The Lyricist Olympics at Lit After Dark

Poster designed by Xack Gibson/Bag Fry Productions.

CHICAGO, IL — Music fans! When the sun sets on the 2012 Printers Row Lit Fest on Saturday June 9, stick around for the Lyricist Olympics at Lit After Dark, a celebration of freestyle lyricism. Featuring eight of Chicago’s finest MCs, the Lyricist Olympics will showcase the spontaneous creativity and lyrical ingenuity of Chicago’s hip-hop community. The event begins at the RedEye tent at 9 pm. For updates and additional information, check in with @readjack. Continue reading “The Lyricist Olympics at Lit After Dark”


People With Passion: David Drake, music writer

A People with Passion series

Chicago journalism

January 18, 2012: David Drake

David Drake, during his DJ days.

We are meeting at Filter Coffee Shop on Milwaukee Ave. in the late afternoon. David is quiet yet loquacious, with a deep knowledge and passion for music, particularly hip-hop. It is that passion for the music mixed with a love of writing, an authority of opinion, and relentless networking that has allowed him to leave his day job and make, as he puts it, ‘a run’ at writing.

Here, in the 23rd installment of my Chicago journalism interview series, David Drake of Pitchfork, Fader, the Tribune, and his blog discusses his life as a working freelance writer, and describes the process of how he created the connections required for such a career. Continue reading “People With Passion: David Drake, music writer”

Good Tunes for 2011

Last year I released Good Tunes For Two Bucks, a compilation of 12 songs from 12 Chicago artists. Due to time, budgets, and schedule constraints, I am not releasing a mixtape for 2011. But who cares? Here are 21 artists I had the pleasure of meeting/interviewing/working with/listening to in 2011, mostly Chicago artists along with some non-Chicagoans I covered.

These are not necessarily songs that were released this year, (though most are) but rather songs and artists that I discovered in 2011. Below is a six-pack snack pack. For the full list, please hit up Happy New Year! Be safe, have fun, drink champagne. Continue reading “Good Tunes for 2011”

People With Passion: Andrew Barber

A People with Passion series

Chicago journalism

November 4, 2011: Andrew Barber

Andrew Barber, left, in a screen shot of the L.E.P. Bogus Boys/ Cool Kids music video for “Countin’ My Money.”

Growing up outside of Indianapolis, Fake Shore Drive founder Andrew Barber fell in love with hip-hop the way many of us did: he heard it. Magazines, television, and radio fueled the love, and at the age of 26, living in Chicago, Barber took advantage of blogs, a new medium within a new medium, and launched Four years later, it’s his full-time job.

In the 14th installment of Jack M Silverstein’s Chicago journalism People With Passion series, Barber outlines his love of the culture, his path to Fake Shore, and his competition with Chicago’s “legitimate” news sources. Continue reading “People With Passion: Andrew Barber”

Those the words.

Time to Settle Accounts

November 6, 2011: Those the words.

It was just after 1 a.m., now my 30th birthday. We’d been celebrating at my apartment since 7:30, when Ric and Josh and a friend from my summer softball team arrived. Since then, the party had featured a merry-go-round of different friends from different groups all meeting anew, lifting a glass and enjoying their cake and dancing and talking and watching 90s Bulls broadcasts. Continue reading “Those the words.”

1st Ward fundraiser at Jackson Junge Art Gallery, with Ald. Joe Moreno and Eyes Manouche

This Thursday, Aug. 11, I am hosting a fundraiser at the Jackson Junge Art Gallery for 1st Ward schools, in association with Alderman Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno and the 1st Ward. Eyes Manouche, one of my favorite bands in the city, will be playing an acoustic set. $5 at the door, with donation baskets ready. Come on out and meet a great public servant, hear some great music, look at some beautiful artwork, and enjoy a fabulous night of community and entertainment!

Take a look below for my interviews with those involved, along with some clips of Eyes Manouche.


JACK Continue reading “1st Ward fundraiser at Jackson Junge Art Gallery, with Ald. Joe Moreno and Eyes Manouche”

Melee in Bucktown, spotlight on: E-Train

Melee in Bucktown * July 22, 2011 at Debonair * Free Show

Spotlight on: E-Train

“I’m very, not just passionate, but knowledgeable. It’s almost like I know something that somebody else doesn’t. People are like ‘Yeah… we’ll see if E-Train gets famous,’ and I’m over here like ‘Yeah, we will see,’ because I know something they don’t know. That’s how I feel about it. They don’t know about me, so why would they assume? Why would they think I’m a really good artist if they’ve never heard about me?

I’ve only been doing this for three years. I know artists who would be doing it for ten before they started their first album. And that first album would be ca-ca. It would be their fourth that would be worth listening to, and it would be their fifth that would make them country-wide stars. Whereas I’m gonna try to hit that fifth-tier quality CD with my first, and when I get to the fifth, people are gonna be eating hands and feet. They’re not going to know what to do.”

— E-Train, February 10, 2007

One more day until the best show the Chi has to offer. Now it’s time to meet the Melee’s special guests: first Gatz-n-Goods, and now E-Train. Who knew this show would glow so hard?

Glow So Hard, teaser

[vimeo] Continue reading “Melee in Bucktown, spotlight on: E-Train”

Melee in Bucktown, spotlight on: Gatz-n-Goods

Melee in Bucktown * July 22, 2011 at Debonair * Free Show

Spotlight on: Gatz-n-Goods

“That’s what I live for. That’s why I do it. I told Mike I’ll do this show for free. I want people to be like, ‘Yo, that dude can rhyme. That dude’s dope. I’ll fucks with him.’ That’s it. It’d be great to make money, but I live for being on stage and being appreciated. I just want people to know that I’m dope and that I’m good at rhyming. So that somebody will be like, ‘Yo, when Gatz said this and that…’ I want to be an inspiration. I’m not saying a role model – I’m just saying I would love to be an inspiration to the next generation of hip-hoppers and MCs. I’m not saying they should do everything that I did, but maybe I’ll inspire them to write one of their best lines. That’s what’s up for me.”

— Jason Gatz, February 23, 2009

“I don’t plan any of that. It’s all different and improv – every time, it’s alive. I love to perform. I love to be on stage and sing and feel people. I use myself as an audience, and I vibe and groove with it. I’m from jazz and soul and blues and stuff like that. It takes its own direction. It takes the lead. It’s my man, the music.”

— Ashley Good, August 17, 2010

One more day until the best show the Chi has to offer. Now it’s time to meet the Melee’s special guests, starting with Gatz-n-Goods. What? You wanted to start with E-Train? I’m sorry bout that. Whammy.

Aw Yeah, at Debonair, Dec. 2010

Continue reading “Melee in Bucktown, spotlight on: Gatz-n-Goods”