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Musiq Soulchild brings love, not ‘The Husel’ to Chicago’s Annual African Festival

Musiq Soulchild performing at the 25th annual African Festival of the Arts Labor Day weekend in Chicago.

Musiq Soulchild performing at the 25th annual African Festival of the Arts Labor Day weekend in Chicago.

Soulful. Charming. Charismatic. These are just a few words to describe Musiq Soulchild when he performs live.

Chicago was fortunate enough to get a healthy dose of the R&B crooner at the city’s 25th Annual African Festival of the Arts, hosted by Africa House International, USA — a nonprofit organization committed to providing exposure to African cultural and social experiences to Chicagoans.

It was a beautiful Saturday night, a bit mosquito-ridden, but perfect for live music. The Grammy award-winning artist did many of his most successful songs: “Half Crazy,” “If U Leave,” “Teach Me” and “Love.” Amazingly, the audience knew all the words to all of the songs and were so receptive to his presence. You could really feel the positive vibes that radiated throughout Washington Park throughout his set.

In between songs, Soulchild spoke about finding the true definition of beauty and one of the most consistent themes in his music — love. That was to be expected. But oddly, there was no mention of “The Husel,” which I’m sure anyone who’s been following the artist, might be curious about.

Recently, there have been numerous reports that Musiq has an alter ego, he’s now performing as, “The Husel.” In fact, many sites have referred to him as “the artist formerly known as Musiq Soulchild,” but he insists he’s still Musiq and The Husel is completely different entity.

He’s right about that. The Husel prefers auto-tuned tracks and practices this rap-singing that seems to be very popular in hip-hop these days. His intent is to add “grown-up lyrics and a motivational message” to hip-hop. The 10-track mixtape, Husel Music is expected some time this fall.

Interesting.

I’m not sure about The Husel, but I asked Musiq Soulchild about the role music plays in bringing people together during times of protest, given the recent events in Ferguson and that Negro spirituals were a huge part of the Civil Rights Movement. Check out the interview below: