Rapper-producer Ausar Bradley excels at being a self-questioning student of hip-hop | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Rapper-producer Ausar Bradley excels at being a self-questioning student of hip-hop 

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click to enlarge Ausar Bradley

Ausar Bradley

William H. Goff

Ausar Bradley started his University of Illinois college career in fall 2014, and he’s devoted his creative energy to rapping for even less time. But on his second mixtape, The 6 Page Letter, he shows the wisdom and humility of someone who’s been at it long enough to know both what it’s like to play a packed house and what it’s like to play only to the other acts on the bill. On “Dirty Laundry,” which places pitter-patter percussion atop a soul sample that sounds like it’s been recorded underwater, Bradley juggles self-deprecation with self-assuredness while seeking out answers for his direction in life: “My hobby should probably be archaeology / Honestly, I just can’t see myself prospering / Off a career I sought out for profiting.” His unassuming personality and expert flow allow him to vacillate between believing in his ambitions and scrutinizing his faults, and he does so with a relatable charm. Bradley dropped The 6 Page Letter at the very end of 2016 and will finally celebrate its release with tonight’s headlining set.   v

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