1. Khari B. "I'mma Bad Mutha! The Rockstar Poetry Project!!!"
This collection of spoken word poetry hits hard over guitar riffs, percussion and blaring horns. The project-- a collaboration between Frankie Blaze, Khari B., and Corey Wilkes is thought-provoking and entertaining listen. Definitely worth checking out right here. I'm partial to "F U I Love U," and "Weeding."
2. Lil Rel, "I'm Everybody"
Lil Rel is a fool, and I mean that in the best possible way. The Chicago comic, who recently graced the cover of RedEye with fellow West Side native and longtime friend Hannibal Buress, is an excellent entertainer who often focuses on his family life, observations on CTA buses, and even livery services. But one thing he also excels at is musical parodies, doing the best damn Scarface I can think of...Check out what happens when he decides to take on Rick Ross, who for some reason is the target of the month. Ross's bravado in "Tupac's Back" and tendency to take on the identities of infamous gangsters/mobsters/rappers leads to this.
3. Roy Ayers Project
If you don't know who Roy Ayers is, open your hip-hop textbook and start cramming. Ayers, the Grammy-winning jazz and soul icon, has been sampled by and has influenced some of rap's finest from Brand Nubian, NWA, X-Clan and onward...It's no wonder he inspired the Roy Ayers Project. And some very talented Chicago rappers and producers are involved, including track-off alum Tall Black Guy, Radius and Sev Seveer. Check out Sev's contribution in this trailer featuring hip-hop legend Bobbito.
4. Milwaukee Arts Festival
Third time is the charm for the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival an eclectic meeting place for music, food and art. According to an event announcement, about 250 artists will be featured in 30 indie galleries. There will be music on two stages and a swarm o' food trucks providing entertainment and eats, respectively, on the avenue between Kimball and California. More details here.
5. Englewood Film Festival Endorsed by Mayor Emmanuel
Congrats to filmmaker Mark Harris who is focusing attention on Englewood in a positive light with an upcoming film festival. Just announced: Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has endorsed the event, set to take place in October. Keep an eye on what is going on with it here.