Chicago hip hop

Chicago hip hop

The hip hop scene in Chicago, Illinois has produced many artists of various styles.


Musical Styles


Chicago hip hop or Chicago rap music, has no uniform sound or standard style similar to East Coast hip hop. Chicago hip hop often varies between Alternative hip hop, Gangsta rap, and Hardcore rap depending on the area of Chicago the rapper is from.

Notable musicians

Crucial Conflict

Crucial Conflict is a Chicago hip hop group best known for its 1996 single "Hay" (from the album The Final Tic) and "Scummy" (from the album Good Side, Bad Side). The members of Crucial Conflict are Coldhard, Wildstyle, Kilo, and Never. They frequently collaborate with fellow Chicago rappers Do or Die and Twista. They recently finished their album Planet Crucon, with their newest single, "Barn Fire".

Crucial Conflict, with the help of Do or Die, made the Chicago rap community more visible. With fast-paced raps, the band was compared to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, with whom they later ended up feuding. When the smash hit "Hay" was released, it improved the sales of the band's album The Final Tic.

They have collaborated and worked with such artists as Three 6 Mafia, Do or Die, Twista, R. Kelly, 2Pac, Warren G, The Outlawz, George Clinton, Project Pat, Da Brat, Busta Rhymes, DJ Quik, Big Sha, ACE The Yung Heavy and many others. Crucial Conflict has also recorded tracks for movie soundtracks such as How To Be a Player, Rhyme & Reason, Belly, and Thicker Than Water. They also made a brief cameo appearance in the 1998 Hype Williams movie Belly, which starred DMX and Nas.


Common's success as an underground rapper in the nineties was the first time that significant attention was paid to Chicago hip hop as a separate entity. The singles from his first album reached the top ten in the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and the attention of music critics and fans alike shifted to the midwest based on Common's lyricism. This opened the door for other blossoming MCs from Chicago in the mid-nineties (such as Da Brat), but Chicago hip hop was still vastly overshadowed by the West and East Coast hip hop scene. Still, Common has found mainstream success in the 21st century with Grammy winning albums like Finding Forever and Be, and is recognized as an icon of midwest hip hop.

Kanye West

Kanye West's lyricism, then not prevalent in rap music, disregarded any talk about how well-respected, or "hard" the rapper was on the street. As Kanye became successful, many other rappers from other places like Drake and Kid Cudi realized that they could use alternative hip hop to gain mainstream success as well, and many rappers re-orientated their styles from a gangsta rap persona to an emphasis on other things. This was significant for Chicago, as many rappers from there do not have hardcore styles, having been influenced by Common or Kanye West. The recent surge in popularity for alternative hip hop finally gives Chicago artists an opportunity to be successful. As the violence in hip hop toned down during the late 2000s, conscious rappers such as Lupe Fiasco and The Cool Kids became a regular in the Chicago rap scene.

Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco was a guest artist on "Touch the Sky" with Kanye West. His debut album was Food & Liquor. Receiving both critical and public praise, Food & Liquor peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200,[1] and at one point was at #2 on the Hip Hop Billboard Charts.[2] It was nominated in 2007 for three Grammys, including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, and Best Solo Rap Performance. Fiasco's The Cool was released in late December 2007. His single "Superstar" peaked to #10 on The Billboard Hot 100,[3] making it his most successful single on the chart.

brandUn DeShay

Brandun DeShay is an American hip hop rapper, record producer and is also a former member of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All.[4][5].[6][7] Born on the westside of Chicago, he has produced for former Young Money artist Curren$y,[8] independent rapper Dom Kennedy,[9][10] and Billboard Magazine cover holder Mac Miller.[11] His first official music video, Why You Gotta Zodiac Like That has been in rotation on MTVU.[12]

No I.D.

Record producer No I.D. has been cited as having an instrumental role in the development of alternative hip-hop. Having worked with both Common and Kanye West. In fact, West mentions No I.D. as his mentor in his song "Big Brother" from the Graduation album. He produced most of Common's first three albums.[13]

Do or Die

Do or Die is a gangsta rap trio originally from Chicago, Illinois. The group experienced mainstream success with the single "Po Pimp", a collaboration with fellow Chicago rapper Twista, from the album Picture This. Group members are brothers Belo, Nard and AK-47. The trio has sold more than three million albums. Many of the tracks feature Chicago's own Johnny P singing the hooks and The Legendary Traxster on production.


Twista is known primarily for his rapid-fire delivery. At one point recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's fastest rapper,[14] Twista's success has come largely with other Chicago acts (notably Kanye West and Do or Die). His most successful album to date, 2004's Kamikaze, and its two singles, "Slow Jamz" and "Overnight Celebrity", were all chart toppers.


Rhymefest hails from a Chicago neighborhood known as Jeffrey Manor. Although relatively new—he has only released one album, Blue Collar. He was a co-writer of Kanye West's 2004 single, "Jesus Walks". His debut album, Blue Collar hit #61 on the Billboard 200.[15]

Da Brat

The Jermaine Dupri protégé had chart success in 1994 with her single and video entitled "Funkdafied,"(so so def) taken from her debut album of the same name. During the rest of the decade, she remained somewhat low-key and came to be known more for her featured appearances on other rappers' and R&B singers' albums than for her own solo work.

List of notable musicians


  1. ^ "Discography - Lupe Fiasco". Archived from the original on 2008-05-07. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  2. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums: Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor". Retrieved 2008-10-06. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Artist Chart History - Lupe Fiasco". Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
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  13. ^ Vozick-Levinson, Simon (2007-10-31). "Don't Call It a Comeback".,,20155985,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  14. ^ "Fast Talk, Slow Climb". Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  15. ^ "Discography - Rhymefest". Retrieved 2008-10-06. [dead link]


External links

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