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Chicago is the birthplace of house music and an incubator for hip-hop hitmakers, yet the city remains divided over how it views its musical legacy.

A forthcoming documentary titled It’s Different In Chicago, slated for debut at the Black Harvest Film Festival in November, uncovers the animosity between fans of house music and fans of conscious rap, otherwise known as "backpackers."

Directed by David Weathersby, the film explores how this divide manifests through the lens of numerous Chicago-native industry professionals who provided their first-hand impressions. 

"I’ve noticed that, especially within the Black community, we like the music but it also becomes our tribe—the flag that we fly," Weathersby told the Chicago Sun-Times. "And chronicling this, and chronicling it from the people who are taking part of it, makes it so it’s accurate before it becomes a topic that somebody outside starts coming in. They might come in with a preconceived notion of Black Chicago. I wanted to have the people who are a part of it have their say first."

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David Weathersby's "It's Different in Chicago" premieres at the Black Harvest Film Festival.

David Weathersby's "It's Different in Chicago" premieres at the Black Harvest Film Festival.

Weathersby notes that one recurring theme was a perceived belief that Chicagoans needed to make a binary choice, pledging to one of the two rivaling music scenes. He says the factors that went into making that choice oftentimes boiled down to the culture around each respective music scene rather than the music itself. 

Ultimately, while this is a story about two unique and often opposing worlds, Weathersby sees the upside of this divide: the fact that Chicago has numerous divergent musical roots, each worth exploring in their own right. 


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