The Boy Illinois concluded 2013 with a bang as he opened up for Lupe Fiasco‘s entire Tetsuo & Youth Preview Tour. Now with his hometown under another heavy snowfall, it seems like the natural time to drop his first track of 2014: a Chicago collab called “Winter & Construction” featuring Boss Woo.
Illi handles the first part of the record, displaying that versatility that I feel helps stand him apart. I got into the record once the hook came and the beat (produced by Von Vuai) switched up. In fact, the beat switches up again, ratcheting up a notch to give Boss Woo a fresh canvas to impress as well. All in all, this is an auto-add to the rotation and one that’ll grow with more listens. Give it a couple yourself below!
Ceytra joins forces with the on fire The Boy Illinois who was recently on Lupe Fiasco’s Tetsuo and Youth Preview Tour for the single “I Work.” The two both spit crazy bars and murder the P. Feliciano record.
As we all already know 2013 is coming to an end, and with that for music fans comes all these list of the best artist, songs, videos, etc, etc. I’ve learned to really appreciate those lists because they give me a good recap of the year since so much of my life revolves around music. But after reading so many of those list I’ve become even more excited for what’s come in 2014, specifically for my home town of Chicago.
This past year for Chicago music will definitely go down as one of our most successful years. Although we’ve seen some of our artist fall slightly we’ve seen other climb to heights never before seen. That being said who’s positioning themselves right now to follow up 2013 with yet another year of Chicago music flooding the hip-hop community.
I have here a list of artist that I think are all going to have a very strong year in 2014. Some will obviously go further than others but mark my words they will make sure to carry the baton being passed to them.
The Boy Illinois “Strangers” f/ Drey Skonie
Coming off the release of one of the dopest projects in 2013 with Jean Baptiste, Illi closed the year out going on his first nationwide tour with Chicago legend Lupe Fiasco. 2014 is looking to be a lot of the same for Illi. You heard it hear first, Illi is next.
Murph Watkins is name that not only we people recognize for his good music but also as just one of the best rappers in the city. Murph finished the year off with maybe three of the top songs of the year. Look for his follow up to Loose Women N Booze in 2014.
Lil Bibby “Change”
For much of 2013 the city of Chicago and eventually most of the hip-hop scene waited for Bibby to drop his debut mixtape Free Crack. Well it was much worth the wait. With another year under his belt I expect Bibby to continue to build on the foundation that he has made for himself.
Julian Malone “Snow”
People everywhere have been waiting for Ju Malone to drop his project #DIFFRNT, and guess what we’re going to continue to wait. The songs that you did hear from Ju over the year made you feel better about not getting the full project, but when it does drop I expect it to make a lot of noise around the city and everywhere else for that matter.
Chin Chilla Meek “Road To Riches”
Meek is my sleeper pick for 2014. A good amount of the city is already aware of her but the rest of the city is going to find out about her as well in 2014. What I like about Meek is that she’s gotten this far off of her talent and not selling sex like a lot of female rappers. With her new mixtape Beauty And The Beast 2 coming soon I think it’ll put her at the top of the Chicago mountain and thus on the radar of the entire hip-hop community.
Like I said this is just a short list of some people to look out for in 2014. As we all know there is always that one person that comes the hell out of nowhere and blinds sides us all, but these people I have here I think are sure things. So going into 2014 make sure to keep an eye out for them and continue to support Chicago music in general, we’re the present and future.
– Gowhere You Love –
Taylor Bennett, theWHOevers, Lucki Eck$, Calez, St. Millie, Lil Herb, THEMpeople (producers), Dee Lilly (Producer)
Make sure to also check out Gowhere Hip Hop 30 For 30, the top 30 songs out of Chicago this year.
Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Lupe Fiasco gave his hometown fans quite a treat as the Tetsuo & Youth Preview Tour hit its halfway point at the House of Blues. I was in attendance with much of our team, so allow for a quick reflection of my highlights of the night, mixed in with all of our amazing visuals above and below (previously seen on our social channels… more reason to follow us for the exclusives first ;)).
– First and foremost, Lupe kept it all the way Chicago. He said to the crowd that it was the one city he was waiting to get to since the tour started.
– Lupe brought out Lil Durk for the first song, then set the tone with a max. energy performance of “ITAL (Roses)” and “Put ‘Em Up” — two standouts from Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album.
– Lupe dedicated “Kick, Push” to the recently injured Derrick Rose for perhaps the biggest crowd eruption of the night.
– Actually, it wasn’t. Lupe prefaced a performance of “Go Go Gadget Flow” with a command to get the House of Blues rockin’. Cam Be and myself were in the crowd and on the floor, so trust when we can say that the House of Blues floor was indeed rocking. I’ve never felt that before at the HoB — the floor was literally shaking. I have a feeling “Go Go Gadget Flow” was a Tetsuo & Youth Preview Tour exclusive to Chicago.
– Lupe also took it back even further to his guest verse on Kanye’s “Touch The Sky”. He replaced “Sky high, I’m, I’m sky high!” with “I’m so Chi!” in the outro.
– A bonus freestyle from Lu after his rendition of a “personal favorite” — his feature on Robert Glasper’s “Always Shine” — was one to remember.
– And the Tetsuo & Youth preview tracks all sounded great: “Crack” is very different, and “Drizzy’s Law” is now my most anticipated. Lu’s got some slick lines on this and Poo Bear delivers another ear-grabbing chorus.
– Lupe wasn’t the only one to impress on stage… the undercard was quite impressive from beginning to end too. Stalley brought out Rockie Fresh for the hometown, Dee-1 reeled in the audience and got some great response for starting the show first, and The Boy Illinois‘ biggest hometown show to date was a success, flanked by his F.A. The Squad members TreStyle and Relelite. In fact, I was most impressed with the polish of Illi’s stage presence and song selection of all the openers. We were in the photo pit for his performance and the whole first row became fans in a matter of minutes.
– The long wait for our car at Marina Towers after the show.
– Otherwise none, that was a great night.
After all, it was refreshing to see a full concert from Lupe after what’s felt like 2-3 years in Chicago (he’s done guest appearances at certain events in between). For the long-time diehards, there was the perfect balance of throwbacks, F&L2 cuts we haven’t seen live yet, and completely new songs that were brilliantly spliced one after another to create and sustain a mood for just the right amount of time before moving onto the next. For the first-time concert-goers, like that of our photographers Cam Be & Who Dough who’ve only seen Lupe live in non-tour forms, they were floored at his high-octane energy and ability to spit word for word just like on the CD.
It was such a memorable show that after over a week of reflection, I’m still able to feel the feelings of the details described above as I sit and type this tonight. And it all comes back to the personal, hometown feel that Lupe ensured was in us from the moment he stepped in front of the moving spotlights and giant video screen. *cues up* “Superstar” to hold us over for Tetsuo & Youth in 2014.
There are a few dates left on the tour this month, including NYC’s Irving Plaza Monday and Tuesday night — lupefiasco.com/tour — get out there if you can, one of the best shows I’ve been to in 2013, easy.