10. Sicko Mobb
Chicago rappers Lil’ Trav & Lil’ Ceno, also known as rap duo Sicko Mobb, are certainly ones to watch. Shortly after dropping their debut mixtape, “Super Saiyan Vol. 1,” the duo then signed an official record deal with Polo Grounds/RCA in May, which is also home to A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. Their highly anticipated mixtape “Super Saiyans Vol. 2,” was self-released this year, loaded with euphoric hooks and melodic twists and turns. An EP from the duo is also reportedly on the way.
9. Leather Corduroys
The Leather Corduroys, a rap duo consisting of Joey Purp and Kami de Chukwu are slowly but surely making a name for themselves on the Chicago hip hop scene. After dropping their debut track “The Prophet” featuring theMind, the duo released their EP, “Porno Music Vol. II” which featured the kind of zany, unconventional fun that fans have come to know and love. Since then, they have dropped noteworthy tracks like the Knox Fortune produced “Cheese Fondue With a Little Bit of Exercise” featuring Vic Mensa and OG Big Lurch and the incredibly interesting “Mexican Coke.” They are reportedly working on a full-length album release.
8. Dinero Dynasty
Dinero Dynasty, a rap duo consisting of Chicago rappers Shazey and Runna Garcia. However, their debut EP, “Everything Local,” shows that they are much more diverse with their sound instead of staying within the lines of the popular Drill wave that the Chicago hip hop scene is known for. They pull this off impressively by drawing influences from places such as the Bay Area.
7. Lil Herb
Lil Herb first gained attention with his song “Kill Shit,” which has since been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube. His debut mixtape, “Welcome To Fazoland,” was met with critical acclaim with critics praising the strong mix of drill and soul-inspired production which greatly connected with Herb’s hard-hitting flow. He has recently collaborated with major artists like Nicki Minaj (Chi-Raq) and Chance The Rapper (Fight or Flight remix) and dropped his new mixtape, “Ballin’ Like I’m Kobe,” in May.
6. Taylor Bennett
Don’t be fooled, this isn’t Chance the Rapper. Taylor Bennett is actually his younger brother. Although their appearance and voices may be strangely similar, Taylor is determined to pave an individual musical identity for himself. One listen to his soundcloud and you’d immediately tell that Bennett isn’t trying to ride off of his older brother’s success. “HATIN” shows Bennett spitting rapid lines such as “I never trusted niggas cause they always tryna scheme. I gottta let em know cause they ain’t neva gonna win.” On the breezy “New Chevy” featuring Chicago rapper King Louie, Bennett serenades his lady on this summer jam, enticing her with lines such as, “Lil’ lady thought I’d hit you up, I just bought me a Chevy. You can smoke pot and hotbox my box Chevy.” Taylor is getting ready to drop a project titled The Taylor Bennett Show later this year.
5. King Louie
OVO Sound and Epic Records signee King Louie is largely responsible for making Chicago the hottest hip hop scene in 2012 and credited for the creation of the mainstream slang word “thot.” His most recent mixtape, titled “Drilluminati 3,” which dropped in May, shows the rapper going hard on his street banger filled project. “Throw Yo Sets Up” finds the MC boasting about women and weed, “Your bitch suck my dick until she get hiccups. I smoke loud pack, you smoke whisper.” King Louie has also done high profile collaborations with major artist Kanye West, appearing on “Send It Up” from his 2013 album, Yeezus.
4. Mick Jenkins
Cinematic Music Group, home to big name rappers such as Big K.R.I.T, Joey Bada$$, and Smoke DZA, have officially added Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins to its roster. His latest mixtape, The Water(s), garnered generally positive reviews and featured other Chi-town artists, such as Noname Gypsy and Jean Deaux. Pitchfork awarded him a 7.8 out of 10, stating, “he’s a product of Chicago’s vibrant poetry scene, and a sharp disciple of a similar lyrical tradition. Jenkins is a conscientious person, a writer drawn to literary symbolism, punctuating the poetic obliqueness of his bars with barbed truths.” Jenkins is currently on tour with label-mate Joey Bada$$ and Denzel Curry.
3. Vic Mensa
Kanye West protégé Vic Mensa, is on the rise in 2015. He’s already scored a Top 40 hit in the UK last year with his house meets hip hop debut single, “Down On Your Luck,” which was also named the fifteenth best song of the first-half of 2014 by Complex. His follow up single, the Kanye West assisted “U Mad” which was released in 2015 and burning up the airwaves. Shortly after signing a deal with major label Roc Nation, Mensa’s announced his debut album Traffic saying, “A lot of it is really graphically, blatantly personal shit, ups and downs.”
2. Chief Keef
It’s safe to say that Chief Keef is perhaps one of the more musically violent rappers that Chicago has to offer, often being compared to the gangster life style of 50 cent. After releasing a slew of mixtapes from 2011 to 2012, Keef signed a deal with major label Interscope, but was dropped two years later due to his many legal cases, from lawsuits to drug offenses, stints in and out of jail and rehab, and his involvement in a March 2014 shootout in Chicago. Now an independent artist, Keef has released his album “Nobody” and is expected to release his next album, “The Cozart,” soon.
1. Kanye West
Easily one of the biggest rappers on the planet, Kanye West is currently putting the finishing touches on his seventh studio album. Tentatively titled “So Help Me God” in early 2015 and dropping an album cover along with it, West has since changed its name to “Swish” and is rumored to be released in the fall. A rumored tracklist for the record also surfaced online featuring collaborations with Big Sean (Can You Be Real) and Bruno Mars (Always) and includes the already released singles “Only One,” featuring Paul McCartney, an ode to his daughter North West, and the banger, “All Day,” featuring Allan Kingdom and Theophilus London. In an interview with the Breakfast Club, West told us what fans can expect from the album saying, “bars, songs, cookout—music that just feels good. My last album was a protest of music. This album’s just embracing the music, embracing joy, and just being of service to the people.”