The Taste of Chicago is regarded as the biggest food festival in the world and is held every mid July in Grant Park. It is an opportunity to people attending the food festival to become exposed to different food from all around the city of Chicago and even the suburbs. This event is great in showcasing different cultures through food and the different Chicago neighborhoods that help create this event.
Here at Gowhere Hip Hop we believe in creating our musical taste of Chicago. Our city has been booming with different Hip-Hop artists all rising in the attempt to illustrate why Chicago has some of the best Hip-Hop and rising artists. We have compiled a list of over 40 artists all representing different areas and showcasing different sounds that have garnered attention.
We recognize that the city of Chicago embodies what the legendary novelist, Charles Dickens, illustrated in his book A Tale of Two Cities. Chicago’s music scene at the moments represents A Tale of Two Cities in not only having the very popular Drill Movement but as well as having rappers fight to the finish in bringing consciousness to a city plagued by drugs, violence, and political corruption.
Regardless of the stories these artists have formulated they acknowledge that they represent one city. North, South, East, and West represent the city of Chicago and the future of the next generation of artists to break out. The current generation of rappers, producers, and singers acknowledge that the streets might have raised them but the city of Chicago is what helped to make them into the artists they are today.
There are different artists all over the city’s nine regions and all representing different community areas in Chicago. Gowhere Hip Hop is presenting our first ever “Hip-Hop Taste of Chicago” in the attempt of exposing listeners to different rappers, producers, and even singers from various areas and as a result of this giving you readers a musical taste of what Chicago's Hip-Hop scene has to offer.
Most of these artists aren’t signed to major labels but do demonstrate why their music is a critical element to why Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene continues to thrive. The following artists demonstrate that they don’t necessarily need a major label to make great music that has gotten the music community craving for more Chicago Hip-Hop.
As you can see the city of Chicago is made up of 77 different comunity areas that are spread out all over the city of Chicago. Each number in this map represents a different neighborhood (community area).
The first part of this three part series will be showcasing one of three designated regions. The first region we will be looking into is the Northern part of the city of Chicago that is separated into three parts being Far North Side, Northwest Side, and North Side. Each area is made up of different community areas which helps identify the regions the artists we showcase represent.
Haze Mobbin [Rapper]
Reps: Rogers Park
Waleed, formerly known as Haze Mobbin,’ came into the Chicago scene following the release of his “The Move On”, a 15 track compliation with all original instrumentals. He has also been very active in the spoken word community after he converted to using his name “Waleed” as his performer name in dropping a spoken word video titled “You Don’t Know My Pakistan”, which deciphers the misconceptions as well as issues plaguing the Pakistan community. Through this spoken word piece he also gives the listeners a history of the struggles of the people of Pakistan as well as giving you his own perspective as a Pakistani-American experiences.
"Every day is a challenge, it's so hard to keep balance"
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[Verdict] Prozak illustrates the negativity in our daily struggles in believing in the negative when all good things are happening around us. It illustrated opting for bad decisions when we easily have the opportunity to do good.
One of the most influential Latino activist Hip-Hop groups is Rebel Diaz. Although they are form Chicago they currently live in New York and help run a youth program and helping the youth of the South Bronx community create their own music and uplift their community through their music. They have shared stage with the likes of Mos Def, Common, Calle 13, Rage Against the Machine, and Common. They are a political force as a conscious Hip-Hop group and have held workshops and demonstrations in various colleges all over the nation as well as different places world-wide.
Track: Which Side Are You On?
“I’m for a world without borders and a better tomorrow”
[Verdict] “Which Side Are You On?” is a critical approach in questioning many of the political repressions and well as inner city oppressions in the United States as well as in Latin America. It is a track that creates solidarity for those being oppressed and asks people in these oppressed communities to take initiative, fight back, and take a stand.
Brand Knew is one of Chicago’s up and coming artists that has showed signs great potential upon his release of “My Pockets Right”, a track produced by Soul. With the music he’s been making of late he will easily achieve his various goals of getting signed and being showcased in both the Source and Fader magazine.
Track: My Pockets Right
“N*iggas be like shit…. Gotta get my pockets right”
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[Verdict] “My Pockets Right” could easily be the anthem for people struggling economically. We acknowledge that it’s hard to do much when we’re low on cash and a part of moving up economically is getting our pockets right.
A singer/songwriter, Vince Nantes, has become one of the city of Chicago’s most promising voices. The R&B singer has joined forces with various Chicago Hip-Hop artists and has established a strong relationship with many of the city’s top emcees. He’s dropped three R&B mixtapes (Love Jones, The Aesthetic 1 & 2) all good to listen to and check out.
Track: Love Jones
[Verdict] The instrumental to this song is crazy! It sounds like it could’ve been easily produced by Kanye West from the sound of the bongo drums. The track is definitely a great song for the ladies in having Vince Nantes not only showcase his singing but songwriting style.
Representing the North Pole, Zoos and Raffi have been making music together for a while. Although both aren’t a Hip-Hop duo they definitely have made a very impressive duo in their “Northern Lights”, “F*ckin Awesome”, and “Awarded”. Representing a trap-beat style these two have become one of the best exponents of that style on the North Side of Chicago. The next step is to start working with different artists from the city of Chicago and start building a fan base with the help of established stars in the city of Chicago.
Track: F*ckin Awesome
“Me & Z be like Sherlock and Watson”
[Verdict] “F*ckin Awesome” is a track to get hyped to. The trap-beat is very gritty and the usage of guitar and trap-drum fusion creates a track that people can get crazy with and turn up.
The O’My’s are a funk and soul Hip-Hop band that have been making a name for themselves in having united their forces with notable Midwest rappers King Chip, Chuck Inglish, Twista, GLC, Chance the Rapper, and Nico Segal from Kids These Days. They have one mixtape currently out, Chicago Style, produced entirely by Blended Babies. The self-proclaimed “band of scoundrels and hooligans” continue to keep themselves busy in playing live shows and being a part of the Tribute to Independence show that was hosted by Closed Sessions this past weekend. The soul, funk, and blues elements included in their music is something that true Hip-Hop heads can gravitate towards in creating inclusion to listeners of different genres.
Track: Bout A Doll ft. Chuck Inglish, Twista, King Chip & Chance the Rapper
“This whole dream was built on cream, if it aint bout a dolla why you talking to me?”
[Verdict “Bout A Dolla” is a soulful track to vibe to. Maceo, vocals/guitar for the O’My’s uses his vocals to help bring listeners back to reality. Overall, Bout A Dolla is a track that can help humble the listener. The track is intended to be deep as a result of the strings-heavy production by The O’My’s and Blended Babies. Even though the track is star studded, the biggest players on this track are the O’My’s that help create a soulful sound to bring listeners to the harsh reality they’re trying to convey about dreams versus reality.
Reps: Hermosa & Humboldt Park
One of Chicago’s most respected emcees resides on the North West side. Scheme has created an impressive Hip-Hop resume in having worked with the likes of Emilio Rojas, Mikkey Halsted, Alex Wiley, YP, Visual, Boca Floja, Jean Grey, Los Rakas, Doc, Sulaiman, theWHOevers, Pugs Atomz, Migs Mora, Chandler London, Donnis, Mic Terror, and his SRNC-Molemen brethren. Scheme has been one of Chicago’s go to emcees for the avid Hip-Hop heads and has continued to grow his fan base as he continues to work with different artists city and nation-wide. His Two Turntables & a Mic series of videos are a great example of what Scheme can do in “making classics from classics”. The Mexican-American rapper has become one of the most influential rappers in the city of Chicago and continues to gain respect globally through his music, all while putting it down for his city and his crew, La Clika.
Track: La Clika
“Vengo de los Barrios, 100% Mexicano. Representando a todos desde el lado Americano”
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[Verdict] When this song’s video dropped it started a movement and created a buzz around this song. La Clika is a movement illustrating the pride one has taken about one’s culture and the people that surround us. Scheme’s Mexican culture is displayed to the fullest in not only giving you the most beautiful aspects of Mexican culture but as well as the beauty behind being a Mexican-American in Chicago in having Pilsen and Little Village, two of Chicago’s predominantly Mexican areas being displayed beautifully through this video. What makes this the most intriguing Scheme track to me is that not only does he rap in Spanish, which he rarely does, the majority of his work is in English, but he also uses a Drill/Trap styled instrumental which is also different from his usual boom-bam driven instrumentals. This song illustrates that any great emcee can rap as ruthless as he did on La Clika on any instrumental and also be able to do that in different languages.
Gerardo Villanueva is one of the North West side’s most intriguing up and coming artists goes by the name G Ville. The young upstart’s style for the most part consists of boom-bap and trap style fusions that he incorporates in his “Still” and “Around The Way” songs. Although he doesn’t have mixtape out yet he is currently working on new material.
Track: Still ft. Michael Hardman
“Stressing like what am I gonna do, it was crushing on me when I was crushin’ on you”
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[Verdict] G Ville has definitely found his sound in creating a Blu-esque style of music through the soulfulness of the snares and guitar fusions within the instrumentals he choses to rhyme on. This track is definitely intended for the ladies and for whoever might be in a difficult relationship.
M.C. Fare has been grinding his way up Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene in performing at open mics and different Hip-Hop venues citywide before taking his talents to various cities across the nation and in the process garnering respect. His dedication paid off as he’s dropped various mixtapes, the most recent, Disposition, was released under Universal Music Group. He’s always been a driven artist that continued to work his way to the top and his success story is an example of what dedication and sacrifice can lead to.
Track: One Wish
“I see a lot of people try to paint a picture about me and 80% of these people don’t even know me”
[Verdict] One Wish, refers to the wish of wanting life to revert back to older times. It creates a vision of the struggles that signed artists continue to have amidst being under a music contract and the pressure that these artists must overcome to succeed.
Astonish is another member of the SRNC-Molemen family. Over the years he’s been able to own his craft as well as get the attention from the rest of the city of Chicago in the process of becoming a better artists. He’s released a few mixtapes, the most influential being “The AstonishinglyODD Project”, which was released in 2011. Astonish is a hybrid, a rare force in Hip-Hop that can sing as gracefully as he is able to spit rhymes.
Track: All That I Got
“I could feel it in the air. How can you love someone and act like you never really cared. I never could”
[Verdict] If there’ one song that exemplifies Astonish’s ability to both rap and sing is “All That I Got”. It’s a Hip-Hop love track that deals with giving everything one has into a relationship amidst the ups and downs relationships take and having to move on. The instrumental to this track complements the feel that Astonish is going for in fusing piano and boom-bap sounds to help create this song.
Mint Lab Astronauts
Mint Lab Astronauts is a Chicago Hip-Hop duo is made up of two Korean brothers, Pak.One and J.Pak. Pak.One is the producer of the duo and shares the lyrical duties with his brother J.Pak in laying down verses for their music. Their music preference is something called "Boom Trap", a musical fusion of boom-bap, trap styled instrumentals, and electronic/edm influences as well.
Track: Boom Trap
"Now a days everybody wanna talk like they got something' to say but nothing' comes out they don't move their lips, just a bunch of twitter sh*t, you motherf*ckers act like you forgot about life"
Boom Trap sounds is very similar to A$AP Rocky's Wild for The Night, which makes this a very intriguing track to listen to. There is nothing like Boom Trap out in the city of Chicago and tracks like this will definitely set apart the duo as one of the best upcoming rap duos in the city of Chicago as a result of their production and lyricism. Mint Lab Astronauts will be releasing "Boom Trap" as part of their Boom Trap EP.
Cameron Robinson, recognized as Cam Marino and Cookup Cam in the Hip-Hop community. The DePaul University student is former member of the Chicago Hip-Hop collaborative Chinza//Fly and has kept himself busy in the past year in dropping several instrumental mixtapes as well as producing for various artists city and nationwide. This beatsmith is someone to keep an eye on as he continues to experiment with his sound and redefine the music he makes to redefine his music. His instrumentals range from trap to boom-bap styled fusions.
Track: Far Away Dreams
[Verdict] The instrumental is phenomenal! The base and drums on this are the key components behind the great instrumental. Cam on this track samples Yuna’s “Live your life”, and does an exceptionally job at it. For more instrumentals look up Cam Marino on Datpiff and Soundcloud.
The evolution of Hip-Hop, soul, and jazz is Sidewalk Chalk. Sidewalk Chalk was named "Best Hip-Hop Act in Chicago of 2010" by the Chicago Reader. They’ve also shared the stage with De La Soul, Company of Thieves, J*Davey, ?uestlove of The Roots, and Action Bronson. Their eclectic style is a great reason to give them a listen to as they can play their musical influences to their greatest potential.
“Just by clicking different videos, children are missing their growth, where did the village go?”
[Verdict] “What is our legacy?” is the question that Sidewalk Chalk asks listeners in wanting them to take a stand and change things around them within the “Plastic”, and fabricated society they are living in. They question the purity in our American society and the socially embedded corruptions we get from social media as well as government.
Magek is one of the North Side’s grittiest upcoming artists in having the ability to demolish an instrumental in a similar manner that a Meek Mill and Ace Hood have been able to achieve. His instrumental preference are trap and drill style instrumentals and through these instrumentals becomes ruthless in rhyming about violence going in his neighborhood and the city of Chicago.
Track: Lean Wit It
“Youngest OG, rookie of the vets. Hopping out that lil’ cali with a mallet on deck”
[Verdict] The kid can destroy trap and drill instrumentals without any remorse. A hustler’s anthem, “Lean Wit It”, illustrates how crazy Magek is getting when dropping his bars. This song demonstrates how driven this kid is to quickly escalate on Chicago’s Gangsta-Rap echelon in embracing the Chiraq lifestyle.
One of the most decorated and recognized rappers on the North Side of Chicago is Visual. He’s been featured across a wide variety of outlets including Fuse TV, Urb Magazine, Hiphopgame.com, Hip-hop-kings.com, Fakeshoredrive.com, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Red Eye. Not only has he been privileged to have worked with various artists in the city of Chicago, but he’s also been blessed with touring different cities nationwide and internationally. Visual keeps himself busy in the Chicago land community in collaborating with different organizations to give back and help out various impoverished communities across Chicago. He also launched #HelloHipHop, a monthly musical showcase set out to showcase different up and coming artists in the city of Chicago.
Track: U.O.E.N.O. Remake
“ They treat us like fools and U.O.E.N.O.it, They closing all our schools and U.O.E.N.O.it, They killing us in the streets and U.O.E.N.O.it”
[Verdict] Visual’s spin on the infamous Rocko “U.O.E.N.O.” single is very critical. In this remake he points out the issues going on in the city of Chicago ranging from issues dealing with CPS school closings, violence in the streets of Chicago, and Political corruption as well as conspiracy from the perspective of the oppressed.
I must of strolled through this slideshow about 4 or 5 different times just now. The deliciousness level of this post is the truth, and now my hunger is only increasing with every word I type. You just be sure to make room, because I'm about to hit y'all with some of my favorite foods to eat and establishments to eat at. Foods that I think everyone has to try when coming on a visit to the city of Chicago. Those of you living in the city should pay up and pay attention as well. You might just see something you haven't tried yet or even heard about. So do your appetite right and satisfy it. Now if you will...please follow me as I trip you through some of my favorite spots where I love to go and grub.
Chicago Cheesesteak Company
My first stop brings us to the southside corner of 78th and Cicero. The home of one of the best cheesesteak's in the entire city of Chicago, The Chicago Cheesesteak Company. Actually, make that one of the best cheesesteak's in the world. At least that's how I feel about it. Here you'll find a vast variety of different cheeseteak's as well as mixture of other savory foods, like their shrimp sandwich or super steak taco. The cheesesteak menu is what garners most of my attention however. You just can't go wrong with whatever sandwhich you get. I myself have tried five of the seven different cheesesteak's off the menu. Got to say I loved all of them. The chicken teriyaki cheesesteak being my least favorite. Only because the chicken teriyaki sauce got my bread a bit soggy and broke it down. The taste and hunger satisfaction remained on point though. Like I said, you can't go wrong with any cheesesteak sandwich you choose. I recommend stopping in, saying hello to the owner Sal (really really good people), and getting yourself a steak sandwich. Be sure to add some of their hot or mild sauce to whatever sandwich you get. That really sets it off. I promise you that your appetite will be more than satisfied.
Stopping in and eating at Portillo's is a definite must. One of the better known Chicago food establishments which to me has never failed on food preparation. Every time I go and get myself a dog, I make sure to double up. A regular hot dog with everything and one covered in chili and cheese. Their Italian Beef's are among one of the best in the city as well, soft and savory. Go ahead and ask any real Chicagoan about Portillo's. I'm sure most will have nothing but good things to say about this food establishment. I'm also sure 99% of Chicago has tried Portillo's by now. Hopefully anyway.
If you live on the southside and love food as much as I do, then you know about Falco's pizza. One of the better Pizzeria's in the city of Chicago. I've actually been eating from here since I was a toddler, and after all these years the pizza taste remains the same. Some might say it's one of the best, and some would say otherwise. But I know anyone who's ordered the chili cheese fries will agree with me that those are some of the best chili cheese fries you will ever encounter. Their homemade chili just sits so well with the cheese over fluffy potato wedge fries. Stop in and get yourself a large order. There's no way you'll be disappointed with the taste, amount, or price for that matter. You'll get hooked up and you'll hook your hunger up. California and Archer. That's the place to be.
All I got to do is walk two blocks south and two blocks east. There I'll find myself standing in front of Durbins Pub. One of the better Pub's to eat at in the Chicagoland area. Their pizza I'd have to say is a definite top 5ver for me. But their basket of hot wings takes the cake. Durbins is known more for their pizza of course. But lowkey it stands above any other wing establishment I know. Hooters, Wing Stop, Buffalo....It don't matter. Durbins wings not only have more meat, but more flavor as well. Don't try and tell me otherwise either because I've eaten at all those places. They just don't compare. Durbins service can be a bit sketchy at times but their deals will keep you coming back. Half off Pizza's and $1.50 domestic half pints on Monday's. I'm talking a medium pizza, a basket of wings, and six half pints for under $25. Yup! You might as well start calling this place your second home.
Giordano's Restaurant & Pizzeria
Let's not forget about one of the most famous food establishments in Chicago, Giordano's Restaurant and Pizzeria. Known for their famous stuffed pizza, the Giordano's franchise stands as one of the faces for good food in the the city of Chicago. Anyone swinging into the city for a visit needs to stop in and eat here at least once. Their stuffed pizza is nice, but what really gets me is their thin crust with the green peppers. Absolute fire! Make sure you order yourself that garlic bread appetizer too. It's by far some of the best garlic bread I've ever eaten in my entire life. Mind you I've done my fair share of traveling and have eaten different foods throughout the country.
From one famous stuffed pizza place to the next. Gino's East is where we'll find ourselves eating some of the most legendary deep dish pizza known to Chicago or even man kind for that matter. This pizza establishment is one you're going to want to make sure you get checked off your list of pizzeria's to eat from. Trust me. It's Godly.
"In a city known as the “Pizza Capital of the World”, The Original Gino’s East is still the number one pizza restaurant where customers from near and far return year after year to scribble their names into the wood and stucco walls of our flagship restaurant in downtown Chicago." - Gino's East
Illinois Bar & Grill
Massive burgers! That's what you'll get when you take a trip on down to Illinois Bar & Grill. Home to one of the biggest burgers in the entire city of Chicago. Just be ready to have your appetite over powered when you stop in and order yourself this delicious creation of a food. You'll have no room for more as you continue to tell yourself...just one more bite. Til this day I have yet to find a more satisfying burger in the entire city of Chicago, true story. So if you got what it takes to take on this beastly burger than I say 47th street just west of Pulaski is where you want to be. Seriously.
Mario's Italian Lemonade
Hopefully you still got some room because we're off to Taylor street for what's probably Chicago's best tasting and most famous Italian lemonade stand. That's Mario's. The spot to be at throughout any summer in Chicago. That small shack stand you see in the image above gets some serious business. I'm talking lines down the block and around the corner at times. It really is that good. The perfect compliment to a tasty Italian beef from Al's, which stands directly across the street. I can't help but think that both Al and Mario are probably the best of friends. This image of both them sitting in comfy chairs side by side, smoking cigars, and drinking a cold one constantly replays in my head.
Waldo Cooney's Pizzeria
We now reach my favorite spot to get pizza from in the entire city of Chicago. That's Waldo Cooney's located on 85th and Pulaski, on the southside of Chicago. To me no other pizza tastes better. These guys definitely know what they're doing and have managed to keep the same great taste for many years now. I've always found their customer service to be excellent as well. Waldo Cooney's is the real deal, and will remain as my go to guys when it comes to satisfying my hunger for pie. I suggest giving it a try if you haven't yet. Don't think you'll be disappointed.
El Molino Taqueria
Last but not least we finally arrive at El Molino. One of Chicago's more lowkey Mexican food joints located just east of 31st and Pulaski. Next time you're looking for some good Mexican grub I suggest stopping in at El Molino. One can't go wrong in ordering their carnitas, which remains as this establishment's most popular item off the menu. I personally am in love with their steak torta. It comes jam packed with some of the most soft and savory meat you'll probably ever eat (pause). Adding their green in home salsa to anything you order is key. Kind of like the cherry on top, you feel me. Quality food and service from a quality family. Can't really ask for much more.
Hopefully I've been able to spread food knowledge upon you, expanding your "what to eat?" options. Please by all means, drops me some comments. Let me know if you've eaten at any of these establishments before and how you feel about them. If you haven't then drop me a comment anyway and let me know if you're looking forward to trying any of these spots and what you're looking to try. I wish your appetite satisfaction. #GowhereYouLove
Elementz Emcee brings you the Chicagoan trifecta in featuring Scheme and producer Wes P to create "Hitman". Elementz Emcee and Scheme become mercenaries of rhyme in verbally disfiguring this track bar by bar. This track is a great example of why Chicago Hip-Hop continues to gain momentum nationwide and it's due to the lyricism and productions that the city has been providing for the past few years. Elementz Emcee's "Hitman" is just another example of what legendary professional wrestler, Bret "Hitman" Hart, would consider to be the excellence of execution.
The city of Chicago, often referred to as Chiraq by native residents because of its "war zone" like inner city neighborhoods, reportedly had 60+ shootings this past July 4th weekend. This song is relevant for that reason alone. This is my plea to the young guys, usually held responsible for these crimes, to stop and think about what they're doing. This song is from my upcoming album, The Manifestation LP, scheduled for free download August 27th.
Tragedy Tha Beast releases his single "Young N*ggas" a track that will be a part of his The Manifestation LP which will be dropping August 27. The the single itself is a visual representation of the issues the youth deal with in the current state of Chicago violence. It's a logical perspective to start taking a different approach and start doing better things and as a result improving the lives of people living in Chicago's violent stricken areas.