Over the summer you could take a drive through the south and west sides and see folks on sidewalks and in the streets doing their take on bop, the intuitive and playful dance style born on the west side that many local rappers have embraced with some sunny, melodic tracks. While the dip in temperature has made it harder to bop outdoors (or at least far more unpleasant) there are still places to go and bop, or at least see other people do it—for example, on Friday the Olympic Theatre in Cicero is hosting what’s being billed as the first annual Thanksgiving Bop-a-Thon. If you want to test out your moves, show up early to get in on the bop contest, which will be judged by bop king and recent B Side cover star Lil Kemo, and once that wraps up there’s a lengthy list of rappers slated to perform.
At the top of the bill is Lil Durk, the south-side rapper who inked a deal with Def Jam last year as drill became the hot local sound. The MC recently teamed up with west-side duo Sicko Mobb to record “Maserati,” a frenetic track that’s exemplary of the style of music that’s being made to soundtrack bopping. Sicko Mobb is also playing the Bop-a-Thon alongside a handful of other acts that have been key players in shaping the sound and culture around bop, such as Breezy Montana, M.I.C, and Stunt Taylor, who’s dropping his debut mixtape next month. Also on the lineup: Matti Baybee, Chief Keef’s 15-year-old second cousin, who has a penchant for soaking his vocals in Auto-Tune, which sits well next to all the “happy rap” tracks made for fiestas.
There are plenty of other rap acts on the bill—in fact, the end of the lineup lists “many more,” and I’m personally hoping west-side trio S.B.E. is one of the unlisted groups that makes an appearance. S.B.E. recently dropped a mixtape called The Bopumentary, and if the title wasn’t a clear cosign of the dance movement, the music certainly gets the point across. The group hooked me five songs in with “Whole Block on Fe Fe,” which has light touches of electronic beats that sound like steel drums and one hell of a catchy chorus I can’t get out of my head. Take a listen below:
Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.