Daily Discovery is a feature that will highlight a new or recently discovered artist who we’re excited about. See the rest of our Daily Discoveries here.
Chicago rapper Chi City is inspired by artists of the past, but he has his sights set firmly on the future. While other modern artists are caught up with their social media strategy, Chi City is keeping it all about the music. “It’s like people blow up off everything BUT the music now,” he tells us. “That’s wack because you’re not even competing musically anymore.”
Chi City has been making music for a while now, but he’s on a roll lately. His new song “thug city” is the one that caught our attention, and now we’re getting familiar with all his older work while very much looking forward to what’s next.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been doing music for a while. I don’t even remember how old I was when I started, thats how long it’s been. But to be honest when I was a kid I always wanted to rap, but I always thought it was something you did when you were older, so growing up I use to be like, “I can’t wait ’til I get older so I can rap.” It wasn’t ’til I saw Bow Wow on BET and he was premiering his “Bounce With Me” video that I remember watching like, “Who the hell is this little kid rapping?” From that point, thats when I actually started doing music as a career and made up my mind on that. So I would say since around the age of six, and then I got into the business of music around 2009.
I listened through some of your older songs and they’re good but I feel like your latest work, especially the last three tracks you’ve dropped, are on another level. Do you feel like you’re making the best music you’ve ever made right now? Why is that?
I’m just getting started. I have so much music that I’m working on it’s crazy. Its only going to get better from this point. My inspiration is at an all-time high and and I got some points to prove, so I’m going hard at work. And it’s crazy because after every record I do, I might listen to it a few times and then move to the next record. It takes my fans other people I be around to be like, “Yo that shit is dope” for me to go back and take another listen, like okay I guess I did get off a little bit.
“thug life” is actually the first track I heard from you. Can you tell us a little about that song? What made you want to use those 2Pac samples?
Thats one of my favorite records right now. Growing up, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony were my favorite artists. I knew every song word for word. My original style of rapping was fast. It was always about that fast flow growing up in Chicago, and as I got older my flow started to slow down a bit.
I had that beat for like a month before I actually did anything with it. I had an idea in mind, but didn’t know what it was so I sat on the track and moved on. One day I was just going through beats and came across it again and it clicked in my head like, “I gotta take this shit back to 1999.” So the record really came naturally. I found the acapella to “Eternal 1999” and slowed down Layzie Bone vocals for it to fit the hook. And after I put down the bridge I was like, “This can’t be right without Pac.” So I found that “Thug Love” track Bone and 2Pac did and made it work. It really didn’t take too much thought. I had this song in my head the whole time and just needed the right moment to bring it to life.
Who are your major influences?
I would have to say Jay Z, Kanye West, Bone Thugs, Ludacris, and a few others. Everyday people as well. Everyone walks different and paths and goes through their own problems, so it’s always inspirational to me to see people overcome different struggles. It helps me push forward. I always know whatever I’m currently going through, it could always be a million times worse. I use that and put it in my music. That’s who I am as an artist and a person.
What do you think about the current state of rap? What do you think is missing?
I really think it’s missing that feeling of being known for music, and not from your Instagram or Twitter or Vine. It’s like people blow up off everything BUT the music now. That’s wack because you’re not even competing musically anymore. It’s about how many retweets or comments you getting to determine how successful you are in the entertainment business now.
I feel people a hear track and be like, “Damn he blew up off of that weak shit? Man I’m ’bout to start rapping too.” Then you get dudes who never thought about rap before wanting to rap because of how simple things have become. I feel if we had more control over the release of content it would at least help bring back the excitement level when an artist drops a record. Now it’s like Drake can drop a record tomorrow and we a just be like, “Oh, Drizzy got something new out.” Then we listen and move to the next artist. Like, I don’t even get excited anymore. Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse was the last thing I felt the hip-hop community got excited about. And that was just a verse!
What do you have coming up? Anyone in particular that you’re working with or that you want to work with?
Im working on a new EP for the summer titled 8 and until then, I’m just working on new records, trying out different ideas, and working on new visuals—really building my brand and name up more and connecting with my fans. I’m just trying to keep myself growing as an artist. I’m also gearing up for a tour this summer.
It’s gonna be a busy year. I would love to do some work with Alex Wiley—he’s pretty dope and he’s from Chicago as well. I like Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa so I would love to work with them. I wanna work with Mike Will, Kanye, Jay, Travis Scott—man I can go on and on. I have so many ideas inside my head, it feels like its not enough time in the world to pursue them all but I’m gonna make it happen. Just watch me work!
What else do you want people to know about Chi City?
I want the people to know that they can expect some timeless music from me this year. Just a lot more of everything. I want the people to grow with me and join in on the journey. I feel I’m about to do something great and I want all my day one fans front row when it happens.
Also, you can follow my Twitter and Instagram to stay updated on what I’m doing. And feel free to hit me up. I’m not one of them artists that’s too good to talk to his fans. I’m for the people so it’s a must that my fans always have a way of getting in contact with me.