Only halfway through the week and plenty to look back on already. As the city prepares for the four-day visit of President-elect Donald Trump at his tower on Wabash, we instead turn to some headlines from around the city's arts and music scene. Included are Nico Segal & Nate Fox's collaboration with a legend, Vic Mensa voicing his opinions on CNN and the unfortunate loss of a local festival co-founder. All that and more below.
Nico Segal & Nate Fox Team Up With Paul Simon For "Stranger"
The guys from around the way have been having a crazy year that will take them to the White House next week to see President Obama off, but for good measure, Social Experiment artists Nico Segal and Nate Fox decided there weren't enough positive headlines floating about from their side of the world and unveiled their latest single alongside one of the biggest names in musical history, Paul Simon. Building on a pair of young careers that have seen Fox and Segal team with the likes of Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, Kanye West and many more high profile names, the collaboration with Simon is a welcome one that is a cross-generational look at the power of music through time.
"Stranger" was produced by Fox & Segal and operated as a rework of a pair of his previous releases: "The Werewolf" & "The Clock" from his aptly-named Stranger As Stranger. It's a perfect song to help convince your parents the music today can appeal to all, and yet another cool story in the larger tale of the ongoing Renaissance.
Vic Mensa Declares U.S. 'Not A Democracy' on CNN
Vic Mensa has never been known as someone who keeps his opinions to himself and once again found headlines for his thoughts on the recent election, going as far as to deem the United States 'not a Democracy'. The comments to CNN in an interview earlier this month come in reference to Republican nominee Donald Trump's election to the White House which came via the Electoral College, and not the Popular Vote, which Hillary Clinton holds over a two million vote lead.
"The people spoke and elected Hillary Clinton, but this isn't a real democracy," Mensa told CNN. "... We're still operating as a nation off of rules and laws that were enacted as a slave-owning state."
Mensa's recent project, There's A Lot Going On operated as a sort of highly-charged manifesto too radical at times for radio play but important in it's message and attitude. For the Chicago rapper, the zone of politics and free thought is not a new one, or a publicity stunt. Vic has been active since his teenage years, even joining protests for Chicago Public School teachers as far back as 2013. He appears determined to use his fast-rising profile to lend a thoughtful narrative to a national conversation that speaks for many of his peers. Read the full story here.
Riot Fest Co-Founder Passes Away At 42
Riot Fest co-founder and Cobra Lounge owner Sean McKeough reportedly passed away Tuesday of this week. While details are still being worked out, the news is a shot in the gut for much of the local music scene. McKeough founded Riot Fest in 2012 with Michael Petryshyn and others and was responsible for some of the most memorable festival moments of the last few years. In addition, he also ran All Rise Brewery adjacent to Cobra Lounge. Petryshyn offered a statement in the wake of his friend's passing:
"Sean was Riot Fest's pillar of strength. I loved him. I admired him. And to lose him is a lonely and barren feeling. I miss my friend immensely. Without Sean and his belief that a little fest could make a positive impact on people's lives by doing things differently and left of the dial, Riot Fest would have never become such an intimate family. His Herculean-sized heart and volition made that all possible. Anyone lucky enough to have witnessed his kindness and compassion knows Sean's muddy work boots will never be filled. It's impossible . . . he cared when no one else did. He worked when no one else did. And, he believed in Riot Fest when no one else did.
Our thoughts are with the entire McKeough family and his beloved partner Erin. You were the closest people to him and without your constant love and support for Sean, his unimaginable impact on thousands of lives may have never been realized."
Young Chicago Authors Rolls Out 'The Chicago Beat' Website
If the recent election cycle taught us anything, it's that quality news will continue to matter into the digital age and one local program is preparing the next generation of journalists. Young Chicago Authors, which has become a breeding ground for channeling youthful expression through poetry and spoken word broadened its horizons to Journalism with their recent Chicago Beat project and is putting the lessons to work on the net impressively.
The team has already unveiled articles on the likes of OddCouple, Sir The Baptist and Jamila Woods, all within an arms reach from the center's place at the epicenter of the current wave. They may soon be giving us a run for our money, but we couldn't be more excited to see a burgeoning group of young writers sharpening their craft further.
Brian Fresco Covers the RedEye
SaveMoney has been systematically rolling out one artist after the next and it appears Brian Fresco is the next up in line as it was announced that he would cover the Chicago RedEye with a full feature from Music Critic Josh Terry. Fresco is coming off the well-received release of his most recent project, Casanova and has re-emerged with a vengeance after taking a studio hiatus in 2015 following the release of SoulMoney with TREE. It's also reported he will be teaming up with FADER for the premiere of his Peter Campbell-directed visual which we've been seeing teasers for everywhere.