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Top 50 Chicago Projects of 2020

It’s obvious that 2020 didn’t turn out nearly how anyone expected at the top of the year. With a global pandemic shaking things up, a pivotal presidential election coming to a head, numerous generational talents passing away, and racial injustice protests taking place across the country, it’s safe to say that this year was beyond unpredictable from even the most seasoned psychics. Nonetheless, Chicago persevered like only we know-how, bringing attention to these issues while also divulging into a plethora of other, more personal narratives in the form of music. Throughout the year, some mainstays in the city continued to impress us here at Lyrical Lemonade while other up-and-comers made some very valid, attention-grabbing claims as to why they’re the next rising star that deserves a place at the table. Also worthy of note, Chicago had some truly excruciating losses this year in terms of music legends whose work still shined through as some of the most impressive of the year, primed to carry on their legacy for years to come. All of that said, we’re more than excited to round this farfetched year out with Lyrical Lemonade’s Top 50 Chicago Projects of 2020. This is our 5th year bringing …

Sauce ft. Vince Staples – [Reason]

Ahead of his forthcoming album ‘New Beginnings’ which is set to drop on October 9th TDE’s Reason releases another fast-paced single with “Sauce.” People continue to complain and antagonize Punch about releases from the TDE camp, but here we are we’ve gotten releases from SZA, Isiah Rashard, and now we have a Reason album on the way. This Bizness Boi and Nil$ produced single serves as an anthem for anyone who is grinding it out and waiting for their moment to shine. One thing that I respect about this record is that Reason and Vince don’t shy aware from their plight to where they once were to now. Director Omar Jones really details the daily life of Reason between Los Angeles to Carson. The way that theses videos are shot is so appealing to the eye as it reminds me of a fisheye lens and gives me Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vibes. There’s a good balance between reality and hope which has been somewhat of a staple throughout Reason’s life and his music career. Watch Reason’s new video “Sauce” featuring Vince Staples for yourself after the break.

Limbo – [Amine]

After a couple of impressive singles, Amine’s highly anticipated 2020 album Limbo is here. Amine has come along way since he burst on to the scene with his viral hit “Caroline” back in 2017. With the first couple of listens, it’s really crazy to see how far Amine has come with his artistry within a short period of time. Like just look at the video he dropped with earlier in the week for his record with Young Thug entitled “Compensating.” The production on this album ranges from a plethora of sounds that showcase the Portland, Oregon artist’s range and versatility. As far as content Amine touches on an array of topics which include Kobe’s death, love, fame, and introspective, and self-reflection. The features on this were carefully curated and it feels like everyone plays their role on this album. That list includes Young Thug, Charlie Wilson, JID, Vince Staples, Summer Walker, slowthai and more. Some of the stands out tracks are “RIRI”, “Compensating”, “Woodlawn”, “Burden” and plenty more. Stream Amine’s newest project Limbo and judge for yourself after the break.

Four Albums with Distinct Atmospheres

We are currently living through a historical event and at times, it is difficult to keep our spirits up. All we can do is try to adapt and do what we can to keep ourselves safe and sane while being cooped up indoors. One way to cope is to try and step away from the tragedy for an hour or two. I’ve personally found myself watching movies, reading, or listening to music to distract myself. There are many different ways music can help, but I’ve found that albums that distinguish themselves from the rest are those that create a distinct atmosphere and a world of their own. They do this by establishing consistencies, not just sonically, but also in terms of subject matter. An atmosphere alone isn’t ideal though. Many albums fall victim to using the same presets, filters, or vocal pitching across songs to the point where they blend together and create an album that serves as nothing more than a soulless tone. What is really impressive is an album’s ability to have a collection of songs that stand strong on their own, while also reinforcing the qualities that many of the tracks around them share, thus creating a …

Staff Picks: Our Personal Favorite Projects of the 2010s

Nearing the end of any year — nevermind a decade — blogs get crowded with lists about the objective “best” projects of the year. Even Lyrical Lemonade has one. But looking toward the end of the 2010s, we decided that we’d try something a bit different. For just about all of our writers, the 2010s capture the period of growing up, per se. As such, the music to come from the past decade is what has shaped us into the people that we are. Taking this into consideration, we asked 5 writers to each list 3 albums from the 2010s that had the most personal impact on them. Not the “best” albums, or even necessarily the hits. Just 3 albums that spoke to them on a personal level. Below is the result. Enjoy, and feel free to share with us your own 3 picks on social media! – – – Brodie Harvey If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – Drake (2015) Of all artists on this list, it would be hard to argue that anybody had a better 10 years than Drake. This project, in particular, was wildly impactful on the decade as a whole. It came at a time …

Hell Bound (Ad 01) – [Vince Staples]

One of the most underrated rappers in the game today has to be Vince Staples. He has proven himself time and time again, making different types of music ranging from hyphy anthems to hard-hitting testimonials and everything else that could possibly fall into that range. Recently, he delivered another new sound in the form of “Hell Bound (Ad 01)”. This song demonstrates the calmer side of Vince although some of the items he mentions seem to be a bit darker than the overall vibe would suggest. He doesn’t necessarily display his phenomenal rapping ability the way true fans know he can, but rather expresses some more sonic rhymes instead over the production that seems to have crescendos and decrescendos of some sort of harps in the background. His second verse speeds up slightly, but still only provides a little more consistency to the rhythm. “Hell Bound (Ad 01)” is an extremely solid offering from the Long beach legend and is supposedly accompanied by an advertisement for a brand-new website for the artist. Check out the track below and if you’re feeling ambitious, check out the new website as well! Words by Danny Adams

Netflix and Deal- [03 Greedo] & [Kenny Beats]

Kenny Beats and 03 Greedo finally give us their long-awaited and highly anticipated dual project Netflix and Deal. This 13 song project is everything I had hoped it would be and more. With a mixture of testimonials over some more serious trap beats and a wide array of completely turnt anthems, Kenny Beats knows the incredible talent level Greedo possesses. With this knowledge, he tailors every single instrumental to not only fit Greedo’s typical flows and style, but challenges him to move out of his norm and perform on another level. The tape also features some of the best artists in the game right now including Freddie Gibbs, Vince Staples, Maxo Kream, and a few others. The thing that impressed me the most is that even with names of their size and magnitudes, 03 still kind of stole the show and didn’t let anyone overshadow him in the slightest. That’s not to say that they didn’t have impressive and memorable guest spots because that’d just be a flat out lie. Two of my favorite songs are “Disco Shit” featuring Freddie Gibbs who absolutely obliterates his verse as well as “Beg Your Pardon” with Maxo Kream, who sounds better than ever …

Yo Love- [Vince Staples] ft. [6lack] & [Mereba]

By Danny Adams There’s a myriad of reasons why you might be familiar with Vince Staples. You may be a fan of his music, the online trolling he has been known to do more often than not, or maybe even his affiliation with Sprite. Either way, I can say that the Vince Staples on “Yo Love” is not the person you probably are familiar with. The soft guitar on this track offers a sense of serenity and almost an “in-your-feelings” quality, something Vince isn’t really known for but performs really well on. Mereba and 6lack are both featured on this melodic record which is definitely a track that’s more up their usual alley. Mereba’s soft voice but powerful presence is felt throughout, being noticeable both front and center but also in the background as she accents 6lack’s vocals angelically. I’m a big fan of artists trying out different sounds to push themselves and their limits, and on this song Vince does just that. Recruiting 6lack and Mereba was a veteran move, knowing that they would without a doubt excel on this instrumental and take his verses to the next level. Staples and 6lack have done a great job of pretty …

Evolving with Chicago’s own D2X

A year ago, I spoke to D2X over the phone. The then 20-year-old rapper from Chicago’s south suburbs was just about to release his debut EP ‘Enjoy Life’. The EP, as its title might suggest, communicated a mindset that the rising artist had finally settled on: after backing out of college basketball offers, recording in a professional studio for the first time, and finding confidence in his skills as a rapper, D2X was finally ready to pursue that which truly made him happy. Now, on a mid-July afternoon, as the sunlight starts to barely creep in through the boarded-up window panes, D2X sits next to me on a couch in the lounge of the Lyrical Lemonade office. He’s joined by his right-hand producer Glohan Beats and friends/photographers John and Tove. A can of lemonade in hand, D2X starts to catch me up on what has changed since we last spoke. His viral track “Woop Woop” got played on Chicago’s legendary Power 92 radio station, and recently he’s headlined his first concert as part of Illanoize Radio’s Let’s Get Social series. Though these career highlights stand out in our conversation, what’s most apparent is how D2X’s demeanor feels almost exactly the same …

flip – [Armani White]

Live performances are important in this day and age. The way people consume music has become digitized, so much so that any artist that takes this into account and puts their all into a live performance will always be poised to grow quickly. Armani White did just that earlier this year and since then, the wait has been on for new music from the rising star out of Philadelphia. Armani recently released a new single called “Flip” and after a few listens can tell this one will have his live shows bouncing aggressively. The song has incredible energy and speaks to the type of passion Armani brings to everything he does in music. Fresh off touring with Vince Staples, Armani seems to have leveled up with this record being the first piece in the puzzle of his debut album. Be on the lookout for new music and if you see Armani is performing in your city, do yourself a favor and cop a ticket! Stream the track on all platforms here!