A short while ago here on BBoyTechReport.com we featured Chi City’s single entitled Ordinary Girl which features fellow ‘GO rapper YP.
Rapper Chi City is an up and coming rap artist with a host of high profile collabos in the bag and even a few high profile ghost writing credits under his belt. From the south side of Chicago, Chi City seem to be poised to take over and run things in the near future.
Here we get a chance to speak with Chi City about his work ethic, collabs, and future plans. Lets dig in!
Chi City, its always good to holla at another Chicago emcee. For those that don’t know, let’s begin by telling us a bit about who Chi-City is?
Chi City is a kid from the south side Chicago that had a dream to not only one day be a home town hero but also a hero to the world. I always wanted to be much bigger than where I was from, because that was the only way I felt I can give back to my city, which was to give them something they haven’t seen or had before, so I went on a search for it, and I’m still searching for that “something”
In a city full of Chi rappers, how did you get the name Chi-City?
Well I actually went thru the stages of some crazy names that I don’t care to mention LOL, but when it came down the final hour I was like “man I need a name that will not only stand out , but be remembered as well as be respected’ so I’m chillin with a friend of mine from Baltimore and he was like ” yo b, u gotta be bigger than Chicago , you gotta become chi city” , and it just hit me like “that’s who I am” ” I am chi city”. So from that point I ran with it , and of course a few others in the city might of had the term chi in front of their names so I had to stray away from that , and did the only thing they was not gonna do , which was take legal action. It took me close to a year and a half but I now own the name ” Chi City” . So when someone calls me Chi City, I’m like ” yeah that’s me …. Really” .
I’m from Chicago’s west side. Where on the South side of town are you from?
I grew up on 45th in Drexel in the projects.
OK cool. So, being from the South side of the ‘Go, was it difficult to leap ahead of the crowd and get noticed as a Chicago emcee?
Yes and no, because being different wasn’t the hard part, it was not being afraid to being different, that was the challenge. Growing up in certain parts of Chicago, it was a lot of pressure especially for younger kids because it was like you wasn’t cool if wasn’t doing this , and you was called lame if you was caught doing that , so for any one trying to go outside of that, was always getting picked on and everything else, so what I did is I played both sides, see as I was being different I was slowing trying to show those around me that the things we was already doing wasn’t even really cool in the first place. And of course that didn’t work lol, so I just took a chance and at the end of the day, they seen that I really believed in what I believed in and they respected that more than anything else.
I understand that you have made some noise performing for the BET Artist Showcase and ThisIs50.com’s Independent Fridays. How did these performances come about?
They all came from the grind. Just hard work and staying at it , cause at the end of the day you never know who’s watching , and I didn’t even know I was on thisis50.com , I was just on there searching one day and there I was on the front page and I was like “oh shit, how I get on here” lol so there you go…
I find that today’s artists aren’t very interested in live performances as most favor cranking out releases at a rapid pace. Is live performance a strong suite of yours?
Yeah I love live performances because with out that you stuck in a box. I want to be on Jay Z and Kanye’s level; I want to move the crowed like a MGK or Lil Wayne so I work on my show performance just as much as I work on writing and recording songs.
Who are your influences?
Jay Z, Kanye West, Bone Thugs n Harmony, Twista, Drake, too many other artist to name and just everyday people really.
If you had total freedom to choose of all producers, who would be the “one” that you would love to make a complete album with?
Man that’s a tuff one…. I would have to say Timbaland, cause he would be able to deliver music from all around the board, and also give me that “ jay z bounce” lol
You’ve also ghost written for a few relevant top tier artists, how does one come across such opportunities?
Through networking and relationships and a lot of times u don’t even get the credit for stuff like that if you just starting out , but behind close doors they know who’s doing what for who.
How has ghost writing influence the direction you’d like to take as a recording artist in your own right?
You gotta be more open minded, because a song writer not only has to tap into their own mines but the minds of others and that’s a challenge. When you work so hard being you and then have to find the talent to become some one else at any giving moment is a gift and a curse cause you can lose your self in the process. And you will be stuck writing for everyone else because you gave your identity away.
I read a statement from you “at the end of the day all I really had was my flow, because this is what’s going to help change the rest of my new life.” To me this speaks to the fact that you seem to be really focused on achieving your goals as an emcee. Tell me a bit more about what that statement really means to you.
It’s all about growth to me. If I’m working hard to become something, why not go all the way, why stop at one level?? I’m trying to beat the game then rewrite it and challenge the next one to do the same. Like Jay said “its time to change the rules” . That statement to me means this is my life and when I wake up I ask my self “ how much do I love life?” and that’s how I approach my music with the same answer, but music is one part of this quest, it goes beyond the music.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m Just working on a few buzz records for the radio and the college market, blogs etc.
Ill be working on a new project soon and drop it in the 4th quarter. Building my brand and image more and just staying on the road doing shows, keeping the money flowing in that’s all.
I see also that you have collaborated with artists like Cory Gunz and Mullyman, How did these collaborations come about? What were you able to take away and / or learn from these collaborations?
Corey came about back when MySpace was big and I had a crazy buzz on there and he did too and I reached out, we chopped it up and it was done after that. Mullyman came about thru my manager Faheem Smith; he knew Mully and linked us up. And yeah man you learn a lot form doing collabs , it teaches you to always be on point and diverse because everyone’s different and have a different story to tell.
Getting back to live performances, has participating in tours with Philadelphia Freeway, Mickey Factz, Mikey Halsted and Daytona etc. etc. opened doors for you in the rap game?
Yeah a lot, because you get the chance to introduce your self to their fan base and gain new listeners and supporters. So you always gotta be on point and teach your self more and more every show you do. It’s about progress and consistency
What do you think the biggest lesson is thus far that you’ve learned in the rap game?
Keep it small, and trust the ones that believe and fight for you. Even if you don’t agree, you can’t lose if you haven’t won yet so go all in. Always be creative and never give up, because the day you choose to quit , that knock on the door was probably coming tomorrow.
What are future plans looking like for Chi-City?
Looking greater than ever, hard work and time and creative thinking keeps the flow going and I’m headed to that moment of clarity and the world will know who Chi City is very soon.
Keep up with Chi City on his journey to the top.