Chicago's Alex Wiley may not be as big of a name in Chicago's emerging scene as Chance The Rapper or Vic Mensa, but his name has started to bubble up off the strength of his comedic, fan-sourced video for "K-Swiss." Today, he releases a video for "Own Lane," another song off of his Club Wiley mixtape.
The tape out in June of this year. Since that time, a lot has happened, both in Chicago's hip-hop scene and within Alex's own Village collective. Since that time, Chance has appeared on Lil Wayne's Dedication 5, toured Europe with Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, and covered October/November's issue of Complex. Meanwhile, Vic Mensa has cemented himself by releasing his acclaimed INNANETAPE and touring the country with J. Cole and Wale. Meanwhile, one of the members of the Village crew, Isaiah Rashad, has become a name to watch for after it was announced that he signed a deal with Top Dawg Entertainment.
For Wiley, music might have a competitive edge to it, but he is not going head-to-head with any of these peers. "I don’t really get into 'rapper competition' as much, because I don’t think it’s productive," Wiley says. "For the last year, we knew that Chance was going to blow up. We knew the order. Chance was going to be first, then Vic, and then I would like to think it’s me next."
The release of Wiley's "Own Lane" then serves as a statement, as this is exactly what the Chicago up-and-comer is trying to carve out for himself amidst all of these other budding stars. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't enjoy watching their rise. "I’m very happy for them, because they’re friends of mine," Alex said. "Two days back-to-back, two friends of mine [Chance & Vic] were on 106th & Park, the show I used to watch as a young kid. That was a whole moment."
"Own Lane" is produced by Stefan Ponce. The video is the first of three videos directed by Visual Mecca that will serve as one linear plotline. It finds a girl inject herself with a mysterious colorful substance, which leads to her enterting a bizarre universe. Last week, Alex held a private screening for friends and fans in Chicago and had a large turnout for the event.
With videos being a large factor in his success, Alex was asked about how he would describe his unique imagery to fans. He said:
"I wouldn’t try to describe the video, because you can’t try to describe colors to a blind person. But I would play them the music and ask them how it makes them feel. A blind person would have to have a different experience compared to people who see. They’re not going to have that visual experience. It’s going to be more about the music. Also, when you’re blind, I feel like your imagination would just run wild when you listen to something. Probably the video that they have in their head would be way better than the actual video. If I were blind, I think my imagination would make the world an acid trip every day."
And while Alex will continue to release more videos from Club Wiley, he continues to plot on a follow-up release that can potentially catapult him into the same stratus where Chance and Vic currently stand.