Breathless, Chicago IL
Longest post ever!
The view from the 96th floor of Chi-town’s Hancock Tower. We make it a point to visit the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor every time we’re in downtown Chi. You can see the Sears Tower in the top right (now called Willis Tower). This was taken handheld in the dark of night so the image quality isn’t very good. The photo was already noisy and lacked sharpness, so I added grain and converted it to black and white in Lightroom for a grungier look. Note: Scroll down for the answers to the Bob Dyan lyric quiz from Monday.
Speaking of grungy, and continuing on with my musical inspiration lately, this photo reminds me of a lyric from one of my favorite artists, Kanye West:
“I walk through the valley of Chi, where death is,
Top floor, the view alone will leave you breathless.”
The view certainly will leave you breathless, but it’s also accurate to describe the city as a valley of death. Chicago had more murders in 2012 than any other US city. According to the CPD, there were 500 homicides in 2012, 435 of which were committed with guns. Chicago had 2,400 shootings in 2012. Over 400 school-aged children were shot in 2012, and 62 of them were killed. So while the view is beautiful from up on the mountainous skyscrapers, down in the valley, on the streets and in the schoolyard, the shadow of death is everywhere.
UPDATE RE ART'S COMMENT: Art is right, I've never felt unsafe in the Chicago Loop, and according to the homicide maps I've searched on google, very few murders occur inside the loop, which is where visitors are most likely to go. But the murders are not relegated to just a few bad neighborhoods either, as there are shootings and murders damn near everywhere in Chicago outside the loop. For instance: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-map-of-chicagos-2012-homicides-shows-what-its-like-to-have-dozens-of-shootings-every-weekend-2012-7
Kanye revisits the theme of murder in the Chi in a pair of verses in the song “Murder to Excellence” on his 2011 album “Watch the Throne” co-authored with my favorite rapper Jay-Z. He closes the two verses with this gem:
“I feel the pain in my city wherever I go,
314 soldier died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago.”
Kanye is quoting the numbers from 2008, and they are accurate. They lyric quoted at the top is from the song “Jesus Walks,” which was nominated for song of the year at the Grammy Awards, won a Grammy for best rap song and is currently ranked 274 on Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest songs of all time. The song is on Kanye’s 2004 debut album “The College Dropout,” which received 10 Grammy nominations, including album of the year, and won three, including best rap album. Rolling Stone declared it the album of the year. Rap music often gets a bad rep, so I thought I’d continue the lyric from Jesus Walks I started above, because it’s a pretty good one and one that I don’t think is too offensive for this crowd (although there is one curse word, beware):
I walk through the valley of the Chi where death is
Top floor the view alone will leave you breathless *gasps*
Try to catch it *gasps* it's kinda hard
Getting choked by detectives: yeah, yeah, now check the method
They be asking us questions, harass and arrest us
Saying "we eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast"
Huh? Y'all eat pieces of shit? What's the basis?
We ain't going nowhere but got suits and cases
A trunk full of coke rental car from Avis
My momma used to say only Jesus can save us
Well momma I know I act a fool
But I'll be gone 'til November I got packs to move I hope
God show me the way because the Devil trying to break me down
(Jesus walks with me)
The only thing that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now
And I don't think there is nothing I can do now to right my wrongs
(Jesus walks with me)
I want to talk to God but I'm afraid because we ain't spoke in so long
To the hustlers, killers, murderers, drug dealers, even the scrippers
(Jesus walks for them)
To the victims of welfare for we living in hell here, hell yeah
(Jesus walks for them)
Now, hear ye, hear ye: want to see Thee more clearly
I know he hear me when my feet get weary
Cause we're the almost nearly extinct
We rappers is role models: we rap, we don't think
I ain't here to argue about his facial features
Or here to convert atheists into believers
I'm just trying to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that's the way I need Jesus
So here go my single dog radio needs this
They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, videotape
But if I talk about God my record won't get played, huh?
Well if this take away from my spins
Which will probably take away from my ends
Then I hope this take away from my sins
And bring the day that I'm dreaming about
Next time I'm in the club, everybody screaming out:
Lyrics from http://www.rapgenius.com , which has every line annotated in case you have trouble deciphering the lyrics.
To answer the Bob Dylan lyric quiz about wind the other day, the three wind references I had in mind were:
The song “Blowin’ in the Wind,” written by Bob Dylan in 1962.
The lyric “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” from the song “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” written by Bob Dylan in 1965.
The song “Idiot Wind,” written by Bob Dylan in 1974.
Critiques are always welcome.
Daily photo: April 25, 2013, taken April 12, 2013