D2G’s ‘Short Summers Long Winters’ wraps up the season


I’ve never been afraid to admit that I rock with certain artists much more than others, on both a local and national level. This sentiment stretches across genres, from hip-h0p to electronica to anything that may or may not fall under a particular music category. Obviously, content and ability to execute throughout a song and project are two of the bigger factors, but every once in a while, you get a chance to learn more intimately about someone’s craft and their dedication to it, which in turn makes you a bigger fan of the artist. For example, D2G.

The Chicago hip-hop artist’s gritty, yet skilled lyricism and delivery were introduced to me on he and fellow Chicago hip-hop artist Vic Spencer’s Hard Bars, a collaborative effort produced by Chicago producer, DC. Solid throughout, D2G more than held his own with the established veteran, Spencer, and essentially created a lane for his personal style and approach. After the releases of solo projects, 2011’s The Blood Diamond Tape and 2012’s July 9th: A Cancer Story, D2G is back with a new flag to plant in Chicago’s hip-hop landscape: Short Summers Long Winters, a strong 12-track effort featuring Ashley LaSchelle, AM, C. Rich, and JDP, with production by D.C., Ray White, Reg Young, and more.

Without inquiring, I can tell you the title of this album is related to Chicago’s calendar year that is essentially a short summer, followed by long winter. I am not yet far enough removed from the Go to know that the summers seem to come and go before you can enjoy them and the winters never want to leave.

Short Summers Long Winters begins with “A Call To Summer,” an interlude/intro featuring LaRoyce Hawkins and Katrina Valene. With Kool and the Gang’s “Summer Madness” playing softly in the background, Hawkins spits about the real turn of seasons and Valene provides gentle vocals to close it out. This is one of two songs co-produced by D.C. and D2G. “Long Days” has a very smooth sound, and A.P. Remedy’s voice and flow provide a nice contrast to D2G’s raspier, deeper tone. The horns that begin “90’s Flow” are very reminiscent of something on a Ghostface track, and Reg Young’s production gives the track more of a 70’s feel, which is basically what Ghostface music is: Gully ass 90’s flow over 70’s-sounding production. JDP provides the assist. D2G calls an isolation play for himself on “The Quest,” a song in which he once again sets out to distinguish himself from others in his field.

D2G and D.C. team up again to produce “Hydroplanin’,” featuring Ashley LaSchelle and Isaiah Jones, who both give the song a backyard BBQ feel. If this production is any indication of D2G’s ability to beatsmith, I suggest he look into featuring more of his own sound on his next project, as “Hydroplanin'” has one of my favorite beats on SSLW. Things slow down quite considerably on “Fall Into,” featuring Mon Cheri Soul. Soul is crisp and sultry, even as she sings “short sets to jump suits.” D2G does not appear, but it does not take away at all from the quality of the track. Also, props for the Roy Ayers snippet at the end.

In my opinion, there is nothing better than summer in Chicago. Period. Nada. Zilch. This is obviously a short-sighted opinion as I’ve only had the privilege to enjoy a full summer in four cities, but my opinion will stand until the end of my time on this planet. D2G’s “Chi-City Summer” tells of the beauty and horror of the warmest season of the year in Chicago. Unsurprisingly, he tells it accurately, from the beginning tales of beautiful weather and enjoyment to the end, when D2G reminds us, “You can’t stop the violence and drill at the same damn time…” D.C.’s reggae tinge basically never fails, and this is certainly the case on “I Spy.” Breezy City teams up with D2G on “I Got It,” another Reg Young-produced track with a bouncier feel. “I Got It” didn’t miss the mark, but felt a little light in contrast to other D2G work. Reg Young produces the next track, “You Got It,” a love ode of sorts featuring the vocals of C. Rich. In my opinion, it’s extremely difficult for the majority of rap and hip-hop artists to switch from a more aggressive, male-driven sound to one that is conducive to a loving, sensual, sensitive environment. Fortunately, D2G didn’t attempt to sing and didn’t break out the auto-tune, although this could have been the one time that he ventured outside of his norm to try a different approach.

“Reflections,” featuring Isaiah Jones with production from The Flying Shoe, is an absolutely beautiful song, as D2G goes the introspective route while Jones questions, “When will it get better?” D2G is great at expressing disappointment with the state of the music industry and hip-hop in particular, as well as the plight of his neighbors in Chicago, but when he takes the time to diligently reflect (no pun intended), I believe that’s when he’s at his best. There is a sax playing at the beginning of “Winter’s Brew” that should probably just play all winter long in Chicago as people walk the streets, whether on Michigan Avenue with bags in hand, or on the south side braving the elements just to make it home after a long day of work. Spazzbot.exe and D2G end SSLW on a great note, switching from serene production on this track to one with an aggressive drum machine over piano keys…all while D2G takes us home lyrically. Abstrak Mind makes an appearance on the bonus track, “Never Left,” a definite gift that doesn’t disappoint.

Short Summers Long Winters is another strong effort from D2G, an artist who understands that while he is very talented, there is always room for improvement. You can name your price and buy SSLW (always my favorite option) on D2G’s Bandcamp page, something that should be on the agenda of everyone looking to support a dope, Chicago hip-hop artist still on the rise.


Let ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ cook.

My favorite hip-hop album by a solo artist is the late Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die, his debut venture, released in 1994 on Bad Boy Records. Captivating, gritty, and in some weird ass way, twisted fun, Ready To Die is one of the few albums, regardless of genre, that I can play from beginning to end. I’m not sure if it’s Biggie’s lyricism/wordplay, storytelling, or the overall production that still hooks me, but whatever it is, there are few hip-hop albums like this: A “classic.”

Unfortunately, the word classic is thrown around rather loosely when discussing music nowadays. Whether by journalist or junk food-eating teen, almost any merely good album can be deemed a classic. And if said album isn’t prematurely being labeled a classic, it’s compared to great albums that were released years, sometimes decades prior.

I have listened to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly in its entirety twice now, and holy shit, is it a very good album. The production can be a bit overbearing at times and I’m not sure if Kendrick’s lyrical prowess is on full display as it has been with previous works, but all in all, TPAB is more than worth your ears. In a time when music artists across the board are seemingly content with producing mediocre work and attempting to pass it off as “art,” the Compton, CA rapper once again dismissed the pop-driven, conventional box that is today’s music to tackle issues of race, societal interaction, hypocrisy, capitalism, the Black community, and other matters of contention that unfortunately, very few prominent artists are willing to address in a remotely intelligent manner. And at a time like this, when there are individuals and groups who feel that we are essentially in “now or never” mode as it pertains to our nation’s ills, I can say that this album is, refreshing.

When my excitement over the album is tempered are the times when someone, most likely a devoted fan of Kendrick, rushes to anoint TPAB a classic. Or when someone argues that TPAB means this, rather than that, and that if you get that, you’ll get this. You know? The opinion that this album, which was just released March 16, should somehow be mentioned in the same breath as Ready To Die and/or Nas’ Illmatic, another 1994 classic release, or hell, any great hip-hop or rap album released when I was a pre-teen also serves to annoy the living hell out of me.

I find myself so annoyed because I want TPAB to grow on people. I want its messages to leap from the studio, disc, headphones, and computer to the streets; to the people. I cannot wait for Kendrick to give an interview in which he further articulates why this album is so “honest, fearful, and unapologetic,” and, does it unapologetically so, of course. I want the people who have found 99 reasons why they love TPAB to find the 100th, and those who simply aren’t sold, to find a singular reason to enjoy it, if for nothing else than George Clinton makes an appearance on TPAB and, well, that’s just awesome as hell. More than anything, I just want this album to remain a topic of hip-hop discussion. It may seem implausible for an album of this quality to ever be forgotten, but in our current fast food society, that’s exactly what happens with many forms of entertainment and the figures who share their work with us. Are the Yeezus fans even awake?

No, I do not think To Pimp A Butterfly is yet a classic, largely because a classic serves as the standard for those that follow it. We’re not sure yet what impact this album will have on the musical landscape, or even that of hip-hop, and we only do a disservice to TPAB when we rush to digest it without remembering that savoring should be a much more preferable option.

There’s nothing wrong with loving To Pimp A Butterfly. I’d just like for everyone to sit back and allow its true impact to take hold and affect listeners, the way a true “classic” would.

Killer Mike’s ‘Sunday Morning Massacres,’ to the rescue


Unafraid to sound like the suddenly and preposterously infamous “hipster,” Killer Mike has miraculously become seemingly everyone’s favorite rapper, at least of late. Although I remember him very well from his guest appearance on OutKast’s “Snappin’ & Trappin’,” of the 2000 Backstage soundtrack (a must-own), “Mike Bigga” never quite gained mainstream traction over the years, despite a very good debut album in Monster (2003) and a slew of mixtapes that went above and beyond a convenient formula.

In 2013, Killer Mike and Brooklynite rapper/producer El-P decided to form the duo, Run The Jewels, and released a self-titled debut album in June of the same year. The project won rave reviews from everyone with at least one functioning ear and thankfully, it essentially forced new fans of Killer Mike (and El-P, to some extent, who is and has always been excellent in his own right) to “go back to the lab,” as I like to call it. This October 28, Run The Jewels dropped, adding to both artists’ legacies and providing rap and hip-hop fans with something that’s more than decent to listen to for a change.

This past Sunday, Killer Mike and DJ Greg Street (Go buy this album right now) partnered up to gift our ears with Sunday Morning Massacres, a compilation of unreleased tracks from Killer Mike, back in 2008. I could definitely do without 8 damn skits, but new dope from Killer Mike is still going to be new dope from Killer Mike, and this is well worth the download. Enjoy:

Sunday Morning Massacres (Mixtape), Killer Mike & DJ Greg Street

“24K Visuals (Pts. 1 & 2),” Vic Spencer

The last time GoILLian rapping bastard Vic Spencer was here, I reviewed his latest EP, Vision Pipes, produced by TDE beatsmith, Rocket. A fan of that release, I noted at the end of my post that I felt Spencer was picking up steam as he began to further branch out in terms of his musical ventures. Since, Spencer has announced an upcoming EP with fellow GoILLian rapper, MC Tree, and, while mixing the anticipated Women’s Bathroom project, dropped this piece of dopeness. Of course, there was also this, this, and of course, hard bars as a featured artist on this.

While I am disappointed to have recently learned that Spencer and Tree’s VicTree collaboration will be delayed, I can certainly take a bit of solace in Spencer’s latest journey, “24K Visuals,” split into two parts. Part one was released October 1 and part 2, this past Thursday. Even though picking a favorite between the two isn’t quite akin to what poor Meryl Streep had to do in Sophie’s Choice, it’s still not easy to choose. If I were forced to, however, I’d side with part one, as it takes listeners back to vintage-Spencer-over-fucking-awesome-ass-loops, constructed by Chicagoan producer and jack-of-all-trades, DC. Part two is obviously no slouch, and Vic’s “More cardigans than Mr. Rogers” line can be put into the “Vic quotables” category. It’s generally somewhat difficult to tell what will be next for an artist like Spencer, but it’s safe to say something new will be coming soon, and directly. Enjoy the goods below.

“I Spy,” D2G; JLR drops more lifestyle rap on a Saturday night


Without reservation, I believe D2G is one of the dopest lyricists in the city of Chicago and I’m sure you could expand that claim to include the entire Midwest. I’ve written before on this blog how I am a fan of not only his work, but his ethic and approach. Seemingly hungry on every track, D2G almost attacks his listeners, even when a track doesn’t sound entirely cohesive or a bar feels out of place.

“I Spy,” produced by GoILLian beatsmith DC, will be the first single from D2G’s upcoming album, Short Summers, Long Winters. There’s a reggae tinge to the song (sort of a DC trademark, if you’re unaware) and the bassline is hard, but smooth and not overpowering. A release date for the album is unknown at the moment, but you can be assured that it won’t disappoint, as D2G understands that as he continues to churn out good music, fans, old and new, appreciate his efforts. Enjoy.


 I’ve long been a fan of New Orleans rapper Curren$y aka “Spitta Andretti,” since his days as a member of Lil Wayne’s “Sqad Up” collective. Although he didn’t have the large profile he currently has, I still made sure to catch every one of his verses, even on the songs that I knew were straight and complete trash. Since, Curren$y has departed the group and left Weezy’s rap clutches, beginning a solo career and basically, perfecting the “Lifestyle Rap” genre. He’s even put together a roster of sorts of like-minded artists and branded “Jet Life” as a way of, well, life.

This past Saturday, the team dropped World Wide Hustlers, a project that does a bit more than past releases to showcase Jet Life members besides front-liners Curren$y and Young Roddy. Unfortunately, my rap booski Mary Gold does not make an appearance on this release, but we do get some spirited bars from Jet Lifers T.Y., Fiend, and LE$. Mr. Marcelo and Freddie Gibbs guest star on ‘WWH,’ as well. With a chill sound, this tape does not disappoint, although I would have preferred a song or track from Mary Gold, arguably the brightest star in the camp.


Review: ‘Designer Drugs (EP),’ Corner Boy P & Mary Gold (Prod. by Samir Urbina)


I have long been a fan of New Orleans rapper, Curren$y, but it took a little while before I could fully rock with his musical collective, Jet Life. Members of the group are Young Roddy, Trademark Da Skydiver, Fiend (yes, No Limit Fiend), Street Wiz, producer Monsta Beatz, Mary Gold, and Corner Boy P. While they’re not all that diverse in terms of musical stylings (except Mary Gold, because she’s a beautiful, perfect alien), it’s a solid group, and like their leader, they have all mostly honed the art of “lifestyle rap.” So when I heard that Corner Boy P and Mary Gold would team up to drop Designer Drugs on July 4, I knew I had to add it to my music library immediately.

Corner Boy P has been getting a lot of play from me lately, and that goes double for his latest solo effort, DON P, which has gotten me through a few dozen sessions since its release. Mary Gold is my favorite music artist out right now. I love her voice, I love her style, I love the style of her voice, and I love the voice of her style, if that makes a semblance of sense at all. Her Sex Hormoned Druggie mixtape was one of my favorites 0f 2013, and its appeal is still incredibly strong. Mary Gold could drop a tape in which she raps about how she hates to rap and I’d clamor for it to get 5 mics, two thumbs up, a 10/10, and Nobel Peace Prize…all at the same damn time.

“Intro” – Nothing special, really. Just what sounds like a newscaster’s voice (likely generic) informing us of the new wave, “designer drugs.”

“MCM Shades” – I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard Urbina’s production before, but if this was our first meeting, it was definitely a good one. Corner Boy starts off “MCM Shades” but it’s Mary Gold who steals the show with her delivery on the hook: “MCM in my shades, baby/You gon’ feel me, feel me…” And of course, starting her verse with “I’m a smooth bitch,” Ms. Gold set the tone for the rest of the EP, in my biased opinion.

“Remember Me” – The title is self-explanatory: “When it’s all said and done, will they remember you?” And, this is a very important question for any artist to contemplate. What will your legacy be? Corner Boy bats first, rapping: “She switch up every week/Addicted to the fame/When you lose it, tryna chase it using cocaine and extacy…” Along with making lifestyle rap, Corner Boy makes what I like to call “grinder music.” Whatever you do in life, you grind while doing it, basically. Mother Mary asks, “What you gon’ do when them lights out?” and speeds up her flow a little bit initially before reverting to her half-singing style that seemingly always gets the job done. Sickest beat on the Designer Drugs EP, for damn sure.

“Roll Up” – Oh shit, I think I love everything about this fucking song. The production is perfect for this kind of song. It could easily be played in a trap nightclub or beach party in the Hamptons where rich White kids snort everything that can be turned into powder. With a sort of 80s vibe to it (sounds like something Sade would rap over), it matches the tone of the lyrics Corner Boy drops to kick things off. Mary spends about 45-50 seconds singing “roll up” and “roll up for me” about as sexy as she possibly can before Corner Boy spits a dope, succinct verse that doesn’t even last 45 seconds, if I’m not mistaken. The break into the hook, the hook itself, as well as Corner Boy P’s verse, make this my favorite track on Designer Drugs.

“What You Got 4 Me” – Okay… “LUXURY/GIRL LIVE IN LUXURY…” Woo! Fiend makes a guest appearance, too, and it makes this track even doper.

“Outro” – This EP started with nothing special, and ended with nothing special, which was somewhat of a disappointment.

I don’t expect Corner Boy P and Mary Gold to team up again in the future, although I think they should. Then again, I’d much rather hear her collaborate with Curren$y for a full-length project, or even Young Roddy, two artists who I admittedly prefer over P. Urbina has a relatively unique sound, and partnered with the drawl of P and unabashed style of Mary, it helped make Designer Drugs a pretty good EP, despite the fact that I feel robbed, having only gotten 4 songs. Nevertheless, this is worthy of addition to your music library, especially if you’re a brand whore whose infatuation with materialism extends all the way to your drugs of preference. Good music, loves. Get into it.

Review: ‘Vision Pipes (EP),’ Vic Spencer (Prod. by Rocket)

visionpipesI swear, Vic Spencer has the formula for today’s rap fan: Churn out as much quality music as possible, all the while managing to establish a relatively new identity on each track; on each project. Certainly, on his new EP, Vision Pipes, produced by TDE in-house beat man, Rocket (who also sings), Spencer has carved out one more niche for himself. The funny thing, just as I will find myself getting accustomed to this “V-I,” another will show itself. No matter. Time to dive into Vision Pipes, which was released on July 4.

“The Special Move” – “I don’t wanna chase y’all/I don’t wanna race y’all/I don’t wanna face y’all/Fuck up out my face, dawg,” spits Spencer to start the EP. What stood out most about this unofficial intro is the production. The relative serenity of it contrasts with Spencer’s oft-aggressive flow, with some intermittent Rocket vocals in the background to provide a soft touch. A great start, indeed.

“Massive Takeover” – I’m conflicted. While not a huge fan of the beat, I do like Spencer’s flow and the vocals provided by Rocket. And that hook, though: “I tell you what/When I take over these mountaintops/The world is mine/The world is mine…” Everything but the production on this track does it for me, although I will admit that if pared down a little, it would feel a little “cleaner.”

“WW VIII”– If you’re remotely familiar with Spencer’s music, you should know that it is, well, you know, rather aggressive. “Chicago’s ODB” is how I describe Spencer’s work. “WW VIII” isn’t quite as gritty as some of his other tough tales, but it’s one of those tracks in which he puts on his storytelling hat and lets us have it. “This ain’t Rambo in 1988, you gonna need more than a fucking knife” ended Spencer’s first verse before Rocket jumped on, and killed another hook.

“Young World” – MAN. MAN. Spencer is one of the more emotionally vulnerable rappers you’ll hear (which isn’t a detriment at all), and he certainly delves into his feelings on this one. Rapping about the death and murder of two brothers, and attempted murder of another, Vic once again lets us in on a part of his life not usually made available on a music track. As per usual, Spencer is quick to flaunt his style and reminisce about prior sessions, along with his quest to conquer this relatively young world.

“Vampire Diaries Screwed (Rocket’s Solo)” – This sounds like something that didn’t make 808s & Heartbreak, and I don’t mean that as an insult. You see, I’m a huge fan of screwed (RIP DJ Screw) music. That goes for screwed R&B, as the slowed-down chords and vocals make for a unique listening experience. I’m still not entirely sure just what the hell the message behind this song is, but I still like it. A lot.

“House of Hope,” ft. Michael Anthony of THEMpeople – Rocket gifted Spencer with this damn production. It’s so dope that Spencer should release an instrumental version of this EP just so anyone who somehow didn’t listen to Vision Pipes can hear this beat. Whereas “Massive Takeover” sounded like it had too much going on, this beat is fucking insanely good. Michael Anthony of THEMpeople joined the fray to provide some vocals, but honestly, this track could have stood alone based on the merit of its production. Is that an 808 kick I hear? And a snare? Hi-hat, too? Just. So. Raw. Good on, Rocket. Good on.

“Planes, Trains & Passports” – If it weren’t for “House of Hope,” this track would easily have the best production on Vision Pipes. As far as the song goes, it’s a fitting ending to the EP. Spencer has never been shy to let listeners know that he’s simply “way mo’ fresher” than you, in all aspects of life, and while that surely drives some away, it likely draws more to his music. Undoubtedly my favorite line on this EP is on this track: “I’m with the youth, dropping the gems/And if they rob the Louis store and the belt fit me, I’mma cop it from them.” Telling it like it is.

Crazily enough, Spencer seems to be improving with each project. Teaming up with various producers and artists, he seems to be constantly trying to find ways to reach new ears. As a fan of music, I love this approach. It’s somewhat hard to say that Spencer operates outside of his comfort zone, because his confidence enables him to step into new forums with new people and lay down exactly what he wants to. Yeah, there will be hits and inevitable misses, but most impressive is that Spencer wants to evolve as an artist. Vision Pipes is available on Spencer’s Bandcamp page, and it’s one of those “pay-if-you-want-because-that-would-be-cool-but-if-not-at-least-listen-because-that-would-be-equally-cool” joints, so if you’re short on ends or want to listen before buying, you can download it for the freeski for now. Let’s hope to get more Vic Spencer dope in the future, and in addition, hats off to Rocket for the production and vocals, too. GoILL.


Quickly now: “Infectious (Telling Folk),” Vic Spencer ft. D. Brash and Brian Fresco (Prod. by DC) #GoILL


Vic Spencer is no stranger to MKLH. One of my favorite Chicago rap artists, Spencer basically churns out music at such a pace that would make a simple man or woman’s head spin. Because of work and quite frankly, a lack of motivation, I haven’t posted as often over the last few months as I possibly could have. No more. Vic Spencer dropped a goody in my email inbox today, and you bet your ass that the new is heat. “Infectious (Telling Folk)” is led off by Spencer, with D. Brash in the 2-hole and Brian Fresco coming on strong to finish the track off. DC is on production duty, and the beat sounds like a very eerie serenade (love that “tellin’ folk” vocal in the background), navigated rather meticulously by the three aforementioned artists. “You just mad because you not what blogs writin’ about…”

Quickly now: The greatness of BIG K.R.I.T.’s “Mt. Olympus”

Of late, I have been really getting into Detroit rap artist Willie The Kid and his latest release, The Fly 2: The Transformation. Laced with some ill quotes from the ‘The Fly,’ which starred one of my favorite actors, Jeff Goldblum, The Fly 2 is an incredible piece of work that showcases his lyrical ability as well as his handle on telling a rather adequate story. The features on the project don’t dilute the work, yet, rather enhance it. Staying in a Midwestern state of mind, I have also abused the hell out of Piñata, a collaborative album by Gary, Indiana native, Freddie Gibbs, along with Californian artist, Madlib. So, it’s basically a Midwestern state of mind. Nevertheless, Piñata has been my favorite album of 2014 thus far, and Gibbs’ flow over Madlib’s production, along with the occasional feature, should have it atop the throne even when the year is over. Unless, that is, BIG K.R.I.T. somehow patterns the rest of his upcoming album, Cadillactica, after its first single, the ever-dope-as-all-hellMt. Olympus,” which he also produced.

I first heard this track several weeks ago after noticing some online buzz. As a fan of K.R.I.T., I assumed the song wouldn’t disappoint, but I had no idea that the song would stick with me the way it has.

K.R.I.T., a Mississippi native, possesses a Southern twang that isn’t campy or exaggerated, but smooth and aggressive while managing to not sound excessively



perturbed. “Now they wanna hear a country nigga rap/Five albums in, I swear a country nigga snap/Thought they wanted trap, thought they wanted bass/Thought they wanted Molly, thought they wanted drank/Fuck them niggas, now they wanna hear a country nigga rap…” is how K.R.I.T. delivers the hook at the beginning of the song as the beat builds. It’s clear that K.R.I.T. is, well, pissed the fuck off. Contrary to popular belief, K.R.I.T. is a Southern artist who can absolutely rap his ass off, in the lyrical sense. He’s been doing so, in fact, since 2010, when he released K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. Do your damn homework, people.

Fortunately for us, K.R.I.T. is able to emote in a way that most music artists simply aren’t able to. When he rapped, “I ain’t drawn to all this propaganda, rap shit ’bout as real as Santa,” I didn’t take it as an artist upset with the fact that he’s not yet “on.” The way I viewed it, K.R.I.T. was addressing all of those who wanted to turn this, that, and the third into a dispute between two artists, or even fanbases. K.R.I.T. is right. Basically, this rap shit has become very, obscenely fake. “Now I’m lyrical all of a sudden/Well last year they claim they ain’t understand me,” rapped K.R.I.T. immediately after. How convenient, no? K.R.I.T. always did a pretty good job of injecting a bit of trap into his music, but anyone genuinely listening simply couldn’t ignore the extraordinary lyricism involved. And now, with so many on the “real rap/hip-hop” bandwagon once more (AMIRITE?!), K.R.I.T. is such a fine wordsmith! He’s so articulate and well-spoken! Please. K.R.I.T. ain’t buying it. Put ’em in the trunk with the subwoofers, bruh.

I won’t get into the significance of the title, “Mt. Olympus,” because I’m into Greek Mythology more than I probably should be and don’t want to lose my 22 readers. However, know this: Mt. Olympus is home to the 12 chief gods of Greek Mythology, and who was the god of gods? ZEUS. It’s not a stretch to believe that K.R.I.T. fancies himself along the lines of Zeus, and when he drops something like this song, it’s hard to argue with him.

xxl-freshman-class-cover-2011 It wasn’t that long ago that K.R.I.T. made that wack ass XXL cover for freshmen rappers or something like that. The buzz surrounding him was huge, but somehow, it essentially left, despite the fact that he’s churned out great music since. Sir Kendrick Lamar has been crowned, and there have been a bunch of microwave rappers who have come and gone, but I truly believe that K.R.I.T. has something the average music artist doesn’t, which is staying power. At least, I’m hoping he’ll stick around. He will, won’t he? Why shouldn’t he be able to? Regardless, if you’ve listened to “Mt. Olympus” and weren’t moved to lash out against something that you feel has been ignoring your prowess for far too damn long, you simply ain’t human. I’ll leave you with this tidbit from BIG K.R.I.T.: “Yeah, I said it, I thought they wanted radio, bitch make up yo’ mind!” Please. Do that.

For 2014: D2G

D2G-July-9th-A-Caner-StoryWhen it comes to hip-hop in Chicago, contrary to “popular” belief, there is a rather extensive history of successful artists. Perhaps most of them did not reach a national level in terms of popularity, but on a local level, they provided a soundtrack to many of our lives. I won’t regale you with tales of rapping along with Crucial Conflict, Da Brat or Do or Die, but I will tell you that in my somewhat biased opinion, Chicago hip-hop is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. A part of this new movement is artist/songwriter/hungry MC, D2G.

I first heard D2G on the DC-produced Hard Bars, a 2011 collaborative effort with fellow Chicago hip-hop artist, Vic Spencer. While I knew what to expect from Spencer and to an extent, DC, it was D2G’s performance that not only caught me off guard, but forced me to look at Chicago’s rap and hip-hop scene in an almost completely different way. Far too often rife with gang references and odes to violent acts, Chicago’s rap and hip-hop landscape can appear very watered down to some. And, not to dismiss trap artists like Lil’ Durk, Chief Keef and King Louie, but I always knew that there were artists who more accurately represented the struggle and desire to overcome it, in a less materialistic, self-centered way. Enter, D2G.

In December of 2011, D2G released The Blood Diamond Tape. Sixteen tracks long with features from Spencer, Lili K, Jay Rashard, A.M. and others, it was a very solid project, from start to finish. Evident was the fact that not only could D2G rap, but he actually gave a shit about his craft. Similar to Lil’ Wayne on Tha Carter, you could hear the hunger in D2G’s verses. You simply cannot listen to “Mom’s Prayin'” and tell me that D2G is half-assing it on the track. Period.

After a 2012 that seemingly came and went for just about everyone, whether in the music industry or not, D2G gifted us on his birthday, July 9, 2013, with July 9th: A Cancer Story. Holy shit, what a mixtape. What. A. Mixtape. I reviewed it earlier on this site, and if I were forced to review it again today, my opinion of it would probably be even more glowing and positive.

I listen to an awful lot of hip-hop and it’s not often that I can sit down and listen to a project in its entirety without thinking that the artist is bullshitting me, at some point. It happens; the need to appeal to your fans who are borderline hip-hop purists and those who simply want to hear good music without the requirement of it actually speaking to them in any way, shape or form. Maybe it’s harsh to call addressing the needs of one’s entire fanbase “bullshitting,” but it is frustrating to listen to such code-switching. D2G’s struggles are not mine, and mine are not his. However, to hear the raw effort on J9: ACS made me a believer in D2G. I have faith that D2G can establish himself as one of the premier hip-hop artists in Chicago, for years to come.

I’ve had the opportunity to do a little “Q & A” with D2G, and his answers didn’t seem contrived. They appeared to be thought out, in order to provide me with the insight that many artists seem to not think is very important in how they are viewed not only as artists, but as people. Regardless of what anyone says, we all judge. Most of us do so unfairly, but nevertheless, we all judge. And while I’d love to write that we as fans can easily separate the artist from the person, more times than not, it is incredibly difficult to do so.

In conclusion, I appreciate the music that D2G puts out, and the effort that goes into it. He certainly isn’t the only rap or hip-hop artist in Chicago who gives a damn about their product, but he’s one I rock with the most, arguably. With the momentum he built in 2013, especially after J9: ACS, it wouldn’t be surprising that he uses that to propel himself to another level in 2014. It’s a “GoILL” movement, y’all.