DJ Skoli eats a doughnut outside Cafe Mustache during one of his monthly Skoli Moly Donut Shop parties. Credit: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

If you were to walk into Cafe Mustache during Skoli Moly Donut Shop, you’d have no clue you were on the Logan Square strip of Milwaukee Avenue on the northwest side. That’s because DJ Skoli, government name Ryan Roberts, curates variegated, seamless lineups of up to ten singers, rappers, and DJs from across the city in a way that most venues fail to replicate. This is a testament to Skoli’s decade-long history of throwing local events and using his resources as a DJ and social powerhouse to elevate the work of other artists. 

Skoli is the founder of a record label and event production company called Kinky Elevator Music, which showcases experimental beat-driven artists and helps them build their brands; that’s also the name of the Hyde Park native’s Soundcloud, where he used to post his own music and that of his peers, at their request. Skoli has injected the ethos of that passion project into the Skoli Moly Donut Shop, usually held on the third Thursday of the month. Each artist gets ten to 15 minutes to perform, Skoli provides homemade doughnuts for sale, and folks come anticipating a raw, hype experience. Toward the end of the night, Skoli or another DJ plays beats and lets a cypher unfold, with artists and audience members alike invited to participate in a spontaneous freestyle right in the middle of Cafe Mustache. 

The next Skoli Moly Donut Shop is Thursday, April 20, and it celebrates its second anniversary in May. I look forward to many more years.


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