I first met Chicago producer Smoko Ono on the subway a little over a year ago, and, when he, a stranger, told me he was a producer and band member for Vic Mensa, I was skeptical. But it turns out he was telling the truth. And he is a great producer! And, my, how things have changed: Now Vic Mensa is an international star, and Smoko Ono (along with go-to collaborator Stefan Ponce) is producing stuff for him that is getting rolled out onstage in London alongside a little-known rapper named Kanye West. His new material sounds like Kanye-quality stuff, with huge clanging synths and grinding drums that perfectly walk the line between hip-hop and electronic music. Figuring out the right balance between those two sounds is basically the key to being on the pulse of genre in the coming months and years, so I'm eager to see where the Smoko Ono/Vic Mensa brain trust goes next.
Smoko Ono, though, is also a family man, and he's got a slightly more laid-back slapper on his hands with his brother, who just happens to be a rapper named Jarred AG. It's called "Muhfucka," and it's a solid party anthem full of lyrical acrobatics and rapidfire punchlines from Jarred. I recommend it for any and all playlists for driving, beer pong, playing basketball, eating pizza rolls, etc. Keeping things in the family, the song is off of the upcoming Chicago Sights 'N' Sound compilation being put together by Smoko Ono's older brother, Kyle. That compilation also includes contributions from Mick Jenkins, Saba, Lucki Eck$, and more of Chicago's best and brightest. If you're wondering what's next for Chicago—and maybe music in general, if the recent Vic and Kanye bromance is any indication of where Smoko Ono is headed—pay attention. Check out "Muhfucka" below:
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