Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Rising from the Middle
It might be easy to think Chicago's Hip-Hop scene is on the decline since the release of Kanye's 808's and Failure... I mean... Heartbreak. Hip-Hop evolves at a breakneck pace; by the time you put your finger on a trend, it's already yesterday's news and most heads have moved on to the next thing.
Chi-town, however, is still going strong. This was asserted in, of all places, the Red Eye, the free daily distributed by the Tribune. If one of this town's establishment papers is crowing the virtues of this scene, you know it's been stomping around for a while.
The piece highlights four rising Chicago MCs to watch. It's no surprise that Naledge from Kidz in the Hall, who has his first solo dropping in June, is on there. This writer's personal favorite, however, is Mic Terror, who recently got a big bump in popularity after M.I.A. discovered one of his tracks.
Terror's material captures the transition that Rap is in right now. It's bouncy, intense, paying equal tribute to what came before--East and West Coast, Old and New School--while adding a unique spin. The contradiction that is Chicago, it's decaying urban life butted up against slick "development," seems to drip off his beats and rhymes. That's a contradiction everyone is trying to navigate right now.