This is the third and final 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 last installment of this Hip-Hop Taste of Chicago takes a look at what we have referred to as the South region of the city of Chicago. It is composed by the South, Southwest, Far Southwest, and Far Southeast sides of Chicago and will be showcasing artists from these regions. For those that haven’t read part one to Hip-Hop Taste of Chicago, click here. If you haven’t caught up on the second installment click here.
Million $ Mano [Producer/DJ]
Reps: Hyde Park
The cult boss and Treated Crew general has been making moves in Chicago for years. He is a music visionary that has been able to handpick his version of King Arthur’s Knights of the roundtable. The Treated Crew general has been producing for various artists, releasing his remixes of popular tracks or “bootlegs” as he calls them, and releasing a few Treated Crew mixtapes (Treated & Treated Tuesdays) in the process. There’s a reason why he’s a producer and there’s a reason why is Kanye West’s DJ and that’s because he has an ear for top talent. Best believe Mano will lead his army into becoming the next generation of difference makers in the Hip-Hop industry. Treated Crew is for the children and Chicago is Million $ Mano’s playpen.
Track: Lady (Million $ Mano Bootleg)
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[Verdict] Many people are familiar with the Treated Crew cult general’s trap-styled instrumentals but have no idea what his sound started when he initially started making buzz for himself. In Lady we get a Million $ Mano remix to a House music classic by Modjo. The beauty behind this track lies in Mano’s abilities to fuse elements of House with Hip-Hop. Lady’s remix is a musical gem from a musical genius.
Vic Mensa is former member of the now defunct Kids These Days. As a part of Kids These Days he released two mixtapes (Hard Times EP & Traphouse Rock LP) and also appeared alongside Derrick Rose, Big Sean, and Nicki Minaj in a commercial for Adidas. The Save Money member has worked alongside the best emcees in Chicago and is on his way to debut his solo mixtape INNATETAPE. He’s already released a few singles to the mixtape and has gotten great feedback from the work he is putting into the quality music he is creating. This lyrical prodigy is on his way to accomplishing many great things in the Hip-Hop industry. At 19 he is a part of the next generation of emcees from Chicago that are pushing the boundary of how to create timeless music for their generation. With young, hungry, driven artists like Mensa there’s promise that Chicago’s current generation of emcees will continue to push towards a Golden Age of Hip-Hop and the crowning of Chicago as the elite capital of Hip-Hop newcomers.
Track: Orange Soda
“They made a list about Chicago rappers and they skipped me,
Maybe because I'm so much more,
Forget what you not, this is about what you are”
[Verdict] Not only does this track demonstrate Mesa’s lyrical prowess but it also illustrates his ability to sing. Not many rappers can do that so effectively in Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene. It also illustrates the easy going, laid back, soulful, and witty Hip-Hop that he has helped create.
Among Chicago’s elite lineup of upcoming rappers is Alex Wiley. The Village member has made a name for himself for wit, humor, and hustle in delivering track after track and mixtape after mixtape. Club Wiley, his solo debut released in June and is already considered among the best mixtapes of the year and considered a grand debut for the artists that has been owning his craft in our city’s music scene for the past few years. He’s worked with the likes of Vic Mensa, Kembe X, Chance the Rapper, GLC, Freddie Gibbs, and Action Bronson. His lyricism and rebellious demander has allowed him to become someone that the youth can gravitate towards and relate with his music. A dynamic lyricist, Wiley continues to give reason why Chicago’s youthful movement of emcees is at the forefront of today’s current Hip-Hop echelon.
Track: Suck It Revolution
“We got the power in our hands,
We can do whatever we want,
So why don't you get your shit together,
And try to turn it into something”
[Verdict] Suck It Revolution to me represents flipping the script and anarchy. It’s overcoming the expectations people set out to you and setting out a set of laws that you should live by. It’s defying the standards that have been put in front of us and doing what we want with our lives. It illustrates the consciousness that Alex Wiley is able to bring to the table and a reason why he’s at the forefront of Chicago’s Hip-Hop Revolution.
Reps: West Englewood
The One Man Duo has been putting in in Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene and gaining respect nationwide. Considered to be one of Chicago’s leaders for its youth movement he’s been releasing mixtape after mixtape and experimenting with his sound. His most notable mixtape is More Missed Calls, considered to be one of the best mixtapes out of Chicago this year. He’s performed at some of the toughest Hip-Hop venues (SOB’s) and has shined, which is a huge indicator of the success that he is able to attain as a result of his dedication and humility.
“Show me what competition look like, I want to know”
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[Verdict] No longer an underdog and no longer a rookie to the music scene in Chicago. Add-2 has demonstrated why he’s a veteran among the youthful movement Chicago has been leading. Tracks like this have catapulted him atop of the list of Chicago’s most brilliant emcees.
Tragedy Tha Beast has been working on his project, The Manifestation LP, which will be dropping August 27. He is a lyricist that displays consciousness about the ills of the street; he’s been painting lyrical illustrations of the realities going on in the city of Chicago. Lyrists like Tragedy Tha Beast can be big difference makers for the changing of violence in our streets and in advocating for improvement in our communities.
Track: Young N*iggas
“Take the life of an innocent child but did you take part in giving life to that innocent child?”
[Verdict] Young N*ggas is a lyrical 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.
Gzus Piece [Rapper]
Gzus piece is one of Treated Crew’s most active members. He’s been a part of the crew’s two mixtapes (Treated & Treated Tuesdays) as well as dropping his own solo projects F*ck Yall The EP and Expensive Sh*t. He’s definitely one of the most expressive members of the treated cult, which has made this cult boss one of the crew’s favorite emcees. There is no signs of slowing down either as he continues to make quality music showcasing why Treated Crew has a strong foundation that can continue to create musical mayhem for years to come.
Track: This Summer
“What would you do if you aint have shit, then you wake up and you ghetto rich?”
[Verdict] This Summer is a track produced by both Million $ Mano and Na$im Williams. It’s a hustler’s anthem that has easily become a Chicago theme song for the hard working emcees that continue to grind their way up Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene.
Chance the Rapper [Rapper]
Chicago’s Hip-Hop poster boy and the most celebrated artists to come out of the Windy City since Kanye West is Chancelor Bennett, Chance The Rapper. He has dropped two critically acclaimed mixtapes 10 Day and Acid Rap, has toured alongside Childish Gambino, and has performed in some of Hip-Hop’s grandest stages at the young age of 20.
He continues off the current momentum he is having in collaborating with different artists in Chicago and nationwide and in return creating a buzz around Chicago Hip-Hop that hasn’t been seen in ages. One of the most impressive things about Chance is how well embraced he has become everywhere he has gone. He headlined SOB’s, perceived to be the hardest venue to perform at for upcoming artists in the nation and put a hell of a show. He’s done this at the age of 20, which is phenomenal for the Chicago emcee.
There has been cases were rappers that have performed at SOB’s fail, get booed off stage and even get infuriated because they are not accepted in other cities that they’re not from. Chance has been able to win crowds over because of his dedication, humility and hunger to establish Chicago’s Hip-Hop kingdom as the most elite of his generation.
Track: Good Ass Intro Ft. BJ The Chicago Kid, Lili K., Kiara Lanier, Peter Cottontale, Will from the O'mys, & JP Floydd for Kids These Days
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[Verdict] An ode to his Chicago precursors, Chance samples a bit of the intro off Kanye’s legendary Freshmen Adjustment Vol 2. By infusing his hometown influences and by recruiting homegrown talent, Chance creates a smash hit. The trap-styled juke instrumental only demonstrates how important Chicago is to Chance in fusing elements like juke that resonates with his hometown. This intro to me solidified the sound that we can now relate to Chance. Good Ass Intro demonstrates why Chicago has the best talent in the Hip-Hop industry.
Southside’s most established veteran is Mikkey Halsted. He’s gained the respect of his peers through his work ethic and has gained the respect of his city by talking about the violence that plagues his city. He was a part of Rhyme Fest’s The Pledge, a mixtape in collaboration with the Black Youth Project and Power of Purpose INC, to bring awareness to violence in Chicago. His most recent project is Castro, a mixtape with production from legendary No ID and Don Cannon. He is currently working on his next project Bulletproof Dreams that is expected to be dropping soon. With his hustle commitment there’s a great reason why he is king of South Side’s Hip-Hop.
Track: Weak MF
“Weak motherfuckers, wanna bring you down,
They wanna do your work, who wanna wear your crown”
[Verdict] “Weak MF” refers to the people that we allow to surround us that want to bring us down and only want us to fail. These same people want to be around for all the big accomplishments but are never around when you’re at your lowest. Plain and simply it’s a track for the haters.
BJ The Chicago Kid has been a part of Chicago’s music scene for over a decade but hadn’t gotten the acknowledgement until a few years ago when he really started leaving his mark. He’s worked with various artists over the years. He was a backup singer on Kanye West’s “Impossible” and has worked with Kendrick Lamar on many of his critically acclaimed mixtapes and albums. He has also worked with Chance the Rapper, appearing in Acid Rap. He is a powerful voice and a voice of reason. He has two mixtapes The Life of Love's Cupid and Pineapple Now-Laters. His second mixtape, Pineapple Now-Laters, is considered to be one of the best albums/mixtapes of 2012 as a result of his songwriting and powerful voice. He is slated to release his debut album this year under Motown Records.
Track: His Pain II Ft. Kendrick Lamar
“I wonder will it get better,
A little cheddar will make it better,
But the risk of fast cash,
Will make last year's Christmas gift be my last”
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[Verdict] Off Pineapple Now- Laters, “His Pain II” is one of the most powerful narratives I have ever heard in the game of Hip-Hop. It’s a moving story of intertwining narratives that question how we continue to be blessed amidst all the terrible things we continue to do as human beings. Most simply put by BJ The Chicago Kid, we continue to be blessed to bless others.
The Free Nation Rebel soldier is one of the most impressive breakouts in Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene. He fuses different elements to create a powerful sound that resonates with struggle as well as empowerment. His mixtape Trees & Truths has been one of the best mixtapes of 2013 and is a great reason to become a fan of his work. The production on this mixtape is incredible as it dabs into boom bap, trap, and even classical and jazz fused Hip-Hop instrumentals.
One of the most interesting tracks on Trees & Truths is Lack, a track produced by OnGaud that gives Jenkins music a timeless feel as a result of the classic fused Hip-Hop instrumental. The video to Lack is also impressive representing an all black and white visual that gives it a look that films under the film noir era were able to achieve. If there is anyone that can help resurrect the Golden Age of Hip-Hop it is Mick Jenkins and the young movement of emcees coming out of Chicago.
In a generation where emcees set out to make hits, Jenkins has set out to make timeless music. He is currently working on his next project The Waters with tracks that will be including Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper, and many others. Expect Waters to be the breakout mixtape of the year for a standout emcee in Chicago’s youthful Hip-Hop industry. Don’t sleep on Mick Jenkins, what he doesn’t “Lack” is bars as this mercenary of rhyme is here to stay.
Track: Peg Cuffs and Pocket Tees
“We no fools, since biggie wrote them ten cold rules,
My spirit been Goku, them lyrics are just super-saiyan”
[Verdict] Pegs and Cuffs is one of my favorite tracks off Trees & Truths. The track is very impressive. Initially we get a soulful sound that then becomes a monster instrumental for Mick Jenkins to rhyme on. Jenkins is cold with the bars on this one and demonstrates why he is among Chicago’s elite emcees as a result of his lyricism as well as a result of the instrumentals he chooses which give his music a nostalgic sound to an older generation of music.