The ripples of Kanye West were abundant at the Chop Shop in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood Friday night for 21-year-old Vic Mensa’s homecoming. That the show sold out in under 20 minutes was no surprise given the hometown hero’s recent ascendance via Yeezy. Fresh off unveiling “Wolves” alongside ‘Ye at Saturday Night Live and then again the following week in London, the show was the city’s first glimpse of Vic as a bonafide star that many watched grow from day one. Continue reading Vic Mensa Rocks Secret Show in Chicago→
“It’s go time! Y’all not acting like it’s go time,” Saba shouts to the people gathered backstage at North Coast Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park. He turns around with wide eyes, clapping loudly, in a moment of enthusiasm that seems uncharacteristic from the self-professed nerd and career quiet kid. After pacing the distance from his tent to the stage several times, he dips his head and trots up the stairs leading to the stage. As his band goes through sound check, he squints through the stage’s backdrop at the slowly gathering crowd. His feet move up and down, fingertips nervously drumming against his microphone. He holds it tight to his chin. “PIVOT!” he yells, a smile crossing his face as he repeats his clique’s nickname in call and response. “PIVOT” the hundred or so in attendance for the set shout back. Continue reading Saba’s West Side Story Is One Worth Listening To→
Crossing the street and entering the ice cream parlor it was easy to pick out Bandman Kevo. Clad in sweatpants and a pair of Louis Vuitton sneakers, he stood out from the typical Baskin Robbins patron. Shaking hands with the rising 24-year-old hip-hop artist, who has taken his hometown of Chicago by storm with a series of lavish, gold-encrusted singles that have seen regular play both on Chicago’s Power 92.3 & 107.5 and the web, he approached the counter and ordered. After grabbing me a mint chocolate chip shake and a sundae for himself, we crossed the street, entered his building, and headed up the elevator. Continue reading The Come Up: BandMan Kevo→
Chicago natives and SAVEMONEY brethren Joey Purp and Kami de Chukwu–better known as Leather Corduroys–dropped a project bursting with heat last night in their single volume Porno Music Volume 2: TSFR EP. Fans can thank a Chance The Rapper post deep in the annals of Reddit for the download. Continue reading Leather Corduroys: “Porno Music Volume 2: TSFR EP→
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.
As the hip-hop scene in Chicago has exploded over the past two years or so since Keef, Reese and the GBE boys made national headlines with their “Don’t Like” video, the narrative coming out of Chicago hasn’t changed much. Guns, murder, death and entrapment from above are the motifs that drive the sound of “drill” music which piqued the country’s interest with its inherent street soliloquies told by teenagers reporting on the state of their environment. Continue reading The Chicago Narrative: Lil Herb and ‘Post Drill’→
The clock had just rounded one in the morning and the party was still going strong at an apartment on the campus of the University of Illinois. I had traveled south from Chicago to catch Chance The Rapper, arguably hip-hop’s breakout star of 2013, open his Social Experiment Tour. I noticed the Chicago emcee Vic Mensa leaning against a counter next to me, idly checking his phone. Looking around, I saw many at the party gawking at the 20-year-old rapper and quickly whispering to friends, as others aimed cell phones his way. Walking over, I asked Mensa, who an hour earlier had sent the crowd of college students into a frenzy with a guest verse on Chance’s “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” what it was like to be the most popular person at a party that no one seemed to talk to. Escaping the glare of his phone, Mensa’s eyes snapped up. “It’s hella weird, G,” he said. “It’s been happening more and more, and it just keeps getting weirder.” Continue reading Vic Mensa Will Be 2014′s Breakout Hip-Hop Star→
It’s ten o’clock at night in late March and I’m fighting sleep. Sitting almost horizontal on a massive, black leather couch as my photographer, Bryan Lamb, and I watch Chance the Rapper racing back and forth from the booth behind us to the computer in front of us, occasionally taking frantic puffs from his cigarette.
His counterpart, Vic Mensa, lounges on a couch nearby, staring intently at a Macbook perched carefully on his lap, analyzing the first cut of the video for “DiditB4”, the lead single off his September 30 release, Innanetape directed by fellow Savemoney member Austin Vesely. The pre-rendered cuts are too quick for the computer and the screen stops on a scene of Mensa, in a white coat and goggles, holding a cow brain. “That shit was too raw, Austin drove to some farm to get it,” said Mensa. Continue reading Vic Mensa Takes Over The Innanetape→