We love rap music. We love Chicago. We love rap music that comes from Chicago. And one of the definitive voices of the Chicago hip-hop scene is Fake Shore Drive, a local website that's been putting Midwest talent on since 2007. If you haven't been reading FSD, you've been listening to its influence. The site has helped pretty much every significant Chi rapper over the past few years, including Chance the Rapper, Chief Keef, Lil Durk, Lil Reese, King Louie, Vic Mensa, Tree, Lil Herb, Lil Bibby, and more.
We spend a lot of time covering the scene in Chicago—our documentary Chiraq illustrated the rise of drill music and the socioeconomic issues the city faces through segregation, violence, and crime, and we're following up-and-comers like Alex Wiley, Dreezy, and Tink—but we recognize that there's more to the city's music scene than we can always keep up with. Today, we're happy to launch Music to Fake Shore Driveby, a recurring column by Andrew Barber and Ty Howard over at Fake Shore Drive. These guys will be curating mixtapes of Midwest artists for your listening pleasure. Below is volume one, with blurbs on each track.
King Louie - "Ambitions as a Rider"
If you're sleeping on Louie's latest mixtape, Tony, we feel sorry for your mother. It's arguably the dopest Chicago mixtape to drop this year, as it's chock full of crazy production, strong hooks, and dope concepts. Not to mention Louie is rapping circles around the competition right now. However, on "Ambitions" he slows it down a bit for some certified rider music.
Lil Bibby feat. T.I. - "Boy"
Lil Bibby switched things up a bit and took on some production from Bay Area producer/emcee P-Lo for this banger from Bibby’s Free Crack 2 mixtape. Bibby kills this record and T.I.’s verse is just an added bonus. Don’t snooze on this one, boy.
Sir Michael Rocks feat. Twista - "Some Ish"
One of best records from Sir Michael’s Banco LP is easily the Do Or Die-inspired “Some Ish”. This smooth joint flips the opening lines from Belo’s verse on “Po Pimp” for the hook and includes solid verses from Michael and Westside OG Twista. How could you not like this?
Mick Jenkins - "Rain"
Mick's The Water[s] is one of the strongest rap releases of the year, but one of the best records from The Water[s] sessions didn't make the album; the Ann Peebles-sampled "Rain." Surely sample issues hung this out to dry, but thankfully Mick was nice enough to let the leak flow.
Shorty K - "Don’t Make Me"
Shorty K’s been relatively quiet this year, but he made sure that everyone heard him loud and clear on “Don’t Make Me”. The Three 6 Mafia-sampled track serves as the perfect backdrop for Shorty K and he goes in just as he should.
Brian Fresco - "On My Soul"
There's more to the SaveMoney clique than just Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa. Yes, they might be the faces of the crew, but once you dig deeper you find bubbling talents like Brian Fresco—the edgier, more street-oriented spitter of the SaveMoney fam. This week he plans to release his EP, SoulMoney, produced entirely by Chicago stalwart Tree. On my soul this one's a hit.
Saba feat. Eryn Allen Kane & Tree - "For Y’all"
It’s hard to pick a favorite record from Saba’s ComfortZone project, but it’s definitely “For Y’all” if I have to. From the production to Saba’s verses and the guest contributions from MC Tree and Eryn Allen Kane, this song catches your ear—and in a good way. In short, everything about this track is great.
Lil Durk feat. Migos - "My Money"
It’s all about the mula for Lil Durk, Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff on “My Money”, which may be one of Durk’s best offerings this year. Migos come correct, but Durk steals the show.
God - "Church"
Sure the religious overtones of God's project The Bible scared some people away (or deeply offended them), but his debut features a handful of great records that teeter more on the "traditional" Chicago sound that was made popular by No ID and Kanye West. That being said, "Church" is undeniable.
Jeremih + Shlohmo feat. Chance The Rapper - "The End"
Low key, Jeremih is having one of the best years ever. But while he may not receive the promotion or publicity that his Def Jam counterparts enjoy, he continues to prove that he's the secret weapon of the label. He's got a number one single, and his collabo tape with Shlohmo was nothing short of amazing. But "The End" featuring his Chicago crony Chancellor Bennett just might be the crown jewel. You don't want no smoke.
ZMoney - "I Can’t Stop"
ZMoney’s flow and Odd Couple’s production sounds like a match made in heaven on “I Can’t Stop.” It may be a little different than what you would expect from Z, but I can’t stop playing it. No pun intended.
Joey Purp - "Irie Trill Vibes"
SaveMoney repper Joey Purp has made quite a bit of noise with this certified slapper, "Irie Trill Vibes." It's definitely a local DJ staple, and a track that should break nationally.
Lil Herb feat. Lil Reese - "On My Soul"
No, this is not a typo, there really are two tracks on this mix titled "On My Soul." Unlike Brian Fresco's soul trap, this is drill. What might surprise you about this version is that it was produced by Da Internz, who were behind Nicki Minaj's current hit "Anaconda." There are quite a few sides to the Chicago hip-hop scene, but many of their stories are the same.
Chris Crack - "What Am I Supposed to Do"
Chris Crack a.k.a. Crackaveli is one of the hardest working cats in the Chicago scene, and his Kickin' It With TW mixtape is not to be ignored. It's a playalistic look into the westside of town, and the party lifestyle and scene Crack dwells in. He's one of the more unique Go Ill residents, and this joint is a nice introduction.
Andrew Barber is one of dem boyz. He's on Twitter — @fakeshoredrive
Ty Howard is also one of dem boyz. He's on Twitter — @someguynamedty