Louder Than A Bomb 2016 [Review]

For many years now Louder Than A Bomb has given the city’s youth a platform to be discovered and be heard. This year’s team competitions boasted profound lyricism, which donned this competition as the year of the poem as the performers made this competition one of the most memorable in recent memory. The penmanship that these youngsters illustrated only continue to elevate spoken word as a whole as the performances highlighted some of the many issues that have impacted our city’s youth from violence, politics, cultural appropriation and racial inequality.


Four teams participated in this year’s event and in four rounds we were able to witness great storytelling from teams representing Chicago and surrounding suburbs that all made it to the finals of the team competition. Four teams: Kuumba Lynx (defending champs), Senn High School aka Senn Arts, Team Rebirth (WINNER), and Niles West High School aka A Tribe Called West.


Among the performances from the different high school teams we got performances after every round by some of the greatest Womyn to rock a mic in our city’s Hip-Hop and R&B scene as Amare Symone, Daryn Alexus, and Jamila Woods all rocked the mic as a part of our Black Girl Magic showcase.

Among the special guests were the legendary Public Enemy as Chuck D was a judge for the event and provided some motivating words for the youth performing. This comes back full circle as the iconic Louder Than A Bomb record is the premise for the creation of this now very important event, which Kevin Coval mentioned as being the “Best political platform in Chicago”, and when speaking about the performers explained, “Not only is the (youth) writing a radical critique but also a radical vision of what the world should be.”

Kanye West is famously quoted for saying “LISTEN TO THE KIDS, BRO!” Now more than ever we have to listen to what our youth is saying. Their words carry emotion. Their actions carry much power. Listen to the kids, bro, and watch some of this year’s highlighted performances below.

A Tribe Called West

Senn Arts

Kuumba Lynx