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The best kept secret in music



Sam I Am
Producing hip-hop legends straight out of Douglas Hall

By Libby John
Senior Reporter

Most students use their residence hall rooms to sleep.

Two NIU students use theirs as a recording studio.

NIU duo Sam-I-Am and MPLI will release their new rap and hip-hop CD on March 28.

Unlike most new CDs coming out, this one was recorded and produced at Douglas Hall.

“Yeah, sometimes we get in trouble because of the noise,” laughed Dennis Thompson, also known as MPLI.

This CD was made to represent NIU’s hip-hop and R&B talent, he said.

The first CD they did last semester, “NIU Compilation Mix Tape, Volume 1,” was done in one week, the duo said.

Sam Simmons, also known as Sam-I-Am, said he met Thompson last semester.

“I had a lot of the equipment needed to make the CD,” Thompson said.

The two quickly became acquainted and put out the first 16-song CD together.

This time, Thompson said, the new CD will be more focused, and more time will be spent on it.

The new album, “Volume 2,” is expected to have about the same number of songs with contributions from other NIU artists.

Simmons said after people heard about the first CD, a lot of them came up to the duo and were interested in being in the second one.

“There was a buzz about it for a while,” Simmons said. “We even had a waiting list.”

He said he first was interested in making the CD when he saw NIU’s talent with no way for it to be expressed.

“When people think of NIU, they don’t think of hip-hop,” he said. “There is so much good talent, and we need to put it in a CD.”

They said for this CD, they wanted more energy in the music, like old groups from 1990 to 1995. Some inspiration they have had is from groups like the Jungle Brothers and Farside.

A CD release party will be held on March 28 at The House, 263 E. Lincoln Highway. There also will be an open mic where attendees will be able to perform.

Simmons said there have been other attempts from NIU students to make these types of CDs, but they never worked out.

“This is the first time a hip-hop CD had such an effect on campus,” he said. “We plan to go down as DeKalb/NIU legends.”
- Northern Star

"Get Ready to Jam"

Get ready to jam
Soule Infinite to host comedy show Saturday


By Talesha Herbert
Staff Reporter


Jenny Jones’s very own Big Daddy Woo-Woo, aka Tornado, will host Soule Infinite’s second-annual Soule Comedy Jam at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Holmes Student Center’s Carl Sandburg Auditorium.

The show also will feature comedian Leon Rodgers from “Comic View” and “Showtime at the Apollo.”

Other guest artists will include some of Chicago’s popular comedians, as well as special performances by the Soule Infinite entertainment rap artists Sam.I.Am and Elliot Ness. Sam.I.Am, also a break dancer, has performed for Erykah Badu and will release his first album, “Refresher,” on Soule Infinite’s record label in January 2003.

“We have a genuine love for entertaining people and for music,” said Chris Dyer, co-founder of Soule Infinite.

Lashun Tines, a senior visual communication major, and Dyer, a senior corporate communication major, founded the Soule Infinite entertainment group out of their appreciation of the arts.

Dyer admitted that being the co-president, along with Tines, is hard work and can be tedious at times.

Although Soule Infinite has been in existence at NIU for three years and isn’t the first group to coordinate a comedy show, Dyer and Tines want to make sure their events will stand out while providing people with entertainment worth their time.

Dyer, Tines and other members of the group have been planning the comedy show since April, and said networking is a part of attracting comedians to put on a local show.

“I enjoy being able to provide an atmosphere for people to showcase their talents,” Tines said. - Northern Star

"Kweli has crowd hoppin'"

Despite rumbling bass lines, bright lights and transcendent, poetic vocals delivered by Talib Kweli, the Campus Activities Board ended its series of concerts in the Duke Ellington Ballroom Wednesday night due to lack of funding.

Past CAB shows have featured Howie Day, Jason Mraz, Michelle Branch and most recently, the Epitaph Tour, all of which pulled in more than 700 concert-going patrons.

CAB concerts lost funding last semester when the Student Association took control and rewrote the CAB constitution and cut all concert funds. This, in turn, means Duke Ellington Ballroom shows are no more for the time being and future shows will be held at the Convocation Center.

"I’ve been on the CAB concert board for four years and this just sucks," said Bridget Brennan, CAB concert coordinator, who wore a shirt that said "damn the man" in bold letters. "I’m putting in my letter of resignation after the show."

Even though it was CAB’s last show, a fact most audience members were completely unaware of, Kweli kept the crowd of about 500 moving and on its feet.

Incorporating beats from such artists as Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five to the Beatles, Kweli kept the audience involved through his hour-long set with call and response of vocals and having the audience constantly wave their hands back and forth.

"Y’all sound all right," said Kweli from the stage after the audience filled in lyrics whenever the disc jockey stopped the beat from behind his two turntables.

Halfway through the show, Kweli stepped aside and allowed his DJ to showcase his talents and the audience roared in response.

NIU student and resident rapper Sam-I-Am also performed, delivering rhymes and an energetic stage presence. He slowly worked over the crowd, and let the expletives fly during his 20-minute set.

Before ending his set, Sam promoted his last open mic night, which takes place tonight in the Diversions Lounge, and thanked the crowd for its support over the years.

"Sam has been a big influence on the community, so it’s nice to have him play," said Brennan.

Before Sam’s set, the mood grew somber as the night was dedicated to a recently deceased NIU student.

"I just wanted to thank CAB and Talib Kweli for dedicating this concert to my former girlfriend, Abigail Rose [Schirmer]," said Maliq Fuller from the stage. "What happened was a terrible tragedy."

Junk in the Trunk opened the show with 25-minute set encompassing a mix of jazz and funk while playing such songs as James Brown’s "Sex Machine" and Stevie Wonder’s "I Wish." - Northern Star


LP: Refreshing 2002
LP: Taste of Chicago release TBA


Feeling a bit camera shy


SAM I AM began rapping at the tender age of 5. After making countless rap and mixtapes in his basement, he would go on to become known for rapping, breakdancing, and deejaying at skillful levels. During the 90's, SAM I AM joined well respected hip hop crews such as SAK and ILL NATURE. SAM-I-AM hosted nearly 40 Open Mics for the artistic community at NIU (Northern Illinois University). After graduating from NIU in May 05, he has proceeded to perform at several open mics and rap battles in Chicago. He released a full length album entitled Refreshing (2002) and will be releasing his newest LP "TASTE OF CHICAGO" very soon.

Recent Performances:
1st place Power 92.3 Rap Battle Competition
Winner of Freestyle at Cherry Red
ChiKollaboration 2006
Host of Rain Forest Cafe Chicago