Dispatches from the Rap Wars
A sociologist embeds with a gang in Chicago.
A sociologist embeds with a gang in Chicago.
"Los Angeles is a weird, complicated town for him. It's where all the record labels are, for one thing. And Chancelor Bennett, as he was born, is unsigned. Won't sign. It's maybe the most interesting, improbable music-industry story going right now—a young, obviously gifted rapper, universally hailed as the heir to Kanye and leader of a new generation of Internet-savvy kids who think of Jay Z as a failed tech entrepreneur, now on his fourth year of refusing to sign with a label."
Violence convulses the city of Chicago after dark. Reporting on it leaves its own scars.
For decades, the lead actor at an acclaimed storefront Chicago theater beat, groped, and choked his female co-stars in front of audiences, while manipulating them into coercive relationships offstage.
Three days, 64 people shot, six of them dead: Memorial Day weekend in Chicago.
Shot and killed just shy of his 18th birthday, Deonte Hoard was one of 489 homicide victims in Chicago last year. How this happened—and how it keeps happening—is both one person’s story and the story of how a community has been forced to adjust to murder as an everyday fact of life.
The activists fighting for police reform in the wake of a video that showed a black teenager shot 16 times by a white cop.
A civil trial of Officer Marco Proano, who shot Niko Husband in 2011, finds him not guilty. By accident.
When cops kill civilians, their union is on hand to defend them. In many cases this has come at the expense of the truth.
Sarajevo, Chicago, and the memory of cities old and new.
Thirty-three years ago, a Chicago man was sentenced to death for murder. In 1999, another man confessed to the crime. Today, they are both free.
Fear, racism, and the historically troubling attitude of American pioneers.
The story of Tyrone Hood, who served 21 years for a murder he didn’t commit, and the Chicago criminal justice apparatus that allowed a serial killer to go free.
A Japanese photographer examines the scene of the St. Valentine's Day massacre; a story from the author of The Black Hour.
"Was it the worst I’d seen? I turned to the camera, viewing the scene anew. Four men lay in a row, as though they had been tucked into a large bed. One slept at their feet, face down. The last hunched on his knees at a round-backed wooden chair. Blood ran toward the center of the room. Later that day when I returned to the newsroom, I would release the image from the machine in my hands, like a dragon from a cage. The city would see the blood, black, and no one would remember that someone—call him Togo or call him Fujita, the name will not be printed—had stood in the dust of men’s bones to face the dragon so that they did not have to."
A Chicago housing project resident reports intruders breaking into her apartment through a medicine cabinet. Days later, she’s found dead.
Inside the criminal operation illegally buying, selling and killing tigers – and selling their meat at the local butcher.
On the “queer roots” of Disco, House, and beyond.
When an antsy tech entrepreneur takes over a struggling newspaper.
How Chicago is key to a business moving tons of drugs for billions of dollars.
An unemployed banker drifts along Occupy protests, his crumbling life, and a crime scene.
"Against the bleachers’ far end, beyond the scope of the cameras, Michael was thinking again about Brussels. The bullet had rung out with plunky subtlety he knew to expect but found disappointing, still. He remembered a cathedral there and the sound he had heard inside of it. This was years ago. The sound he recalled was a cane that he’d heard falling onto the cathedral’s marble floor. The way sound survives inside a cathedral. He remembered looking across the aisle to a hairless woman with earrings dangling halfway down her neck. In the darkness of Chicago, the boy’s body called to him for a closer look, he still had his phone after all, a camera. He could hear the sirens approaching."
How the foreclosure crisis ignited a new form of activism in Chicago’s vacant homes.
How companies and large temp agencies benefit from—and tacitly collaborate with—an underworld of labor brokers, known as “raiteros,” who charge workers fees, pushing their pay below minimum wage.
On the brick stackers of Chicago.
How a Chicago drug organization did business.
The decline and fall of Cabrini-Green, Chicago’s infamous public housing development.