Rappin’ Tate The Great


There is a new rapper in town and he’s good. He is a positive role model for the children. He is currently making appearances at the schools promoting his CD titled READ.

His first album was released in 1990 on the T.O.M.A. label. It was titled “Ambitious.” He was featured in a “Someone You Should Know short television segment by Harry Porterfield on WLS television.

I caught Tate’s act at the Dodge Elementary School on Dec. 19, 2000. The show was dedicated to Vila Brooks, a teacher at the school who had just passed away. Some one said that she loved to party.

The DJ started the show off with a few cuts while Tate set things up and the children filed into the auditorium. Tate’s assistant passed out free tapes by R. Kelly and posters of Kane & Abel – other artists in the music business. Tate had a contest for students and the faculty. He had them recite the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. One would start and the next person would pick up where he left off. The prizes were great. There were caps, sweaters and play station games. He also rapped his READ album.

Tate previously has done a lot of volunteer work – including some work with Residents’ Journal and the Urban Youth International Journalism Program. In 1999, Tate helped pass out the book “Our America,” written by Grand Boulevard residents Le Alan Jones and Lloyd Newman with the help of radio producer David Isay. This is a good book to READ. Tate was born on Aug. 28, 1972. He joined the high school band and received a musical scholarship to Roosevelt University. He studied Shakespeare and learned to use rap music to increase his retention level. He is dedicated to the overall betterment of the inner city youth.

He produced a play called “Stop the Dope,” which got him recognized and honored by the entire Chicago public school system. Besides Dodge, Tate has performed at Hartigan Elementary School on 41st and State streets, Frazier Elementary and many others with his anti-drug, anti-violence rap sessions.

In January 1997, Tate toured with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow\PUSH family to downstate Illinois, where he inspired the young people to pursue an education. He has recorded numerous live broadcasts.

Tate is a mentor for the Black Star Project. The executive director, Fran Hendricks, recommends him highly.

Rappn’ Tate is someone special. The children seem to love him, not just his music. He takes time with the children. They know he cares, as anyone can see. He takes time with them and he insisted that they take pictures with him. During our chat, I found him to be charming as well. Rappn’ Tate da Great, as he is known by the children, invented Edutainment to encourage the children to use education as a means of acquiring self esteem and future achievements through academic excellence. His program was taped to send to public schools CEO Paul Vallas. Tate’s positivity rubs off on others.

Tate hooked me up on meeting a backbone of the local scene. His name is Rene Maxwell. I caught his act Feb. 2 at the YMCA at 3449 W. Arthington. Maxwell and his daughter, Burnett Shunta, and other rappers were there. He and his daughter have a cassette out called Jesus Paid the Bill.

Maxwell goes to the schools and social organizations looking for the talent. He said, “I’m looking for another ‘Bow-Wow.

Maxwell found “Juicy,” a young man who performed and won the chance to travel around with them to discover other talent. He promised that the great R. Kelly will be in town in June and that he will introduce me.

Maxwell is associated with the Coalition to Protect Public Housing. He is fighting for the rights of the people being displaced and the right of the residents to purchase new single-family homes.

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