Director / Executive Producer / Co-Writer
Ryan Brockmeier’s love for hip-hop goes back to the late eighties. Starting as a fan, he spent a few years in the mid-90’s as an emcee and producer before settling behind the scenes in the roles of graphic designer, video producer, promoter and manager. He co-founded the creative services collective 800LB Gorillas in 2002 and has provided design, photography, video production and more to artists such as Public Enemy, DJ Premier, D.I.T.C., E.C Illa and Mic One.
In addition to his background in journalism, Ryan has been a creative professional for more than 20 years. Most recently, he was the Art Director for Columbia College Hollywood, mainly working out of its Flashpoint Chicago campus. He established Two Seven Eight Media in 2015 to serve as the production company behind his first feature-length documentary film, Midway: The Story of Chicago Hip-Hop. Ryan has worked on film and video projects for the likes of PBS, Chicago DCASE, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Humanities Festival, American Cancer Society, and organizations around the world. He’s also had the opportunity to be a guest speaker at several institutions including Google, Apple, Columbia College, the Art Institute of Chicago and Chicago State University.
Executive Producer / Lead Researcher
Chad Sorenson aka DJ Risky Bizness divides his passions into two categories: music and film. As a DJ, he has one of the most extensive collections of music in the city of Chicago. Risky made a name for himself in the late nineties and early 2000’s crafting promotional mixtapes for the likes of Eminem, Common, J.U.I.C.E. and Illstate Assassins. On stage, he’s had the opportunity to DJ for some of the biggest names in hip-hop, including KRS-One and members of Wu-Tang Clan.
Always the entrepreneur, Chad founded Four Star Chicago Professional DJ services in 2012. The logistical experiences of running a business made the transition from hard-working DJ to film producer that much easier. His respect as a talented artist and hip-hop historian has led to speaking engagements at a number of schools, universities and professional events and the fitting roles of co-producer and lead researcher for Midway.
Associate Producer / Researcher
Rahsaan “Sean Doe” Hawkins was born on the west side, but raised on the south side. Sean Doe is an artist and DJ who’s been a staple in the Chicago hip-hop community since the late eighties as a graffiti artist, joining the CBS crew in the early nineties. He was also part of both KLOUT and TRIBE crews. After leaving Alabama A&M University, he returned to his hometown in 2000 to begin his career as a DJ and marketing professional.
Sean Doe’s success as the Chicago street team promoter for both ABB and Stones Throw record labels, pushing projects for Little Brother and J. Dilla, respectively, eventually drew the attention of All Natural, Inc. The Chicago-based independent label was then home to artists Iomos Marad, Rita J, The Primeridian and label namesakes, All Natural. His experience with marketing and promotion eventually led to A&R duties and helping to run the label with co-founder Tone B. Nimble.
Sean Doe’s work as a DJ and promoter allowed him to bridge many gaps throughout the city. His respect as a DJ, artist and tastemaker makes him an ideal ambassador for a project like Midway.
CARLOS R. GOMEZ
Technology Specialist / Producer
Carlos R. Gomez was born and raised in Chicago. Following his service in the US Army, he earned degrees in Advertising Design and Media Arts & Animation, eventually landing at the prestigious Leo Burnett advertising agency in downtown Chicago. After moving to Hollywood, we worked on projects for Disney, ABC, DreamWorks and more, including building the website for actor Tom Cruise.
Currently, Carlos lives in Northern California where he runs his own animation and design studio and works with companies in Silicon Valley. He also created and hosts the popular Sketch Zone podcast, allowing creatives from all fields a voice to talk about the world.
Associate Producer / Researcher
Growing up in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, BBoyB got his first taste of graffiti and hip-hop culture in 1981 during a family vacation to New York City. The next year he formed one of Chicago’s first iconic graffiti crews – ABC and became an avid breakdancer.
While attending Columbia College Chicago he co-founded the hip-hop newspaper The Rap Sheet, later known as the FlyPaper, which ran from 1991 to 1995 and then from 2001 to 2008. It remains the longest running Chicago hip-hop publication to this day. In addition to being a passionate community activist, B is also a dedicated hip-hop archivist and helped establish Permanent Record (an archive art show celebrating all elements of hip-hop culture) in 2013 and is currently co-authoring a book on the history of Chicago graffiti.
Not just a lifelong hip-hopper, his creative experience in the advertising world at places like Leo Burnett and Jack Morton Worldwide and his writing experiences at the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets make him another valuable asset to the Midway team.
Grayson Wambach has worked in the arts and entertainment industry for over 10 years. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, he has been providing his knowledge and experience producing and marketing various film and TV projects, live events, performances, and public programs for companies and organizations such as 20th Century Fox Television, Live Nation, Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.
A lifelong fan of hip-hop, he co-produced a documentary short film in 2013 with his brother titled “A Night in the Underground-A Film on Chicago Hip-Hop” which featured interviews and performances of some of the city’s best underground talents, including Pugs Atomz, Ang13, The Primeridian, Awdazcate and Urbanized Music.
Co-Writer / Researcher / Consulting Producer
Kevin Beacham is a respected hip-hop educator, writer, documentarian, DJ and, most importantly, fan. He discovered and fell in love with hip-hop in early 1980 and has continued on a path ever since to not only be active in the culture, but to continually learn more and share that knowledge and his experiences. Throughout this journey he has been an emcee, breakdancer, producer, manager, DJ, promoter and more. Since 2002, Kevin has been an integral part of independent powerhouse Rhymesayers Entertainment, working in the areas of marketing and distribution and is currently a project manager for the label. He’s been active as a radio show host since 1995 beginning with his Time Travel show on WNUR in Chicago. He currently co-hosts The Current on H2 Radio in Minneapolis with Rhymesayers CEO Siddiq Sayers. For the last 15-plus years he’s also been active as a guest speaker and teacher at various schools, universities, industry events and music/entrepreneurial conferences. Since 2006, he’s been teaching a “Hip-Hop Essentials” class at The Institute of Production and Recording.
Beyond his work for Rhymesayers and Midway, Kevin’s primary focus these days are two of his most ambitious projects to date. The first, Microphone Mathematics, is his first book based on the ongoing freelance column he’s been writing since 1994 that takes a critical look at the evolution of rhyme writing throughout hip-hop’s history. The other is Redefine: Hip Hop — a massive research project aiming to amass the most diverse and expansive database of hip-hop history. No matter what he is currently exploring, Kevin pursues it with passion and never loses sight of the reason he started on this path: the music. Fan first, always.
Social Media Producer
Barbara Kalicki was born and raised in Chicago. She’s a marketing professional with over 14 years of experience in managing complex functional web, marketing. and social media campaigns. After receiving her MBA in International Business from Roosevelt University, she entered the financial services industry as a marketing manager and social media strategist. Barbara specializes in improving brand awareness by utilizing analytics, digital marketing strategies and social media. Combining these tactics with her love of hip-hop makes Barbara passionate about helping Midway reach as large of an audience as possible.