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Top 50 Chicago Projects of 2019

Turning the page into the next decade, our fourth edition of the “Top 50 Chicago Projects of the Year” list marks a special occasion. From the first list until now, four years means more than just four years of picks. It tracks four years of growth from some of our favorite artists, and a chance to watch last year’s entries rise up the ranks and improve, one year after the next. This year, we’re welcoming several Chicago mainstays as well as a plethora of new faces. The constant between every pick? A strong representation of the talent in Chicago, solidifying the city as a front runner in the trend-setting landscape of hip-hop. If there’s any city presenting some of music’s premier faces, both old and new, it’s Chicago, just as we aim to capture on this list. That said, below is Lyrical Lemonade’s top 50 Chicago projects of 2019. Thank you to all of the artists working so hard to provide us with music, and here’s to a promising decade to come for Chicago music. From 2019 ’til infinity. Honorable Mentions: Chanelle Truvillion, Kiraly Payne — 50) Josi Green & Ausar – The Good & The Bad EP Josi Green …

Tech Deck – [Hadji Gaviota] x [Monica Riskey]

The ever-bubbling and continuously growing artistry of Queens native, Hadji Gaviota returns to the Lyrical Lemonade pages with his latest collaborative single, “Tech Deck.” Accompanied by the equally impressive talents of Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Monica Riskey, the two New York state natives capture a magically wholesome and beautiful exchange as they serenade listeners with an anthem for a lovers getaway. Backed by indie-pop production and bright songwriting, Hadji and Monica deliver a single that is romantically picturesque. Contrary to the song’s nostalgia-inducing title, “Tech Deck,” the newly released record uses several ship-themed analogies that are not only exceptionally executed but metaphorically reinforcing to the song’s overwhelming theme. Hadji and Monica sing to each other from the perspective of a timid potential couple during that awkward nervous stage in relationships. This unspoken nervous-rattling attraction is where this single finds its stride, as the two vocalists beautifully exchange verses on their hopeful and willingness “to be spoken for.” Listen to the new single, “Tech Deck,” by Hadji Gaviota and Monica Riskey below. 

The Talents To Come Out Of Homewood Flossmoor High School

Over the past five years of covering the Chicago music scene, interviewing artists, and making relationships with these creatives, I have noticed something that I believe is super intriguing: there have been so many talented individuals who went to Homewood Flossmoor High School at (or around) the same time. It’s not too often that you see this many extraordinary creatives come out of the same place at once — at least I have never heard of something like this before — but even more so, I think it’s a rarity for to have this type of talent come out of the same school especially in the same field. I believe that a big part of this should be credited to the opportunities that Homewood Flossmoor provides to their students, in all avenues, but especially in the music field. The school has engaged students in music industry classes, Jazz orchestra courses, holding rap contests (and giving out prizes to the winners), shooting music videos for their senior students at times, giving them their own radio show to practice freestyling + DJ’ing, and they even take their bands on extraordinary trips to places like Japan. It’s crazy to think about what can …

I Like Me Better – [Queen Key]

Just a couple of days ago Chicago native Queen Key released a brand new music video for “I Like Me Better” and it’s not anything you want to miss out on. This video gives an inside look at Queen Key’s ‘Camp Queen’ program that she does in Chicago where she provides children with free food, arts and crafts, face masks, creative writing, health care and much more. The song itself is a smooth and different pace than I have usually heard from Queen Key, it was more of a laid back and introspective joint that I thoroughly enjoyed. Watch this brand new music video below and if you like what you see, then go ahead and give her a follow on Twitter here!

Mean Girl – [Yung Baby Tate] ft. [Queen Key] [Asian Doll]

Yung Baby Tate has already led a busy summer, and by the looks of it, the Atlanta artist has no plans of slowing down any time soon. Today, Tate drops off a new video for her song “Mean Girl”, recently released on her ‘GIRLS Deluxe’ album. For the new visual, Tate takes the song’s title and interprets it quite literally, recreating scenes from the iconic movie that inspired the track. Tate casts herself in the role of Regina George, and she embodies all the attributes of the ruthless original mean girl in her presence both musically and visually. As Tate issues a verse full of brutal disses, she posts up in a hallway sporting her signature pink look. Queen Key makes her appearance with a quiet, yet just as cold verse, and Asian Doll closes the track with a relentless flow. With “Mean Girl”, hip-hop’s rising mean girls announce their arrival, making their presence known by putting their powers together and an equally energetic video to match.

Mean Girl – [Yung Baby Tate] ft. [Queen Key] [Asian Doll]

Back in February, Yung Baby Tate dropped ‘GIRLS’—an 11-song concept album showcasing the rising Atlanta artist’s versatility. It seems she had more in store, though, and she’s now released a deluxe version of the project featuring 4 additional tracks. “Mean Girl” is one of the standout additions on ‘GIRLS Deluxe’, much thanks to assists from Queen Key and Asian Doll. “Mean Girl” brings forth another side of the multi-faceted songwriter, this time centered on her most menacing persona yet. She spits a mix of aggressive bars and more lighthearted disses, adding her bubblegum shine to an otherwise ruthless song. Chicago’s own Queen Key talks her queen shit over Tate’s self-produced trap beat, and Asian Doll closes things out with her verse. Listen to “Mean Girl” below and catch Yung Baby Tate and Queen Key at Summer Smash this weekend!  

Lyrical Lemonade Presents: The Johari Noelle Q&A

Johari Noelle is one of the newer Chicago creatives that I have got in tune with in 2019, and when I heard that she was gearing up to release her new project Things You Can’t Say Out Loud, I figured why not bring her by the Lyrical Lemonade office for a brand interview? You can expect her to speak about plenty of interesting subjects such as the previously mentioned project, all of the talent that has come out of her high school HF, her strong relationship with her family, how Chicago has influenced her and her headlining show that will be taking place this week in Chicago at The Promontory. Learn a thing or two about Johari by reading this brand new interview below, and you can purchase tickets to see Johari live June 5th here.     Elliot: Before we dive into the questions, give our readers who may not be familiar with you a brief introduction of yourself? Johari: My name is Johari Noelle I am a singer, song writer and actress from Chicago. I recently released two singles one of them is called “Show Me” and the other one is called “Too Much and I just released a new EP called …

Deem Spencer: Low-Key Taking the Legacy of Queens Hip-Hop Into Soulful, Vulnerable, Experimental Directions

Hip-hop is a big tent, with room for all kinds of voices, vibes, looks and personalities, right? Or at least, it ought to be. Too often though, as in other genres, one success story spawns scores of imitators, and A&R reps, managers and promoters—not generally known for seeking out the most unique and unconventional voices out there—scramble to find the next version of that person who blew up a few months back. Duplication is rewarded, and deviation from the commercially proven is viewed as suspect. Likewise, in a crowded landscape marked by a perpetual jockeying for attention on IG and Twitter, it’s often the loudest voices, the most colorful characters and outsize personalities that win the day and, of course, grab that money. Sometimes they’re little more than personality, but they know how to get noticed. So where does that leave a rapper with a subtler, less flashy, more low-key approach? Ask Deem Spencer. A product of south side Jamaica, Queens—a stone’s throw from JFK Airport—Spencer is a far cry from the noisy jets that populate his neighborhood, and not exactly a sonic descendant of Jamaica’s most celebrated musical idols, 50 Cent and G-Unit, though he’s a lifelong fan. With …

LL Presents: The Matty Wood$ Q&A

Matty Wood$ is a creative out of St. Louis who I have been covering here on our website for some years now, but when he was recently in Chicago I brought him to the Lyrical Lemonade office for our first conversation face to face, and in turn we now have a dope new Q&A for the fans! Not only is Matty a super talented artist who creates great music, he has the overall look & charisma of a superstar and he just might be one of the funniest rappers I have ever met, and I am sure those traits will help him down the road. Most importantly, Matty has a great group of solid individuals around him in his 2200 crew that are going to keep him improving at all times, the sky is truly the limit for this young legend. Stream his latest album I’l Be Fine below while you check out the Q&A, and after you’re done be sure to follow Matty on Twitter here! — EM: Before we dive into the questions, give our readers who may not be familiar with you a brief introduction of yourself.   MW: You know who it is, Tony T, Matty …

Pump My Head Up – [Ohana Bam] x [Queen Key]

Chicago native Ohana Bam is certainly no stranger here on Lyrical Lemonade, and he recently connected with fellow Chicagoan Queen Key for a brand new record titled “Pump My Head Up”. A little known fact about these two artists is that they have known each other for years, and you could damn near tell by the chemistry that they had one his offering. They each laid a fire verse and contributed to the catchy hook, making for an all around good track that enjoy can enjoy. Take a few minutes of your day to stream this brand new song via Spotify below!