WLFM brings diverse music to campus

Alex Schaaf

WLFM hosted two critically acclaimed hip-hop artists from Chicago, Diverse and Serengeti, in the Underground Coffeehouse Fri., April 27.
Rich Jones, a Lawrence freshman, opened the show by performing a couple of his own songs.
Diverse debuted his first EP, “Move,” in 2001, released on the Chocolate Industries label. “One A.M.,” his first full-length album came in 2003.
Diverse has collaborated with such all-stars as RJD2, who was recently interviewed in The Lawrentian, Prefuse 73, Jean Grae and Vast Aire. He has also worked with Mos Def, J.U.I.C.E., and Copperpot.
“Diverse has a really direct approach to his lyrics,” said WLFM Program Director Paul Karner. “His last album gained him a lot of notoriety in the world of underground hip-hop.”
Pitchfork Media, the acclaimed online music review site, gave “One A.M.” an impressive 8.0 rating out of 10, saying that Diverse has a “rare kind of self-possessed delivery that could move you hard even without a beat.”
Serengeti started the show, performing with colleague Polyphonic, who engineered most of the beats of the night. Polyphonic produced Serengeti’s latest release, titled “Don’t Give Up”, which is due out in June on the Audio 8 label.
“Serengeti has a sharp sense of humor and a strikingly unique stage presence that we hoped would display a less conventional take on hip-hop,” said Karner.
Serengeti performed at a hip-hop show WLFM hosted last year that sparked some interest at the radio station, which led to his repeat performance this year.
“It was truly special that we could have these artists on campus,” said Jones. “Though they are not the most well known MCs in Chicago, they are definitely two of the most talented.”
Speaking of opening for the show, Jones said, “I was honored to do it. This is the first time I’ve opened for actual established artists. That kind of an edge felt good and I think brought out the best in my performance.”
“We have always tried to bring quality independent artists to Lawrence,” said Karner. “This show was just another example of that.”
Diverse and Serengeti played to an energetic crowd in the coffeehouse, drawing enthusiastic responses from the students all night.