Chicago’s a Hot Spot for New Hip-Hop Talent
No matter where you come from, reppin’ your hood is crucial in hip-hop. It’s part of the reason why the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A, was able to change the rap game in the late 1980s and it’s still a key factor in securing prolonged success today.
Chicago is home to some of the most prolific rappers in the business both past and present, the city that produced such influential artists as Kanye West, Common, Twista and Lupe Fiasco through the years. But the city's hip-hop credentials don't stop there; in recent years, Chi-Town has become the center of a vibrant and diverse rap scene that's pushing boundaries further than hip-hop has in the past. And lately, the Windy City streets have been the breeding ground for some of the best young MCs in the game, the place where former XXL Freshmen like Chance The Rapper, Lil Durk, Lil Bibby and Vic Mensa first blew up before turning their eyes to the mainstream. Now, a new crop of brazen, young talent is defining the next generation. Durk, BJ The Chicago Kid and Dreezy are just some of the MCs who represent the new school in Chicago's decorated hip-hop history.
22-year-old 2014 XXL Freshman Lil Durk, who just released his debut album, Remember My Name, under Def Jam Recordings earlier this year, still remembers the importance of hometown love.
“We lost people, we had people who made it out of Chicago," Durk says, reflecting on his come up. "It’s definitely important to me."
"You go through a lot at a young age and it just shows you real life," says Dreezy, the 21-year-old rhymer who signed to Interscope Records late last year. "It made me into a strong woman."
BJ, a signee of Motown Records who’s been in the studio with R. Kelly, Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper, credits his “survival through the jungle” of Chicago with preparing him for the music industry and life in general.
“The way Chicago shaped me into who I am now is the way I walk, the way I talk and the person I am,” he says. “I understand what it is to still feel inspired and see inspiration through the craziness, through the smoke, through the darkness... I thank God for my city. I'm gonna definitely represent my city to the fullest."
To see Dreezy, Durk and BJ rep their set in their own words, watch the video above. And catch the come-up of N.W.A when Straight Outta Compton hits theaters nationwide on Friday, Aug. 14.