This is the second installment to our Hip-Hop Taste of Chicago. For those that are not too familiar with the geography in the city of Chicago, there are different artists all over the city’s nine regions and all representing different community areas in Chicago. Gowhere Hip Hop is presenting the “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. It also serves purpose to educate on the different community areas (neighborhoods) in the city of Chicago as means of fostering a greater community as well as unity through the Chicagoland area.
The second edition installment of this Hip-Hop Taste of Chicago takes a look at what we have referred to the central region of the city of Chicago. It is composed by the Central and West Side of Chicago and will be showcasing artists and producers all over these regions. We also will be showcasing talent from the suburbs as a mean of getting out word on artists that aren’t directly from Chicago but have made their presence known through their work, hustle, and dedication. For those that haven’t read part one to Hip-Hop Taste of Chicago, click here.
Reps: Near North Side-Cabrini Green Projects
One of Chicago’s fastest rising emcees has been Tree. It’s only been nearly two months since he dropped his Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out mixtape and it has already garnered him buzz that only some of Chicago’s most prolific emcees have been able to attain. His preference of instrumentals is “Soul Trap”, a combination of trap styled instrumentals fused with soul music samplings. The great thing about Tree is that he’s a rapper and producer, which is not only rare in the Hip-Hop industry but as well as Chicago’s own music scene.
“Coppers told me I've been on and take your past with you, So in the future man you know you like the last n*gga”
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[Verdict] Devotion is a track that Tree co-produced alongside “Bink!”. It’s a track that illustrates his producer abilities but also embellishes his gritty rhyming capabilities behind a boom-bap and soul fused instrumental.
Originally from the state of Wisconsin, Lili K came to the city of Chicago to get an education as well as connect herself within the Chicago music scene. The songstress has joined forces with some of Chicago’s elite rappers and producers and has been able to strengthen her fan base through working with artists within the Hip-Hop community. She’s a very versatile artist that is influenced by Neo-Soul, Jazz, and Hip-Hop.
Track: Summertime Valentine
But don’t change one little, itty, bitty hair for me, no no no. Not if you care for me”
[Verdict] Trumpet, keys, and drums make the most crucial elements of Summertime Valentine. A track for big Jazz and Hip-Hop alike, this track does a great job displaying Lili K’s vocal capabilities as well as illustrating to the listeners the type of sound that her music represents. Even the ad-libbing and riffing is great, which to me has demonstrated what she has learned from the Hip-Hop community and one Chance the Rapper. Summer Valentine is a great track for those that are big fans of John Legend and The Root’s sound. Her EP- 5 Favorite Things is out now. Make sure to cop that if you already haven’t!
Nasim Williams [Producer]
Reps: West Town
At the forefront of up and coming Chicago Hip-Hop producers is Treated Crew soldier, Na$im Williams. He’s been keeping himself busy dropping mixtape after mixtape and producing for different artists in Chicago’s Hip-Hop community. What makes Na$im one of Chicago’s most promising newcomers is his production ability. In a time where artists have set styles and forms of music, Na$im continues to redefine and change his skills to suit different forms of music. His production capabilities are very impressive as he is able to create trap-styled instrumentals as greatly as he can produce boom-bam, R&B, soul, and juke driven instrumentals.
Track: 61 Lillies ft. Scheme, Sulaiman, and DOC
[Verdict] If there’s one track that has solidified Na$im Williams as one of the next great Chicago producers it has been 61 Lillies. The verses provided by Scheme, Sulaiman, and DOC complement the jazz and classical influences within the instrumental. This further helps illustrate to the listeners the type of Hip-Hop productions Na$im Williams can bring to the table. This is definitely a track the true Hip-Hop heads can hold on to as it is a big promise for what is in store for the next generation of Hip-Hop leaders in the city of Chicago.
One of Chicago’s most active Hip-Hop duos is theWhoevers. They’ve been keeping themselves busy working with various other artists from Chicago as well as playing at different venues and music festivals. This duo’s music in defined by the boom-bap and Golden Age Hip-Hop driven instrumentals that they rhyme over. They are currently gearing up to release their next project Ridin Waves and in the meantime they continue to release one track a week through their WHOwednesdays series.
Track: Time Out
“Chillin’ with a couple of my Phillipinos, brothers, sisters, black, white, Puerto Rican, yea we freakin’ act right”
[Verdict] Time Out is the first single off theWHOever’s next project Ridin Waves. The track gives you a good example of the boom-bap/ Golden era of Hip-Hop sound that is familiar with all their music. A track like this gives you a great reason to support their easy-going, laid back style of music.
Although Tere and Tony aren’t a Hip-Hop duo they are a Hip-Hop force in the Humboldt Park community as they’re both a part of the same family being brother and sister. Their culture and being a part of their community and giving back is very important to them.
Lah was former member of the Hip-Hop collaborative, Rebel Diaz. She is an activist and is very engaged in her community. She now lives in New York where alongside Rebel Diaz they helped open a community center in the Bronx community to give back, mentor and teach the youth of the community how to own their art and become artists in their community. She has also co-founded various other organizations all set out to showcase talented women of color within the Hip-Hop industry.
Tony has also been keeping himself busy becoming engaged in the Humboldt Park community and changing his focus of his music. After the loss of 360 to senseless gun violence, Centrino has refocused himself to spread a more positive message through his music. next chapter in his story, while promising, has yet to be written. Centrino is currently set to drop 3 projects by the end of 2013.
“A Puerto Rican born from the core of the streets, the poor and deceased, the addicts and the soldiers and chiefs”
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[Verdict] Terra demonstrates Lah’s lyrical prowess in being able to become a Terra (Terror) behind the mic. The “track” has double meaning. For one “Terra” means land or territory which is illustrated in Lah’s lyrics in association to her tough upbringing in the Humboldt Park community. It also represents her lyrical ability to destroy an instrumental.
Track: Loose Ends
“I hate the fact that all these rappers leaving loose ends, what happened to using the booth for improvement?”
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[Verdict] As someone that was born in the inner city of Chicago I agree with Tony on many of his views. Hip-Hop originally started out as a movement to empower areas and became something totally different that has now turned into a form of art that often glorifies the negative in society. Emcees like Tony are hard to find now a day… Not many artists continue to become engaged in their communities but also be able to capture the reflection process of working in different areas in the city of Chicago as well as Tony has done.
This newcomer has been making noise in the Chicago scene in the past two years. He released his Everything Again mixtape last year and has been on a roll working on his next project. A hungry, driven, artists ready to make an impact in Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene, T.Gaines has already become a formidable force for years to come.
Track: American Dream
"What's the American Dream? A Muthaf*ckin' nightmare"
[Verdict] American Dream is a great track juxtaposing the notion behind the “American Dream” and contrasting it with the harsh reality surrounding inner cities as well as our individual objectives to fulfill our own American Dream.
Saba [Rapper/Producer] & Jean Deaux [Singer/Rapper]
(Jean Deaux) Reps: Little Village/25th & Lawndale
(Saba) Reps: West Side
Saba is a part of the Pivot Hip-Hop crew and has been its most active member in working with various artists in the city of Chicago. He can also produce tracks which has been producing for himself and other Chicago emcees, one of the most notable, being Mick Jenkins. One of Chicago’s most promising emcees in forming part of Closed Session’s Tribute to Independence show as well as dropping his mixtape GetCOMFORTable, hailed as one of Chicago’s best mixtapes of the past year.
Jean Deaux is a songstress that also happens to be able to rap. The member of Chicago’s Hip-Hop collaborative The Village, alongside Kembe X and Alex Wiley, has been keeping busy singing hooks and working on her own material that is soon to drop. She’s been compared to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Missy Elliot, which if you ask me is great to be compared to. The first lady of The Village is set to release her first solo project, Soular System, soon.
Track: EST. N19g4
“Showcasing talents for the street, like a charity, and all the proceeds to my n*ggas”
[Verdict] You knew that once drums entered the bass and piano fusion this song was going to be something special. One thing I appreciate about this track is the sampling of the interview in the beginning that slowly becomes the sinister recording that EST. N19g4 becomes with juxtaposition of the hook with the initial sample. This track has definitely become a staple of Chicago Hip-Hop within the past year as well as a hood anthem for Hip-Hop heads everywhere. The video itself is very impressive as it embellishes both Saba and Jean Deaux as militant prophets embracing a long lineage of black power that they embrace as being a stepping stone in forming their own respective histories.
Not many rappers in today’s current Hip-Hop game have a bachelors degree, let alone have gone to law school. S-Preme went to law school to educate himself more as well as set his own set of rules in today’s rap game. An interesting fact is that he’s also joined his forces with the pro wrestling conglomerate, WWE to lay down the law on another law school graduate’s theme song. That one person would be Jennifer Hudson’s husband, David Otunga. He’s also created a track for the son of legendary wrestler Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase Jr. The form of Hip-Hop he’s created is easy going, laid back, and inspiration music. He's released a few mixtapes, the most popular being Sicktape Vol 2.
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[Verdict] Popular is a track dedicated to any individual that has ever had a goal and never stopped until they attained it. It’s really laid back and chill to listen to.
The rapper/singer is one of Humboldt Park’s most prominent figures. Lil Lito has been releasing various mixtapes within the past two years. He’s been keeping busy making music and visiting different cities nationwide to expose his music to more listeners. He’s always been an individual that has always repped his Puerto Rican culture and neighborhood upbringings remind people that regardless of the buzz around he has always managed to “stay Humboldt” (stay humble).
Track: Bless It Up Top
“Bottoms up, Bless it up top…”
[Verdict] The visual behind this track illustrates Lito embracing the attention he’s been getting and acknowledges it as more positive things to come.
At 23 years of age Phero has toured internationally, taught workshops, and headlined music festivals. The Pilsen native isn’t afraid to switch his style up and as a result has been able to expand his fan base by appealing to different audiences. His current single project is “The Five Columns” and is expected to release an album this year, which he believes is an introduction to a new breed of lyricism for Chicago Hip-Hop.
Track: Lords Ft. St Millie & Vince Nantes
“The resurrection of the conscious, I’m all about time like the clock up in my watches…”
[Verdict] This song is a head for the true Hip-Hop enthusiasts. It only takes one listen to get hooked to this track. When I first heard “Lords” it reminded me a lot about Kanye’s New God Flow as a result of the great epic boom-bap instrumental by !llmind. Enlisting St Mille and Vince Nantes was also another great move in this track that adds to the richness behind Lords. Phero is well on his way to help resurrect the conscious with bangers like this.
Chandler London makes fun, uplifting and insightful music that paints a canvas of the things that influence and inspire him. He’s been highly influenced by his community and has dropped bars about his favorite things in his community as well as showcases his favorite spots as well as the pride he takes in his Mexican culture through his videos. There’s a reason why his music caught the eyes of Kid Cudi and it has been as a result of the passion he brings to the projects he creates. One interesting fact about him is that he doesn’t write his raps down, nor types them. He simply memorizes and revises them in his mind, which is an impressive thing in an era where rappers right all their material in their phones. His mixtape Science of Sleep, is based off a movie with the same name and is entirely produced by Stefan Spinse. Science of Sleep is a mixtape filled with different musical influences and has more than enough reasons to illustrate why he’s one of the best Chicago up and coming artists. He is currently working on his next project Requiem For A Dream. Make sure to cop Science of Sleep if you already haven’t!
“And I’m just walking up 18th, and let me tell you what I see, let me paint the scene”
[Verdict] Disasterology is the epitome of the juxtaposition between reality and imagination. In this narrative Chandler London paints the harsh reality plaguing his community such as gentrification, drugs and gang violence. A deep track that gives you the current story of Pilsen and the issues the youth of the community deal with on a daily basis. He also plays homage to J-Def a rapper and member of the community that was slain in gang crossfire. It does an excellent illustrating the misconceptions behind gang culture to people who are oblivious to it and illustrates the innocent people affected by it.
Retrospect & ShowYouSuck
Retrospect is a Hip-Hop collective consisting of artists, Quotes and Def Poet. They’ve been have been featured on various media platforms such as WGCI’s Go Ill Radio, Soul Call Radio in Spain, IMF Magazine, Fake Shore Drive, Ruby Hornet and the Pursuit of Dopeness. Retrospect’s primary objective is to create a “new soul”. Taking full advantage of melody, they compose exciting introspective music; beautifying the truth by summoning the power of the imagination. They’ve kept themselves busy dropping several mixtapes and working on a project titled The Breakout, which they will be releasing soon.
ShowYouSuck is a Treated Crew soldier that’s a different breed in the Hip-Hop scene. Dabbing into fusions of punk, based, trill, and different forms of alternative rock that he was brought up on at a young age. ShowYouSuck is a throwback to the late 80’s/early 90’s in not only being able to adorn himself in the traditional black leather jacket that is recognizable with punk rock followers. He also possesses a demeanor and swagger that is associated with rappers in the early 90’s as he strives to reach the heights experienced within the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.
Track: Can I ft. Chandler London, theWHOevers, and ShowYouSuck
“I see more dudes be coming from Chi too but to me that’s old news. Sof*ckin hungry I can eat your whole crew…”-Def Poet
“Trap and a Punk, wheres the balance? I’m the only one Macho, where’s the challenge?”-ShowYouSuck
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[Verdict] Some strange reason this track as well as the video reminded me of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter because every single rapper steps up, throws jabs, and kills with a finisher. This track is the current generation of Chicago emcees cypher. All embracing one another and all willing to step up and take the torch if they’re given the opportunity. It pays homage to the Golden Age of Hip-Hop with the various early 90’s references, the most important being Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing”. If there’s one thing about the collective of performers as that they’re doing the right thing in the Chicago Hip-Hop game and elevating the game for the rest of the city to match. Tracks like this are a great example of why Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene has been on fire and through music and sounds like this will continue to gain momentum.
You already know this Hip-Hop collective but not directly. You ever hear A$AP Ferg’s “Work”? They produced that track. They’ve been making music for years dating back to when this Hip-Hop crew was in high school. There’s two rappers and two producers to Chinza//Fly. Jofred Estilo, one of its emcees is currently working on his solo Mixtape while the group is still working on new music. They released their Blend No. 27 mixtape last summer. It’s a mixtape full of gritty, laidback, and chill music. Make sure to download it and give them a listen. Not everything that comes out of the suburb gets noticed because it doesn’t represent a big city to support it. I support great music regardless of where it comes from and these guys have been making great music for the past few years and will continue to make timeless music for years to come.
Track: Maldive Piff
“A little more kush in my bowl, another bad b*tch wanna roll, but I don’t have time to waste, got moves to make with my West Coast flow and my Midwest soul…”
“Told me that I could kick it, I’m looking for proper footing, walk a mile in my chucks and know that you prolly couldn’t”
[Verdict] Here’s two Chinza tracks Maldiff Piff that has a real soulful and laid back instrumental and Warriors with a heavy a boom bap instrumental for the Hip-Hop heads
Bringing elegance, wit, and professionalism to the rap game has been Real T@lk. He’s been releasing mixtape after mixtape and has also been performing his poetry at various events. In an era where rappers perform in baggy clothes and gold chains, Real T@lk has reverted to bringing class to Hip-Hop in performing in suits and his esteemed bow-ties. He’s opened up for various rappers, the most prominent being Big Boi and Killer Mike. His most recent release is his The Talented Tenth 8.0 mixtape, a display of why he’s currently one of the wittiest emcees in Hip-Hop.
“I got no money and now I’m on dirt with an empty stomach, and this economy there aint no work, I go to apply and the be like no sir”
[Verdict] Jealousy is an illustration of what terrible decisions as a result of jealousy in spotlighting two different scenarios dealing with violence and infidelity.
This former member of Odd Future has been keeping busy dropping mixtapes and producing. He’s produced tracks for Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy, Hodgy Beats, Curren$y, Cassie Veggies, Sir Michael Rocks, Danny Brown, Mac Miller, Pro Era, and Chance the Rapper. Don’t sleep on his music, he’s definitely been on the come up!
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[Verdict] I chose to display two tracks. One displays Brandun’s lyrical capabilities and the other one displays the production he’s done. This one is off Chance’s Acid Rap, a track titled NaNa.
Kembe X has been one of the most recognizable upstarts in the Chicago Hip-Hop scene. He’s been able to make a buzz and garner followers all since his release of his Self Rule mixtape, which gave him national attention. By national attention we mean he’s caught the eye of various major labels including Kanye West’s GOOD Music label. A conscious rapper that can rhyme over any instrumental he’s come to be a fixture in our city’s Hip-Hop scene along with the rest of his Village crew. He’s released a few mixtapes leading up to the release of his anticipated next project, Self Rule vol. 2, which he’s working on.
“Your arm’s too short to box my conscience, too wise in the booth, n*ggas droppin’ knowledge”
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[Verdict] Visions is Chicago’s version to Nas’ “If I Ruled The World”. It demonstrates how conscious he is as a young rapper and even invites you to become a part of the perfect world he envisions. He does this while pointing out the flaws he sees in the current society he lives in and paint a picture of the utopia he envisions. The beauty behind this track to me came as I rode the EL Blue Line from the South Side and just sat there, took the lyrics in, and envisioned the Chicago that Kembe and many other people in Chicago wait to see. As a college student that is going to graduate this upcoming year, this song only illustrates the hunger and ambition that young adults have inside us in getting out in the real world and making a different in our communities.
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.