Chicago rapper Mykele Deville shows why he's one to watch this year with Maintain | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chicago rapper Mykele Deville shows why he's one to watch this year with Maintain 

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click to enlarge Mykele Deville

Mykele Deville

Zakkiyyah Najeebah

Any media outlet referencing west-side native Mykele Deville should be required to include a brief of his CV, partially because he's established himself as proficient in several roles: poet, actor, educator, and rapper. And with the remarkable growth he shows on his new seven-song album, Maintain (on local DIY label No Trend), I imagine Deville’s name will be on even more people's lips soon. He sounds so confident on the mike it's as if he'd dropped his debut mixtape, 2016's Super Predator, three decades ago instead of barely three years ago. He's evolving into a sophisticated spitter who's able to bust out an occasional chopperesque rhythm with stylish swing before smoothly pivoting into a slower flow, as he does on the saxophone-heavy "Free Soul." Lyrically, Deville confronts self-doubt, racism, and the injustices late capitalism imposes upon individuals struggling to voice their own agency—and on the title track he does it all in one song. Tight and concise, Maintain shows how maintaining multiple artistic practices can improve your creative strengths and broaden your artistic vision. This is most obvious on "Loosies + Poem for Us," which closes with a spoken-word piece by Deville's Growing Concerns Poetry Collective collaborator McKenzie Chinn.   v

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