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Weekend Earworms: Admiring Rap From Chicago

An estimated 92% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. We here at Nerdist are dead set on bringing you those types of songs—even if only for the weekend. So shove this into your grey matter!

This week I’ve had hip hop and rap on the brain more than I usually do. Mostly because Chance the Rapper released his new mixtape Coloring Book which, if you haven’t heard it, is absolutely phenomenal. Rap has also been on my mind thanks to a brilliant video from Vox that deconstructed and analyzed the lyric and rhyme composition of hip hop over the years. It’ll blow your mind and is definitely worth a watch even if you’re not a fan.

However, since you’ve clicked on and subsequently read this installment of Weekend Earworms so far, it’d be a fair bet that you are a fan and who am I to keep you from listening to some while you’re here. Since Chance’s mixtape is so damn awesome, and he’s from the city I am proud to call home, I figure I’d celebrate his and some other Chicago rappers. First up, a bit off of Coloring Book.

Chance the Rapper – “Angels”

Again, I cannot speak highly enough for how good his new mixtape is. Everything about Chance the Rapper’s music is a cut above the rest of the industry. Mainly due to the fact he’s consistently played by his own rules by releasing his own music and has thus far refused to be tied down to any record label. It’s truly inspirational to see someone can get to such a level of influence and success on their own terms. There’s also something distinctly refreshing about his music. Coloring Book can be incredibly spiritual at times but not heavy-handed in any way. The man has an inherent positivity in all of his music that makes him one of my favorite Chicago rappers of all time.

[Support Chance the Rapper]

Lupe Fiasco – Birds & The Bees

Hey, speaking of favorite Chicago rappers of all time…Other than Kanye, Lupe Fiasco might be the most recognizable voice of Chicago hip hop. With an astonishingly large catalog of albums, singles and mixtapes, it’s hard to nail down just one favorite track but this one hits all the right earworm requirements in my book. You cannot go wrong with an anachronistic sample serving as the hook and lyrics that are just begging to be memorized.

Alright, third song of the week. I’d guess most would think I’d take the easy route and share some Kanye as he’s clearly what most people think about when it comes to Chicago artists. However, when have I ever gone with songs that are mainstream? I’d like to mix things up and bring you something most likely haven’t heard. Also, I’ve had this song stuck in my head for years and could never figure out a way to share it until today’s Chicago theme.

[Lupe Fiasco on iTunes]

Serengeti – “Dennehy”

I admit that was a bit out of left field. Let me explain. Serengeti‘s music is quite eclectic and while his – let’s say – “normal” music is great, where he really shines is in his character “Kenny Dennis.” In a fiercely weird and wonderful departure from what you’d expect in a rap song, “Kenny” has a decidedly stereotypical Chicago affectation (that feels at home with SNL‘s Bill Swerski’s Superfans) and raps exclusively about life in Chicago. Other tracks like “Perculators” and “Rib Tips” are full of Chicago references but “Dennehy” drops every Chicago term it possibly could. In its four short minutes there are mentions of Mike Ditka, “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” Chicagoans’ penchant for bratwurst, all the area’s sports teams and the best damn newsman ever; Tom Skilling.

[Serengeti on iTunes]

What are some of your favorite Chicago rappers? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

Images: Lupe Fiasco/Serengeti – Anticon/Chance The Rapper

Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago, IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. Be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)

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