The new year has already been packed with awesome new rap music, and a lot of that music is coming out of the Midwest (check out Big Sean's surprisingly dope Dark Sky Paradise or Tree's brand new Trap Genius for a small taste). Fortunately, our pals over at Chicago hip-hop blog Fake Shore Drive are back with another great mix of the best stuff coming out of the region so you can keep up.
If you like what you're hearing, you'll also be pleased to discover that both Noisey and Fake Shore Drive have some cool shows on the horizon. For those in Chicago, Fake Shore Drive is presenting a show with dope local acts Show You Suck and SD (who is featured twice in this mix because he's that hot right now) along with motherfucking CAM'RON. It's tonight at Lincoln Hall, and it's only $3. Grab your tickets here. For those of you in New York, Noisey is presenting a show next week at SOB's with Chicago artists Alex Wiley and Kembe X (featured on this mix), as well as Tunji Ige and Trial & Era. Find more information here. But with no further ado, here is the latest installment of Music to Fake Shore Driveby:
Jeremih feat. J. Cole – “Planes”
It’s February 2015, and Jeremih’s new album still isn’t anywhere to be found. Sighs all around. ‘Mih did give us his newest single “Planes,” though, and it’s pretty amazing. The single version of the record with J. Cole is pretty dope, but I need to hear the original version with Chance The Rapper in mp3 form like yesterday. – TH
Big Sean feat. Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign – “Play No Games”
This perfectly chopped sample of Guy's "Piece Of My Love" courtesy of Key Wane is a sure shot winner. It’s a potential single and airwave killer, for sure. It's a hit without Breezy and Ty, but throwing them in the mix was extra gasoline to dump on the fire.
I've commented a few times that this is a very Detroit-sounding record. Some real Detroit player music. Makes me want to wear a pair of Buffys to Somerset Mall type of music. – AB
White Gzus – “Cross Town Classic”
Chicago natives are familiar with baseball’s yearly crosstown classic, in which the South Side’s White Sox play against the North Side’s Cubs. The crosstown rivalry gets deep, but White Gzus are looking at this a bit differently. They're not talking baseball bats; they're talking females. Get it?
The slick R&B sample and floating flows from Gzus Piece and Blanco Caine make this track—along with their entire Stackin N Mackin Vol. 2 project a must listen. – AB
SD – “Excuses”
By now you should know that SD is one of the most underrated powerhouse song makers in Chicago, right? Well, if you slept on his November album Truly Blessed, then you can make it up with his recently released Life Of A Savage 4 project.
It's a bit darker in nature than Truly Blessed, but that doesn't mean SD doesn't have some pop-leaning records in the mix, the best of them being the supremely catchy "Excuses." And you have no excuse for not checking this one out. – AB
Kembe X – “Crack Baby”
Kembe X will gain your attention this year. That I can promise you. You might know him for his project with Scion A/V, his relationship with Alex Wiley, or his TDE affiliation; but look for him to make a real splash this year with his real deal debut.
For an intro into the mind, soul and style of Kembe X look no further than "Crack Baby," an introspective look at who Kembe is and what he's experienced. He put "Crack Baby" together with tremendous skill and honesty, and the beat is a gem to boot. – AB
Tree – “Milk Chin”
We're guessing the general public at large was a bit confused with the title of this new Tree track. Perhaps you couldn't decipher what he was rapping about in his verses, but "Milk Chin" is in reference to the birthmark on Tree's chin that he wears proudly.
It made Tree easy to spot during his days living and grinding in the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects, so he had to be extra careful (a la classic Freeway lyric "gotta kill witnesses cause Free's beard stickin out"). "Milk Chin," however, finds Tree at his best, rapping about making the Chicago Tribune front page on a Sunday for something positive and not something stupid ("no gun click, bang"). – AB
Tay Butler and Haz Solo – “Old Plair”
It’s good to slow it down every now and then, and Milwaukee natives Tay Butler and Haz Solo did just that on “Old Plair.” Despite the title, old and young players (and non-players) can enjoy this one. – TH
Big Sean feat. Kanye West and Travis Scott – “All Your Fault”
I hear it. You hear it. This is a MASSIVE record. It's already killing the clubs thanks to Sean Don and Lord Yeezus's high octane and stuntastic verses. But the catchiest part of "All Your Fault" has to be the beat. It's a monster. And it was handled by bubbling Chicago beatsmiths Mano and OG Webbie.
It twists Kanye's long-lost chipmunk soul sampling and puts a 2015 take on it. The results are exactly what GOOD fans have been waiting for. – AB
SD – “Flexin' On Em”
SD's new project, Life Of A Savage 4, is chock full of infectious bangers. I could've picked any number of them to include on this playlist, but "Flexin On Em" is pretty unforgettable. And catchy. This is straight FLEX ZONE and arm flex emojis all day long. – AB
Martin $ky – “Plug”
Mr. $ky's future is bright. The producer and rapper is quickly creeping up as one of the Chi's top prospects thanks to his slapping soundscapes and smoothly assembled tracks. His live shows also offer something to write home about. So while we wait on his breakthrough EP, he gave us the plug on “Plug.” – AB
Payroll Giovanni – “How I Move”
This has to be the most Detroit-sounding song since the legendary Blade Icewood passed away close to ten years ago. Payroll, who represents the Doughboyz Cashout conglomerate, dropped a great project a few weeks back that's not to be slept on (Stack Season: check it out). But "How I Move" has to be the most fun record on the album. This is going to do numbers in the Motor City. Plus his shit-talking is A1. *does the Blade dance* – AB
King Louie – “Right Now”
Have you ever wondered what would happen if King Louie rapped over a flip of Foxes’ “Youth”? Probably not. If you have, imagine no longer. Such a track exists, and it’s another solid effort from Louie. If you haven’t heard “Right Now,” change that now—not now, but right now. – TH
Chief Keef – “Get Money”
Chief Keef a.k.a. Keith Cozart a.k.a. Chief Keef Mozart once said “go get you some money and make it habit,” and he’s telling everyone that again on “Get Money.” This Chop Squad DJ-produced record is just one of my favorites from Keef’s Sorry 4 The Weight tape. – TH
Tree – “Don’t Een Kare”
I caught Tree performing “Don’t Een Kare” live two or three times before the record dropped (or before I even knew what it was), and it was crazy each time. Fast forward to the track (and video) hitting the e-streets not too long ago, and it’s still a crazy record. I’m sure my neighbors are tired of hearing it by now, but I don’t een kare. – TH
Payroll Giovanni – “Raised In The Game”
Payroll grew up here; you're just new here. In the game, that is. Pay runs down his resume on “Raised In The Game,” which is one of my favorites from his Stack Season album. BRB, going to get “I passed you caused I was grinding and you kept playing” tatted. – TH
Cap 1 – “1,000 Pints”
You can always count on Cap 1 and Zaytoven to give you a banger when they connect, and “1,000 Pints” is the latest edition of their collaborations. I recommend listening to this one in the car or the club (or wherever there's a nice sound system) to truly appreciate it. – TH
Chief Keef – “Vet Lungs”
This is another one of my favorites from Keef's Sorry 4 The Weight project. GGP, which I'm pretty sure consists of Keef and producer DP, handle the production here and they give Keef the perfect backdrop to go to work on. Still want that old Sosa? Well, this is as close as you're going to get. – TH
Vic Spencer and Chris Crack [Chris Spencer] feat. Sulaiman and Tree – “Holy Grail”
Vic Spencer and Chris Crack are two underground heroes in the City of Wind. Both popping within their respective circles, these two have decided to join forces for a collabo project titled Chris Spencer. Get it? For their first offering, they grabbed the very gifted Sulaiman, as well as MC TREE G for the hook.
This sample never gets old, and these three MCs pulled out all stops on this gem. Chris Spencer is highly anticipated, and this is all the proof you need. – AB
Head to Fake Shore Drive for your daily Midwest hip-hop updates. Follow Andrew Barber and Ty Howard on Twitter.