If you’ve dug deep enough into the Chicago hip-hop scene, you’re most assuredly going to run into Psalm One. The first lady of the Chicago scene has developed into a wealth of wisdom and become a sort of uber-upbeat guiding voice for the ever-youthful hip-hop movement that has exploded over the past couple of years off the coast of Lake Michigan.
Outside of the city limits people have heard of Chance The Rapper, Chief Keef, Lupe Fiasco, Vic Mensa, the lot of artists to pop from here over the past few years. Predating the surge is Psalm One, an affiliate of the progressive and lyrical Minneapolis collective DoomTree and the artist behind the recently-released Hug Life project, available on iTunes, that was released under her moniker Hologram Kizzie. The latest project is a full understanding, an investigation into the person that is Psalm One/Hologram Kizzie/Cristalle Brown, pulling from aspects of her hometown’s present and past to create a mosaic that embodies just who she is, how she sees the world and everything in between.
Psalm is the kind of artist that is essential to the development of a scene. Completely in harmony with her place in things, the 33-year-old MC helps mentor kids as part of the ‘Rhymeschool’ program, an arm of the Intonation Music Workshop that brings music and hip-hop teachings to CPS schools around the city. Last week at SXSW, she kicked off all things Chicago by hosting the quintessential Chicago showcase featuring performances by ProbCause, ShowYouSuck, The Hood Internet, Bonzie and more where she both performed songs with her right hand woman Fluffy while also engaging with the capacity crowd. You’d be hard pressed to find Psalm without a smile on her face or a mic in her hand, one often fueling the other.
In her latest offering, “The Responsibility” off of Hug Life Psalm is as real as can be, rapping from behind a restaurant dishwashing line, amongst the condiments and with straw wrappers tossed about; all while showing off why she is one of the most respected rhymers doing their thing in the Windy City today. The black and white shots accentuate the gritty feel of the 90-esque beat crafted by none other than J-Zone. She ruminates about her and other woman’s roles in the world, examining where ‘the responsibility’ begins and ends. Check out the video and pick up Hug Life here.