As far as hip-hop acts go, Chicago’s The Rapper Chicks definitely stand out amongst the crowd. At a time when positivity, women’s rights and acceptance of alternative lifestyles have become part of the daily zetigeist of the ‘woke’ Millenial generation, the trio of empowered females has emerged as perhaps one of the realest groups to emerge in recent memory, with more than enough skill to break through to a national audience and beyond.
Made up of Psalm One, Angel and producer Ill-Esha, The Rapper Chicks have seen several assorted makeups before settling into their current edition. While Psalm is by this point a certified local mainstay, Angel has been regularly raising eyebrows with slick rhyming abilities and a penchant for saying whatever’s on her mind. Together, they create delightfully aggressive tunes on dealing with life, friends and the intricate subtleties that can work their way into your day-to-day when dealing with the thirst of others, all laid over the frenetic backing of Toronto-native Ill-Esha. Through it all, the women have been able to thrive through trusting one another, in turn building a deep bond that makes the music an outgrowth of the love that spawns it, underlining the innate confidence that attracts listeners in just about any setting and setting the tone for who and what The Rapper Chicks really are.
“In 2014 there were many women rapping in Chicago at the time but none collaborating in the manner that we were,” explains Angelenah. “Through a series of reckless parties, exciting rap shows, and smoothie bonding our collective, The Rapperchicks, was born. Eventually, I expanded the group inviting legend Psalm One and glitch hop founder Illesha to join.”
The groups prides itself on pulling few punches, relying instead on a bold and understood aesthetic that at once brings new ears because of its indifference and holds them there by seamlessly gelling with whats occurring in the mainstream. For Psalm One, a former Rhymesayers signee who has seen just about everything throughout her career in midwest hip-hop, the project is a practice of passion that has emerged into something she couldn’t have imagined at its inception.
“I'm a young vet. I signed to a big record label over 10 years ago, sold a lot of records on my own label and have toured the world, so I bring a specific, extremely valuable expertise to my solo brand and my band, the Rapper Chicks. I know how to maneuver around the indie scene, and I make hard work look and sound so good,” said Psalm. “We are philanthropists, nomads and passionate artists. We fight for the freedom to make music on our own terms. We don't make one type of music. It's all intense, though!"
At this point in their evolution, it seems clear that The Rapper Chicks possess the range and experience to approach their latest chapter with a renewed sense of understanding and excitement. Having spent the last year or so traveling the country playing shows, eating well and getting their mind, body and souls back to an enviable place, Chicago's foremost all-female rap crew is poised to finally break out for real from a city that has been celebrating them for several years now. With new music and a full slate of upcoming events and shows on the near horizon, those cheers don't appear to be ending soon.
"People should be keeping an eye out for everything we've been doing, it'll just on a larger scale. Multimedia entertainment solutions and event bonanzas," said Psalm One. "What I've lacked has pushed me and helped mold my whole career. I grow in spite of my challenges and I mess with artists who nerd out and make water into wine, daily. Just be aware that I'm cut from an entirely different cloth than my peers, and you can never count me (or us) out."