Is Chicago the Next Great Hip Hop City?
Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco and Kidz in the Hall are some of the names that are making news in the hip hop industry. All of these emcees, although different in their styles and content, share one common bond; they all hail from the Windy City, aka Chicago. In terms of sound and style, New York has long been the place to look to for the newest trends in hip hop. Now, the shift is making its way east to a place that few had expected. Home of Chicago-style pizza, gang violence, beaches, and cold winters, the city is beginning to change the look and sound of hip hop. Kanye West is arguably one of the best producers in hip hop and Lupe Fiasco might currently be its best lyricist, providing the most complex punchlines and references that simultaneously stump and amuse listeners. Common delivers powerful, thought-provoking bars, which are, at times, borderline philosophical, while Kidz in the Hall delivers lyrics with which many college-aged individuals can associate. Chicago is changing hip hop in terms of style as well. Everything from retro chic to high fashion can be seen worn by many of its denizens, showing that emcees and hip hoppers alike, do not have to fit any particular mold created by the industry. They mix and match everything in Chicago and their style definitely reflects it. Vintage Polo, YSL, Bape, Alexander McQueen, Maharishi are just some of the names that come to mind when you think Chicago style. They really take the term “fresh” to a whole new level. So why is Chicago so different in terms of style and music? Maybe it’s the location. Being in the Midwest, they do not reflect the trends of the west coast and neither those of the east. They do their own thing and don’t care what anybody thinks. So next time you see someone with an Alexander Mcqueen bomber, Maharishi t-shirt, 1921 jeans and a pair of Visvims, ask him where he’s from, and don’t be surprised if he replies “Chi-town”.