Preserving the Beats: Collecting Chicago Hip Hop Symposium


Preserving the Beats: Collecting Chicago Hip-Hop is a day-long symposium hosted by Chicago State University Archives and Special Collections and The Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing, which aims to discuss and examine the how to collect and preserve hip-hop as a culture and a musical form, as well as explore the importance of Hip Hop to Chicago history, and the collective Black experience globally.

Furthermore, scholars will examine, explore and delineate the need for academic, local institutions, or organizations to collect and preserve the beats, the culture, and the memorabilia from the artists, the labels, and the producers; as well as for artists to think about their legacy and be proactive in taking care of their work and lasting legacy.

The symposium will consist of Presentations, Workshops, Hip Hop Archives and Art Installation.

Date: Saturday February 28, 2015

Chicago State University Library, 4th Floor.

Registration Begins at 9:30 a.m.
Program Begins at 10:00 a.m.

Free and Open to Public
Parking $5
#PreservetheBeats #CSUBlackStudies #ChicagoHipHop

Panel 1: Midwest Hip-Hop: The History, Culture and Artists

Midwest cities such as Chicago, Saint Louis and Detroit have produced nationally recognized artists, groups and producers such as Lupe Fiasco, Common, J. Dilla, Slum Village and Obi Trice. Additionally, the Midwest has a vibrant underground circuit of independent artists, however unlike East and West Coast may not get the same recognition worldwide.

This session will focus on the history, culture and artists from the Midwest. What if any are the differences in the sound, artists and overall influence of music generated from Midwest artists versus East and West Coasts? Why do many artists leave their cities to pursue opportunities in other cities and what are the political and cultural costs to their hometowns? What has been the most vibrant aspect of Midwest hip-hop contributions to the overall study of hip-hop? What does the future hold for artists of today?

Amina Norman-Hawkins; Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative Therese “Rheal” Ferguson; 2nd Scene Culture City Project.
Samuel Lewis; Elastic Arts Foundation.

Panel 2: The Business of Hip Hop

When Hip Hop began out of an underground movement of expression, many, including the artists, did not foresee the genre changing American culture, the music industry or the impact it would have globally. Hip-Hop is big business. Artists such as Jay Z, P Diddy, and 50 Cent consistently top Forbes list of the richest people in the world. However most of their wealth is not just from the music, but come from being a brand in themselves. Additionally, artists such as Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West and Common have developed foundations to give back, often to the communities that they grew up in, in order to pass down the knowledge about how to get into the industry, but also how to be sustainable in an ever changing market.

But how do you get started? Geared for ages 15-21. This interactive session will help you learn the ins and outs of the music industry from artist development, production, content curation, corporate sponsorship to brand management.

Chamille Weddington; Co-Founder of LiveVine Works
Jaime Black; Founder/Editor/Journalist/Content Creator of
Che "Rhymefest" Smith; Hip-Hop Artist/Activist
Don Medina; Producer, Engineer, Songwriter, Remixer, DJ

PANEL 3: Preservation through the Printed Word

Collecting is one part of preservation of hip hop. For the history and culture to survive we need wordsmiths who to write and publish about Hip Hop in order to document the past and future of the genre. This panel will discuss the importance of publishing for a variety of outlets–scholarly/ academia, blogs, journalism, niche and new media. Additionally, panelists will discuss the current climate of the publishing industry, self-publishing/ promotion via the internet, and the need to preserve the digital content.

Samir Meghelli; Historian/Writer, Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ayana Contreras; Blogger and Host/producer of Reclaimed Soul on Vocalo (Sister Station of WBEZ)
Ian Collins; Academic Resident Librarian at the University of Illinois-Chicago
Ryan Brockmeier; Director, Producer, Co-Writer, Art/Design of the documentary Midway: The Story of Chicago Hip-Hop
Daniel Hodge; Director of the Center for Youth Ministry Studies and Assistant Professor of Youth Ministry at North Park University in Chicago and Editor in Chief of The Journal of Hip-Hop Studies

Panel 4: PRESERVING BLACK MUSIC AND CULTURE: Changing memories and politics of Black History

What a cultural heritage institution like libraries, museums, and archives collect and or don’t collect shapes a nations’ history and identity. Historically, musical art forms such as jazz and blues were not considered important to preserve and document, but now they are a part of the musical canon. This panel will discuss how collecting and preserving house and hip hop forms of music shape the identity of the Black experience.

Timothy Burnside; Curatorial Museum Specialist at Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture
Ben Ortiz; Assistant Curator at Cornell Hip Hop Collection
Monica Hairston O’Connell; Executive Director, Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago

Register for Preserving the Beats: Collecting Chicago Hip Hop: