Juice Wrld and Queen Key offer divergent takes on where Chicago hip-hop is going | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Juice Wrld and Queen Key offer divergent takes on where Chicago hip-hop is going 

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click to enlarge Juice Wrld

Juice Wrld

courtesy the artist

This show has been canceled.

It would be difficult to find a single event that illustrates the scope and variety of voices that contribute to Chicago hip-hop in 2018, but this evening at the Vic offers an interesting cross section of some of the city’s most notable rising artists. Organized by hip-hop promoters By a Thread and Pete’s House, this is a rare north-side showcase of contemporary MCs who are popular on the streets but aren’t particularly known among white music fans with a passing knowledge of modern rap. Juice Wrld, is a 19-year-old MC from the south suburbs who is so green he can count the number of shows he’s performed on one hand. As of earlier this month, he had just two songs on Spotify (like many rappers in his scene, he’s got more on Soundcloud, though the numbers are still relatively small), and yet he recently inked a deal with Interscope reportedly worth $3 million. Those two Spotify songs (“Lucid Dreams,” off last summer’s JuiceWrld 9 9 9 EP, and the runaway smash “All Girls Are the Same”) show his intuitive grasp of melody and his ability to condense woe into sweet droplets of pop—key to a generation of rappers who draw from aughties rock and emo. The style is all the rage on Soundcloud and, now, major labels too. Juice Wrld’s quick success and sudden interest from nonlocal tastemakers and gatekeepers might create more buzz around his performance than fellow opener Queen Key, but she’s not to be messed with; over the past few years she’s built a rock-solid catalog and following. If you live and breathe Chicago hip-hop, her name should be on your lips, but even if you’re familiar only with Chance the Rapper she should be on your radar; he popped up in the video for her remix of FBG Duck’s chilly, menacing local hit “Slide,” on which her playful snarl enhances the instrumental’s subtle sparkle.   v

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