It’s no secret that Chicago produces nothing short of greatness, especially in the music department. Our rappers set trends that all the other cities follow. From the chart toppers to the ones that aren’t known widely by the public, in no particular order, here are some of the best Chi-town rappers of the decade.
She’s a quadrupal threat. Not only is she a rapper, but she’s a singer, songwriter, and actress as well. My first time hearing of her was when she released her “Chiraq” remix back in 2014 that racked up over 2 million views. She’s gone on to collab with big name artists such as Ari Lennox and Ty Dolla $ign.
Chance the Rapper
At this point, it doesn’t even feel like Chance is an actual celebritity because if you live in the city you’ve probably met him a couple of times. Regardless, he’s a lot of people’s favorites. Not only because of the hits like “No Problem” and “Hot Shower” but because of all the good that he does for this city. He’s one of a few artists from here that doesn’t forget where he came from and gives any time he’s given the chance.
You might be in your feelings a little bit listening to her, but I promise it’s worth it. She’s gotten co-signs by Timbaland, one of the most influential people in the game, so you know she something great. “Treat Me Like Somebody” was the song that really made her get recognized by Chicago and everywhere else and she’s been taking off ever sense.
Chicago wouldn’t be Chicago without Chief Keef and drill rap. Name one Chicago function where you haven’t heard “Faneto,” “Don’t Like,” or “Earned It”. You can’t because they’re played at literally every party. Even though he doesn’t live in the city anymore, he’s still an artist that’s greatly shaped and influenced the game and the city.
The feature king! Put him on the track and it’s guaranteed to be a hit. Although he does make his own music, it seems like everybody disregards it, but songs like “Love Don’t Change” and “Oui” did numbers and got a ton of radio play.
Until recently, he was more so a Chicago rapper who got most of his attention from people in the city, but that’s quickly changed with his “Who Run It” freestyle which later got a remix featuring Lil Uzi Vert and fellow Chicago rapper Chance the Rapper.
Instead of being strictly a rapper, he does a little singing too. His song “Like Me” which featured Jeremih blew up and got certified gold by the RIAA. This song caused him to gain a pretty big following and fan base. He later collabed with artists like Lil Reese, Tee Grizzley, and DeJ Loaf to produce more hits and keep putting the city on the map.
Quickly rising to fame from his hit “Envy Me,” Calboy got signed to Meek Mill’s Dream Chasers Records and RCA Records. Though he’s technically from Calumet City, hence the name Calboy, it is a Chicago suburb, so for the purposes of this list I’ll allow it. Like many people growing up in this city, he turned to music as an outlet instead of letting the negative things get a hold of him.
Some of his actions have been questionable lately, but you can’t deny the fact that the man creates amazing music. By no means am I justifying any of the sideways things that he’s said or done, but sometimes you have to separate the art from the artist. Some album favorites by many were 808s & Heartbreak and Graduation, but Watch the Throne and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy both feature some hits like “N*ggas In Paris” and “All of the Lights.” Even though it seems like West forgets about us a lot of the time, we still love him when he’s acting like he has some sense.
He grew such a large audience in the short time that he was in the game because everything he put out was a bop and relatable. “Lucid Dreams” is what he’s most known for, but he definitely had more songs that were just as catchy and topped charts. He stood out from a lot of Chicago artists because he didn’t just make music about guns, drugs, and all the other stuff that’s prevalent in Chicago music. He wasn’t afraid to express his feelings and the problems he faced. RIP Juice. We miss you down here.
Nobody does it like Chicago and that’s on period. No other city can touch our artists or the music they put out and if you needed new artists to listen to, you’re welcome.
By Cierra Lemott, Senior, Brooks College Prep
Instagram & Snapchat: @cece.kodak