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Chicago Voices Talk | Hip-Hop: How the City Inspires the Sound

Chicago has embraced an eclectic mix of regional East Coast, West Coast, and Southern hip-hop styles, but it has always been inspired by the everyday realities and histories of the city. Following the success of artists like Common, Twista, and Kanye West, a new sound was formed in Chicago paving the way for socially-conscious rappers like Lupe Fiasco and Rhymefest.

Join us to examine Chicago’s impact on hip-hop and how the city affects today’s music. Panelists include hip-hop performer and activist Amina Norman-Hawkins; Andrew Barber, founder of Chicago-based music blog Fake Shore Drive; hip-hop artist and performer Add-2, and producer and DJ odd Couple. The program includes a performance by Add-2.

Prior to the program, take in a display from the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago which is partnering with Two Seven Eight Media to develop the Chicago Hip-Hop Archive. The artifacts and stories on display will give you a first look at the content of the forthcoming documentary film and archival project, Midway: The Story of Chicago Hip-Hop. 

Chicago Voices explores Chicago’s rich vocal history and its contributions to gospel, classical, and hip-hop music. Ayana Contreras, WBEZ contributor, and host of Vocalo’s Reclaimed Soul, moderates a panel series that features music experts and dynamic live performances. Each event includes a panel discussion, performance interludes by Chicago artists, and a Q&A session.

Amina Norman-Hawkins

Amina is an internationally recognized voice of grassroots hip-hop activism. She is a writer, performing artist, filmmaker, and hip-hop practitioner who has spent the past twenty years involved in the preservation of Chicago’s hip-hop culture and community. Amina is the founder of Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative, a hip-hop community empowerment collaborative and Co-Founder of Chicago Hip-Hop Heritage Month, an officially recognized annual observance that celebrates Chicago’s local hip-hop arts and community throughout the entire month of July. She’s also a respected emcee, poet, and founding member of Urbanized Music, a production duo of Amina & Coolout Chris, and collective of Chicago-based artists who’ve performed internationally promoting the aesthetics of hip-hop culture over media hype. Amina currently teaches a course on hip-hop history at Columbia College Chicago. She also lectures, writes, and performs hip-hop, and spoken word around the country.


Add-2 captivates listeners and tastemakers’ ears and imaginations with his unique blend of hip-hop, soul, and jazz. From his acrobatic wordplay, detailed storytelling, and no-holds-barred social commentary; Add-2 has emerged as a respected voice of clarity in the midst of the noise in a chaotic world.

From being on MTV2, MTVU, FUSE, HOT97, Shade 45, and EBONY, he is currently sponsored by major clothing company LRG. He has performed alongside legendary hip-hop band The Roots, featured on songs with Talib Kweli, BJ The Chicago Kid, and is one of both Kadeem Hardison and Common’s favorite new emcees.

Add-2 has released several critically acclaimed projects such as “Save.Our.Souls,” “More Missed Calls,” “Between Heaven And Hell,” and “Prey For The Poor.” In 2016 he created Haven Studio which is a free music mentoring program that gives teens on the South Side of Chicago a positive outlet to express themselves creatively. Add-2 continues to use his voice and his platform to change the world around him.

Andrew Barber

Andrew Barber is the owner/creator of Fake Shore Drive a Chicago-based music website and media company. Andrew is also a freelance music journalist, artist manager, brand and record label consultant, film producer and media personality on SiriusXM Radio’s Shade 45.

Andrew’s company, Fake Shore Drive, has been instrumental in the recent rise of Chicago’s hip-hop scene, having helped cultivate the careers of Chance The Rapper, Chief Keef, Lil Durk, Vic Mensa and the many other artists who’ve secured major label record deals. Fake Shore Drive has also landed on The Source Magazine’s ‘Power 30’ list five years in a row.


oddCouple is a producer and DJ who is equally skilled at helping an artist realize his or her visions or taking the wheel and driving his own solo productions. Since 2013, oddCouple has been building a name for himself. His 2015 LP, Chatterbox, hailed by press and fans alike, featured emerging artists, such as Saba, Taylor Bennett, Michael Christmas, and Allan Kingdom. In 2016, oddCouple was part of critically acclaimed albums from Joey Purp as well as Jamila Woods (he served as executive producer of her heavily hailed debut album, HEAVN). Also in 2016, oddCouple released his second proper LP, Liberation, which featured Mick Jenkins, Kweku Collins, WebsterX, and Jamila Woods.

Chicago Voices TALK is made possible by support from J. Thomas Hurvis, Parent Power Chicago, and Bank of America. The series is part of the Lyric’s Chicago Voices, a groundbreaking multiyear initiative celebrating the city’s vibrant, diverse vocal music culture.

The Details



31 st

7:00 p.m.



$ 10

$5 Members

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Chicago History Museum

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