The Internet Era (’98-the present)
By now everyone knows that these days most businesses, particularly independently owned ones, depend heavily open the internet for their success. It’s an excellent means of getting information on your company and what you have to offer…and quickly. The Chicago scene is pretty well captured by the likes of the (now defunct) www.madeulook.com, & www.rebirthmag.com.
Musically, the last two years have been dominated by two forces in Chicago; The Molemen & All Natural Inc. After releasing their “Buried Alive” EP in ‘97 and receiving national attention the Molemen became a hot commodity on the indie circuit. Panik, Memo, & pns were all quickly sought out to lend their production to various projects from coast to coast and along the way they reached out to many of the same artists as well as many more to drop vocals on a variety of releases for Molemen recordings.
All Natural paved their road to success the old fashioned way…strictly skills & persistence. Approximately ten years of turntabism with precision, rhymes with wit, & concepts with depth on the local scene has slowly, but efficiently built All Natural a formidable foundation as well as a solid fan base. 2001 marks the release of a worthy sophomore LP, “2nd Nature” and a shifting of focus to the remaining members of the Family Tree (Daily Planet, Iomos Marad, & Mr. Greenweedz, etc…).
All Natural embarks on a independent journey with a few singles and then the All Additives, No Preservatives album. Which was well received on a national level. Included with the album is a 95 page pocket sized book called Fresh Air that contains a series of essays, comics, short stories, and the albums lyrics all written by Capital D.
Undaground Soulution-In Spring Training EP
Thawfor-Where Thawght Is Worshipped EP
The album dropped on cassette only in ‘97, but the Knomadz (a.k.a S.B.) come back a year later with an EP version of Chicago Avenews on limited edition vinyl. The bonus, the once plain white jacket of these white label records all have different Graf pieces and tags from the crew drawn right on them.
Nacrobats-We Equator (tape only)
Rubberoom gets signed to 3-2-1 records and completes their Architechnology LP and a few weeks after it’s release the label folds…the Chicago legacy it seems.
Seel-Abnormal Psychology EP
Matlock-Crazy Artist Type cassette album
The Galapagos4 label kicks off with a local compilation called the Blackbook Sessions followed by the debut album, Squints, from Offwhyte. Since then they’ve released the both very successful Typical Cats & The Netherworlds LPs and have positioned themselves as a potential powerhouse for the Chicago indie label scene.
Juice releases his Molemen produced “Sincerely” 12″ and makes a lot people eat their words about him not being be able to wrote great songs… particularly ones not about battling.
TBA-Them Bad Apples & Costume LPs
Slang opens his Extended Imagery studio downtown
(Now defunct) www.hiphopquest.com. makes its way on to the web. It was created and set-up with the primary function being used as a Hip Hop search engine. They’ve also added many other features that add to his appeal. Including a extensive Chicago Hip Hop timeline that focuses strictly on artists releases (singles, albums, demos, etc…).
With detailed information on a healthy helping of Hip Hops all time greats as well as rarely known “whispered legends”, (now defunct) www.legendarylyricists.com is destined to garner a lot of attention & admiration.
Trixster prepares to release his book on the art of Graffiti culture. Working title, Grafology.
For the 6th year anniversary (April 19th) Time Travel does a 3 week local spotlight. 6 hours of Chicago Hip Hop played in chronological order from the first record to the most current.
After over 15 years of building his name up locally and nationally as an ill Graffiti artist (a.k.a Stane) and a top notch MC, Akbar finally drops his debut Big Bang Boogie album. It’s being regarded as one of the most solid releases of the year and is stocked with head nodding production & lyrics that boast wit, spirituality, dominance, and compassion.
The Molemen’s Ritual Of The Mole LP has them working with some of the most sought after Mcs on the underground, ranging from the abstract to the in your face hardcore.
Family Tree-Plantin Seedz EP (cd only) & Close Knit Family EP (vinyl only. double vinyl, one vocals & the other instrumentals).
Thawfor releases his first official album, Where Thawght Is Worshipped, on Indus. However, it’s manufactured by Tri-Eight Distribution in Tokyo and is only available on import outside of Japan.
The Opus (the production team behind Rubberoom) complete their first project independent from the Rubberoom Mcs. Contains eight intrumentals and five vocal tracks (feat. Murs, Micronauts, Aesop Rock, Lumba, Slug, and others).
Slaughterhouse V member Lord 360 drops a self produced solo single; “Hail To The Profit” b/w “The Third Type”
Seven of Chocolate Industries masterminds a “box in the park” jam. They ran a pirate radio station out of house in Wicker Park with various DJS and had everyone bring a radio to the park and tune into the station and listen
3 Wisemen Entertainment compiles a collection of various rare Chicago demo recordings and releases them on a limited edition CD.