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The Lower Links


The Chicago Reader called Duro Wicks “one of the godfathers of the Wicker Park hip hop scene.” The Chicago Tribune called him “a large man with a charismatic presence… at the center of the kinetic circus.” Duro describes himself as “The Catalyst” when talking about how he created a place for a generation of kids to show up and prove. “Before I did my own thing, I had nowhere to go,” says Duro “so my whole thing was let’s do our own shows.” Duro fell in love with hip hop long before it was easily accessible in Chicago, so he wanted to create a place for people with similar passions to gather. After several false starts, he finally got some traction running the first weekly Hip Hop open mic night in the city at a basement club called The Lower Links. It brought in hundreds of kids every week from all over the city and suburbs, which was unheard of in the segregated Chicago of early '90's. After a brief, but wildly popular run, the club ended up being a victim of its own success when neighbors and other business owners in Wrigleyville, unhappy with the growing number of Black kids hanging out in the street every week, took action and got the club shut down.

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