Chicago hip-hop series All Smiles signs off with a generation-spanning blowout | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chicago hip-hop series All Smiles signs off with a generation-spanning blowout 

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click to enlarge Tomorrow Kings

Tomorrow Kings

Rift Gardiner

No other series has done as much to demonstrate the breadth and depth of contemporary Chicago hip-hop as All Smiles. Launched seven years ago by rapper-singer Rich Jones, the intergenerational monthly showcase says goodbye tonight with a lineup that speaks to its long history of bringing together locals from different cliques and eras. Jones began All Smiles as a vehicle for his rap trio, SCC, which is now mostly defunct but makes a rare reunion appearance to open this show. Headliners Tomorrow Kings (currently one DJ and seven MCs, including the ferocious Lamon Manuel) are underground heroes who have inspired waves of local artists, Jones among them. Penultimate performer Psalm One has been one of the most celebrated rappers in the city since she emerged in 2000, and Jones, now 31, saw her perform at the first rap show he attended, when he was just 15. Rapper-producer Encyclopedia Brown, who cut his teeth in the battle scene in the 90s, has backed Psalm on the turntables; his work with local label Machine Wash Music provides a road map for how rap artists can mature in a form that’s historically associated with youth. Rapper-producer Green Sllime is a powerful contributor to the local scene, though he’s best known for a supporting role—he’s served as Mick Jenkins’s live DJ for the past half decade. But Sllime’s position as host of 119 Productions’ YouTube talk show Broke Ass Low Budget Show and his grimy full-length with rapper Qari, February's Operation Hennessy, have brought him some overdue shine. Noisy Los Angeles rap group Moodie Black is the lone nonlocal act on the bill—but, as All Smiles has shown, Chicago has room in its heart for anyone who has something to say.   v

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