You Can Ride Your Bike to This…

Photo by Rene Marban

Photo by Rene Marban

Few things in Chicago beat a good bike ride down Lake Shore Drive or Milwaukee Ave., especially if you have the right soundtrack for your cross-town expedition. The weather felt like late autumn for most of May, but there were enough sunny days this past week to prompt us to get our bikes out and compile a playlist of records to pedal to. As we head into June with some rainy days still ahead, we wanted to share some of the newer songs we added to our commute and one undisputed classic for Chicagoans. Check them out below.

AaronJasper • Prolly Let Go

Hailing from the East Side of Chicago, Aaron Jasper’s recently released project, Prolly Gone Hate did not need a feature to be compelling. Its hard-hitting instrumentals and Jasper’s oscillating tonality, command your attention rather than asking for permission. “Prolly Let Go” is the highlight single and an instant earworm. I’ve found myself constantly singing the hook with my chest out at random times and it has connected with others correspondingly. During the project’s listening party this past Thursday, the energy in the room would get a palpable boost every time this song came on.

Chance The Rapper • GRoCERIES

I’m not sure what to expect from Chance’s forthcoming album and his newest cut feels somewhat of a misdirect. Its gleeful production (provided by Murda Beatz) and Tisakorean’s wide-eyed, irreverent guest-feature don’t necessarily add up to the statement piece I was expecting for the #Owbum’s lead single. Nonetheless, the single’s infectiousness and Chance’s scintillating verse make it a jolt of high-energy. Over the weekend I heard it everywhere I went, essentially confirming its hit potential. It may not be the single we expected, but Chano is just having fun with it again and he has the range to make songs like “GRoCERIES” certified summer bops.

YG, Valee & Boogie • I Was On The Block

It’s no secret in Chicago that Valee played father to many rappers and their most “inventive” songs in 2018 --almost always with no credit--so it was a welcome surprise to see his name turn up in YG’s 4REAL 4REAL album. “I Was On The Block” is a slapper with Valee’s flow embedded in its DNA, but the West Coast rapper could’ve easily shunned him as others have done in the past. Nonetheless, what differs YG from the rest is his care and respect for the craft. The song is better off thanks to his decision to place Chicago’s most famous koi pond builder on it, and so is our next BBQ party.

Lil Durk • Turn Myself In

This song was preceded by the unfortunate news that Lil Durk had to turn himself in to authorities following an arrest warrant in Atlanta. This record and an Instagram post served as a heartfelt public statement regarding yet another turbulent moment in the influential artist’s career. Thankfully, Durk has weathered more significant life bruises, and there are enough moments of affirmation within the record to have a slightly optimistic outlook on his current situation. He mentions a recent recording session with Chance, India’s loyalty and his innocence while also taking the time to give respects to fellow rappers who are dealing with similar situations.

The Cool Kids • Black Mags

This is the throwback record in the segment and a classic Chicago single from the blog-era that paved the way for today’s local movement and a bunch of rappers on a national level. To this day I’m sure no one can convincingly flex about getting a girl to ride on his bike’s pegs except for Mickey Rocks. I caught the first half of their show at Do Division Fest this past weekend and this one still resonated with the audience 10+ years later.

For more, listen to These Days weekly playlist The Forecast