Claiming Chicago in 2014 can be a blessing, and claiming Chicago in 2014 can be a curse. It’s all a matter of perspective.
After the initial hype dies down, questions have to be answered. How do you let your scene define your creative output? Is simply being a part of a movement enough? How do you stick out in such a crowded field?
The buzz building around Alex Wiley has been steady, but he stands in the shadows of a few Chicago-bred rappers that have grown way bigger, way faster. That being the case, Wiley’s clearly spent some time reflecting on his artistic direction, which brings us to Village Party.
The worst thing to say about a young rapper is that they sound like everybody else, and this is a distinction that will never haunt Alex. Give his latest a couple of spins and there will be no problem linking the name to a grungy, rough-around-the-edge, drug-friendly influenced sound. The beats flutter between epic, emotional, and fun (“See The Day,” “Vibration”), and Wiley raps with the type of urgency that every emcee should strive for. Lyrical content is something that can be honed and refined over time, but flow and intonation can’t be taught. Again, visit “See The Day,” where it’s impossible to not genuinely connect with the rapper’s plight.
Though it’s not perfect, Village Party does the incredibly important job of distinguishing Wiley from his peers. These days, rappers have to find their lane and build because there’s no proven blueprint for success anymore. Alex Wiley has done that and more with Village Party, which is another win for Chicago.
Stream Village Party below and download it over at Soundcloud.