Over the past couple of years, Chicago has become a fertile locale for new musical talent. From Chief Keef to Chance The Rapper to The Orwells and all that’s in between, the plethora of music happening in the ‘Second City’ has some residents whispering words like renaissance and golden age. The reason for the progression is the city’s innate relationship with a series of musical movements spawned and perfected within Cook County’s borders. By playing on a cross-section of those influences and the movement created by their peers, production duo A Billion Young have positioned themselves as the next act to emerge from a crowded ground floor. Continue reading [Feature] Growing up on Glenwood: An Interview with A Billion Young
Adrian Villagomez is a bank manager at Suburban Bank & Trust in the Chicago suburb of Bourbounais. The 33-year-old married father of one wakes up around daybreak every morning, checks on his daughter, puts on a suit and handles transactions, customers and all that goes on in a house of finance. After five though, Villagomez takes on a different persona. Loosening his tie, tossing on a pair of sneakers; Adrian Villagomez becomes A-Villa. Continue reading [Feature] Meet A-Villa, The Chicago Producer Who’s A Banker By Day And Created His First Album By Night
Alex Wiley was one of the first artists in Chicago I felt some sort of friendship with. Having been to Soundscape a few times to interview him/spend time with him in late 2012 while I was working on a story about the young artist signed to local independent label Closed Sessions, I knew to take things Wiley said with a grain of salt, and that if it was cold out he was probably posted on the black leather couch with his red winter jacket on. A self-purported rapper since he dropped out of high school to pursue his craft, Wiley has been at the center of much of the hip-hop music that has emanated from the post-drill scene that has taken over the city since Acid Rap dropped almost a year ago. Continue reading |The Chicago Narrative| Alex Wiley Rises to the Occasion
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.
Sidewalk Chalk embodies Chicago. As much as the recent Vice “Chiraq” documentaries have done the opposite as of late, the eclectic eight piece band from the Second City pulls from both their hometown’s past and present while focusing on writing it’s future. The immediately soulful feelings of their latest project, Leaves, released February 24, is the result of an penchant for a sound that came off less polished and more gritty, capturing the sensibilities of both vocals and instrumentation that can be lost in post-production. Continue reading |Interview| Sidewalk Chalk Grows, Releases ‘Leaves’
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
The day has finally come for Chicago’s own Lil Herb to step out on his own. After first hitting the scene early last year with fellow south side artist Lil Bibby on the strength of their joint project which produced nods from the likes of Drake, and a slew of record labels. Continue reading |Mixtape| Lil Herb: “Welcome To Fazoland”
Last week, Psalm One, aka ‘Hologram Kizzie’ dropped her album, Hug Life via Bandcamp and iTunes. This week, on the heels of a solid first week of sales for the largely independent artist out of Chicago, Psalm offers up the first video for the project for “A New Phaze” which has production from electronically-inclined production team The Hood Internet, as well as Cleveland hip-hop collective Tanya Morgan and right-hand woman Fluffy who all join her on the eclectically-fun track that sets the tone for the rest of what is to come from the project that firmly straddles several different genres and sounds that come together to provide a sampling of styles and endeavors that are hot right now. Continue reading |Video| Psalm One: “A New Phaze”
The O’My’s are easily one of the most soul-packed bunch in Chicago. Led by Maceo Haymes and Nick Hennessy, the band has seen its stock grow since releasing their latest album, A Humble Masterpiece late last year via RH and playing a host of high-energy sets around their hometown and beyond. Continue reading |Video| The O’My’s: “Sweet Love”
Well, if you haven’t heard, love is in the air. Adding to the Valentine’s Day spirit is Mike Golden & Friends out of Chicago. The soul rock group adds another layer to the already heightened sense of the four letter word with another well-crafted video from the talented Elijah Alvarado. Never one to do things the same twice, Alvarado begins the video with Golden beginning a wall of dominoes, which then pace the first few moments of the visual depiction of the band’s song “Every Morning Love”, eventually sparking a mechanism, seemingly out of the opening scene of The Sandlot, that announces the title in one of the most creative ways I’ve ever seen it done. Remember when the song title and artist name were just white writing in the bottom left corner? It’s 2014, people. Basically, Golden and Alvarado set up a girl’s dream Valentine’s Day morning set to a single off the band’s latest project, Utopia. Check it out above.