Local legends: Twista, Common, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, The Cool Kids, Bump J, Do-Or-Die, etc.
Hot right now: Chief Keef, King L
Up-and-coming talent: LEP Bogus Boys, Lil Durk, Lil Reese, Young Chop, Chance the Rapper, Katie Got Bandz, Sasha Go Hard, Rockie Fresh, Vic Mensa, Tree
Check out live shows at: Double Door, Reggies, Bottom Lounge, Adrianna's, Metro, Lincoln Hall, The Shrine, Beauty Bar
Best rap parties/festivals: Closed Sessions, Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival
Tune into: WGCI 107.5; Power 92; fakeshoredrive.com; rubyhornet.com
Chicago's presence in hip-hop has traditionally been significant but intermittent. Twista, Common, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco gave the city a reputation as a bastion for smart and often socially conscious rap, but, for years, they were more or less it. There wasn't really a definitive Chicago sound or hip-hop industry infrastructure in place. In the past two years, though, the city has become the hottest destination for the genre, launching its thundering, deceptively simple "drill" sound onto a national stage. Around a dozen rappers and producers have landed major label deals, and many more have drawn critical praise. With the emphatic support of figures like DJ Pharris and DJ Moondawg at radio stations Power 92 and WGCI, as well as the constant boosterism of local streetwear stores and the popular blog Fakeshoredrive, the city's hip-hop scene is getting stronger legs, making it much more common to hear local rap around town. At the same time, it's still hard for local artists to book shows in their own city, and many of them have become emblems of the area violence rather than points of local pride. And the industry infrastructure is still limited, considering that many artists head off to LA, Atlanta or New York as soon as they can to expand their opportunities. But given the attention the city's been getting, that could easily change soon.