Gig Seeker Pro


Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"FM Supreme Emcee, teacher looks to break down gender, cultural barriers."

Jessica Disu, aka FM Supreme, is a multi-talented artist who defies normal categorization. She's been rhyming since the age of 10, and whereas many would be quick to tag her as a one-dimensional "female lyricist," Jessica is just as quick to squash that misnomer with a perspective that deals more with sense and logic than mere gender politics. In her relatively young career she's released five respectable projects, including a recent EP entitled The FM Supreme Project. The EP is a culmination of her experiences over the past 16 months, and holds her at her finest as she commands the mic with razor-sharp precision and heady wordplay.

At this point in her career, FM Supreme has moved away from the fickle music scene and dove headfirst into the classroom, where she's eager to share her perspectives on life. As she continues to juggle her talents, it would be wise to keep tabs on her to see what she comes up with next. Centerstage caught up with her before her EP release party at the Beat Kitchen to talk about those ambitions and what we can expect in the coming months.

Are you from Chicago originally?
I was born and raised in Chicago. I have lived here a majority of my life with the exception of two years living in NYC. I went to college in Midtown - Manhattan - after I graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts High School. For a short while, lived in Harlem while interning in the promotions dept at Warner Music Group.

How and when did you first get interested in hip-hop?
I first got interested in hip-hop when I was 10. My mother was a manager at the time and had her own record label. Being around her inspired me to become an artist. I figured it would hold my mom's attention and it was something that just stuck, but I wasn't serious about it. When I was 11, in 1999 I think, rapper Eve came out with her song "Love is Blind," which is about domestic violence. It was then that I knew I wanted to rap for sure and that my music could relate to people. I had a cousin who was experiencing the same type of abuse that the girl in Eve's song was, and it just hit home. It was my "eureka!" moment and I knew then that I wanted to be the hip-hop artist to speak to girls and women, the way Eve spoke to me.

Was there one particular moment aside from that that inspired you to become an emcee or was it just a culmination of things?
The moment that made me know and believe that I could actually be an emcee was when I was 13. I actually had the opportunity to meet Eve on the South Side of Chicago. The movie Barbershop starring Ice Cube was being filmed around the corner from my mom's apartment. I went up to the production set everyday and would rap for Eve and the other crew members of the film. She basically mentored, motivated and inspired me for a few weeks and told me to go to the studio to record my material for the first time. Those were real moments for me because just two- three years ago, I'm listening to Eve on the radio and watching her music videos, and now in real life she's telling me that I'm a good rapper and could make it and that I should go record myself to hear how my voice sounds. I've been recording ever since. That was my moment of inspiration to begin my journey as an emcee and performer.

How does Chicago inspire you as an artist?
Chicago inspires me a lot, and for many reasons. There's a lot going on here. I'm a part-time creative writing teacher at a private all girls school. I am also a teaching artist for youth organizations, Young Chicago Authors and Kuumba Lynx. I frequent performances and writing workshops in CPS. I am personally connected and affected by the youth violence and murders that are taking place here. It is as if it has become the norm. It's not even news anymore. It's crazy.

My biggest fear is losing one of my students to violence. I told them, "bullets have no name on them and death happens in a moment. In one moment, that could've been you, or me." This is the city of shady politics, corrupt governors, mayors who step down for "no reason," and home to the first black family in the White House. Chi City is full of stories, imagination and inspiration. It's just really about choosing which ones are worthy enough to tell.

What's your take on the hip-hop scene here?
The hip-hop scene here to me is arbitrary. I think there are many different scenes; grungy underground backpack rapper scene, hipster/hip hop scene, 'I'm too cool for school' scene. I mean I'm sure there's more. I try not to get too involved or caught up in any of the scenes. This city lacks unity for the most part. The scenes here don't seem to be interested in unifying to become one voice to make noise - that would make the industry and world alike notice our music, movement and culture. This inspired my song, The Barrel on the EP. My take is, think globally, act locally. Most of these artists are "local-minded" and are content and comfortable with being local. I'm good on that. I have already toured in Amsterdam and London in 2009. I'm touring overseas again soon. I can't be caught up in Chicago politics of any kind. It's not even important on a larger scale of things. What is important is the voice, and plight of the shorties (youth) that are dying. I'd rather rock shows that are worth it at night, financially and in my day life inspire the future. That's what it's really about.

As a female emcee, what are some of the biases that you've encountered? Has that fueled you in any way?
As a female emcee, I'm constantly hated on by my male counterparts. I've been performing on a steadfast grind since 15 years old; hitting the scene with mix tapes, EPs and albums before cats started rhyming. Seriously, some of these dudes just started rapping a year or two ago, and you can tell, and they still don't show me the love and respect that I feel I deserve. I think that has a lot to do with my talent. My lyrical ability is supreme and my performance is high caliber. If you share a bill with me, you have to "bring it" or be upstaged by a girl ... and no one wants that, so I'm not typically booked by these guys for shows. They never ask me to perform at their events even though they are fans or have heard of FM Supreme. I'm a very consistent emcee, I just happen to be a woman. I'm not personally offended or anything. It makes me work that much harder to be better at what I do.

In addition to emceeing you also work as a social activist and educator. What programs are you a part of, and in what ways has hip-hop helped you in terms of conveying a larger message?
I teach at an all girls high school and recently signed up to come into a CPS grammar school to teach 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. This is exciting because at the all girls school, my students are juniors and seniors. I teach creative writing, poetry, hip hop and the art of life. I'm always drawing from life experiences so my students can relate and hopefully get the lesson without having to experience it firsthand. Hip-hop gives me my credibility. The youth listen to me and look up to me because they know I'm real and because I can rap that makes me a "dope teacher." I don't take this responsibility lightly and because I have power and influence, I'm responsible with it or at least I try to be. I don't curse in my music anymore or use the N-word, hopefully this will inspire my students to utilize their vocabulary more. We are all poets. My mentor, poet and Oak Park River Forest slam coach Peter Khan has always told me "rap is rhythm and poetry."

Could you tell me a little bit about your label, the CommonWealth Music Group?
CommonWealth Music Group was formed toward the middle of second semester in college, 2007, while living in New York. I had already independently released two projects prior to graduating high school and I was functioning like a label exec: fundraising the budget, getting the graphic designer, finding the producer, etc. When I was 18, I decided to give what I was doing a name, and spirit said, 'CommonWealth Music Group' and I've been rocking with it ever since. I've had several young artists come and go/grow. Right now, we are in a nice place. I have a solid team behind the scenes. Talent (Producer/MC) and I are the only recording artists signed to the company presently.

CommonWealth is a movement though, full of activists, artists, educators and entertainers. My production team is sick. Be on the lookout for them, a trio including Talent. My logo and visual image is brought through the lens of my photographer, James Cox and graphic designer, Summer Coleman (Blknd Graphics). I also have a young protégé, Jasmine Carter, 18 year-old singer/rapper who’s a freshman at Columbia College. We are CW.

You're about to release a new EP, The FM Supreme Project, could you tell me a little bit about what went into it?
The FM Supreme Project EP is a short piece of a larger body of work that is being written and or re-written for the full length LP that will be dropping in March 2011. This project was written during some very defining moments in my life over the past 16 months. The mind state that I'm in is like that of the projects, a place where you can survive but not live. Like you aren't meant to live there your entire life. If you do live in the pj's your whole life, it can become a hindrance to your worldly development. Or like even if you planned to live there forever, you're hit with the reality of gentrification that knocks down the building you live in and everything around the world that you thought you knew. - Chicago Sun-Times Media

"Chicago's Top Female MC Under The Radar 11/23/09"

FM Supreme (Jessica Disu) Photo Credit: Colleen Catania

Neighborhood: Edgewater

Lyrical longevity: 11 years

Style similarity: MC Lyte combined with Queen Latifah, said Supreme.

Influences: MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Nas, Jay-Z

Studio status: "The Go State of Mind," a full-length album due out in fall of 2010

Mic check: Follow her at @fmsupreme and

- Chicago Tribune's RedEye



Hometown: Chicago

Age: 19

Sound: Raw passion from the lyrically inclined.

It’s about timing: A staple on Chicago’s youth slam scene, Supreme has dedicated a lot of time and energy to cultivating her craft. “I think that to survive in this game, a true MC needs patience and perseverance,” the poet-rapper-scholar says. “In due time, positive MCs will get the recognition they rightfully deserve.”

Until then Supreme is planning her next steps, which include creating a production company, getting a distribution deal, and earning her doctorate so that she can teach hip-hop and African-American studies. “[I’ll] write a few books on the correlation of the two and speak on my experiences as an African-American woman entertainer and academic. Hopefully with my influence as an artist, I can continue to break barriers and educate.”

What's next? A mixtape titled The Go State of Mind.


*Find this story @
- Venuszine Magazine by Niema Jordan

"Eight Forty-Eight - One-on-One with FM Supreme"

Eighteen-year-old FM Supreme was born on the West Side of Chicago and grew up in tough circumstances – in and out of foster care. Today, she’s one of the emerging names on the local hip-hop scene. Her latest album is called Basik Gumbo. And she recently sat down with Eight Forty-Eight contributor Kevin Coval to talk about her blended flavor.

*Find the audio recording of this interview @ - WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

"Decibelle Music & Arts Fest 08 Review"

After a five-minute break, Chicago rapper Jessica Disu (aka FM Supreme) cranked up the intensity and dove into a freestyle rap. Sweat dripped from Disu's face showing just how hard she was working. With each passing beat and rhyme, I was jolted and surprised as she blazed through tracks from her Beautiful Grind mixtape. Though the mixtape does demonstrate her lyrical prowess, it doesn't showcase her live electricity. Her eyes were like sticks of optical dynamite, exploding with each verse and punch line. And when the time was right, she extolled the crowd to "Get your C's up!" and show some Chi City love. It was a supremely soulful end to Friday night.

-Chris Catania -

"FM Supreme's Chicago Tribune Review 7/24/2009"

FM Supreme rocks our world. There was a time when women in rap music had to have a gimmick. Now they just rap and are judged on their flow -- that elusive melding of wordplay and how it relates to the beat. FM Supreme gets it. There's edge without attitude, hardness without excess. It's easy to see why last year VenusZine called her a rapper to watch. Williams;jsessionid=976488C9A3E9FFB24C4F.3194?view=page1&feed:a=chi_trib_10min&feed:c=entertainment&feed:i=48219255&nopaging=1
- Chicago Tribune

"Now Hear This!"

A chilly drizzle begins to fall and soak the sidewalk as I speak with Chicago emcee Jessica Disu—aka FM Supreme—outside and under awning at the Wicker Well on Chicago’s North Side. It’s an hour before her late night performance at the Great Smoke Out Showcase, where Disu will perform with other up-and-coming Chicago rapper/emcees like Mic Terror and Rocketters. And like them, she’s looking to build momentum, sharpen her craft, and add to her already growing community of fans and supporters.

The rain doesn’t stand a chance against her countenance, beaming a blossoming ambition and brightening up the soggy and damp surroundings. She talks about her music career in fully excited animation, while she also gives bear hugs and flashes smiles in rapid fashion to friends and fans as they walk into the venue. The activist, poet, and entrepreneur fields my questions like she’s been at it for a lot longer than her 20 years would suggest.

When I first stumbled upon FM Supreme at Decibelle Festival last fall, it was the nuance, explosiveness, and skill of her performance that made me take notice, encouraging me to dive deeper into her latest release, The Beautiful Grind Mixtape. During that show and the days after, I considered the possibility that she could be a catalyst for a much needed renaissance of the female emcee in today’s hip-hop culture. I knew very little about her at the time, but soon after her performance I learned that what I saw was the result of an upbringing in the music business and a genuine passion for spoken word.

And in the last year, I haven’t been the only one to take notice. Disu has been featured in local publications as one of Chicago’s “emcees to watch.” And with each passing month, the list of artists whom she’s shared stages with—David Banner,
Black Sheep ,MC Lyte ,Saul Williams, et al.—continues to grow, too.

Her involvement in social and political activism is a strong thread through her music. In January, the Chicago Southside native went to Washington D.C. to celebrate President Obama’s inauguration with a group of other young activists from the Chicagoland area. “Being at the inauguration felt like a utopia,” says Disu. “I’ve never seen so many people in one place be so happy and inspired, even though we all could’ve been sad and depressed about the economy. I was so inspired. It was life-changing for me as person and an artist. I will be proud to tell my kids and grandkids that I was there to see the first black President be inaugurated.”

And Disu hopes to take that inspiration and channel it into developing as a strong performer with something to say, so she can bring back and celebrate the power set forth by female rapper/emcee legends MC Lyte,
Queen Latifah, Sister Solider, Eve, and Lil’ Kim. And the influences ring true in the way Disu rhymes and carries herself. At the core of her message is a desire to create a “movement.” When I ask her what that means to her, exactly, she tells me it’s her way of creating awareness and building momentum for social and personal action among her peers and her generation using hip-hop, spoken word, and youth activism.

At only 20 years old, I’m surprised at her knowledge and ambition. She smiles and immediately credits her mom—who was a local Chicago producer, manager, and promoter—for teaching her how to build her music career. “My mom was a jack-of-all-trades. She had her own label and she showed me how to be my own manager. I saw how and what she did to build an artist from the ground up, and I applied it to what I do now.”

Disu’s also quick to credit her high school education. “I owe a lot my knowledge of the [music] industry to the Chicago Academy for the Arts. I took a music business class with Jason Patera (Chair of the Music Department). He graduated from Berkley College of Music with
John Mayer and Gavin Degraw. He told me, when I was 16, that if I still wanted to do this music thing after I took the class and I learned all the shady shit that goes on—if you still want to pursue a career in the music industry, then I applaud you and I’ll help you.”

Disu started college, but she’s been out of formal school for the last couple years, so she’s found other ways to stay sharp, hungry, and eager. “Over the last year I interned at Warner Brothers Records in NYC. Then I worked in Chicago with Jeff McClusky & Associates, up until this January, while also working at the Jane Adams Hull House as an event coordinator. I plan to enroll at Columbia in Chicago soon so I can finish up and apply my education to my music business plans, too. I’ve learned so much about life, myself, and how to develop myself on the streets in the time I took off from school.”

As a one-woman promotion machine, over the last few months, I’ve seen Disu apply her homegrown grassroots training and mix what she learned with new and social media promotions. From Facebook and MySpace to regular personal text updates to fans, Disu appears to be on her way to creating the movement she desires. I ask her about the fingered “C’s” I’ve seen her flash, and again she surprises me, telling me they’re not to represent the city she lives in, but to promote CommonWealth Entertainment, an organization she envisioned and has been developing since she was 15.

“Ever since I was ten or so, I always wanted to be hands-on and run things myself. I’ve taken everything I’ve learned and applied it to creating CommonWealth Entertainment. I’ve always wanted to do everything in-house—because of my upbringing I’m a CEO by nature. So that’s why I’m planning on creating different divisions, so I can do all the stuff that goes into creating an album myself, and promote the kind of artist I believe in.”

Each of the last four years Disu has released a project—The Diary of a Mad Black Woman Mixtape (2005), Forever Maroon EP (2006), Basik Gumbo LP (2007), and The Beautiful Grind Mixtape (2008). But 2009 will be the first year she won’t be releasing anything new, because she wants to make her forthcoming album, The Go
State of Mind, slated to drop March 2010, exactly the way she wants it without rushing it.

Then there Disu’s close friend and fellow Chicago spoken word teammate Deja Taylor. In the last few years, Disu has worked with Taylor, 19, to build a community and following among Chicago’s legendary spoken word community. It began with poetry slamming group the Chicago 7, a team Disu created and organized. Then Taylor landed opening slots for hip-hop giants Common and
the Roots, putting her on the local buzz list and earning comparisons to a young
Jill Scott. In 2008, Taylor won Chicago’s Youth Teen Poetry Slam festival Louder Than a Bomb, and in 2009 she’s featured in Russell Simmons new HBO series about youth slam poetry, Brave New Voices, performing her piece “Ode to the Female Emcee”.

Disu’s plan is to release both FM Supreme and Deja Taylor’s debut album together next year, and to continue to represent and speak to an audience she feels isn’t getting a voice. “I’ve felt for a long time that there isn’t anyone speaking to what my peers are going through,” says Disu. “By releasing our work together, we make it clear that we’re aiming for the same goal of inspiring our generation to be active, honest, and pursue the movement that speaks to who we really are.”

With just a few minutes to go before her performance, Disu tosses me a compliment and explains the interesting backstory to the Decibelle show when I first saw her. “Your review really taught me a lot,” she says. “When I read it I started to think how I can make the live energy come to the studio. People tell me they love to see me live because of the live energy I give off.”

“Since I started rapping and rhyming I’ve learned a lot from [Chicago emcee] DrUNkeN MoNkeeE,” she says. “We talked a few weeks before my live debut at the Decibelle festival and he really encouraged me to let the my “inner beast” out. So I was really excited to perform. When the moment came, I just decided to rock it.”

And she rocked it again. In just a limited two-song set, with fans jammed in shoulder-to-shoulder and the Wicker Well’s small stage at crowd level and the front row only inches away from Disu, she let it rip, rhyming over slick and bouncy retro house beats and spitting triumphant verses from her Beautiful Grind Mixtape.

With every performance, she’s expanding her audience and reaching out to new fans. And she made a point to show her thankfulness, because she knew playing this far north meant voyaging into the northern territory held down by other rising Chicago hip-hop duo
the Cool Kids. Disu took her movement of CommonWealth international when she opened for Israeli rapper Subliminal at the Park West in Chicago at the end of May. Yet again, a bigger stage and a larger audience for FM Supreme.

Chris Catania



The Diary of A Mad Black Women Mixtape 2005
Forever Maroon EP 2006
Basik Gumbo LP 2007
The Beautiful Grind Mixtape 2008
The FM Supreme Project EP 2010



Twenty-two year old, Jessica Disu aka FM Supreme has shared the stage with Boyz II Men, MC Lyte, Saul Williams, David Banner, The Cool Kids, KRS-One, Jean Grae and a host of other reknown performers, poets and artists.

In 2006, FM Supreme graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts High School ,media arts program. She went to college for a year in Manhattan, New York where she continued to develop herself as writer, poet and MC. In 2008, FM Supreme interned at Warner Brothers Records NYC for the spring semester. She later returned home to Chicago determined to make a name for her self and labeled her journey and mixtape, "The Beautiful Grind." FM Supreme has independently released five projects in the past five years: The Diary of A Mad Black Woman Mixtape (2005), Forever Maroon EP (2006), Basik Gumbo (2007), The Beautiful Grind Mixtape (2008), The FM Supreme Project EP (2010). She has performed all over the United States and briefly toured Europe, performing at clubs and venues in Amsterdam and London.

FM Supreme worked briefly at The Jane Addams Hull House Museum (University of Illinois-Chicago) in 2007 where she had the priviledge of coordinating DJ Kool Herc (aFounder of Hip Hop) and Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown's "funky drummer") in a performance for which she opened the show with her own original music.

For Booking: