Chicago Beat Blog

Chicago Beat Oral Histories

Chicago Beat Oral Histories

Intro by Breanna Bonslater

During the first segment of Chicago Beat, we focused on telling our oral history through verse and prose. By reflecting on our own lives and telling our own stories through a verse medium, the teens were able to learn what it means to tell a story. This project was only a stepping stone to the larger project of telling other people's history: For one to be able to tell another's story, they must be able to tell there own first.

The students touched on many topics as they reflected on their lives: Depression, loss, racism, stereotyping, sense of home, and honor in one's culture. Because Chicago Beat reflects a variety of teens from different parts of the city who lead very different lives, every student was able to learn from each...

Read More
Breezy's Playlist

Breezy's Playlist

By Breanna Bonslater

Rap artists G Herbo, Rafael Casal, and Defcee each  reminiscences about their childhood and how it has affected them as adults. The artists use unconventional styles of rap by playing with beats and flows. In my opinion, these songs are under appreciated and hope to increase the popularity of these songs.

“Red Snow” G Herbo

G Herbo talks about the tragedy of gangs and black on black violence. Using his own childhood, he makes the song relatable to anybody who grew up in the hood and in a gang mentality. He discusses as a child being put in situations where he had to act like a man before actually getting the chance to grow into one. He also talks about life or death situations he’s experienced as an adult. He touches on the gang mentality that is causing tragedies, such...

Read More
Elena's Playlist

Elena's Playlist

By Elena Wilson

Often, we overlook the meaning of a song while listening to the catchy beat. But when we look deeper into the emotions and meaning behind a song, it makes the music that much more enjoyable. Three different songs from three different genres. What they have in common: The entertaining stories, melodies, and atmospheres.

Ed Sheeran, "Castle on the Hill"

In "Castle on the Hill," Ed Sheeran talks about the people he grew up with during his childhood and teenage years when he lived in Halifax, England. Unlike his other single on the album Shape of You, which has techno aspects, the sound of Ed’s signature acoustic guitar has a strong presence in "Castle on the Hill" and makes it feel more down to Earth. The song has a nostalgic mood, and as Ed reminiscences about his past, it...

Read More
Nani's Playlist

Nani's Playlist

By Nylijah Barnes 

With the same Top 10 songs playing over the radio, listeners are starving for new music, or at least wanting to hear some of their favorite songs make it to the station. Soundcloud has recently become a source for people to get their fix when it comes to new music or lesser known music, most notably when it come to rap and hip-hop. Instead, I decided to delve into other genres to see what I could find — and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

Highly Suspect, "My Name Is Human"

Opening with a fuzzy guitar riff, lead singer Johnny Stevens switches gears with a simple "OK," letting his voice carry across the softer guitar and steady drum rhythms. He talks more than sings about existentialism, as well as his struggles with religion, notably instructing us...

Read More