The Creative Bubble About To Pop In Chicago Isn’t By Chance

The Creative Bubble About To Pop In Chicago Isn’t By Chance

It's been a long time coming.

When Chance The Rapper received the award for best new artist at the Grammys this past February he thanked the entire city of Chicago during his acceptance speech. Chance’s meteoric rise to the top of music would not have existed without his upbringing in the Windy City. The gratitude he expressed during his speech was not just to the city for raising him, but to the idea of Chicago and its values. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke about these topics with Shala., a social impact artist based in Chicago and the founder of The Movement.

The Movement is an art house collective and social cause boutique. Think Andy Warhol’s Factory meets Tom’s. Shala’s current endeavors have him producing a Trap Rock group, a secret playlist project with some Chicago notables and a solar-powered pyramid on the Southside of the city. Shala and I spoke for over an hour and a half about philosophy, the collective consciousness, Kanye and the creative bubble in Chicago that is destined to pop. We believe Chicago is on the cusp of a huge eruption.

“We are the next hub for great artists of all genres to emerge. Chicago is going to bring forth the next wave of impactful artists because we’ve always been ahead of the curve. The world is becoming more like Chicago because people want to be unapologetically themselves. Chicago has always been raw. The rest of the world is just now catching up.”

There is no greater example than, arguably, the most prolific music artist of the past 20 years, Kanye West. Kanye personifies everything that people hate but want to be. Brash, confident, unfiltered, outspoken, relentless and unforgiving. Kanye gives us permission to be fascinating because he shows us that it is ok to be dynamic. It is ok to address our insecurities directly. It is ok to give a middle finger to the nay-sayers and it is ok to be polarizing. Guys like Kanye and Chance would not have the same success if they did not grow up with, and soak up the ethos of Chicago. If LA is the city of dreamers, Chicago is the land of hustlers. The city itself seems to have always carried a huge chip on its shoulder. More specifically, a chip in the shape of a big apple. The ethos of the city is derivative of a little brother complex with New York.

“Just as New York always felt the need to prove something to ‘Old York (England), Chicago carries the same self-inflicted burden. There’s a cynicism toward our own in this city, and it takes so much energy to push through that once you do, of course you’re gonna be as great as a Kanye, a Chance, a Barack etc.”

Chicago has always had the attitude of of being the smallest kid on the basketball court. Everybody is always yammering about New York and LA. For the longest time, people insisted that that is where you had to go in order to become a successful artist. Chicago was always put on the back-burner. We were the kid that got cut from their high school varsity team; the 30th pick in the draft that is now a cornerstone of an NBA franchise. The 3rd year point guard that asks “Why can’t I be the MVP of the league?”

Being overlooked and underrated for years has sparked a mammoth fire that is ready to ignite at any moment. Chance’s ascension is the first domino to fall in an independent ripple effect that has been coming for a very long time. Who is going to be next? Vic (Mensa)? Noname? G Herbo? BJ? Maybe it will be a different type of artist. Who will be the next Banksy, Wachowski twins? (The Matrix Trilogy, Cloud Atlas) Or Joe Swanberg? (Drinking Buddies, Easy).

If you know of any Chicago artists that are poised for a breakthrough, urge them to continue the momentum by working with other Chicago artists. Shala. has intentionally created his company to contribute further “movement” to this growing movement.

“I am glad that Chicago creatives are finally understanding that our individual successes are a culmination of our collective efforts; past present and future. I am anxious for everyone to see that; the way we have seen it with New York, LA and Atlanta. With looming success, the most frustrating part is knowing who you are before everyone else does.”

When we finally hit, we will hit big and once we go forward as a unit, there is no telling the damage we will do. If history has a say, that could be the impact of Obama, Kanye West, Fall Out Boy, House Music, Common, Twista, Chief Keef, and Chance all at the same time.

I would like to thank Shala. for his contribution to this editorial. For more visit Shala. at or

Cover Image Credit: Alpha Coders

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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