Anyone who knows anything about Chicago hip-hop knows Soundscape Studios, the South Loop recording studio that’s played host to so many recording sessions and parties (and vaguely defined gatherings falling somewhere between the two) that putting in time there has become de rigueur for up-and-coming local rap artists. Recently Soundscape’s indefatigable owner and chief engineer, Michael Kolar, started a small record label called Closed Sessions to issue compilations of his collaborations not only with Chicago talent but also with some of the many national marquee names who’ve dropped in for sessions over the years. (Last year I wrote about his collaboration with local rap blog Ruby Hornet.)
Closed Sessions is about to release its third collection, simply titled Closed Sessions Volume 2. As per usual the guest list is big and full of notable names, including Chicagoans L.E.P. Bogus Boys, YP, Mic Terror, Hollywood Holt, Million Dollar Mano, Freddie Gibbs, Sir Michael Rocks from the Cool Kids, and Naledge from Kidz in the Hall; New Yorkers Raekwon, Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire, and Ninjasonik; and Kanye protege Cyhi da Prynce. Produced in collaboration with MTV2’s Sucker Free, the album drops next month, and tracks are being previewed on MTV2.com and elsewhere online. Hit the jump to check out audio and video of “Blackbird” by Queens-born MC Action Bronson, half of the team behind one of my favorite records of the year.