Fake Shore Drive is a Chicago-based music blog and media company founded in October of 2007. Its primary focus is showcasing Chicago’s hip-hop and R&B scene, but its scope has since expanded to cover the entire midwest urban music scene (as of February 2013).
The company was created by Andrew Barber in 2007, who saw a void in Chicago music and artists getting national coverage on blogs and websites. Ty Howard, Fake Shore Drive’s managing editor and only other full-time employee, joined the company in 2010 and has been working alongside Andrew since then. “We really just want to get people to see local talent” Barber told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2013. “I felt like there were a lot of missing parts to the Chicago hip-hop scene — there was a whole story not being told.”
Fake Shore Drive has been instrumental in the recent rise of Chicago’s hip-hop scene, having helped cultivate the careers of stars such as Chance The Rapper, Chief Keef, Lil Durk, Vic Mensa and Mick Jenkins — many of whom have secured major label record deals and have earned millions of dollars in revenue.
Fake Shore Drive’s goal and main focus was to bring national attention to and unite the midwest’s music scene. In 2014 he told Groupon: “In my opinion, the Midwest is way more underserved and has had way less of a movement than any other region. Less than the West Coast, less than the East Coast, and definitely less than the South, [which] has been running radio for the past 10–12 years…” I always wanted to work in the [hip-hop] business in some capacity, but being in Chicago—being in the Midwest—there’s not a lot of opportunity. So with Fake Shore Drive, I wanted to create an outlet for what was happening locally.
The Fake Shore Drive website is updated daily with music news, insider information, music videos, reviews and original content. It’s a breeding ground for emerging and established talent. In a 2013 profile piece, the Chicago Tribune explained: “Fake Shore Drive is basically a music blog, a compendium of local rap news, a smidge of criticism and assorted music videos and lists. But it’s also the first place Chicago rappers go to leak new music, send mixtapes and test new beats.”
The Washington Post said of Fake Shore Drive: “But for the music, fans go to Fake Shore Drive, a meticulous and influential music blog that posts roughly a dozen new Chicago rap songs each weekday.”
Fake Shore Drive and its owner Andrew Barber have been profiled in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, New York Times, Washington Post and Fader Magazine. Andrew has also served as a brand ambassador, event curator, influencer and representative for such companies as Red Bull, Beats by Dre, Ciroc Vodka, Hennessy, Heineken, Adidas, Nike, Colt 45, Brisk Iced Tea and Cricket Wireless. Andrew currently holds a Governor position on the Chicago chapter of the Grammy board, and heads up the Grammy Urban Task Force. He was also featured as a character in the 2014 CNN documentary series, Chicagoland. In 2015, he was named as one of 10 music ambassadors for the City of Chicago’s ‘Chicago Made’ series.
- Fake Shore Drive has landed on The Source Magazine’s ‘Digital Power 30’ list five years in a row (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011)
- In 2009, Fake Shore Drive was ranked #13 on Vibe Magazine’s ‘Top 50 Hip-Hop Blogs’ list.
- In 2009, Fake Shore Drive was included on XXL Magazine’s ‘100 Best Hip-Hop Websites’ list.
- In 2011, Complex Magazine named Fake Shore Drive’s Andrew Barber as one of the ’25 Must-Follow Music Writers on Twitter’
- In 2013, Complex Magazine named Fake Shore Drive’s Andrew Barber as ’10 Music Industry Heads Who Should Be A&Rs’
- In 2014, Fake Shore Drive was named #1 on Mic.com’s list of ‘9 Music Blogs Every 20-something should read.’ Said Mic.com: “Andrew Barber started Fake Shore Drive in 2007 to chart the revolution in Chicago hip-hop — which is having something of a moment — and has since expanded to cover rap across the entire Midwest. If you’re in the market for a near-incessant stream of mixtapes and singles from some of the best overlooked rap cultures out there, FSD’s your best bet.”
Since the inception of Fake Shore Drive, the company has been known for its acclaimed and well-attended concerts, parties and events. In 2013, Fake Shore Drive began a partnership with Red Bull and their Red Bull Sound Select music program. Fake Shore Drive and Red Bull Sound Select have hosted sold out events and concerts with the likes of Master P, Cam’ron, Juvenile, Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa & SaveMoney, Freddie Gibbs, Mick Jenkins, Lil Herb, Lil Bibby, Tree, Ty Dolla $ign, Tink, Mannie Fresh, The Cool Kids, Gunplay, Tree, Saba and others.