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
Today's second GWHH Premiere comes courtesy of Khaled M for "Cloud Conversations Pt. 2". He spits a way better 'C' alliteration that I could write above at the end of the first verse, but aside from the clever wordplay and delivery on the song, Khaled brings the message to life with a storytelling video that juxtaposes performance scenes with a tense convenience store robbery that doesn't fully play out til the very end. You'll be reeled in by the robbery in the intro to the video, and catch a few glimpses at how it led up to that point throughout. Plus, there's some unreleated, yet moving scenes that depict the struggle of gettin' by or a lost love one — one of which is certainly a #CloudConvo that many of us can relate to.
With more and more views, I keep feeling more strength behind Khaled's rhymes and for fellow hip hop lovers of a lyrical message, this one's a must-see, all-caps *TIBS FAV.. I can't go much further without mentioning American Idol Season 10 finalist Peter Frank who provides a wonderfully fitting and soulful hook. He takes us home as the video concludes with a "what's going to happen?" moment at the convenience store. Watch and see how it ends... And then be sure to keep it locked for more new music from Khaled M this summer. This is only the start.
Last week, Khaled M. returned to Chicago and paid a visit to Gowhere Hip Hop Headquarters to catch up with us, preview some new projects, and of course, share what he's been up to for our newest interview for you all to see above! He sits down with Jen DeLeon and shares with us some chilling experiences while he was overseas in Libya, where his father was born, and amongst the many who have been fighting for freedom while even facing certain death. Khaled's story will be amongst the many shared in a dope new, MTV Diary-esque series called 'Sing Freedom' and you can catch him in a powerful preview below.
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Also in the interview, Khaled fills us in on what to expect on his upcoming EP, which includes collaborations with a new singer on our radar Tarik Adams, whom he was recording with in Chicago and we met at the HQ as well. He's got some dope tunes in his own right so no doubt, these two are going to come up with something fresh. Finally, Khaled also has some good words on waking up and simply appreciating life and his blessings. We also have some fun in this one as you can see from Khaled and Jen's discussion and some of the b-roll of all of us in the office. As we expected, Khaled has a lot of big looks coming on top of being featured on the likes of CNN and RollingStone. We got the early preview and we'll be the first to keep you in the loop when Khaled releases some new music, but for now, get to know his story even more in our new interview above!