State of Sound
Rap/Hip-Hop



Cities have always provided a fertile soundtrack for urban music, from up on the roof to under the boardwalk. But contemporary America has set the tone for the most intense urban genre of Hip-Hop and Rap. It is poetry with a scorching beat. Hip-Hop and Rap have grown beyond their early street origins into the suburbs and rural communities across Illinois.

Hip-Hop is shaped by a quadrant of deliverance: deejaying, split speed MCing, stunning graffiti, and dance. Rap has a more linear edge defined by strong beats and freestyling rhymes. The debate continues between the idea that Rap is a type of music whereas Hip-Hop is a way of life. Rappers are like modern-day calypsonians, rapping and rhyming about social issues. Often, Hip-Hop’s more expansive grooves create space to look towards tomorrow.

Hip-Hop and Rap have become more cohesive over the years and their potential is inspiring. Unfiltered beats can unite the sound of a farm in Southern Illinois with a two-flat in Chicago. Such is the power of Rap and Hip-Hop. When the mind meets the matter, everyone can rhyme and move under a collective groove.

Featured Artist:
Chance the Rapper

Play the Biography

 Biography Transcript

Chance the Rapper

Chicago’s West Chatham native Chancelor Bennett’s journey to success did not go the traditional route. More famously known as Chance the Rapper, the hip-hop artist, producer and social activist drew acclaimed attention when he was the first to win a Grammy based solely on streaming.

The award winning album Coloring Book was the third free mix tape Chance had released. It was also the first album to chart on the Billboard 200 from streaming alone. The album blended soul, gospel and hip hop and had an eclectic range of guests from Kanye West to Justin Bieber.

 Although many major record labels were interested in signing him, Chance the Rapper has remained fiercely independent and has reached a very broad audience through his collaborations.

He drew national attention when in an act of philanthropy, he donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools. He repeated that donation the following year by giving the same to Chicago Mental Health Services. 

Artists of the Sound

Twista
Kanye West
Common
Lupe Fiasco

Collection

SUIT WORN BY COMMON AT 2015 ACADEMY AWARDS PERFORMANCE

Common wore this custom Prada suit when he appeared at the 87th Academy Awards in 2015 with co-writer John Legend. They performed their song “Glory” from the Selma Motion Picture Soundtrack with a stage backdrop of a recreation of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The song won an Oscar for Best Original Song.

Courtesy of Common

“GLORY” SCORE FROM ACADEMY AWARDS PERFORMANCE

Performers at the 87th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles used this score when they performed the song “Glory” from the Selma Motion Picture Soundtrack.

Courtesy of Common

MAGAZINE COVER STORIES FOR COMMON

Common graces the cover of the March/April 2000 issue of Rap Sheet Magazine, the only Black-owned national Hip-Hop publication. He is also featured on the front of Stress Magazine, 2000, a New York City-based publication dedicated to Hip-Hop culture.

Courtesy of Common

MOVIE COSTUME FOR JUST WRIGHT WORN BY COMMON

Common wore this New Jersey Nets basketball jersey in his role as NBA player Scott McKnight in the 2010 romantic comedy Just Wright, co-starring Queen Latifah. 

Courtesy of Common


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