Organic hip-hop


With the burgeoning success of Chicago underground music, The Chicago Drop is inspired idea. The Chicago Drop is a compilation disc of 10 talented, local underground hip-hop bands. It's also an event that will take place for the next two weekends at the Double Door, and Metro, both in Chicago. Each weekend will feature half of the artists featured on the disc, and both promise to be solid endeavors.

Co-creator Cary Kanno explained the project.

Q: What are these shows all about? Why Chicago? Why now?

A: My intention behind the Chicago Drop was to create unity in the hip-hop scene here in Chicago. From Twista to Diverse to Common to Kanye West to Offwhyte to Iamos Mirad to Rachel Yamagata, Local H and Disturbed, Chicago is experiencing the largest music explosion since the Chess blues area. This is a great time for Chicago bands.

Q: When did the idea come about?

A: My roommate Verses Style and I came up with this idea about a year ago. We were playing music with all of these cats around the city and everyone knew each other. The framework was there, but there was nothing to bring us all together. That's how the idea of the compilation disc came about. Once that was done the next logical step was to release the CD in a large hyped event. I guess we were inspired with what the WuTang Clan did in New York City. Creating unity not only to survive, but to thrive.

Q: Who is involved?

A: For the last few years Chicago has seen a proliferation of live hip-hop bands forging an uncharted genre with no rules and few examples to follow (the Roots are among the best-known). We call it "Live Organic Hip Hop," and these are the best bands in the city at this new sound. The sound goes leagues beyond traditional hip-hop by implementing live instruments to give the sound a tremendous boost, and adding human variation into each element. The lineup is a "who's who" of live hip-hop bands in Chicago. They are well-known by club owners, booking agents, music writers and, most importantly, local music fans. I have chosen these bands based on the caliber of the musicians, songwriting and live performances.

Q: What can people expect when they see the shows? Dancing, listening, both?

A: Expect to see hip-hop heads bobbin', hands in the air and people dancing in the front. Most of the music is up-tempo and very rhythmic.

Q: What about your band, AbsTRACT giANTS? What is your goal as a band within the context of this project?

A: The goal of the AG's is to keep doin' what we're doin'. We have a big show coming up opening for Jean Grae and Diverse, and plans for hitting the road this summer to play festivals.

Q: What's currently in your CD player?

A: Dave Tampkin (Chicago), Heiruspecs (Minneapolis), Bumpus (Chicago), Burn Rome Burn (Chicago), Solid Gold (Madison, Wis.), Audible Thought (Indianapolis), Pomeroy (Kansas), and all of the bands on the Chicago Drop.

Planets Audible, Dynamic Vibrations, Tabakin, Contriband and Small Change play Saturday at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., in a 21-and-older show. Doors open at 9 p.m.; the show is at 9:30 p.m. Star People, Farm Crew, Bad News Jones, Treologic, and absTRACT giANTS play Jan. 28 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark, in an 18-and-older show. Doors open at 8 p.m.; the show is at 9 p.m. Both shows are $10. See www.abstractgiants.com/ChicagoDrop for more information.

Contact contributing columnist Allison Augustyn at SoundCheck@pioneerlocal.com.