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On the new 25, Chicago drill star G Herbo proves his skills haven’t suffered from his celebrity

Chicago rapper Herbert Wright III, better known as G Herbo, has become the kind of public figure whose smallest social media movement is fodder for the content mill. When Herb’s girlfriend, Taina Williams, recently blocked him on Instagram, the nonevent inspired blog posts at Complex, HotNewHipHop, and Bossip. Thankfully, whatever strains and pressures come with […]

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Chicago rapbrarian Roy Kinsey makes music for summer celebrations with Juke Skywalker Vol. 1

Chicago rapper and librarian Roy Kinsey has drawn national attention for his remarkable concept albums and their sensitive, piercingly thoughtful lyrics. In 2018 he dropped Blackie: A Story by Roy Kinsey, a deeply personal and thoroughly researched record about race in America that’s informed by Kinsey’s family history and the Great Migration; last year he […]

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Chicago hip-hop duo Udababy tap the energy of the Why? Records collective on their debut album

Judging from the energy of practically every Why? Records release, the four rappers who make up the underground Chicago hip-hop collective and label could easily spend the rest of their lives collaborating in different configurations on a half dozen albums per year. Udababy LP, the debut full-length from Why? duo Udababy, is no exception. Rappers […]

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Pivot Gang’s SqueakPivot and MFn Melo map out a rewarding creative partnership on #EnRoute

Producer SqueakPivot has long been a crucial member of the Chicago hip-hop collective he’s incorporated into his stage name, applying his talents largely to mixes and DJ sets—I’m hard-pressed to think of a Pivot Gang show I’ve seen where Squeak wasn’t behind the turntables. He’s infrequently released his own music, though that began to shift […]

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Chicago hip-hop duo Mother Nature level up with the BoatHouse collaboration Sznz

Rappers Klevah Knox and TRUTH, known collectively as Mother Nature, have worked tirelessly to ascend through the Chicago scene over the past few years. COVID-19 threw a gigantic roadblock in their path—the same way it did for almost anyone who isn’t a billionaire using a society-shifting pandemic to get billions of dollars richer—but the duo’s […]

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F.A.B.L.E. proves himself one of Chicago’s best emerging rappers with Duckweed

Last year Englewood rapper, multi-instrumentalist, and studio engineer Christopher Horace, aka F.A.B.L.E., grew frustrated with his lack of progress on an ambitious full-length and released the EP (IX) The Hermit as a stopgap, throwing it together in an effort to break his creative blocks. The EP’s seven irrepressibly joyful songs have become some of my […]

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Chicago rapper-producer Tree extends his winning streak with Soul Trap

In the past decade, Chicago hip-hop has elevated many talented acts to the national stage, among them rapper-producer Tremaine Johnson, better known as Tree—and his wildly idiosyncratic sounds set him apart from most of those newly minted stars. The Cabrini-Green native specializes in calamitous productions whose tough-as-nails percussion frames honeyed vocal samples warped till they […]