Rest in power to hip-hop activist Jamie ‘J. Milla’ SevierJ.R. Nelsonon April 28, 2020 at 10:45 pm

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Jamie "J. Milla" Sevier (third from left) after a Chicago hip-hop panel at the Museum of Science and Industry, with Carrico "Kingdom Rock" Sanders, Bobby "Massive" Ambrose, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Jay Will, and Lavell "DJ Jihad" Watson - COURTESY CARRICO SANDERS

Veteran Chicago hip-hop activist, manager, and promoter Jamie “J. Milla” Sevier died Saturday, April 18, at age 47. As a kid, Sevier got into breakdancing and graffiti, and he’d joined Chi-ROCK Nation by the time he met longtime friend Carrico “Kingdom Rock” Sanders, founder of the Ill State Assassins crew, in the early 1990s. They’d crossed paths because both were organizing against an attempt to ban hip-hop from local radio. “Jamie has always been the bullhorn for Chicago,” Sanders says. “I will also call him ‘the plug’–there’s a few of us that connect people together, and Jamie was one.” Sanders and Sevier went on to promote hip-hop events together (Sevier also became an Ill State member), and they both worked for Operation PUSH–Sanders as a youth organizer, Sevier as national youth director (his godmother is PUSH Excel national education director Janette Wilson). In the 2000s, Sevier served as president of the nonprofit People Reclaiming Ourselves (whose board included Chico DeBarge) and hosted cable-access show Hip-Hop 2nite. On Sunday, April 19, Common honored Sevier during the Last Dance preshow on SportsCenter: “Rest in peace to my man Jamie–God bless his soul.”

Patrick Holbrook’s solo darkwave project Well Yells trafficks in the sonics of isolation–in 2018, Gossip Wolf said his Skunk cassette “sounds like it’s coming from a captive who’s given up on ever escaping from the bottom of Buffalo Bill’s pit in The Silence of the Lambs.” This month, Well Yells dropped the excellent full-length We Mirror the Dead, recorded with Adam Stilson at Decade Music Studios. Holbrook says he’s “broken into a new realm,” using “more industrial sounds, maybe even echoes of witch house.” Last week, Holbrook posted an eerie, gripping video for the propulsive “Kill the King,” filmed just after the stay-at-home order came down. He had a release party booked at Cafe Mustache in May–let’s hope it’s rescheduled! v

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