Local hip-hop worthy of a holiday wrap

December 3, 2004

Any hip-hop head's holiday gift pack is simply incomplete without a strong
representation of Chicago product and in 2004 locally grown hip-hop has a
bumper crop.

Most of the hip-hoppers you'd be shopping for probably already have Kanye
West and Twista, but there is plenty of other Chicago hip-hop that would
bring holiday cheer.

If you are looking for local hip-hop most mall chains won't help. However,
the Virgin Megastore (545 N. Michigan, 312-645-9300) does carry many local
artists, as does Tower Records (214 S. Wabash, 312-663-0660; 2301 N. Clark,
773-477-5994). Also check out Hi-Fi Records (2570 N. Clark, 773-880-1002),
Tip CDs and Tapes (6317 N. Ridge, 773-761-9870), Gramaphone Records (2663 N.
Clark, 773-472-3683), The Bassment (6057 N. California, 773-764-2277) and
the newly opened Hyde Park Records (1377 E. 53rd St., 773-288-6588).

Below are five Chicago CDs that your hip-hop lover may have missed in 2004
that definitely would fit nicely in wrapping paper.

Qualo, Believe ($17.92, The Movement)

If they like: Talib Kweli, Tupac Shakur, NWA.

One of the year's best -- regardless of the point of origin. This Chicago
foursome is both raw and insightful, vicious and comical. Surely not for the
Will Smith crowd -- nor those who admired Tipper Gore's sticker-quest of
long-ago -- but definitely a something that both the Jay-Z crowd and the
Black Star would like.

Capital D, "Insomnia" ($14.98, All Natural Inc.)

If they like: Ded Prez, Public Enemy, thinkingVeteran.

Cap D of All Natural unleashed this scathing indictment of contemporary
American thought -- both political and cultural -- in the midst of the
election season. While the CD certainly not partisan, the results of
November's election and the news that's followed make the intrique of this
recording increase, not decrease, with each advancing day.

Single Minded Pros, "From Now On" ($15.98, EV Productions)

If they like: Pete Rock, RJD2, DJ Kayslay.

The culmination of almost three years of work, this production-driven gem
features MCs ranging from legends like Juice and Kool G. Rapp to underground
heroes like Pace Won and Mr Lif.

Abstract Giants, "AGrow Culture" ($11.99, Pull 'Em Up Records)

If they like: The Roots, Jean Grae, Jack Johnson.

Dubbed "Chicago's own Roots," Abstract Giants began defining their own sound
on their first record, pulling from parts that are equally rock, jazz and
hip-hop, resulting in a sound that is thoroughly accessible and

Longshot, "Sacrifice" ($12 Molemen Records)

If they like: Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, EPMD.

The street stories of this baritone-voiced wide receiver-turned-rapper are
laced with cruelty and loss rather than jewels and loose women, creating a
cinematic cityscape of gritty survivors. The Molemen production provides the
perfect backdrop for the engaging tales.

David Jakubiak is a local free-lance writer.

Link to the Chicago Sun Times article