At a certain point, it might grow tiresome to keep hearing about how much rap talent exists in Chicago. It might seem a blog-perpetuated prophecy, over-analysis and undue amplification making attractive mirages. While some artists are undoubtedly products of the well-worn hype cycle, Chicago’s hip-hop scene comprises a surprising diversity of rap styles and singular voices.
Earlier this year, we were introduced to raw, talented Chicago rap collective Pivot Gang through impressively unhinged single “Jimmy.” As the year winds to a close, crew member John Walt steps forward with his debut solo outing, #GETHAPPY2.0.
While it’s not an all-encompassing overview of Chicago hip-hop, #GETHAPPY2.0 is a consistently head-turning look at how the Windy City bears the fruit of stylistic cross-pollination. Drill, jazz, L.A. beat, spoken word southern hip-hop, and the warmly modern revivalism of TDE all intersect in Walt’s rapping and production choices, an intriguing melting pot that reflects how a variety of rap flavors have influenced Chicago and how Chicago has, in turn, lent its own influence.
Talented if still a bit rough around the edges, Walt is more than a mere conduit for other people’s sounds, showcasing unusual energy and odd turns of phrase throughout his raps. Another emerging talent to watch from one of hip-hop’s capitals.