Bump J Credit: courtesy the artist

At the end of “Crown,” on G Herbo’s debut album, Humble Beast, the Chicago rap star ad-libs an anecdote about walking home from school one day as a child and becoming starstruck at the sight of Terrance Boykin, aka Bump J. In the 2000s, few local rappers cast as big a shadow as Bump, leading hip-hop mogul Lyor Cohen to track him down and offer him a $1 million deal with Atlantic. Bump coulda been an international star, but after a few singles (one with Rick James, two produced by Kanye), he left the major label in 2006. Things looked grim when he was arrested for a 2007 robbery; he took a plea deal and spent much of the past decade behind bars. But while Bump was away, his shadow grew to loom larger than ever; he’s become an avatar for rap greatness in the eyes of a new generation of street rappers. Since regaining his freedom last year, he’s dropped one-off videos and made guest appearances on songs by artists who are his rightful heirs—and, yes, that includes a verse on the aforementioned “Crown.” Last month Bump dropped his first full-length since his release, I Don’t Feel Rehabilitated (Goon Squad Entertainment), on which he imparts brawny power into his verses without ever raising his voice. He recently told Fake Shore Drive that he and longtime collaborator Sly Polaroid are working on an EP produced entirely by Kanye West; given Kanye’s celebrity (his recent flirtations with far-right thinkers aside), the recording could help reintroduce the world to one of the most historically important figures to ever emerge out of the Chicago scene.   v