Interviews | Music | Radio

A Mural of Memories

Open Mike Eagle on commemoration, the Robert Taylor Homes, and how to keep going

Lizzie Smith

Open Mike Eagle, born and raised in Chicago, moved to Los Angeles after college, and for the most part, he didn’t look back. He joined the hip hop collective Project Blowed, formed the trio Thirsty Fish with Dumbfoundead and Psychosiz, released his first solo album Unapologetic Art Rap in 2010, and has a forthcoming stand-up and music show, The New Negroes, on Comedy Central that he will co-host with comedian Baron Vaughn. But on his most recent album, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream—a hazy, dark, powerful, and sometimes sweet recollection of the Robert Taylor Homes and their demolition, he comes home. The album reimagines the story of the Robert Taylor Homes, imbuing it with equal parts childhood fantasies, fuzzy memories, and the real-world darkness of a city that isolated, ignored, and then forcibly displaced thousands of its most vulnerable residents. This mix is perfectly encapsulated by the video for “Brick Body Complex”: Eagle plays Iron Hood, a superhero trying to warn residents that their building is coming down, fight back against gentrification, and stop the city’s demolition; in the end, at the moment when it seems Iron Hood has stopped the demolition, the cops show up to haul him off to jail.

Interviews | Radio

SSW Radio: Modern Love

To celebrate Valentine's Day, SSW Radio produced a mini "Modern Love" inspired interview series.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, SSW Radio produced a mini “Modern Love” inspired interview series. These short stories about unconventional love on the South Side of Chicago range from middle schoolers to couples in their 40th year of marriage, and discussion about love found in cafes and activist organizations.

Radio

SSW Radio Episode 3: Inside the Youth/Police Project

In Episode 3 of SSW Radio, Lewis Page interviews Chaclyn Hunt of the Youth/Police Project. Once a week, a group of students, lawyers, law students, and academics meet with a media production class at Hyde Park Academy to talk about policing. They call this the Youth/Police project. This isn’t an activist organization, though. Their mission is a little harder to describe.

Radio

South Side Weekly Radio Episode 2: RaceMan, Rapper Chick

In episode two of SSW Radio, Lowell “RaceMan” Thompson, who was born in Bronzeville in 1947 and became one of the first residents of the Robert Taylor Homes, discusses his past as a rare black face in the advertising industry. Angel Davanport, hip-hop musician of the Skigh Mob and Rapper Chicks collectives, talks about her unorthodox musical background and the glass ceiling for women in hip-hop.

Oral History | Radio

South Side Weekly Radio Pilot

In episode two of SSW Radio, Lowell “RaceMan” Thompson, who was born in Bronzeville in 1947 and became one of the first residents of the Robert Taylor Homes, discusses his past as a rare black face in the advertising industry. Angel Davanport, hip-hop musician of the Skigh Mob and Rapper Chicks collectives, talks about her unorthodox musical background and the glass ceiling for women in hip-hop.