Chicago is the best city in hip-hop right now. Don’t @ me, that’s just facts. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about some of the talent.
Everybody knows about the big names from Chicago: Chance, Saba, Noname, Mick, Montana, Herbo, Etc. But those aren’t the people who are going to make the biggest waves in 2017. I mean sure they’ll still be there. Chance’ll probably drop his first “album” and hopefully Saba and Noname follow up their insane 2016 with an equally great 2017, but the artists I’m most excited about aren’t household names by any means, but they will be.
Ric is one of my favorite artists coming out of Chicago right now. After releasing what I think was the most slept on mixtape of 2016, Soul Bounce, Ric has been riding waves. His versatility and the way he blends genres makes Ric a must listen for any hip-hop fan.
Taylor is probably the most well known person on this list. While his music speaks for itself, it’s pretty hard to not know him as “Chance’s little brother”. Taylor has been in the news lately for coming out as bisexual which is cool as fuck. Representation matters, especially in such a homophobic genre…but I digress. Taylor has a short film coming out later in the month and has a new EP planned for February which will only propel him further into his spotlight.
Sage is one of the most unique artists in the city right now. A mix of Tyler, the Creator, Doom and Azizi Gibson, Sage blends boom-bap and jazz to create a whole new genre of Shikigami Jazz on his latest album SAGEWAV. Sage is also looking to drop a new album Super Tenkaichi in the summer.
The second brother on the list, Joe’s the older brother to Westside superstar, Saba. Joe is also the founder of PIVOT Gang, which has been making waves all year long. Joseph is the perfect rapper for millennial America as he blends humor and Nicktoons references with some very serious subject matter. After dropping some of the best verses on some of the best albums, Noname’s Telefone and Saba’s Bucket List Project, Joseph is looking to grab more attention with the release of his debut project coming this year.
Lowkey Supa probably doesn’t need to be on this list because he’s already Chicago famous, but that’s what happens when you’re a third of the hottest group to come out of Chicago since The Cool Kids–Hurt Everybody. This year Supa decided to go the solo route, dropping his mixtape Dead Again 3 featuring hella Chicago superstars: Chance, Twista, Mick Jenkins. Supa’s friends with everybody and can often be found in the crowd of local shows going wild.
Xavier dropped his debut Thrill earlier this year, and the project is really fucking good. It’s dark and heavy and dope…I mean the dude got Iman Shumpert on it like what the fuck. The kid is going places.
Cam has been on the scene for what feels like forever, and he’s not even…really…from…Chicago…Dude’s from L.A, but I, like most of people, group him into the Chicago scene because of all the work he’s done for it. His production has been featured on Acid Rap, Coloring Book, ComfortZone, Bucket List Project, Telefone and so many others that I’m not going to list because I’m not tryna type 7,000 words. Cam has his debut album coming out this year, Grown Ass Kid. Little is known about the project, but we have heard the title track featuring Chance, Mick and Alex Wiley. Right before Coloring Book dropped, the song was leaked and spread as a song that would be featured on the project. This was of course not true, but Cam did say it would be on his project.
Femdot is a hot commodity right now. His steady stream of great releases puts him in the perfect position to make his leap into stardom this year. Fem has been able to prove his versatility, having projects that focus on boom-bap raps and other projects focused more on RnB.
TheMIND is everywhere, I swear. He’s a frequent on Mick songs, he’s on a handful of Chance songs, Noname songs, shit he’s even on a Smoke Dza song! He gets the love for good reason though, and being a part of the production group Them People gives you some pretty dope connects. His 2016 album Summer Camp is a good album, like a really good album that got so slept on. I look for theMIND to force people to give him the attention he deserves in 2017.
Phoelix came out of nowhere this year, doing production on some of the best projects of the year, Telefone and The Bucket List Project. Yeah, his production is dope, but that’s not why I’m stoked to see what he’ll put out. The man has the voice of an angel holy shit I need a Phoelix project.