Most rappers can only dream of making a song as powerful as PGF Nuk’s breakout single, “Waddup.” Superficially it sounds like a pretty standard drill track—terse verses in a wrought-iron flow, lean percussion, a sparse synth melody as chilly as a dusty pipe organ—but Nuk puts it over the top with his style. The Englewood […]
Photos by Dylan Barnedo Since its launch as a one-day festival in 2018, Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash has grown into a three-day extravaganza that can go toe-to-toe with nationally recognized institutions. Pop-rap poster boy Post Malone, whose 2021 headlining set at Lollapalooza put him just below the Foo Fighters on the lineup poster, closed out […]
Azeez Alaka and Brandon Holmes run a music and video production company with a pipeline to the majors and a headquarters shaping up in Little Village.
In a self-aggrandizing public announcement last month about the return of Lollapalooza, Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted a cringey promotional video where she played music for Department of Public Health commissioner Allison Arwady onstage at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park. Early in the clip, Lightfoot changes the soundtrack from a Foo Fighters tune to […]
Chicago rapper Lil Zay Osama broke out about three years ago with the succinct and sorrowful “Changed Up,” which balances punchy, brutal bars against heart-wrenchingly sweet Auto-Tuned singing. Osama’s rise came during the early flourishing of a new wave of drill focused on melody and indebted to scene pillar Lil Durk; “Changed Up” captures the […]
Chicago rapper Taurus Bartlett, better known as Polo G, rose to national prominence so quickly that new listeners could be forgiven for assuming he’s been a star for at least a few years. He broke out in January 2019 with “Pop Out,” a collaboration with New York MC Lil Tjay, where Bartlett mixes irrepressible joy […]
Chicago rapper Lil Durk dropped his debut mixtape nearly nine years ago, and he’s since matured into one of drill’s most consistent, influential, and successful artists. His four previous major-label full-lengths have all peaked in the top 50 of the Billboard 200, including August’s Love Songs 4 the Streets 2, which debuted at number four. […]
I wish the right-wing miscreants in the federal government were as dependable as Chicago rapper G Herbo. For close to a decade, he’s released albums and mixtapes of rapid-fire drill with reassuring frequency, and even his most run-of-the-mill offerings benefit from his pragmatic empathy and lucid descriptions—he brings a distinctive emotional gravity to his detailed […]
The U. of C. Folk Festival celebrates 60 years on Valentine’s weekend, Polo G headlines a stacked Metro benefit before the NBA All-Star Game, and more.
Rapper Taurus Bartlett, aka Polo G, grew up in Old Town’s Marshall Field Garden Apartments, and he’s channeled the resilience he learned as kid into one of the most durable hip-hop tracks of the year. On “Pop Out” he delivers a vivid hook that indicts the poverty and mayhem in Black communities, but his plaintive, […]
Lollapalooza brought the big names on its 2019 lineup, but could it do more to engage the Chicago fans and artists who make this such a great city for music?
Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash has grown into Chicago’s biggest rap festival in just its second year, but it needed a nudge from the elements to get its act together.
Updated Wed 6/26 at 2 PM: This preview has been edited to reflect the addition of Gucci Mane and Famous Dex to the Summer Smash bill (and the removal of Kodak Black). The Summer Smash, presented by Chicago hip-hop blog turned cultural powerhouse Lyrical Lemonade, is already the biggest rap festival in the city—and it’s […]