Last week, just before wowing his hometown with his 'Magnificent Coloring Day' festival at Comiskey Park, Chance The Rapper offered fans a star-studded performance of "No Problems" on none other than The Ellen Show. It was an opportunity to follow through on a production idea that Chance has had for a while, but we've all heard about that already. Looking past the enormous names of Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz and Chance for a second, one would be forgiven for having overlooked the rapper's accomplices he chose to trash the faux 'Generic Records' offices with. The 'Ellen Show' performance was the end of a long road for dance outfit The Future Kingz, started in 2010 by brothers, Rasidi (Sosho) and Allen Washington, the pair played on the rich history of the Chicago dance community, in turn using an opportunity from Chano himself to propel themselves to the small screen. From bopping to footwork, Chicago's dance game has been strong and The Future Kings are proving to be both an influence and product of that legacy.
Growing up dancing in the streets of California, Allen and Sosho were faced with the decision to move to Chicago in 2010. Little did they know at the time, but transitioning to Chicago, which at the time was on the cusp of its current Renaissance. It ended up being one of the best things that could have happened to them. As Sosho and Allen looked to rebuild themselves in yet another huge city, they developed a quick following dancing in the streets of downtown.
"Moving to Chicago really exposed us to a whole new style of dancing, and it really helped our progression as a crew","Sosho said.
Starting off jerking, the L.A.-based dance movement that started in 2009 as an underground style that quickly rose to a worldwide movement a couple years later down the line with success from artists within the community like The New Boyz, Audio Push, and many others. Being from the West Coast, Allen and Sosho were heavily influenced by the jerk movement and culture, but as they transitioned to Chicago they quickly began incorporating footwork (a chicago dance), and bopping to their West coast styles.the brothers quickly began incorporating the more midwestern-driven styles of footwork and bopping into their west coast styles. As Allen and Sosho settled in, becoming more comfortable in their new city, the brothers continued meeting talented dancers who eventually came together to form the Future Kingz outfit. At the time, there was no significant meaning behind the name, but as they continued turning into a force, it was only right that they decided to call themselves "The Future Kingz", because the future was something they always looked to represent. Having been steeped in the influences that came before them from both Chicago and L.A., forward seemed like the only plausible way to look for the newly-formed collective.
A shakeup in 2012 left the group with less members, but they picked up Renzell Roque, who came into the crew and changed it for the better, bringing about an energy and unique style unto himself that further added to the overall aesthetic. Adding Renzell, the crew started to make the transition into a more choreography-based work. TFK started to take dancing a bit more serious as a crew at the time, developing a fanbase outside of the internet. The Kingz began dancing at more events, linking up with guys in the city like D-low, Manny Treo, and Jargon, and performing alongside them.
In 2015, the crew got the opporunity to brush shoulders with two of the city's biggest names: Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper. Earlier that year, some members in the crew auditioned and earned their spot in Vic Mensa's "I Aint Trippin" music video. Shortly after that, members Nick Delira, Roque, and William Fernandez attended their first Chance-hosted Open Mike where they had the opportunity to perform in front of the Chatham native and an always large crowd of Chicago high school students and peers. After the performance, the trio received a handshake from Chano, told that they were the "future leaders of Chicago." For a group that only a year prior had been just figuring it out, the sentiment was an important one, acting as a further catalyst for their continued push forward.
The group found themselves working alongside Chance again later that year, earning themselves cameo spots in the Austin Vesely-directed and VMA-nominated "Sunday Candy". Finishing the year off strong, the Kingz earned themselves second place at World of Dance Chicago, one of the biggest events in the world.
"Getting second place at WOD is still one thing I'm speechless about," said Sosho.
Last week, on national television, TFK once again found themselves working alongside Chance and his team, this time on the biggest performance of their life, The Ellen Show.
"I was driving home from Wisconsin and received a message from Pat (Corcoran, Chance's manager) saying that Chance personally requested us to perform with him," D'andre Dixon said.
Flying out to L.A., the crew had some choreography ideas to perform for the hit single "No Problems", but Chance had his own thoughts, wanting to reinforce the message of the single which they ended up running with. The song is a thinly-veiled reference to traditional record labels and music executives trying in vain to sign Chance, and a toast to those that oppose him or choose to get in his way. In preparation for the live performance, Chance mentioned to the guys about having pitched a similar idea to several other TV and award shows, saying no one wanted to accept the demanding set requirements. That obviously wasn't the case with Ellen. Busting down the door to the metaphorical record label, The Future Kingz realized yet another dream on a long ride, accompanying none other than the country's biggest contemporary artist on one of his biggest stages yet.
"Being able to work with Chance has been an amazing experience, he's such a good role model, not only to us, but the whole city of Chicago," Sosho said, reminiscing on the experience.
Asking what's next for the versatile, high energy, dance crew out of Chicago, they mull it over before Sosho perks up:"
The Future Kingz always move in silence," he said carefully. "We just want to pop up everywhere with no announcement or even last minute promo. But as far as finishing the year, the motive is to just keep working & to keep Chicago in high spirits at all times. We look to keep putting the city on & change the dance game as a group, a family & as artists."