Sang Yi. Korean American. Chicagoan. Hip hop promoter. The man is all of those things, but he is most definitely the last one. The term “promoter” may not strike quite a serious tone, at least to some. But a man that can list among his accomplishments the assembly of all living members of the Wu Tang Clan, Company Flow’s only non-Coachella performance of last year (and only show in Chicago ever), and the deliverance of the 100% bonified real MF Doom, is definitely serious with his.
He tries to play it off. We’re in my kitchen and I’m telling him it’s hard to be able to set up and deliver something of quality on a regular basis, especially in a business as riddled with complexities as live performance. During this particular week, Sang is in LA for a wedding. He speaks of his past events in a very matter-of-fact tone.
“For Company Flow, I thought well, how about we get them to stop in Chicago before they head out to California? That’s how the idea came about. Only three specific businesses were able to get them to do a reunion show – ATP, which is based out of London, Coachella, and me. So that’s definitely one of the things I’m proud of.”
I first met Sang outside of Gramaphone Records, at its original location just South of where it is now on Clark Street. It was the early part of the 2000’s and Pugslee introduced us, unsurprisingly. I had already heard of Sang through his promotion company Hip Hop 2000. He was throwing a lot of shows around the city and I would see the name “Hip Hop 2000” on flyers everywhere. His promotion company is now billed as Sang Presents. I ask him how he was first exposed to Chicago hip hop.