If you know anyone from Chicago, you know we think we started everything, and for good reason; we’ve been the city of innovation for ages. We birthed house music, modern gospel, drill, and to be fair: we’re the reason music is what it is today… we have Kanye West (Ye) and Chief Keef, so don’t try to tell me I’m wrong. Enough rambling about how great my city has been in the past, let’s talk the new set of trailblazers set to take the music industry by storm, and keep Chicago on the map.
Listening to the music, and reading into the life of Ric Wilson is almost like going into a time machine. We’re long past the days where most artists respond to societal issues through their music in real time. We’re past the days where we're unknowingly dancing to politically conscious music; but Wilson brings us back to the days of socially conscious soul music. With his genre bending funk, hip hop music, Ric encapsulates almost every facet of the Chicago music scene.
The point of the list is to highlight readers about the names they most likely haven’t heard of, so it’s crazy that Eazzyy has over 2.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify yet he’s still somewhat of a “secret." He essentially burst onto the scene out of nowhere with his RIAA Certified Gold single “Onna Come Up.” The buzz from the freestyled song even earned him a remix, with a feature from his favorite rapper G Herbo.
Eazzyy is probably the most talented rising rapper to come out of the city in recent memory. Unlike most rappers you may dub in the “drill” or “trap” categories, Eazzyy’s discography doesn’t just consist of hard-hitting songs, he switches it up on songs like “Play for Keeps” (such a great song).
Yes, it says Dreamer. Serena’s last song was “Crying in The Club” and they’ve politely asked to now be known as Dreamer. I feel the name change is fitting, when I play songs like “Crying In The Club,” “Really, Really," and one of Issa Rae’s favorite songs “Sensitive” – I’m being taken to a place where dreams truly are real. What I love about Dreamer is that there’s no set sound to their music. When you press play you never know what to expect. Chicago’s favorite non-binary Rockstar’s music is forever evolving, and full of introspection; we can’t wait to hear what’s to come in 2022 for Dreamer.
Watching Chicago’s Golden Child from afar has been one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen in a minute. To see an artist mature at the rate Hatesonny has over the course of time is enough to get anyone to want to get their shit together. He too has a variety of sounds, his 2020 project GOLDEN CHILD takes listeners on a hell of a trip from a bass knocking song, as well as his biggest song “KILL BILL”, to soulful B-Sides like “MOONCHILD” and “MOVE 2” (feat. Serena Isioma) that are favorites in my playlists.
To me, there’s nothing more important than a guiding light that’s within arm’s reach. Personable artists, who always engage with their fans seem to have more of an impact than chart toppers; Dez is exactly that. Aside from making beautiful music full of synths and soul, Dez serves as a beacon of light in the Chicago area. She’s started a community project called “Black Joy Ride,” a Pre-Juneteenth bike ride through Chicago. Aside from her social endeavors, Dez has released a slew of singles, and features that prove she’s as diverse an artist as they come. The sky is the limit for Shawnee in the new year, we’re begging for an LP this year.