September 14th, Alex Wiley and Kembe X make their return to Chicago for their ongoing tour alongside fellow local Supa Bwe. Performing at the Double Door, which could prove to be one of it's last live performances, the show Wednesday is an apprporiate collection of acts that have bided their time on the local scene for some time, and have been looking to take off as of late. Added to the bill are two of Chicago's newer stars, Ug Vavy and BigBodyFiji. Kicking things off in Milwaukee last Friday at the Miramar, the trio returns to the city for a homecoming performance that should prove to be one filled with energy. Here, we've become accustomed to new artists reaching the big time with relative ease and Wednesday at Double Door, fans get a chance once again to peek into the future of hip-hop.
Actor Michael Douglas was once quoted as saying, "I've always been impressed with the people from Chicago. Hollywood is hype, New York is talk, Chicago is work." True to form, Supa, Wiley and Kembe, are three artists whom truly embody that mentality, having individually plugged away en route to creating dedicated following and respect from the scene at large. While they'll each take the stage tomorrow night to deafening cheers from the sold out crowd, each artist's path to the limelight was very different.
Wiley first began developing a buzz with around a string of singles with Kembe fresh out of high school and raised eyebrows with his Chance The Rapper collaboration, "Mo Purp". Soon after, he linked with Closed Sessions to debut his first project in the summer of 2013, Club Wiley and there has been no slowing down since. Now approaching the release of his third studio project, Wiley has continued to try and push the boundaries, creating music for both the fans and himself. “I want to make something that’s meaningful, something that will help someone get through their day," said Wiley over the phone last week. Now a resident of LA, his return home Wednesday should be a welcome one, expecting a positive crowd response from his fellow Chicagoans.
Kembe X, another favorite from Chicago meanwhile has taken a more roundabout and abstracted journey to this point, bringing his downtempo energy and good vibes to every performance; exactly what we will be expecting come showtime. After initially coming up Wiley, Kembe has since turned into a finely-tuned lyrical weapon, catching the ears and eyes of TDE's management for which he has been a close affiliate while living out west for the last couple years. Kembe is fresh off the release of his highly-anticipated debut studio album, Talk Back which arrived chock-full of singles new and old, so expect to hear some standout tracks from that project tomorrow night. While he may have been away for awhile, Kembe's set tomorrow night should prove to be a memorable one you'll be talking about while watching him at Lollapalooza in a couple years.
2014 was an interesting year for Chicago Hip-Hop. Drill music begun to die down and a new wave of artists began to occupy the space once reserved for the gritty street reporting of the previous run. One of those to emerge was Supa Bwe, who represented one-third of the trio Hurt Everybody at the time (RIP). Since emerging on the scene around that time both as a solo act and as part of the collective, he's been able to create a sound that can't be replicated, in turn carving himself a lane all his own. Although Supa had been making music for almost 10 years, he said he and the guys in Hurt Everybody started to finally get recognition when they played a show with Towkio and the rest of SaveMoney at Lincoln Hall in the winter of that year. Since then, Supa has been incorporating insane amounts of energy and emotion into each set he performs. With a new project out and his Fight Me group only beginning to gian traction, we wouldn't expect Wednesday to be any different.
Regardless of your motives for making it out to Wicker Park tomorrow night, one thing is for sure: the acts onstage certainly speak to the excitement that has been building around the scene for some years now and are a perfect example of the impact the city's art is having on the world.
"We're literally reinventing hip hop in Chicago," said Supa. "Our city is a symbol of its rebirth, because Chicago's the reason kids love hip hop again!"