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Artist Tue May 06 2014
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.