That trend doesn’t seem like it will ease up anytime soon, either.
For instance, local artist Rockie Fresh, who signed to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group last July, will join talented up-and-comer Chance the Rapper for an all-ages show Saturday at the Bottom Lounge to celebrate Rockie Fresh’s “Electric Highway” release, his first on a major label.
“The main difference with this project was that I had the resources to craft it the way I wanted to,” Rockie Fresh said. “It’s always real important for me to do stuff here in Chicago because this is where my true fans and true friends and family are, so I’m always glad to be back.”
Returning after shows in New York and Colorado, Rockie Fresh tapped 19-year-old wunderkind Chance the Rapper to join him onstage at the Bottom Lounge.
These two artists are increasingly becoming the face of the local hip-hop movement. Both recently played sold-out shows at Metro.
“I think me being considered at the forefront of all of this kind of makes sense,” Rockie Fresh said. “We all need different outlooks on different parts of the city, which makes Chicago so great because you have myself, Chance and Chief Keef all talking about the same city from different lights.”
The two artists’ styles differ from what has become the “norm” for Chicago hip-hop; they incorporate creative instrumentation and samples with thoughtful and sometimes poetic lyrics.
“Me and Rockie have known each other for a [while],” said Chance, whose “10 Day” debut mixtape was picked as one of the top 10 free music releases of 2012 by the site forbes.com. “Just to be in a class of artists that are young, mostly black, successful kids is dope to be a part of — there’s really a big fan base right now.”
“When we heard about the benefit side of the show, we were really excited because we haven’t played any benefits yet this year,” Chance said. “I have a cousin that suffers from juvenile diabetes and a lot of older relatives that have Type 2 or Type 1. It’s just always dope to give back in any situation.”
The Bottom Lounge show is shaping up to be a glimpse of what’s to come from the Windy City.
“Right now, me and Chance are both buzzing both in and out of the city and getting a lot of attention,” Rockie Fresh said. “I think it’s important for the unity of the city for us to do something together like this.”
Jake Krzeczowski is a locally based free-lance writer. Follow him on Twitter @jakekrez.