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Picture this.


Interior, 11 AM, South-Side Chicago. The camera tracks into a small bedroom, the blinds are wonky and they let the late morning sun stream in sweaty to make the dust dance. Sounds of a busy street bustle into the sedentary room, it is messy but homely. There is a desk and a bed. The dregs of last night's coffee turn milky on the wooden surface alongside a college diploma repurposed as scribbled notes, a phone-book and an Akai MPC. Strewn across the floor are battered, second hand records whose cardboard dog-ears and peels: they are the kings and queens of soul - Aretha, Nina, Otis - and on the walls are posters of their prodigies: Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot, Outkast and Jay Z.

The light guides the camera to what it spotlights: the head of a felt, mascot bear. Its owner is snoring on a single bed, over-sized paws hanging pins-and-needles off the side. Pan up. And picture this. He dreams of music, but he has no idea of the power it will unlock. He has no idea about all of the lights that will be turned onto him, no idea about the things he will say and the things others will say about him. For now, he is just trying to give the kids something to sing. Wake up Mr. West.

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