Chicago hip hop

The hip hop scene in Chicago, Illinois has produced a distinct group of artists and styles. It is marked mainly by its musical diversity and inability to be pigeonholed into one particular sound or style.

Notable musicians


Possibly Chicago's most well known artist, Common, has been making music since his 1992 debut album, Can I Borrow a Dollar? His sophomore album Resurrection, is often considered one of the conventionally-recognized classic hip-hop albums, particularly with the anthem "I Used to Love H.E.R.". Since then, Common's mainstream success has steadily increased in his long career, with his most recent album, Finding Forever, receiving both critical and public, albeit modest praise, as well a Grammy Award. Common's trademark blend of socially conscious lyrics within intricate rhyme scheme and ability to master various genres in his collaborations (gangsta rap, house, swing-hop, neo-soul), has earned him respect throughout the hip-hop community. Common is currently signed to fellow Chicagoan Kanye West's G.O.O.D (Getting Out Our Dreams) Music record label.

Kanye West

Kanye West has been Chicago's most mainstream hip hop success. All of his official album releases —The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation— were smash critical and mainstream successes. All three were chart toppers and were nominated for and won various Grammy Awards. West's success has helped to put Chicago hip hop on the map, and his promotion of and collaboration with artists such as Common and Rhymefest can be pointed to for their mainstream success as well.

Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco's success has come very recently. Since first being publicly noticed for his guest appearance on "Touch the Sky" with Kanye West, his debut album, Food & Liquor, was highly anticipated. Receiving both critical and public praise, Food & Liquor peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200, and at one point was at #2 on the Hip Hop Billboard Charts. It was nominated in 2007 for three Grammys, including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, and Best Solo Rap Performance. Fiasco's The Cool was released in late December of 2007. His single "Superstar" peaked to #10 on The Billboard Hot 100, making it his most successful single on the chart.

No I.D.

Record producer No I.D. has been cited as having an instrumental role in the development of alternative hip-hop. Having worked with both Common and Kayne West (West mentions No I.D. as his mentor in his song "Big Brother" from the Graduation album). He produced most of Common's first three albums.

Do Or Die

Do or Die is a gangsta rap trio originally from Chicago, Illinois. The group experienced mainstream success with the single "Po Pimp", a collaboration with fellow Chicago rapper Twista, from the album Picture This. Group members are brothers Belo, Nard and AK-47. The trio has sold more than three million albums, launching Chicago's first national hip hop movement and renovating the pimp music to mainstream success. Many of the tracks feature Chicago's own Johnny P singing the hooks and The Legendary Traxster on production.


Chicago's first artist to gain widespread acclaim and recognition, Twista is known primarily for his rapid-fire delivery. At one point recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's fastest rapper, Twista's success has come largely with other Chicago acts (notably Kanye West and Do or Die). His most successful album to date, 2004's Kamikaze, and its two singles, "Slow Jamz" and "Overnight Celebrity", were all chart toppers.


Rhymefest hails from a Chicago neighborhood known as Jeffrey Manor. Although relatively new (he has only released one album, Blue Collar), he has built a strong name in the hip hop community before releasing his album. Notable for his raw lyrics detailing the time he spent working low-wage jobs while paying his dues freestyling, Rhymefest was first thrust into the spotlight as a co-writer of Kanye West's 2004 single, "Jesus Walks". Although much hype and critical praise surrounded his debut album, Blue Collar was a relative flop publicly, only hitting #61 on the Billboard 200.

Da Brat

The Jermaine Dupri protégé had chart success in 1994 with her single and video entitled "Funkdafied,"(so so def) taken from her debut album of the same name. During the rest of the decade, she remained somewhat low-key and came to be known more for her featured appearances on other rappers' and R&B singers' albums than for her own solo work.

List of Notable Hip hop musicians



External links

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