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Local indie hip-hop label Closed Sessions took a gamble in 2016 that paid off

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Closed Sessions cofounders Alex Fruchter and Michael Kolar went into 2016 viewing it as a make-or-break year. Well, not only did the young hip-hop imprint put out two full-lengths that helped define the local scene during a period when Chicago’s hip-hop community made itself well-known nationally—that’d be Kweku Collins’s Nat Love and Jamila Woods’s Heavn—but Closed Sessions also ended 2016 being named Chicago artists of the year by the Tribune’s Greg Kot, as strange as that designation for a record label may seem. It’s long fostered a home for its artists, who are united by ambition if not by a signature sound. Every act has released music that conjures vast landscapes of ever-changing melodies, casting light on deep crevasses you can get lost in. Milwaukee’s WebsterX, who along with Cleveland’s Kipp Stone is making Closed Sessions a midwestern indie hip-hop force, hones immersive music on Daymares, which comes out the day of this show. WebsterX employs emotive pop-punk inflection on the autobiographical “Lost Ones,” which features cinematic, futuristic synths provided by in-house producer Boathouse (who is also celebrating the recent self-titled EP by his pop side project Feel the Love). Be sure to arrive early for in-house producer Oddcouple, who brings the kind of euphoric energy to his live sets I wish more rappers had.   v

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