Share this project


Share this project

The Brainiac Project's video poster

Chicago rap star is seeking to raise money to support creation of a hip hop album with kids at a Chicago charter school. Read more

Chicago, IL Hip-Hop
Share this project
pledged of $2,000 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on February 15, 2013.

Chicago rap star is seeking to raise money to support creation of a hip hop album with kids at a Chicago charter school.

Chicago, IL Hip-Hop
Share this project

About this project

*funds from this Kickstarter are going towards the recording of an album with Naledge of Kidz in the Hall serving as the executive producer.  Proceeds from the project's sales will go into the growth and maintenance of JetLag Records.

Press Release:


Industry Tastemaker and Local Celebrity, Naledge, Raises Money To Support an Album by Chicago Youth 


Chicago, IL–December 10, 2012–

Chicago’s Options Laboratory School and local hip hop artist Naledge (Kidz in the Hall) have come together to announce the launch of the “Brainiac Project,” a 6-week music industry workshop aimed to teach the most promising youth about the inner workings of the Hip Hop music industry and the technology that drives it. The Project seeks to motivate youth to pursue a college education and explore technology careers. 

Melding hip hop culture, poetry, business skills and recording arts technology together, Chicago’s Options Lab School seeks to empower youth by teaching them to manage their own student-run record label (JetLag Records). In collaboration with Naledge, the “Brainiac Project” will allow students a chance to create a charity album for digital release and in the process, receive mentorship from local industry tastemakers. 

 "We are working together because both parties are committed to uplifting youth, and bringing the hip hop community together; we must put an end to hate," states Naledge. “Inner-city minorities are significantly underrepresented amongst the administrative and executive brass of the music industry; yet they make up most of the performer population. The ‘Brainiac Project’ doesn't aim to steer children away from wanting to be musicians but hopes to provide the tools for these kids to approach their dreams with life skills that they can carry in and out of a recording studio.” 

 Local hip-hop blog site’s founder, Andrew Barber, has agreed to support the project as a media sponsor, “Naledge is not only one of the best emcees in the Windy City, but also an ambassador of Chicago Hip-Hop -- he's respected locally to globally. He's a represents everything that's right about the Chi scene. It made perfect sense to assist him in this project," says Barber. 

For the students selected for the Project, the journey includes:

 • Direct interaction, collaboration and instruction from DJs, radio personalities, artists, video directors, producers, business managers, accountants, marketing/A&R reps, engineers, IT professionals, and lawyers. 

• A chance to record an album with Naledge of Kidz in the Hall, serving as the executive producer. Proceeds from the project will go into the growth and maintenance of the program. 

 This Project is a small part of the year-round music industry curriculum offered by Options Laboratory School Program. This experience of running a record label provides an alternative to the average extra-curricular activities most high schools offer. For many of them, this is the first step toward believing they can achieve a college education, a legitimate music industry job and a bright future. 

 For more information about the “Brainiac Project,” contact Naledge's Twitter account: @GoNaledgego

 ABOUT OPTIONS LABORATORY SCHOOL Options Laboratory School (OLS) is a Chicago institution that provides education for off track (at-risk) and high school students in an arts and technology-based charter school, preparing students for a quality life in the 21st Century. Options Laboratory School aims: • Challenge at-risk youth to be critical thinkers, evaluate belief systems, and make adequate choices in the context of a global society; • Prepare students to earn a high school diploma, pursue post-secondary education and workforce opportunities; • Create a highly immersive learning experience utilizing art, design and technology principles; • Integrate educational strategies to accelerate learning; and • Apply the theme of “creative invention” in all aspects of the school’s design to support the interconnectedness of academics, community, career, and post-secondary goals. 


The MCing half of progressive rap duo Kidz in the Hall, Naledge was born Jabari Evans in Cincinnati, OH, but grew up on Chicago's South Side since he was two years old. Raised by two Ph.D.-educated parents, the high-school valedictorian academically had an easy time in school and found his niche in poetry and writing. However, it was cousin Memo, one-third of Chicago production outfit the Molemen, who convinced him to transform his writing prowess into hip-hop rhymes. He first met his DJ/producer partner, Double O, in 2000 on a recruiting visit to the University of Pennsylvania, and the two became good friends and musical collaborators. While still attending Penn, Naledge acquired a solo deal with Rawkus Records, but ended up bringing the Kidz in the Hall brand under Rawkus management as well, once he and Double O finally decided to start the group. Soon after Naledge graduated from Penn in 2004, he released The College Graduate mixtape, which was a nod to Kanye West's breakout debut album, The College Dropout. After a few Kidz in the Hall mixtapes and an aggressive Internet-promoting campaign, Naledge and Double O dropped their debut, School Was My Hustle, in 2006. Naledge's solo debut, tentatively titled Naledge Is Power, was intended to come out not long after the Kidz in the Hall LP, but the two wound up severing ties with Rawkus and signed on with Boot Camp Clik imprint Duck Down in 2007. Kidz in the Hall's fourth studio album, Occasion was released November of 2011. Naledge has created his company, Brainiac Society, with hope of helping local artists have a creative outlet to have their work heard. Additionally, Jabari is currently a graduate student enrolled in the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work. Aside from music, Jabari frequently speaks as guest lecturer at high schools, colleges and universities in the Chicagoland area and he is committed to doing community service within around the South Side area where he was raised. In 2009, Chicago Magazine named him one of the city’s “Most Interesting Single Men” and he currently resides in South Shore and enjoys playing sports with his son Caleb.


Risks and challenges

Very recently, I was approached by a high school classmate to collaborate on a program proposal for a fine arts non-profit that is very well known in the Chicagoland area called Little Black Pearl. For more than 18 years, Little Black Pearl has created access and opportunities to arts and education for underserved youth. Long story short, their music instructors have formed student run record label that is now a part of their charter school's music curriculum for senior students as an independent study. I have jumped aboard on this project as a mentor and have also started an initiative called The Brainiac Project. Basically with money from my own pocket, I have set up the opportunity for these students to record an album with a Grammy-award winning engineer (Matt Hennessy), and in turn self market and distribute their music on i-tunes. I don't know if many of you keep up with national news but many of these kids come from some of Chicago's roughest neighborhoods and although many of them have been shunned by mainstream society, Little Black Pearl has served as their safe haven and has given them the means to a high school diploma that teaches not only performance, but the business of art. I am trying to show these youngsters that there's nothing wrong with wanting to be in the music industry but that they should approach it from the most business like manner that they can. This opportunity is a reward for Options Lab School's brightest music students. Since I have a recording studio on board to sponsor the project, the only risks I can see in accomplishing this goal is funding and/or the school discontinuing the program. I am a seasoned music industry professional and I intend to see this project through from start to finish.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question


  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    17 backers

    Free digital copy of the completed EP.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    7 backers

    A hard copy of the EP and a personal letter from one of the children in the program.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    8 backers

    Autographed hard copy (by Naledge and the children) of the EP and a free preview of the new Kidz in the Hall album, a personal letter from one of the children in the program.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    6 backers

    Autographed hard copy (by Naledge and the children) of the EP and a free copy of the new Kidz in the Hall album and exclusive video updates of the program's progress.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    An autographed hard copy of the EP (by Naledge and the children), free copy of the Kidz in the Hall catalog (4 albums and the one coming out in 2013), and a slot as a honarary board member of my organization.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    A roundtrip flight to Chicago (domestic-only) to have dinner with Naledge, attend a studio session with the children of the program, an autographed copy of the EP and a slot as a board member of my new organization.

    *If this backer happens to be from Chicago, arrangements can be made to fly the recipient to a Kidz in the Hall show out of state with an all access pass as an alternative reward.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (60 days)