People know the GTW in Chicago, but it's time for everyone else to take notice | Bleader

People know the GTW in Chicago, but it's time for everyone else to take notice


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  • The GTW
Local rapper James King (aka the GTW) has been a Bleader fixture since he teamed up with Bengfang to drop the 4814 EP back in September. Lately others have been getting clued in on King including Yours Truly, the popular music site behind the excellent "Songs From Scratch" series that pairs producers and rappers to create a new track; it's responsible for the sultry psych-R&B track by Jeremih and Shlohmo, "Bo Peep (Do U Right)," and a great collaboration from Chance the Rapper and Nosaj Thing called "Paranoia," which Chance released as part of the second song on Acid Rap, "Pusha Man."

Yours Truly hasn't picked King for the series (at least not yet), but yesterday the site premiered his spacey remix of "When I'm Lit" by local rapper-singer Tink. The remix dropped just days after his R&B vocal group Jody released a slightly gauzy track called "The Long Goodbye."

The songs come during an interesting time in Chicago hip-hop thanks to Chance's Acid Rap; as the mixtape continues to garner the kind of accolades that were heaped on Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City last year (as well as many comparisons to Lamar's album) it's also helping show national pop listeners that there's a lot more to Chicago rap than the drill scene that made a huge splash one year ago. There will be plenty of other local rap releases dropping in the next few months that should keep that trend going—Tree's Sunday School 2, Alex Wiley's Club Wiley, Vic Mensa's Innanetape, Lucki Ecks's Alternative Trap—and I'm willing to bet King will get some national attention with whatever he may put out during that time. Until then stream "The Long Goodbye" and his remix of "When I'm Lit," as well as Tink's original track.

Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.