Often times the largest statement one can make is the understatement, so when David Humphries (aka Crushcon7) first moved to Chicago in 2003 his goal was simple: to start a label of his own. There were no illusions of grandeur or lofty expectations—the Midwest doesn’t allow for those sort of self indulgent attitudes—just an ardent desire to represent Chicago and the larger ongoing dialogue that is hip-hop music.
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Maker, Void Pedal, Meaty Ogre, PNS, Zavala, Joe Beats, DJ Pratt and Grayskul are all members of the family who have in one way or another contributed to the Fieldwerk ethos. They are the voices of this label and the loyalty they’ve shown towards their craft has paved the way for a unique vision of hip-hop’s past, present and possible future. Even the physical products themselves embody Fieldwerk’s steadfast devotion—from their vinyl releases (a nod to the diggers worldwide) to the well conceived album art. As a collective Fieldwerk has earned its place amongst independent labels, and as it enters its third year of existence the limitations have all but disappeared and given way to larger expectations. It has grown and is now ready to turn itself into a Chicago institution.
Fieldwerk is a reflection of its environment, a snapshot of sorts, but one that always seems to be influx. Chicago and the Midwest don’t exalt its diverse pool of talents as untouchable demigods perched up in an ivory tower somewhere. It merely respects them and treats them as its equals, a philosophy that extends itself to the population around them no matter how jaded, apathetic or isolated. It’s this humble tune that the Fieldwerk collective marches to and it’s one that has been welcomed in places as far as Cologne and France to as nearby as St. Louis and Minnesota. There are no frills, gimmicks or phony slight of hands, just quality music with a tough as nails backbone.