Milwaukee rapper Ish Darr playing prime time Summerfest slot

Also acting on the big screen
Posted at 3:18 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-17 07:34:01-04

Ish Darr, A 20-year-old from Milwaukee, has the prime 10 p.m. time slot on a main stage at this year's Summerfest.

And pretty soon, you'll see him on the big screen alongside Matthew McConaughey.

His songs have been streamed millions of times on Spotify, SoundCloud, and iTunes.

"At the end of the day, it's my art and my passion," he said. "I have fun with it. I enjoy it."

His real name is Ishmael Ali. He first realized his love for music and acting at Messmer High School. He built a following as a local rapper, and it's been growing fast, causing industry leaders to take notice.

"I spoke at three schools in Milwaukee this week," he said. "I tell the kids, if you have a dream, chase it. Don't let anything stand in your way."

Ish Darr writes all his own lyrics, and has already toured the U.S. and Europe.

"It was fun, but by the end I'm always ready to come home," he said. "I'm always saying, take me back to Milwaukee!"

Home is where his heart is.

"Milwaukee is all I know," he said. "It's who I am. The city shaped me in so many ways. And I can't forget that ever. It also still continues to inspire me, and that's why I try to include it in my music."

It's only fitting he earned a spot as a main act at Summerfest this year.

"When they came to me and said they wanted me to headline at 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July, I was floored," he says. "My Summerfest show is going to be crazy."

But before that, he'll spend the next six weeks filming a movie with Matthew McConaughey in Cleveland.

"I leave tomorrow at 7 a.m. to go shoot," he said. "I have to keep up the momentum."

The movie is called White Boy Rick, and it's already getting a lot of buzz. It comes out in January.


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