Matt Muse Credit: Paul Araki Elliot

At the end of May, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, creative director of local youth mentorship nonprofit Donda’s House—which has since been rebranded Art of Culture Inc.—went through a heated Twitter debate with Kim Kardashian West over Kanye’s alleged lack of financial and spiritual support for the nonprofit organization named for his late mother. Rapper Matt Muse, who joined Donda’s House in spring 2015, voiced his support for the embattled organization that weekend, and he continues to champion it as often as he can, as he did in a recent interview with local hip-hop outlet Elevator. “They opened up a lot of doors and opportunities for me to be seen,” Muse said. “I opened for Big Krit through Donda’s house. I performed at the Aahh! Fest with J. Cole and all of them.” These days he pays the spirit of his experience at Donda’s House forward, working in the local creative community as a teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors, where he helps youthful writers and performers find their voices and find their way. And Muse is doing quite well on his own; today he celebrates the arrival of his second project, the self-released Nappy Talk, with a performance at Taste of Chicago. He parallels his personal and artistic evolution with the decision he made three years ago to to grow out his hair. “When I really started to let my hair grow, it coincided with the confidence in myself to release music seriously and to take music seriously,” Muse recently told Redeye. The album shows that his skills have bloomed in that time too; his cool-in-the-pocket affectation on “Getting to It” is the stuff that turns rappers into stars.   v