Kenyadda Credit: Courtesy the Artist

In July, local rapper Bekoe told told Reader contributor Matt Harvey that he founded multipronged hip-hop company Illanoize in 2012 because he saw a void in coverage of the local scene. “During that time Chicago was the center of hip-hop culture,” Bekoe said. “Even so, there still was a lot of really good artists being overlooked.” In the last six years, Bekoe has made Illanoize indispensable; if you stumble upon a local hip-hop artist who’s unfamiliar and hasn’t been covered by major city news outlets, there’s a good chance the Illanoize site has at least one blog post about them. Bekoe throws shows under that name too, including tonight’s belated celebration of Taco’s Never Doubt Me EP, which the rapper self-released in September. Taco’s got an ear for lushly produced, soul-inspired instrumentals, and in his best performances—such as the heartfelt ode “Ma Dukes,” named after J. Dilla’s mother—his lyrics augment the warmth of his tracks. Opener Kenyadda also knows about honoring those who came before him; on his latest mixtape, last year’s Homage, he took instrumentals from hip-hop heroes and gave them his own spin. With his cool in-the-pocket flow, Kenyadda shows he has an intimate knowledge of hip-hop history and aims to make a place for himself in the genre’s ever-blooming canon. On “The Pact” he flips OutKast’s “Da Art of Storytellin’,” and his melodic thump on the hook easily jells with the track’s intergalactic-funk bump.   v