Creatively Boundless

Chi-Town – AJ Allen by ajallen92

Over the years Chicago has produced some of the greatest rappers of all time. Many of these rappers are conscious rappers and have taken hip hop to a higher level with their creative lyrics and their original sounds. These rappers are extremely good lyricists who made the lyrics in they’re songs incredibly significant by making people think about things in new ways and giving their listeners their intelligent opinions that are very different from what you typically hear in commercial rap. Not only have these artists taken their lyrics to new heights but they have also all found ways of infiltrating the main stream. It is very odd to find conscious well known rappers. One thing that many of these rappers had in common was their hometown Chicago, Illinois, also known as Chi-town.

One of the very significant Chicago rappers that we see today is Kanye West. West grew up in Chicago and went on to do amazing things with hip-hop. In his first album, The College Dropout, he talked about subject matters too honest and too real for most commercial rappers. Kanye was one of the few rappers to dig deep and discuss topics that would typically be ignored, and still manage to get on the radio. One of the most amazing things that West did in his entire career, was get radio play for his song, “Jesus Walks.” In this song he speaks about the lack of variety of subject matter in mainstream hip hop music, and attempts to diversify hip hop with a track about Jesus. In the song he says, “So here go my single dog radio needs this/ They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus/ That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes/ But if I talk about God my record won’t get played Huh?” Oddly enough the song that he thought would get absolutely no radio play managed to become very popular amongst listeners of mainstream hip-hop. Since The College Dropout, West’s music seems to have taken several bad turns. West seems to have become extremely caught up in his fame and fortune and the majority his music seems to reflect this. But independent of outside influences and fan pressure, West managed to pull off one of the greatest conscious hip-hop albums of all time in, The College Dropout. The College Dropout shows how West’s experiences growing up in Chicago have given him the experiences necessary to promote and encourage social change.

Another amazing product of Chicago is Common. He is by far the rapper who has been around the longest of all the rappers mentioned in this article and has done extremely well in establishing himself as the face of conscious hip-hop. The rapper has proven himself through thick and thin, and has never been a big radio artist, but has perpetually left his mark on the conscious rap community through great tracks that make people think and that emphasize the struggles that he has been through. Common has made amazing songs but he also expresses himself extremely well through spoken word poetry. Common opens this piece, “Be Known”, by setting himself apart from commercial rappers and sharing his intentions as a hip-hop artist.

Another Chicago rapper who has done extremely well in making meaningful tracks is Lupe Fiasco. This artists has amazed his fans more and more with each and everyone of the tracks on his albums, and the freestyles on his mixtapes. Fiasco is a former comic book writer manifests that creativity in his albums. Fiasco manages to use poetic devices in his music to help him to get his points across to his intelligent listeners. Fiasco is known for going over peoples heads because of his surprising knowledge of all the subjects he raps about. If you can manage to interpret Fiasco’s lyrics you will find that he is the greatest lyricist of all time. Fiasco enjoys talking about where he came from and how he has managed to escape mistakes that the people around him have made in order to get where he is now. He talks about his native town Chicago and the type of environment that he grew up in, in his song “Comin From Where I’m From.” In this song he talks about the struggles that he had to overcome but also shows admiration for his city and the person that it has made him today.


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

yea i agree
chi town has really turned out some quality rappers
an lupe is one of the most lyrically talented rappers the game has seen

Comment by bens92

this sounds pretty legit ima check it out

Comment by ben

love kanye’s song hey mama

Comment by satryann

Nice article, but like, that clip pretty much exhibits why I hate Common so much. Everything he does has this ranks sense of self-entitlement. And I hate how he has to brand himself as “a conscious rapper”. To quote one of his album titles, just fucking BE. Don’t explain yourself.
Oh, and then there’s Universal Mind Control, and that piece of shits speaks for itself.

Comment by Darren

I can definitely see what you mean. I don’t believe that his sense of self entitlement is necessarily a bad thing at all times but I have definitely seen times where he takes this too far. Every good conscious hip-hop artist should take some social responsibility. As far as him establishing himself as a conscious rapper people have branded him as a conscious rapper not himself. Other rappers have also branded him as a conscious rapper like in “I Just Died” when Jay Z says “Truthfully I wanted to rhyme like common sense(but I did 5 mil)/ I ain’t been rhymin’ like common since…” Explaining how common is the epitome of an intelligent rapper who hasn’t sold out. And yes, Universal Mind Control was awful, but Be was amazing.

Comment by ajallen92

AJ, good stuff here bro. Loved the stuff on Kayne and Common.

Comment by Benjamin Davis


Comment by ajallen92

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