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.
I want to drop a quick line about the e-commerce venture I’ve started over at Menugem. It’s a service for restaurants to put their menus online, on their Facebook page, and conduct online and mobile ordering. We also publish and aggregate food and restaurant news. If you love food, or have any interest in the food service and restaurant industries, check us out, give us a follow or a like!
Although the business has taken some time away from me creatively, it has brought me back to the Chi on a regular basis. So keep an eye out, there’s much more to come. Thanks ya’ll!
The story for this entry begins here, at an inconspicuous grey building on West Lake Street in Chicago, just outside the Loop. Back when our Art Director JASH and I were students at UIC, we lived here in a loft with 7 other people – mostly graf writers and emcees, including G4 recording artists Serf400 and Dr. Spliffen. It was an eccentric crowd, and we definitely had some great times at 657B.
That was ’96, before anything related to Galapagos4 had even begun to happen. Or had it? In my opinion, it was a time when the independent hip hop scene in Chicago was becoming more defined. When thinking back to what Chicago records were in rotation for me at that time, E.C. Illa’s second album and the Talent Fest compilation are two that come to mind. I remember listening to Rhymefest’s “How We Chill Part 2” for the first time just inside those second story windows. Those times, and the events that filled them, would personally influence my own music, and ideology of music, for years to come.
Fast-forward to the present day.. and I guess fate would have it that this small stretch of Lake Street remain significant to our crew. Across the street from the old loft, at 650 W Lake, is Crosstalk International, one of Galapagos4’s largest distributors.
Crosstalk is both a distributor and a label, and their latest vinyl release is definitely noteworthy – Tokimonsta‘s debut album, Midnight Menu. Crosstalk is the exclusive distributor of this record, so act fast if you want to own a copy.