Three years ago things were just getting exciting around Chicago. Chief Keef had just made the country take a collective gulp as he shoved guns into the lens of a Handicam protected by his thick mop of locks, Kids These Days had just dropped Hard Times and were preparing their proper full-length and a kid named Chance was beginning to get some attention for his recent 10 Day mixtape. The spotlights were on their way, quickly tearing themselves from Atlanta long enough to get entranced by the almost creepy sound of drill, packed full of real-life assertions that played on America’s penchant for struggle behind glass. Fresh off of journalism school I arrived in Chicago, the local scene seemed set for big things and I was at the center of it, reporting at the time for the Chicago Sun-Times. Continue reading THE STATE OF CHICAGO HIP-HOP: NO END IN SIGHT
In its tenth year, Pitchfork Festival looked to its hometown of Chicago for support. The city that birthed indie-music celebration was this year’s theme, as it helped honor P4K’s ten-year anniversary. While rain was the fest’s biggest news—it forced several Saturday artists to cancel last minute—hometown talent was Pitchfork’s most salient aspect. Chicago claimed seven of the festival’s total acts, including three of the headliners: Wilco, Vic Mensa, who was elevated to headliner last minute, and, of course, Chance The Rapper, who closed out P4K with a rousing rendition of “Sunday Candy” with none other than gospel legend Kirk Franklin.
Through the course of the three days we learned a handful of new truths. These are just eight of them. Continue reading All Of The Important Things I Learned At Pitchfork Festival 2015
Photos by Bryan Lamb
Two years ago I stood on the floor of The Metro in the shadow of Chicago’s Wrigley Field and watched as Chance The Rapper turned a crowd of teenagers and kids in their early 20s into a frenzy. It’s crazy to think it’s been two years since Acid Rap Live. The movement continued Saturday (May 16) as the latest member to emerge from the local SaveMoney contingent took his place alongside Chancelor Bennett and Vic Mensa, proving himself a formidable act on the strength of his recent release,.Wav Theory. Continue reading Towkio and Kehlani Pack Out The Metro in Chicago
If you’re at all familiar with the burgeoning Chicago hip-hop scene, then the name SaveMoney should carry some weight; the multi-faceted collective has been at the forefront of the local scene for some time. Championed by Vic Mensa, the crew of longtime friends is comprised of 20-something creatives, students, artists, activists and entrepreneurs counting the likes of Chance The Rapper, Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment band in its auxiliary ranks. While not exclusively a hip-hop group, SaveMoney has become a force in the rap world with a packed lineup that is both based in the nuances of classic hip-hop and pushing the envelope for what the genre entails.
It’s a patchwork of styles, aesthetics and sounds that make up the whole, much like the city they’re from. Hailing from a place billed as one of the “most segregated cities in the world,” children are gunned down for walking on the wrong block in their own neighborhoods. SaveMoney, with members that come from all sides and corners of the city, operates as a uniting force that is representative of the future while staying rooted in the facets that have paced Chicago for generations.
While many may know of Vic and Chance, both of whom were XXL Freshmen in 2014, the group boasts a wide-ranging variety of hip-hop intonations that run the gamut of what listeners have come to expect from the Midwest and has allowed the roster to develop into a “next-up” type of situation that has seen each artist release critically-acclaimed projects, sell out local venues and find fans both in and out of their city in the process. Unlike New York City or Los Angeles, Chicago isn’t particularly known for its forward-thinking fashion, it’s artistic intonations or eye for aesthetics. However, this band of kids, raised in the Internet age, is representative of the contemporary, progressive thinking of a new generation that has not only pushed the envelope, but found eyes and ears across the country in the process. While the north, south and west sides of the city may be geographically close, they can often feel like completely different places with separate sub-cultures and influences throughout. SaveMoney, however, has relied on an interplay of every side and corner of the city to create a truly layered representation of their hometown that defies any set boundaries in the process.
Last year, Vic Mensa performed for the second time at Lollapalooza, a festival he almost died sneaking into, and joined Chance on the final night as a headliner. With as much diversified talent as SaveMoney has as a whole, it’s not out of the question to think that might become a regular thing for years to come. The collective has grown, matured and seems ready to take on anything in it’s path, while still remaining close friends in the process. XXL spoke to Vic Mensa, Joey Purp, Towkio, Caleb James, Brian Fresco, KAMI, Dally Auston and Sterling Hayes to find out what makes them tick. —Jake Krzeczowski Continue reading [Feature] Meet Vic Mensa’s Chicago Hip-Hop Collective SaveMoney
If you want some good music out of Chicago, the SaveMoney clique is a good place to look. If you’re looking for something unique that will get your feet moving? Look no further than Towkio (formerly Tokyo Shawn). From head to toe, note to lyric Towkio is a unique talent that has been brewing on Chicago’s underground for some time now. As Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper have ascended to the stratosphere, Towkio may well be one of the city’s best kept secrets. Continue reading |MIXTAPE| Towkio: “Hotchips N’ Chopsticks”