Sampling is a staple technique for music producers, and creates stepping-stones for the next artists in line. It also allows for genre-morphing mixes that look baffling on paper but can give a song an iconic appeal or breathe new life into it. And it can open doors for audiences, leading them to new sounds and […]
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 […]
A few weeks after COVID-19 shut down the country, Chicago engineer and producer Ayo “AyoChillMannn” Makinde lost his full-time job as a youth national teams administrator for U.S. Soccer. In an effort to stave off depression, he dedicated all his energy to making music, and within a year it became his career. He got a […]
Chicago rapper Cdot Honcho doesn’t mess around. His rapping often sounds like a kind of carefully controlled yelling, clear and intense even when he doesn’t ever seem to pause for breath, and his most commanding performances feel downright cutthroat. Cdot has been perfecting this approach to the mike since he began his local ascent a […]
Chicago rapper-producer Kilt Karter often unloads his terse verses in a salacious whisper, and many of his songs don’t even last two minutes—both of which should remind you of Valee, the idiosyncratic local MC and GOOD Music signee who’s also Karter’s older brother. In a July interview with Illanoize Radio, Karter said Valee has offered […]
This year Pitchfork booked enough acts from in and around Chicago to fill one side of a 90-minute cassette.
In recognition of Valee’s Pitchfork debut, the Reader attempts to quantify the Chicago rapper’s braggadociousness.
Headliners Robyn, Haim, and the Isley Brothers are joined on the bill by the likes of Pusha T, Stereolab, and Mavis Staples.
Chicago rap duo Mother Nature have already carried their message of self-reliance and self-realization into schools and overseas—and they’re raising their own bar with the EP Pressure.
Chicago’s hip-hop scene overflows with such variety and abundance that it’s impossible to show enough love to every great release—but that’s no reason not to try.
Young Chicago production duo New Trash have made an asset of a low budget on shoots with Valee, Avantist, Mother Nature, and many more.
On his sophomore album, Noir, Smino highlights his rap skills without abandoning the soulful singing of Blkswn.
You probably already know what you think of Kanye’s eighth album—if only because it’s recently become almost impossible not to have an opinion about Kanye himself.
Art Brewt, Plucky Lush, and more happenings from May 22-25
Chicago rapper-producer Valee Taylor, who records and performs under his first name, talks a big game. If you believe the claims in his breakthrough single, “Shell,” he’s the kind of guy who walks through luxury-brand stores like a master gamer let loose in an arcade with a backpack weighed down by quarters—he’s effortless and in […]