Electronic musician and disc jockey Hameedullah Weaver grew up wandering Rogers Park’s Lunt Avenue, before following his familial roots back to South Shore. In 2016, he settled near Oglesby Avenue. Now, with his record label Lunt and Oglesby, Weaver intertwines his experiences across genres and across the city to “make the unfamiliar familiar.”
The label’s name is a mission statement: Weaver draws upon his time in these two different neighborhoods for musical inspiration.
“It’s very interesting to come from the North Side and then go live on the South Side,” Weaver said in a conversation with the Weekly. “The economic disparities—the most glaring really is the lack of infrastructure that’s needed to make money.”
With his productions for Lunt and Oglesby, Weaver tests the boundaries of “normal.” The multifaceted musician says this goal makes it difficult to classify his music.
“I generally call it electronic music because I’ll sometimes make a beat that doesn’t have much percussion in it,” Weaver said. “Other times, it’s just pure hip-hop, with a loop or just rapping over [a track].”
“The aesthetic I aim for is do-it-yourself, but refined and attainable,” he added. “Almost everything in my practice is self-taught, as I have very little music education. I like to take inspiration from the trained…and really funk it up [by putting] my own spin on it.”
Weaver says DJing—what he calls the “nucleus” of his music career—allowed him to discover these different approaches to electronic music. He performs across Chicago at venues like The Charleston in Bucktown and Punch House in Pilsen, which he uses as an opportunity to explore music that otherwise would have missed his radar.
“There are certain things I haven’t delved into yet, but I’m interested in introducing new music to myself, and then introducing it to whoever I’m playing for,” he said. “The idea of making things up and becoming familiar [with new things] is something I personally practice when I’m finding new music.”
Weaver also explores unfamiliar territory by incorporating untraditional elements from different cultures and genres into his original productions.
“I try to at least know the basics, and then go into the more niche subcultures from all over the world,” he said. “A few months ago, I was digging deep into some Raï music from Algeria, which uses a bunch of synthesizers—this late ‘80s, early ‘90s music that combined traditional Algerian music with this new technology.”
This idea of continued exploration sprouted while he attended Grinnell College in Iowa for his bachelor’s in French and literature. Shortly after discovering a future in French wasn’t his cup of tea, Weaver made headways in radio music which led to his Chicago homecoming and pursuit of an artistic career.
“I had to stick with French just to graduate in four years and I love my family so I told them, ‘Once I graduate I’m going to make this music stuff happen,’” Weaver said. “There’s still a long way to go, but I feel like things are coming together.”
Now, after having creative and logistical differences with a record label, Weaver has created Lunt and Oglesby as a vehicle to further develop his own music and to produce something fresh using the unfamiliar elements he discovered through DJing.
The launch of the label coincides with the release of Explorations and Improvisations From 2018-2021, Weaver’s first album as hameedullah, in November 2022. As the name suggests, the album is an exploration: across twelve tracks, it expresses and examines a range of emotional states—including those often kept in the shadows, like jealousy.
Weaver said Explorations’ second track, “Embracing the Inner Hater,” is an example of that: in the song, he calls out his own “hater” tendencies and finds new ways of channeling those thoughts.
“It’s about internal feelings that I had to deal with and contemplating what to do when I know there are feelings of jealousy in my heart, or other things that are bothering me when I’m lowkey being a hater,” Weaver said. “I should embrace that and try to filter it in a way where it’s not hurting anybody or myself.”
While it may be difficult for many artists to share an honest self-portrait with the world, Weaver hopes his authenticity will help others take an introspective approach to his music and discover something about themselves.
“In a way, it’s like I’m helping the world by talking about my experience in a way that’s exclusively me,” Weaver said. “My voice and work are what I do best and what I’m most comfortable with. As an artist, it’s me saying how I feel and putting it in ways I think only I can do.”
Weaver plans to release his own music on Lunt and Oglesby for the time being—but he hopes to bring other artists onboard once he establishes an operational groove. He says he aims not only to create new music, but to establish a broader artistic community.
“I plan on facilitating and providing information to music lovers in Chicago and across the world,” Weaver said. “Whether it’s through music that I release, mixes or video content—it’s all in the hopes of bringing people together and having fun.”
Corey Schmidt is a journalist covering the Chicagoland area. He is a DePaul graduate pursuing his master’s degree at Yale University. His last story for the Weekly examined the Democratic Socialist Caucus.