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Artist Tue May 06 2014

Chicago Rappers on the XXL Freshman List


Yesterday afternoon, the annual XXL Freshmen list was announced, and Chicago was highly represented on it. For all of y'all that don't know, XXL is an influential rap magazine that's been around since the late 90's. Once a year they curate a list of 12 "freshmen," emerging artists of whom they consider to be the most promising. Of these 12 selections, Chicago is home to four of them; Chance the Rapper, Lil Durk, Vic Mensa and Lil Bibby.

I'm operating under the relatively safe assumption that you're reading this, you probably at least have a cursory knowledge of who Chance the Rapper is, so I'm going to move forward. If not, I'd recommend listening to his mixtape Acid Rap. Vic Mensa is arguably the second most recognizable of the four. The former lead vocalist of Kids These Days, Mensa pivoted to a solo career after after the breakup of the band and hasn't looked back. The mixtape he released late last year, Innanetape, has catapulted him to sold out shows here in Chicago to touring around the world with Disclosure and Danny Brown. Lil Durk is signed to French Montana's Coke Boys label and is a Chief Keef affiliate. His mixtape Signed to the Streets 2 is scheduled to be released soon. Lil Bibby's recent mixtape, Free Crack has gathered him an increasing amount of attention, attracting the likes of Drake. Check out some music by the freshmen below.

Chance the Rapper - Everybody's Something

Vic Mensa - Down on My Luck

Lil Bibby - Water

Lil Durk - Live That Life

The rest of the XXL list? Rich Homie Quan, Isaiah Rashad, Kevin Gates, Jon Connor, Jarren Benton, August Alsina, Ty Dolla $ign, and Troy Ave. If you're into it, our friends at Chicago Reader have a list of five more emerging Chicago rappers (Alex Wiley, Saba, Spenzo, Taylor Bennett, and ZMoney) you may want to keep a look out for. Highly recommended.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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