Last Friday, Sway kicked off Lollapalooza weekend right with a take over of New Era Chicago for a live broadcast of Sway in the Morning. A variety of Chicago artists were in the building and partook in the festivities as Sway interviewed them for their perspective on the Chicago scene and what each individual has going on. And it wouldn't be Sway In The Morning without freestyles... some of the artists kicked some rhymes as well.
I can say from personal experience that it was not only a great turnout of up and coming Chicago emcees (particularly in the drill scene), but that it was also warming to see the genuine love and engagement that Sway had with everyone — both on and off the airwaves. First, it was great that he came to town during our biggest music weekend and put the spotlight on these talented Chicago artists. And just as noteworthy: Sway was appreciative of everyone who just wanted to chat off-air as he asked for everyone's name, humbly accepted respect, and really wanted to get to know both the rising Chicago artists and the tastemakers behind the scenes. It really is refreshing when a living legend in the game like Sway is coming into Chicago with the love and curiosity to get to know the city more and do his part to spread the word. Need more people like that in the industry.
Anyway, all week, Sway has been releasing a few videos a day as part of what the morning show is dubbing '#ChicagoWeek'. Here are three that caught my eye for a variety of reasons, and the full list of artists and the released videos below (more to come tomorrow, I presume).
UPDATE: It is 'tomorrow' now as #ChicagoWeek concludes with the main event: a dope cypher from Naledge (Knowledge?!), MarVo, Giftz, & The Boy Illinois. There are highlights in every one: in particular, watch out for how Naledge and Giftz end theirs and MarVo and Illi grab your attention at the beginning of their rhymes. Dopeness!
Naledge, MarVo, Giftz, & The Boy Illinois "Sway In The Morning Cypher"
The Boy Illinois & MarVo on violence and lack of guidance in Chicago
King Louie on writing with Kanye West on "Send It Up" & "New Slaves"
Twista on how the music scene has changed in Chicago and advice to Chief Keef
Gibbs & Madlib collab with Karriem Riggins for this fast-paced lyrical and politically conscious record "City". I was enthralled from the first verse in — great combo of thought-provoking words, delivery, production, everything.
A strong preview off Freddie Gibbs & Madlib's upcoming album, Cocaine Pinata, and a contribution to Adult Swim's Summer Singles series.
Freddie Gibbs' new album, ESGN (Evil Seeds Grow Naturally), (love the ESPN style logo as well) was supposed to be out in a couple of weeks on July 9th, but today, Gibbs and The DJ Booth collab to let fans hear the entire album for free. That's right, Freddie Gibbs leaked his own album. Gotta love that. As a fan, it's a pleasant surprise to be aware of when the new music is dropping, only to have it officially released even before then.
The album can be heard below and boasts features with Jay Rock, BJ The Chicago Kid, Problem, Daz Dillinger, Spice 1, and more.
Freddie Gibbs drops another EGSN joint called "Freddie Soprano". The project hits July 9th, and in the meantime, Gibbs is airing out some dirty laundry against former CTE boss Young Jeezy, calling him a "fraud". That convo with MTV below:
“I started seein’ the fake and the empty promises and all of that stuff and I just didn’t wanna be around that no more. “It’s tough meetin’ your heroes sometimes and kickin’ with them because when they take that cape off, boy o’ boy under that cape, sometimes it’s some scary lil’ boy hidin’ under that cape.
“Yeah, death threats. Hey man, I know it hurts you to hear your favorite rapper’s a fraud. It ain’t my fault.”
Off Freddie's upcoming EGSN mixtape dropping July 9th, he brings it with some intense delivery and clarity for an instantly engaging track. Problem was solid, but it was Gibbs who shined to me on this track. The content isn't somethin' I gravitate towards, but the rhymes were nice as well.