Chicago's young and diverse hip-hop scene was recently thrust into the limelight when Kanye West remixed Chief Keef's "I Don't Like." While many of us may have rolled our eyes with the news of Kanye proclaiming that it was the his second favorite song ever made ("Niggas In Paris" sits at number one, obviously), it was an exhilarating moment when we realized that all eyes were on the Chicago hip-hop scene. Now, here's your chance to get acquainted with some of Chicago's up and coming acts before they hit the big time:
Thelonious Martin: This young Save Money producer has already racked up an impressive artist roster, working with the likes of Hodgy Beats and Action Bronson. His beats are reminiscent of the late J.Dilla yet have an enticing new school vibe to them and will have you bopping your head in no time. Someone get this kid an Adult Swim bump already!
Vic Mensa: Another member of the extremely talented Save Money crew, Vic Mesa is one of Chicago's brightest up and comers. With a fluid flow, this young rapper not only creates impressive music on his own but also acts as an emcee for Chi-city's own Kids These Days.
BJ the Chicago Kid: It's no lie that R&B is on it's way back up and it's never been more obvious than on BJ's latest release Pineapple Now & Laters. However what makes this artist so special is his ability to seamlessly intertwine both hip-hop and R&B music. You can find BJ the Chicago Kid playing at a number of venues around the Chicago area, so get out and see him soon before he blows up!
The Boy Illinois: This south side native has been around for sometime, but 2011 was truly his year. After being featured on XXL, MTV, The Source, and HipHopDX, his Inhale mixtape series shook the interweb. When he's not spitting verses for one of his mixtapes, he's acting as one third of hip-hop trio F.A. the Squad.
Legit: This 19 year old emcee offers soulful beats mixed with a lyrical style that surpasses his age. His most recent project Coloring Outside the Lines is a fine example of just how lyrically ambitious this young rapper is and offers up a dose of realness in each and every verse.
Chance the Rapper: If you haven't jumped on the 10 Day bandwagon, do so imminently. A few of our editors have been bumping this mixtape non-stop for the last few weeks and for good reason: it's one of the strongest mixtapes to come out of Chicago in recent years and shows just how predominant the Save Money crew currently is in the Chicago music scene.
Sidewalk Chalk: Mixing elements of soul, jazz, and hip-hop, this eclectic group has a little bit of something for everyone. Sidewalk Chalk's sound is completely unlike anything else coming out of Chicago right now and the band prides itself on their exciting live show. Watch out for them as they set out on tour this summer to promote their latest release Corner Store.