Updated: Aug 27, 2021
One of the things I love most about my city of Chicago is its rich ethnic and cultural diversity. No two neighborhoods are the same and for as much socioeconomic change our beautiful city has experienced, you can still see, feel, hear and taste everything which makes our neighborhoods unique.
I listen to music on shuffle whenever I’m in my car. My ride into work takes me through different neighborhoods — each as diverse as my playlist. Depending on which route I take, I drive through my hometowns of Hegewisch and the (far) SouthEast Side. That leads me to South Chicago (Bush) where many of my family members grew up. I hop onto Lake Shore Drive from there, and it still amazes me how this infamous Drive can literally take you to every part of the city — North, South, East & West.
My drive into work isn’t just about one particular route — if you’re from Chicago, you know there’s 10 different ways that’ll get you to your destination — it’s more about the sounds of the neighborhoods I’m driving through and how it makes me feel. Nothing stays the same, or on repeat, it’s ever changing, much like my music as it shuffles playlists and keeps me company. Each song a backdrop to the sounds and sights of these neighborhoods.
As I pull up to a stop sign or red light, I immediately hear children playing and laughing. I hear the loud booms of construction. I hear neighbors talking across lawns. I hear music… all kinds, different beats, a multitude of rhythms. Some familiar, some not. I see families in vehicles next to me, perhaps driving home after picking up their child from day care. Busses constantly stopping and going, transporting students, employees, and residents to their destinations. I see friends walking together — maybe to the park or to the store. As I watch, I can feel and hear the rhythm from the streets. The true sound of Chicago, not just one sound. Instead, a vast collection of sounds that you can feel in your soul, the kind of sound that makes you feel "home."
The thing about music is it has no comprehension of neighborhoods or the secluded areas in the city. It doesn’t know North, South, East or West. It doesn’t know area codes or zip codes. It’s as diverse as the neighborhoods I drive through. Music captures the sounds of the streets… weaving a story together. Sometimes the sounds and stories are familiar, they are one with our thoughts and feelings. In these moments, I am one with my city.
As I drive through the streets I can feel the sounds of the streets. Like these Chicago streets, these songs are a part of me. They are a part of you. They are a part of the generations before us. The sound of Chicago is more than a sound. Its a feeling. A feeling of struggle, pride, perseverance, celebration, loss, blessing, sadness, joy, and hope.
Special shoutout to my homies Wizdom and Izzy Ace. Local Chicago rappers 🔥🔥 you can find them on Instagram @xxwizdomxx & @izzyace_