“Chicago Hip-Hop’s Raw Burst of Change”
From the NY Times:
“Hip-hop has long been associated with unvarnished truth, both by insiders looking to traffic in supposed authenticity and shock value and by critics looking to keep it at arm’s length from polite society. But that’s an outmoded value in contemporary hip-hop, which skews heavily toward the triumphant, the fantastical and the unattainable — Drake and 2 Chainz talking about stealing girlfriends, Rick Ross boasting about wealth and so on. No one’s struggling, everyone’s celebrating.
What’s notable about Chief Keef and much of the Chicago music scene that he’s come to symbolize — known locally as drill music — is how those elements are all but absent. With rare exception this music is unmediated and raw and without bright spots, focused on anger and violence. The instinct is to call this tough, unforgiving and concrete-hard music joyless, but in truth it’s exuberant in its darkness. Most of its practitioners are young and coming into their creative own against a backdrop of outrageous violence in Chicago, particularly among young people — dozens of teenagers have been killed in Chicago this year — and often related to gangs. (There’s a long history of overlap between Chicago’s gangs and Chicago’s rap.) That their music is a symphony of ill-tempered threats shouldn’t be a surprise.”