Three Beats: MC Legit drops a free song every Saturday | Three Beats | Chicago Reader

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Three Beats: MC Legit drops a free song every Saturday

Plus: Drummer Frank Rosaly claims his Puerto Rican roots with Bootstrap, and power-ambient group Chord make a "country" album

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legit lamar israel bonjour coloring outside the lines

HIP-HOP | Leor Galil

On Sat 6/2 local MC Legit, aka Lamar Israel, posted the song "Bonjour!" to his website, the first in a weekly series of free releases he's calling #NewShitSaturdays. Israel had been toying with the idea of such a series while figuring out what to do with material he left off last year's Coloring Outside the Lines mix tape. "Bonjour!" sounds a lot like that mix, with his rhyming glide atop a jazzy instrumental. "I tend to always say I'm like an old white man trapped in a rapper's body," Israel says. "I listen to jazz like all day."

Long before he got hooked on Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis, though, the 20-year-old MC was into hip-hop. In sixth grade he dove into the rap world and was soon dabbling with rapping himself, but it wasn't until he was a sophomore at Thornridge High in Dolton that he began to take his own work seriously. Israel says he used to be a "stereotypical rapper," rhyming about drug dealing and trafficking in the usual misogyny, but he eventually decided to drop the front and create a style that faithfully reflected his personality—hence the name Legit.

Israel was involved in his school's poetry club, and at a poetry event at rival school Thornwood in late 2009, he met rappers and producers Calez and Fonz-E Mak. He soon joined their collective, 2008ighties, and is now a member of a subgroup of that crew called the Brkf$t Club, alongside Calez, Fonz-E, Johnny St. Cloud, Julian Malone, and UG.

The Brkf$t Club hopes to release an EP shortly and a full-length by the end of the year. Israel plans to continue #NewShitSaturdays through the end of August ("Ex-Ray" came out 6/9), and he's working on a new mix tape for December. He's put together a five-piece band for his live set, and on Thu 6/28 they'll perform as part of Reebok's summer music series, Beats, at Red Kiva (1108 W. Randolph); it's $10 and also includes sets by DJ Pascale and the Innovatorz.

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