Last week, Chicago’s Chance The Rapper, Saba, and The Social Experiment, debuted a new track called Angels on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The performance was riveting and refreshing for many reasons, but what really stood out to me was the way Chance put on for his city.
From the footwork (juke dancing), to the local radio shout out and hoodies both he and Saba were wearing (WGCI 107.5 and Power 92 are the main stations in Chicago that play hip hop), the slang (“woo woo this woo wap da bam”), the many references to Chicago culture in the song itself (including a recycled Kanye line and a nod to Chief Keef), and the way Chance speaks on his life as a new father, and the fact that he will never stray far from his roots (“clean up the parks so my daughter will have somewhere to play”, “I’m still at my old church”).
After a deeper listen to the lyrics, I found that at it’s core, the track subtly touches on the very real issue of violence in Chicago, and a widely felt sentiment by many in the city that they have been abandoned by those in power. However, in true Chance style, he chooses to turn this bleak idea on it’s head and has put forth an upbeat song which, despite all its hardship, celebrates and strengthens Chicago.
Recently the good folks at ACCLAIM magazine featured a collection of 35mm photos I took while driving across the U.S in June as part of their ‘Postcards’ series. Check out the full post here which includes captions for each picture, written by me.
In honour of my first ever visit to the Chi, here is a playlist of some of my favourite music birthed by people from this city.
Chicago sounds have always held a special place in my heart because there is a level of diversity in the stories which escape the confines of this city and enter our worlds which doesn’t seem to exist as notably anywhere else.
Chicago – Keep doing you, we love you.
The rest of you – Enjoy.
Love him or hate him, Kanye West understands culture. He understands that in order to shift culture and veer public minds into futuristic thinking, you must take risks. He understands that if you want to connect with the youth, you need to use the youth; learn from the youth.
These last two months have been intriguing as we have watched him make his return to music with four very different sonic offerings – First it was the stripped back, melodic, and heart-wrenching Only One featuring an emotional Kanye singing, with Sir Paul McCartney on the keys.
He followed that with another McCartney assisted track, FourFiveSeconds, this time adding Rihanna’s fiery vocals to juxtapose the simplicity of the folk-infused instrumental.
Judging by the amount of new music, features, mixes, djing, and touring he’s been doing lately, I think it’s safe to say Montreal producer, Kaytranada probably hasn’t slept in a year. To top that off, 2015 is already shaping up to belong to him and his team – and rightfully so.
Sit back and watch the takeover.
[Kaytranada recently did an hour long BBC Radio 1 residency – Check that out here]