Everyday of every week, the TheseDays team is here to help you keep track of the latest happenings not only in the world of music, but in the world you see everyday as well. With that in mind, we often take a gander through the happenings in and around the city and pick a few to throw into occasional round ups, like this one. Check in again with some new stories on Vic Mensa, a dope new concert series from REACT and the Reader's picks for 'Best of Chicago'.
Vic Mensa Continues Positivity with "Free Love" Campaign
Vic Mensa has had quite a 2016, releasing his debut Roc Nation project, There's A Lot Going On and appearing just about everywhere, including regular photos with jay and Bey. With all the glitz and glamour of his newfound celebrity, though, Mensa has been impressive in his ability to at once bask in the spotlights and stay true to the sentiments that made him the artist he is today. Keeping with that, he doubled down on his release of his recent single, "Free Love" by offering accompanying t-shirts with money going to the families of victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting just a week ago. The sentiment is keeping with Vic's emergence on the national scene where he has rarely backed away from a hot-button issue and has started to create a name for himself in doing so. Along with the Orlando shooting, Vic has made the Flint water crisis a personal issue, traveling to the town to pass out bottled water on several occasions and continuing to speak out for those victimized by police abuse. While some may call it a play to the cameras, Vic has certainly utilized his early days in the sunshine to let the world know what's on his mind and we are behind that for sure. Also catch an acapella freestyle of his single "Shades of Blue" for Genius. The kid has something to say and, well, there's a lot going on.
Add-2 Establishes Music Studio for Chicago's Youth
As far as careers go, music has many different types of 'making it'. One artist who certainly knows this is Chicago product Add-2, who has navigated the tricky water os hip-hop over the years en route to his current spot on 9th Wonder's JAMLA imprint where he has impressed alongside the likes of Rapsody, Khrysis, Hi-Tek and more. While he's made it to the comfortability of the rap game, Add is one dude who definitely never forgot where he came from, and makes sure those in his hometown know it regularly.
HIs latest endeavor looks to help give kids in the city's more blighted parts a place to go and be productive as he just announced a new studio, Haven Studios appropriately located in an empty basement space at Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist, 4622 S. King Drive. The studio and accompanying organization will teach teens between the ages of 14-18 how to produce, record and perform music of all kinds and have space to put on concerts. As well, it will also serve to bring in guest speakers from in and out of the community and even have a basketball court to boot.
“I want to keep them here, and this way I can help them grow and give them that love that they may get outside in negative ways,” Add said to DNAInfo. “If I can give it to them in a positive way, then maybe I can change their life, and this subsequently will change the community.”
Fort Knox Rolls Out 2112 Business Incubator
Fort Knox, the towering ode to music on the north side appears to be expanding even more. The brainchild of creators Kent Nielsen and Dan Mahoney has come a long way since opening it's doors in 2011 and recently announced plans to open 2112, a new wing complete with a business incubator at an invite-only event on July 12.
Part of the new space will include 'a new 30 seat classroom and partnership with Mobile Makers Academy coding boot camp; launch of The Hanger, a 7200 sq. ft. facility for film/video production and photography, and a formal partnership with Iceland’s Music Export Office.' Impressive to say the least, the project is an important one to the city's largely non-existent music industry that has sufficed in recent years through simple hustle and passion. With this latest addition, the next wave of creatives to roll through Chicago with something to say will assuredly have the foundation to do so with decidedly more direction than those who came before.
“This is one of the few places in the world with the proper resources and community to support the development of a startup in music technology,” Director Scott Fetters said of the place. If you haven't already, get up to Fort Knox!
REACT Presents Kills With New Rooftop Concert Series
It's no secret these days that REACT Presents, once a fledgling promotion company coming up alongside the EDM scene five years ago has grown into a midwestern juggernaut and has spent 2016 taking marked steps forward, one in particular has been the development of their Daylight Disco at the Virgin Hotel's Cerise Rooftop which has hosted sold out affairs in May and June and sets their sights on July, with tickets already hard to find for the upcoming Ardalan set on the 23rd.
REACT has been pushing the envelope across several fronts, developing festivals like North Coast, Mamby on the Beach alongside venues like Concord that have come together to form one of the most well-realized home-grown entertainment companies in the city today. If you can't get in next month, the festivities return in August and September with Twin Shadow and DJ Supermarkt. Get your tickets here.
Chicago Reader Names 'Best of Chicago'
It's that time of year again and on newsstands across the city you've probably noticed the Chicago Reader has once again rolled out it's annual list of the 'Best of Chicago' just in time for the peak festival season as the heat really sets in. This time around some faces resurfaced, others broke through and a few surprises were of course in order.
Chance The Rapper took home Best Chicagoan, beating out President Obama in a vote that's indicative of the artist's popularity amongst his hometown crowd. In a surprise second place finish, none other than Rich Jones took home the number two spot for 'Best Rapper in Chicago,' finishing appropriately behind Chano. Also taking home honors this year were Rae Chardonnay for 'Best DJ' followed by Fess Grandiose, 'Best New Band' went to Esso Afrojam Funkbeat followed by Whitney and 'Best Festival' went to Riot Fest, just edging Pitchfork from the top spot. 'Best Local Music Blog' went to some website that's posted less than ten articles this year, proving print publications still haven't fully adjusted to what's happening in the digital world. FakeShoreDrive was right behind the site we're not going to mention, FSD would have been a welcome choice. Gotta support those doing the real work! Anyway, we're not going to list them all, but get in tune over at the Reader's site.