J. Davis


J. Davis

Julio Davis heads The J. Davis Trio. Following their musical heart, The J. Davis Trio continues to thrive. They thrive not only because of their connection to real hip hop and jazz music, but also because of their ability to grow and change. Starting as trio, they now have as many as 8-10 people on stage, utilizing many types of instrumentation and styles. Their independence has allowed them to explore and incorporate from unexpected sources, resulting in a sound uniquely their own. Began as an actual trio, the band is now Julio Davis, Dave Smith, Dave Winer, Sam Sharp, Ryan Murphy and Chris Greene.  The J.Davis Trio arrived on the Chicago scene with their debut eponymous album, The J.Davis Trio, in 1999 where they created national buzz with a North American tour that included famous Chicago venues like The Metro, The House of Blues, the historic Green Mill Jazz club, and many colleges in the midwest. Tours to the east coast, the CMJ Music Fest in New York, down to the SXSW Music Fest in Austin, TX., to L.A. soon followed.
Their next album “The New No. 2” released in 2002 reflected a leap in their development and saw them working with many great Chicago artists. Rappers like Cap D from All Natural and Juice made an appearance, as well as musicians like Jeff Parker from Tortoise and Paul Mertens of The Brian Wilson Group.
The band released their next album, “These Things Happen” in 2007. This project saw them reunite with Julio Davis’ original rap crew, Chicago legends Stony Island, as well as vocal and musical cameos by Poi Dog Pondering front man Frank Orrall. In 2011, they returned with their most ambitious recording to date, “Vintage”.
They’re upcoming new full length album “Fire & Math”, will be released in 2016.

Rhymes: Boogie Down Productions “The Bridge is Over,” Young-Holt Unlimited “Soulful Strut,” and A Tribe Called Quest “Luck of Lucien”


More Info on J. Davis:

Songs from this Interview:

Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval is the poet the Chicago Tribune called “the voice of the new Chicago” and who the Boston Globe says is “the city’s unofficial poet laureate”. Author of Schtick, L-vis Lives!: Racemusic Poems, Everyday People, Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica, and More Shit Chief Keef Don’t Like, Coval is the founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival and Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, LTAB’s non-profit home. Coval teaches hip-hop aesthetics at The University of Illinois-Chicago, is a 4x HBO Def Poet, and has written for a wide variety of publications including CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, National Public Radio’s Chicago affiliate WBEZ, The Spoken Word Revolution Redux (Source), Handbook of Public Pedagogy (Routledge) 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed U.S. History (Haymarket) & It Was Written: Reading Nas’s Illmatic, ed. by Michael Eric Dyson (Basic).  Coval won a New Voices/New Visions award from the Kennedy Center for a play co-authored with Idris Goodwin about graffiti writers called, This is Modern Art, that will premiere in the winter of 2015 at Steppenwolf Theater and is currently editing an anthology, The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket) due out February 2015.

Rhymes: Herbie Hancock “Rockit”, Boogie Down Productions “Why is That?”, and A Tribe Called Quest “Scenario”



Click here to download Kevin’s interview

More info on Kevin: 



Kevin on Haymarket Books

Young Chicago Authors

Songs from this Interview:


Dr. Raphael Travis, Jr.


Dr. Raphael Travis, Jr.

Dr. Raphael Travis Jr., LCSW, is an Associate Professor at Texas State University – San Marcos School of Social Work.  He holds degrees from University of Virginia, University of Michigan, and University of California at Los Angeles.

Rhymes: Boogie Down Productions “My Philosophy,” Public Enemy “Can’t Truss It,” and Talib Kweli ft. Jean Grae “Black Girl Pain”


Click here to download Dr. Travis’ Interview

[audio [https://archive.org/download/RhymesReasons-Dr.RaphaelTravisJr/Rr-RaphaelTravis1.mp3]

More Info on Dr. Travis:

Dr. Travis’ Interview with inSocialWork Podcast


A Profile via the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Dr. Travis’ Faculty Profile

Songs from this Interview:

DJ Hoodwink “Tired of Ducking U x Your Triumph”

 Talib Kweli “New Leaders”

Chance the Rapper “Dear Chicago Summer”

Asad Jafri


Asad Jafri

Asad Jafri is a global arts leader, cultural organizer, and multidisciplinary artist with a passion for sustainable social change. As a visionary, Asad recognizes community needs and drives initiatives for local and global change through his love of the arts. As a multidisciplinary artist, Asad utilizes his knowledge in many genres of music, theater, visual art, and dance from around the globe to curate unique captivating fusion productions. He is internationally regarded as an innovator, collaborator, connector and mentor. From 2007 – 2012, Asad served as the Director of Arts and Culture at the Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN). Asad also DJs under the moniker Man-o-Wax and has played at venues across continents, blending music from all over the world. As an individual and with his group – the FEW Collective, Asad has travelled far and wide merging art and social change through innovative mediums.  Currently, Asad is based in Kuala Lumpur working with the World Islamic Economic Forum and several other international arts and youth projects. Asad continues on his mission to travel the globe building community and connecting people across cultures through the universal language of art.

Rhymes: Killah Priest “B.I.B.L.E.”, Boogie Down Productions “Why Is That?”, and Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth “T.R.O.Y.”


Click here to download Asad’s interview

[audio https://archive.org/download/RhymesReasons-AsadJafri/RhymesReasons-AsadJafri.mp3]

More Info on Asad:

FEW Collective


Songs from this Interview:

GZA feat. Killah Priest “B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)”

Gang Starr “Above the Clouds”

Gang Starr “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”

Eric B. & Rakim “Casualties of War”

K-Solo “Letterman”

The Pharcyde “Runnin'”

MC Kash “Beneath this Sky”

Boogie Down Productions “Why is That?”

Boogie Down Productions “Love’s Gonna Get’cha”

Brother Ali “Soul Whisper”

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth “T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)”

“Ali Mola Ali Mola”

Altimet “Syukur”

Tiraline feat. The ReMINDers “Tolerance”

Brother Ali “Good Lord”