west side of the city, is 1of 4 schools on the infamous list of school closings.

The hearing discussed the city’s rational behind the closing of Ryerson, putting forth that the reason the school was to be closes was that it didn’t meet “enrollment efficiency”, meaning that the school was “under utilized” given it has a capacity of “900 students and 30 classrooms” and is only enrolling to date “399 students”.

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Humboldt Park School Closings and Wicker Park Gentrification and Parking

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In conducting my research on the news coverage of the northwest Chicago neighborhoods of Logan Square, Bucktown/ Wicker Park and Humboldt Park, there are a couple of story ideas that came to mind.

One of these story ideas is that of the public school closings taking place in Humboldt Park. This story idea came to me after reading a couple of the articles published by DNAinfo on the subject. The first news story that caught my eye was a story called “CPS Closings: Public Meetings Set for Humboldt Park Schools”, this story discussed public meetings being held by the city which aim to give members of Humboldt Park neighborhood a second chance at trying to save their neighborhood schools.

This story immediately caught my attention given that one of the schools listed in the story Ana Roque de Duprey, is a school to which I attended during my first years of school. I remember the school very vividly and can definitely attest that it played a huge role in the development of my Spanish language skills my overall interest in my education.

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Jobs in Chicago

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For one of my story topics I want to focus on jobs in Chicago. I want to look at unemployment rates and what sources are being used by people looking for jobs. While searching on Twitter I found a job source called Chicago Job Resource. The website lists employment openings and job clubs and fairs. The website is a good networking source for people looking for a job.

Not only do I want to focus on companies that are hiring and different sources to help people find a job, but I want to get to the bottom of the unemployment in Chicago. I want to focus on what the unemployment rate is in the area and why people are unemployed. While searching on Twitter I found several people tweeting about the unemployment rate in Chicago for African Americans. One Tweet reported that the unemployment rate for African Americans in Chicago was 19%. I could focus on the African American community specifically and why they have a higher unemployment rate. I could see if schooling and criminal backgrounds play a factor into why so many African Americans are unemployed.

Another tweet by Chicago News Now reported that the hiring rate in Chicago last month slowed down and that unemployment rates dropped, but only because people stopped looking for work. The tweet from Chicago News Now had a link to a Sun Times article that focused on unemployment rates dropping and the future of the economy. I could use this as a starting point for my article on jobs in Chicago. I could focus on the health of the job market and the trend in unemployment rates dropping or rising because of the state of the economy.