Home Team • Ethos

Photo by Sarah-Ji Rhee

Photo by Sarah-Ji Rhee

Age: 20 Neighborhood: Rogers Park Follow: Soundcloud / Twitter

Ethos has been thinking. Rap game and music industry are small potatoes, listen to Ethos' music and you'll get the impression that it's the mind he's trying to conquer. The Northside artist is a testament to the "slash" economy, making strong contributions to the local rap and rock scenes, bringing them closer together through the lens of poetry. On the human level he's a committed activist and organizer. Poetry is the genesis to the the words of his music, but it's activism that's most key to his identity as an artist. Every song has a story and a purpose. 

Essential Listens

Working extensively with the organizations Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), Assata's Daughters and We Charge Genocide, Ethos has helped fight for the protection of black lives and concrete accountability from the city. Working with these groups, Ethos has accomplished tangible goals such as presenting a Shadow report on Chicago Police violence to the United Nations, organizing with BYP100 to counter abusive state sanctioned violence, or creating a "know-your-rights" youth curriculum to help navigate safely when encountering law enforcement and the legal system.   

His music flies high but has feet on the ground, applying his fluid and analytical perspective to the world seen daily. Take his solo project, "Past, Present, Future". It's ambient production with raps bordering spoken word that provide a look into his mind-state. The concept of justice is always present, and much of what you'll hear is dark because the honest look isn't always the easiest. Ethos explores his city, his country, and coming to understand its exploitation. Navigating all this are the vivid words of Ethos, a gift that keeps giving. The sonic background he uses on PPF, is necessary to his aesthetic, combining drones and wailing guitars, pained lyrics and the squeals of productions bleeding into each other. 

He also performs with Thy Neighbors, a Chicago band that's put out an excellent debut in 2015, Part Won. It's some great garage rock, with shared vocals from Ethos, along with quality fast paced rock and searing guitar solos. In this setting as well, Ethos make music that is political on a human level. Just take the anguished verse he gives in "Reign", with the refrain "they left us dead". You can count on the fact that regardless of music, Ethos will be impacting the world in a very real way.