Back to Basics

Hieroglyphic Being’s Jamal Moss on telling stories and making history

Jasmin Liang

The thing I most immediately notice upon meeting Chicago house DJ Jamal Moss is just how casual and unworried he is. He’s an imposing man, for sure, with an all-black fashion style and a stature that has him towering over almost everybody else in whatever room he’s in. But when he opens his mouth, any intimidating undertone evaporates; all that’s noticeable is his grounded perspective on the world of art he’s a part of and his willingness to offer his thoughts on anything concerning dance music, Chicago, and the murky realm of “taste.” By the time the interview begins, he’s already grinning and sharing a story about meeting Kanye West in the mid-2000s.


Friendly Competition

The Era leads a master class on the legends and legacy of footwork

The basement area of BING Art Books is a strange space. There’s not much to it—some brick and concrete, basically—but it comes together nicely to create a near-eerie feel under the otherwise pleasant bookstore. It was here, on a late-May evening, that Chicago footwork dance crew The Era, close kin of DJ Rashad’s legendary Teklife label, gave a crash course on the origins and developments of footwork—a wide, but often unseen, world.


Death and Taxes

Via Rosa’s unflinching attitude towards music, the government, and life itself

Vanessa Valadez

When asked if this network of Chicago artists is more of a collective, a “scene,” or something different, Via Rosa says “You know, I’d call it a family.”


A Record of the Scene

119 Productions finds its place in Chicago’s music scene

Courtesy of Jackson Duncan

119 Productions doesn’t let itself get pinned down. While its origins are in hip-hop groups organized among Chicago high schoolers, the collective has since expanded into videography, blogging, and freelance video work. They’ve worked with Chicago icons like Mick Jenkins, Savemoney member Dally Auston, and Via Rosa on videos and features, even collaborating with New York rappers Benny Nice and Chelsea Reject. 119 recently oversaw the production of World of Mojek, an EP from producer Mojek that has been covered in the Reader and on hip hop blog Fake Shore Drive. The Weekly recently spoke with Jackson Duncan, 119’s primary blogger, to talk about the collective and its development.

Police | Politics

A Readers’ Guide to the City’s Laquan McDonald Emails

On December 31, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from multiple media outlets, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office released approximately three thousand pages of emails relating to the now well-known shooting of Laquan McDonald and subsequent release of the dash-cam video of the event. However, access to this correspondence is not limited to reporters: any member of the public can take a look at what these emails contain. For those inclined to do so, the Weekly has gathered here some of the main characters in the glossary below, along with an annotated excerpt of the emails.

Stage & Screen


Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq aims for greatness, but gets bogged down in the details

One emotional peak of Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq comes during a South Side church service, performed in memory of a child accidentally murdered in a drive-by shooting. Gospel choirs and synchronized choreography give way to the impassioned words of Father Mike Corridan (played by John Cusack). Beginning his speech with a shouted “We don’t mourn like other people!” Corridan proceeds to indict gun violence writ large, police brutality, black market gun sales, voyeurism from suburban teens, income inequality, lack of educational opportunities, mass incarceration, and gang culture in one fell swoop.