Each week the These Days staff comes across great music from Chicago artists that we could not provide individual features for. In an effort to keep our readers up to date with more of our recent favorites, the Round Up segment provides quick summaries and additional noteworthy content. Check out our latest picks below and feel free to submit a comment if you feel we missed something.
Beats and Bars • The Lawndale Project
A product of a Raphael Navarro (fka Scheme Navarro) and Little Village Lawndale High School, the Beats and Bars after school program releases their first collection of music together. A program designed to educate and motivate youth in their community, Beats and Bars has offered a safe place for those youth to pursue a career in music in a constructive an positive environment. The Lawndale Project is meant to serve as a collection of musical tales of the contributing artists' experiences growing up in Chicago. Not all perspectives are the same, but environments that influence them are. Listen up, Beats and Bars is an ongoing series of stories from those closest to the action in the Lawndale and Little Village neighborhoods.
The Cool Kids
The Cool Kids recently made their return to the music world with the release of "Running Man" alongside Maxo Kream and a special live performance at the Art Institute's After Dark series. Lucky for us, their return doesn't seem to be a one off occasion. Next up is a "Connect Four", but those fans of the childhood game sharing the same name may be disappointed. With the new release we learn the a new album is in the works and on the way, but details are currently pretty limited. Be on the lookout for more new music though and catch The Cool Kids first proper headlining performance at Thalia Hall December 19th as part of the next Red Bull Sound Select event with supporting acts Payroll Giovanni and Femdot.
Jamila Woods • "Brown Girls Theme"
Hitting her fans with a smooth melodic production is Chicago's very own Jamila Woods in her latest drop “Brown Girls Theme”. If you’ve been keeping up with Jamila then you know she’s pretty busy, especially after the release of her amazing project “Heavn”, featuring a ton of Chicago artists including Kweku Collins, oddCouple, Peter Cottontail and more. If you’re in for something light on the ears that still vibes, be sure to give this a listen and check out the new single as the theme song to Brown Girls, a web series due out in spring 2017.
John Legend (Ft. Chance The Rapper) • "Penthouse Floor"
With John Legend's new album Darkness & Light due out December 2nd, last week he premiered a new single with Chicago's prodigal son Chance The Rapper. The crooner takes us all the way up to the "Penthouse Floor", serving up some bouncy vibes for Chance to knock out one of his patented spoken word delivered verses. Following Chance's Coloring Book, the local celebrity has seemingly conquored the the music industry as an independent and has received support from a who's who list of musical greats including Legend. John made an appearance at Chance's Magnificent Coloring Day on Chicago's south side this past summer, and it seems Chance returned the favor with a guest spot here. Certainly this won't be the last these two work together.
Monster Mike • "Strip"
Following a recent surge of activity from Monster Mike, the Stain Gang member gets back to his roots with the release of "Strip" and announces an upcoming EP to drop before the end of the month. This one isn't for the club, but rather a robbery anthem we could only appreciate coming from Mike. While we certainly don't condone stripping people of their valuables, we don't mind raps about it over a Faded Key beat. With the month's end drawing near, expect that new Monster Mike EP at any moment.
Frank Leone • Mansion of Fang
Surprise! Frank Leone drops a new project out of the blue and it's no collection of throwaways. With features from Qari, Kembe X and others, the 24 track (yes, 24 tracks) project is a welcomed break from stuffing our faces with Thanksgiving leftovers. Don't fear the Fang, Frank takes listeners on a journey littered with his unconventional production and a slew of samples and remixes. There doesn't seem to be any new Frank Leone verses, but Mansion of Fang is an entertaining listen nonetheless.