The beat glows in a new show in DeKalb

By Chris Krapek

DeKALB | Hit the lights. DeKalb is about to glow in the dark.

Hip Hop Glowcase, a show featuring a roster of up-and-coming and local emcees, will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway. The show, put together by Rockford-based The Covert Empire, will feature members Black Lung, Ayvee & Ryebread, State Champs, A-West with Hall of Fame, Mikey J, Dr. Green and Tomas More.

Black Lung, a native of Davenport, Iowa, will perform as a part of The Covert Empire. The 20-year-old, who has been living in DeKalb for the last couple of years, has already put out three albums and is getting ready to debut his new mixtape.

“If Kurt Cobain and Redman made an album, it would sound like me,” he said. “Sometimes I like to write my rhymes, sometimes I like to just say stuff. I like to rap about the finer things in life — money, women, cars, drugs and my past experiences with them.”

Also on the show is Mikey J, freshman business major, who got booked on the show after he played his music for The House’s manager. The Streamwood rapper has gained a following on YouTube, notching almost 75,000 views on his videos, which range from original work, to freestyles, to a remix of the latest Lil’ Wayne song.

“My lyrics are smart lyrics — metaphors and clever lines,” he said. “I rap about my life a bit, and how it’s tough for me because no one thinks a white boy can rap; I try to prove them wrong. I also just rap about whatever comes to mind at the time.”

For Black Lung, the misconceptions people have about him being a white emcee are non-existent.

“Hip hop has become a melting pot,” he said. “Everybody raps.”

Rounding out the bill is DeKalb duo State Champs, who just released the new EP “1st Round Draft Picks,” as a part of their new project, The Conservation Area. The six-track album features songs named after athletes like Ken Griffey Jr., Bo Jackson and Ron Harper.

Producer Nick Arcade said the concept originated because he and Champs member Johnny Redd have an extreme obsession with sports. The EP gives people insight into who the group really is while keeping the chill vibes and fun that they’re known for, he said.

The Hip Hop Glowcase may be the last time the Champs perform in town for a while, as they will soon tour throughout New York City and Philadelphia.

“The House is a great atmosphere to take in a live show regardless of the genre, so that’s reason enough to attend,” Arcade said.

The show is all ages. Tickets are $5 for girls and $7 for guys