“Yeah, it’s like trap and drill and house.”
That was Kanye West, discussing Yeezus in a recent interview with the New York Times. Yeezus features only two guest rappers—Chief Keef and King Louie—both of whom emerged from the Chicago's local “drill scene." Keef, of course, became a divisive flashpoint over the course of the past year, due in large part to his young age.
King Louie has been overshadowed in the mainstream press, which remained largely clueless about the scene’s sound and origins. But at the time of Keef's arrival, Louie was actually the much bigger artist in Chicago, a deft lyricist who represented Dro City, the neighborhood in the city's Woodlawn section considered the origin point of drill music.
Louie already has an established catalog; his first tape, Boss Shit, came out in 2008, and gained considerable local buzz. Shortly thereafter, he was struck by a car and seriously injured. He had to learn to walk again. By late 2010, he recovered, and began releasing new music, beginning with the video for “I’m Arrogant.” Soon, his buzz built enough throughout Chicago that he caught the attention of Kanye West’s former manager John Monopoly, who signed on to guide his career.
The Chicago scene, though, had developed organically. The drill scene in particular had a unique sound, and until Keef gained the attention of national publications, King Louie’s music actually better encapsulated the varied dimensions of the music's style. Formed around Louie’s crew—producer LoKey, fellow Fly Entertainment rapper Big Homie Doe, Boss Woo and Loose Cannon, among others—drill bore a heavy influence of southern rap, but was also shaped by local culture and slang, Chicago’s unique gang-oriented geography, and whatever popular rap had most recently made a national impact.
For more on King Louie’s biography, check out our interview with the rapper here. But to get a crash-course in his music, check out A Guide to King L...
Written by David Drake (@somanyshrimp)