Mike Malinowski, aka Mic One Credit: Image from the Mic One Bandcamp page

Chicago underground hip-hop hero Mike “Mic One” Malinowski died this weekend at age 40. Malinowski cut his teeth with the Noise Pollution crew in the 90s; he dropped his first solo album, Who’s the Illest?, in 1998, around when he met longtime collaborator Chad Sorenson, aka DJ Risky Bizness. “Mike was a performance artist,” Sorenson says. “Our goal was to make these rock-star-style shows, but with hip-hop.” Malinowski drew on a love for rock he’d inherited from his family—at one Metro gig, part of the Molemen’s Chicago Rocks series, Malinowski and his band closed by inserting a cover of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Bonita Applebum” into Radiohead’s “Creep” (and then Malinowski smashed his guitar). Sorenson remembers the way his friend brought people together: “Mike was loved by everyone, because Mike was the guy who would go to your show—even if there was ten people there, he would be there.” Chicago hip-hop veterans such as Mic Terror, Astonish, and Longshot have shared condolences online since the sad news broke Saturday morning. “It’s just crazy—a kid from Portage Park who really made the city his,” Sorenson says. “Kids from Portage Park aren’t supposed to do that.”

In 2012 Gossip Wolf reported that talent buyer and Tonic Room owner Donnie Biggins was starting his own booking agency, Harmonica Dunn, and he’s clearly doing a great job—last week Berwyn roots-music club FitzGerald’s announced that he’ll be its new booker, replacing co-owner Bill FitzGerald after 36 years. Best of luck to both of them!

Lollapalooza isn’t the only game in town this weekend, mercifully. The We Are Hip-Hop Youth Festival takes place in Pilsen’s Dvorak Park on Saturday, celebrating the historical elements of hip-hop. The bill features break dancers, graffiti artists, and musicians such as Black Heaven, Dej Monae, D-Jilla, Lexi Monee, and Me’chelle Renee. The free event runs from 1 till 6 PM.  v

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