Potential. The dirty double edged word that sets artists up for the fall, identifying raw elements and hedging bets about future prospects. By saying an artist has “potential,” a critic creates an out: If the artist in question doesn’t rise to prominence, the critic always gets to say, “well, he/she squandered that potential!” If the artist emerges as a star, the critic can self-congratulate: “I saw it coming!”
Tossing around “potential” is a low-impact way to insert yourself in an artist’s ascent. Truthfully, everyone has “potential”; whether or not they have talent or the ability to deliver on potential is an entirely different matter.
Since Kids These Days began bubbling up some two years ago, Chicago’s SAVEMONEY crew–a sort of loose Wu Tang meets Project Blowed plus occasional live instruments collective–has put out an abundance of music that has exhibited tremendous potential. Since Chance the Rapper and Kami de Chukwu, two of the emcees featured on new track “Seppuku,” popped up on our radar last spring and KTD (whose lead rapper Vic Mensa appears alongside Chance, Kami, and SAVEMONEY crew members Tokyo Shawn and Caleb James) released their first full length album, SAVEMONEY’s young rappers have stepped beyond merely showcasing potential, exhibiting dedication and the capacity to deliver some excellent music at a consistent pace.
To be certain, they’re still raw, still experimenting and finding formulas that work, but part of the excitement of their continued push forward is that it hasn’t eschewed risk-taking in light of recent attention coming from media and labels alike. To watch them is to see potential in action, taking the steps to remove the training wheels and ride free to the big leagues (and, ideally, make me look like a prophet in the process).
There is still plenty of room for the Chicago collective to grow, but “Seppuku” is another promising peg in the move from potential to deliverance. Check it out below.