kanye west's childhood home is becoming an incubator for young artists
Chicago rapper Rhymefest plans to turn the Southside residence into a community arts space with Kanye’s charity Donda’s House.
Kanye West has reinvented himself countless times since getting his start as a record producer in the late 90s. But the rap/fashion superstar has never stopped wearing his Chicago hometown on his increasingly expensive sleeve, name-dropping The Windy City in tracks both affectionate ("Homecoming") and bitter ("Murder to Excellence," "New God Flow.") Now Kanye's actual childhood home in the city's neglected Southside neighborhood will be fostering the next generation of burgeoning recording artists. Chicago rapper Che "Rhymefest" Smith has announced the purchase of the residence and plans to work with Kanye's charity Donda's House to turn it into an arts incubator and event space for at-risk youth. Rhymefest, who is currently Creative Director of Donda's House, is a childhood friend of Kanye and has served as co-writer on many of his albums.
"I'm excited to announce the purchase of Kanye's childhood home as a community arts incubator," he wrote on Instagram on Friday. "It will be the first of our Nationwide Lite-Houses. A state-of-the-art recording studio, a curriculum space for @dondashouse and Southside music museum. We want to show bright spots in communities that've been divested from, we know more lights exist here, they just need to be activated."
In an appeal for donations, Donda's House elaborated on the program's ambitions. "Donda's House envisions this facility as not only a homegrown hub of economic activity for the Southside but also a gathering place for the community with events and concerts. Donda's House selected this location in particular, because it is the former home of the organization's namesake Dr. Donda West, who at one time provided similar services and support to incubate young artists. Donda's House is committed to the success of Chicago's young creatives and this property will help these young people flourish."
Kanye isn't the only rap artist with deep roots in his Chi-Town hometown. Chance the Rapper recently led a crowd of thousands to an early voting site as part of his new nonprofit SocialWorks, giving a voice to those who might otherwise feel neglected by the democratic process, while Pusha T is currently mentoring music students in the city's under-funded public schools.
Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram