Over the years music in Chicago has evolved past the limitations of which we were brought into. With evolution, some things changed but the everlasting soul of our sound remains the same. I think that’s why we hold Chicago artists to a high degree. It’s about what we expect from them and in that regard that’s a huge level of respect. Our expectations of them. With SXSW a couple weeks away eyes immediately look at Austin for who is next. Take this as the offering of those from Chicago who don’t even need the trip to Texas. This is shawngranted.com’s The Seven: A list of 7 Chicago Rappers to watch in 2018.
Valee – While in my kitchen back a couple years ago I heard this guy voice first on that “Cash Don’t Bend” from Ty Money’s first Cinco De Money tape. Free Money. Anyway, Valee bodied his verse and made a fan out of me. Consistency is important but to get better gradually is key. He got better and then Shell dropped. Boom. That’s all it took; he had all out attention. What else you got for us? And then we got VTM, which was so hard and ChaseTheMoney is that guy. Valee has a deal with Good Music and a remix to his mixtape hit “Miami” feat Pusha T. That’s a hell of a feature but Valee can hold his own. Trust me.
Joey Purp – Still riding high on the critically acclaimed iiidrops Joey Purp will see an even better year in 2018. I know in hindsight it may seem like a reach for an unsigned artist but this guy has been in Tommy Hilfiger ads, tours, tv shows, music featured on lists all across blogs and media sites. Joey is one of my favorite guys out the SAVEMONEY militia. His style touches all bases plus “GODBODY” is one of the hardest records to drop all 2016. Now I know in this fast-paced world you went everything so back to back. That depreciates value to have it so fast. Joey is making us all wait to hear what he has stashed away to unleash. Don’t forget about the boy. It’s definitely going to be worth all of our patience.
Tony Cartel – Tony delivered the most underrated project all last year. Hands down. The media surrounding our great city can’t be blamed for not being on notice, we need to alert them. His latest project, Costra Nostra 2, has lined him up to have an even better year in 2018. Not only because of how dope the project is but because of the experiences after it. Traveling the world to perform music is a major highlight in any artist book. Not necessarily a tour but trips to Jerusalem to perform, amazing. I expect nothing but great things for Tony this year. His flow is like that reminiscent of rappers mid-90s, but the content is a present.
Queen Key – All bow down to your highness. She demands all of our attention when she steps on stage. She recently blew away the crowd at Chance the Rapper’s own “Open Mike” at the Chicago Cultural Center, but that’s normal for this young queen. She may be Queen, but she is one of the most humble artists I ever met. She has one of the hottest songs making its way around right now in “My Way” and has garnered the attention of Rico Love. Her style also has legendary producer HearonTrackz’s attention and the word is he’ll be producing Key’s next upcoming project. Is that not something to wait for in 2018?
K. Valentine – “My job is to convey a message via HipHop,” K’Valentine states in Instagram cation sharing her collaboration with Talib KWeli, “Us.” A student of the game and stacked with the talent to grab your ear at first bar, this Chicago woman has it all to make the run that it appears she is primed to make in this calendar year. If you haven’t noticed she has become a fixture on various publications who are beginning to notice that she will be a powerhouse and she has proven she can hold her own against legends abd her peers, such as her feature on Sisi Dior’s “Highway.” Don’t sleep.
KD Young Cocky- Amongst a list of rappers to watch which was released earlier this year by our friends at What’s the Word TV KD was mentioned in the bottom half. That’s dope. It’s a lot of artist in the city to compete with and to be amongst anyone’s top 25 is a great thing. I have just been watching this guy since we did his interview for StayLo Podcast and KD is a great songwriter and artist. The KD Mondays have been on point and those more than likely aren’t even project cuts. Among those is a track called “Slippin'” which I just added to my daily mix rotation. 2018 belongs to you too KD we all just waiting to see what you plan to do with it.
Saba – Last pick in the draft. Kidding, Saba will never be anyone’s last anything ever again. That can only count if its last man standing. Bucket List Project did release almost two years ago but Saba’s 2107 run was so amazing. Tours in America and Europe, TV guest spots, videos. He kept working his project while hopefully getting ready to drop a new one for us in 2018. I see it happening. The more life experiences bring in the content able to put Saba at the top of rap in 2018.