Joseph Chilliams Credit: Aris Theotokatos

In a recent interview with Chicago culture and news site These Days, rapper and Pivot Gang cofounder Joseph Chilliams discussed an epiphany he’d had about making music while watching a Louis C.K. special: “I realized that as long as it’s entertaining, it can be about absolutely anything.” Fortunately, he also understands the value of grounding his entertaining self-expression with sincerity and personality. His forthcoming debut, Henry Church—a rough Spanish-to-English translation of Enrique Iglesias’s name—is filled with pop-culture references and mature recollections of Chilliams’s youth in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, delivered deadpan. On “FN-2187,” named after John Boyega’s character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Chilliams pulls from a library of film and pop-music history to provide colorful descriptions of his neighborhood’s corners and of his own prowess; he’s playful, and he often sounds like he’s rapping just for the fun of it, especially on lines such as “I sound like Neo without the hat on / Get read Miranda rights with a Miranda Lambert track on.”   v

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