By housing a top-flight recording studio in the Grand Crossing area of Chicago, GBK Recording Studio helps the revitalization of a disadvantaged neighborhood through combining urban planning and art practices. The studio helps combat violence in Chicago by engaging previous perpetrators & potential victims. Ultimately, this studio aims to have a global impact by serving as a beacon of hope and network of influence for youth who would otherwise not have access to a professional work resources. This particular open studio will showcase the newest collaboration album of Chicago recording artist Naledge Evans (of the group Kidz in the Hall) and his pupil and artist in residence, Lenell "Good Boy" Davis. Additionally, popular Chicago rap blogger Andrew Barber (FakeShoreDrive) will serve as host for the event and will lead a conversation about the making of the album. Light food and refreshments will be served.
How is the City your studio?
Growing up in Chicago, I realized at around 15 years old that I was in love with hip-hop. Although I never knew all the places it would take me or all of the people it would introduce me to, I always knew that this music was integral to my socialization as a young black man in Chicago just trying to find his identity in this world. The music, the fashion, the dancing and the community of “hip-hop heads” that I encountered growing up gave me strong pride in my ethnic heritage, fostered my self-esteem and motivated in me a decade-long career as a recording artist, entrepreneur and now, youth advocate. Naledge is Power started off simply as a musical album, but now it has evolved as I've grown my studio from being private and personal into a true safe haven in the community. African American youth utilize hip-hop music in order to redefine themselves and the African American community in more positive terms. I spent the last two years taking a break from being a touring musician to obtain a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California. During this time, I researched how hip-hop builds self-esteem, racial identity, and pro-social behavior in inner city youth (particularly those that are African American). I also utilized rap music as a means to engage while I interned at two agencies in the Washington Park and Englewood neighborhoods of Chicago. What I found was that this music that I love so dearly actually has true transformational power that extends beyond the superficial rhyming of words together over percussion. I’ve discovered that hip-hop culture is religion for many urban youth who simply have nothing else to place faith in, and its songs are often a place of refuge for those looking to be uplifted. Lenell was the first student that I connected with as a mentor after opening my studio and his talents as a engineer, producer and rapper are breathtaking. Our journey and music together is a wonderful exhibition as to how the one of the city's roughest areas can produce great art.