Chance the Rapper

I spent parts of Thursday popping ibuprofen like some rappers pop molly (or so their songs lead me to believe) so I could fight off a sudden illness in order to see a couple key Chicago hip-hop showcases: Fake Shore Drive curated one of Red Bull’s free outdoor shows, and later in the evening local rap label Lawless Inc. took over Club 119. Chicago’s hip-hop scene became the source of unexpected international interest last year largely thanks to the ascendance of teenage rap phenom Chief Keef, whose breakthrough mixtape, Back From the Dead, came out a year ago this past Tuesday.

Keef was released from a two-month stint in jail Thursday, and his presence was felt beyond whatever shout-outs he received from people onstage. After all, he unintentionally threw the spotlight on other artists in his city; a select number of these rappers hit the stage in Austin, all of them performing with the intention of keeping Chicago’s grip on the international rap spotlight intact in 2013. Gauging from the crowd reaction that’s a distinct possibility for at least one MC—Chance the Rapper.