Interviews | Music | Radio

Know Me More

For artist-abolitionist Ric Wilson, Black art need not be bad or sad

Olivia Obineme

Before you heard Ric Wilson, you might have retweeted him. Last year, the twenty-two-year-old rapper, artist, and prison abolitionist posted a mash-up of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and Migos’s “Bad and Boujee,” set to footage from an old Soul Train performance. The result broke 2.8 million views on Twitter.

Arts Issue 2018 | Interviews | Music

State of Nature

Mother Nature is raising “the collective conscience of damn-near the world through hip-hop”

Kiran Misra

As the old cliché goes, artists must “find their voices.” The rap duo Mother Nature, on the other hand, already know what they want to say. The two will waste no time telling you what they stand for: they’re a “badass group of MCs, coming to conquer the world through Black girl genius.”

Interview Issue 2017 | Interviews | Music

Out of Order

From child DJ to engineer to world tour artist, Jana Rush works backwards

Willis Glasspiegel

From the day she got her first ghettoblaster while growing up in Chatham, Jana Rush—aka JARu—has always been connected to Chicago music. Her ascent into the scene reads like folklore: at ten years, she called Kennedy-King’s WKKC 89.3 FM to schedule an audition. “Once they were done laughing,” Rush tells me, the DJs showed her the ropes, and juke icon Gant-Man took her under his wing. By 1996, Jana had put out a single and a split 12” with DJ Deeon on the legendary house label Dance Mania, where she was billed as “The Youngest Female DJ.”

Music

Deeon Does Deeon

Talking mixtapes, Daft Punk, and Dance Mania with a ghetto house don

Christopher Good

There’s something unusual about DJ Deeon’s Friday night set at Pilsen’s Fiesta del Sol: it’s clean. Tonight, his stage is within earshot of neon-lit carnival rides and family friendly attractions, so the raunchiest matter has been scrubbed out, presumably for the children’s sake. But as the bobbing and juking of the crowd suggests, even some conveniently placed backspins can’t dampen a cut like “Let me Bang.”

Far Southeast Side | Nature

Ramping Up at Big Marsh

A Southeast Side slag field reborn

Christopher Good

When you reduce 11599 S. Stony Island to its individual components, it’s simple enough: wood, mulch, concrete, clods of dirt. But the Bike Park at Big Marsh, like any good bike park, is more than the sum of its parts. Since its opening last November, the park’s stairs, ramps, curves, and jumps have become a two-wheeled proving ground—and the only space of its kind on Chicago’s South Side.

Lit | Nature | Nature Issue 2017

A Complicated Wild

A collection of essays that highlight humans’ inextricable link to nature

Wildness: Relations of People & Place is a rare bird. It’s a collection bound not by genre or intended audience, but by a singular theme: that “human and wild communities are entangled, and can work toward collective health and self-renewal.” And so, across four parts and two-dozen essays, editors Gavin Van Horn and John Hausdoerffer recast mankind as a part of nature, one of many species, hitched to everything else in the universe.

Food | Food Issue 2017

Calumet Fisheries

A no-frills fishery endures the test of time

Christopher Good

Like some of the best restaurants, Calumet Fisheries is famous for being unassuming. It still sits where it has for the last seven decades, with the 95th Street bridge down the road and the scaffolding of the Chicago Skyway downriver. The surroundings have transformed over the years—the shack currently overlooks twin industrial silos—but the same words are emblazoned under the same red shingle roof, and the same fresh catches lie inside.