Features News

Celebrate the music and memory of Johnny P with our appreciation post


As you’ve likely seen and heard by now, legendary Chicago crooner Johnny P sadly passed away yesterday (read more here) at the age of 44. Johnny was an integral part of Chicago’s music scene in the 90s, as his luscious vocals shaped some of the city’s biggest hits, and helped define the West Side sound.

Johnny’s hooks gave Scarface his biggest hit to date (“Smile” with 2Pac), and took Do or Die and Twista to the very top of the rap charts in 1996 with “Po Pimp.” But his greatness didn’t stop there as countless other cult classics such as Twista’s “Emotions,” Do or Die’s “Do You” and “Playa Like Me And You” featured Johnny’s unforgettable vocals.

Johnny made his major label debut in 1989, with the CBS Records release, Connect The Dots. But Johnny’s most notable project was his Rap-A-Lot Records album, The Next, released in 1998, which featured work alongside Do or Die, Scarface, Mike Dean and The Legendary Traxster.

In his later years, Johnny struggled to find his footing in the ever-changing music industry; that coupled with personal issues stalled the career of one of Chicago’s most promising voices.

Today, we wanted to celebrate the memory of the Chicago legend with an appreciation post, including some of my favorite records from the singer. From Legit Ballaz to rare remixes, it’s all here. Rest easy Johnny, you will be missed. Listen to my all-time favorite Johnny P records below.

Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

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Features News

Twista pens open letter to longtime friend Kanye West


As you’ve surely seen and heard by now, last night Kanye West was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital after what dispatchers called a “psychiatric emergency.” This comes just days after concerts in San Jose and Sacramento where the rapper made some shocking off-kilter remarks supporting Donald Trump, and taking shots at friends Beyonce, Jay and Drake. Something was off.

Most will never know the tremendous pressures of the music business — or the trappings of fame. And Kanye has endured this more than most — certainly more than the other artists of his 2004 class.

That said, longtime friend and collaborator, Twista, who himself has stayed relevant for over 25 years in the game, sent over an open letter penned to Yeezy. He empathizes, sympathizes, and lets Kanye and the world know he has his full support. Twista understands like most never could.

Get well soon, Kanye. Read Twista’s wise words below.

I woke up this morning and i felt the need to prayer for those who might not have a voice to pray. The music business is a very stressful business to be in, i been doing this for a very long time and believe me when i say it takes a very strong minded person to go thru the daily shit that you have to go thru. “the smile of a clown” a clown gets paid to make other people happy, even if that clown might be going through a mental break down, that clown can’t let the public see him cry or else he might loose the only job that helps him take care of his family.

the music business is all about profit and elevation, the more hotter you are the more money you make, the longer your career lasts. the only catch to that is no one stays hot forever, no one can be new over and over again, so now you have the pressure from your fans, record label, friends,family, bill collectors, and the media to keep making hot music and never get old. take a min and think about that, can you imagine the pressure and responsibility a person gotta have not only to be successful but also to stay successful too?

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Features News

Here’s what it was like to see YG perform “FDT” alongside Jeremih in Los Angeles


Words by Bryan Kalbrosky. Photo by Koury Angelo.

As a Los Angeles resident obsessed with Chicago-based rap music, I was hyped to see Jeremih and Joey Purp at The Mayan at Fake Shore Drive & Red Bull Sound Select’s #30DaysInLA show. I didn’t expect to see YG, but it became the highlight of my week.

The Joey Purp mixtape iiiDrops is one of my favorite releases from the SaveMoney collective in recent memory. That’s saying something, of course, considering SaveMoney artists include rap stars like Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Towkio and Nico Segal (fka Donnie Trumpet). Plus, I had heard incredible things about what it was like to see Jeremih perform live. Needless to say, it wasn’t hard to convince multiple friends to join me for the gig.

None of the headliners disappointed and lived up to all my hopes and dreams from their energy. But here’s what hasn’t left my mind since leaving: I got to see Compton’s YG perform “Fuck Donald Trump” the same week that Trump was elected President of the United States.

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Features News

Check out photos from FSD & RBSS’ #30DaysInLA show with Jeremih, Chief Keef, YG, The Game, Joey Purp, Warhol.SS & More


Friday night, FSD descended upon LA to throw our biggest show to date alongside Red Bull Sound Select for their yearly 30 Days in LA concert series, which brings 30 concerts to the LA area for the entire month of November. It pairs the biggest headliners from around the world with the best rising talent in the Red Bull Sound Select pool, and this year did not disappoint.

Thanks to the success we’ve had within the Chicago market with Red Bull Sound Select, the artists and our concerts, they decided to let us do our thing in LA, so we had to bring our A-game. The bill boasted a stellar lineup, including a headlining performance from Jeremih, as well as a special guest set from Chief Keef. Joey Purp, Warhol.SS and DJ sets from someguynamedty and DJ Oreo rounded out the lineup for the sold out event. The show was held at the historic Mayan Theater in downtown Los Angeles, with over 1500 people in the house.

Fans who purchased tickets before sellout were treated to an unforgettable night including surprise appearances and performances from YG and The Game. It was truly a night to remember. So just know, that we’re just getting started. Expect more of the same around the globe in the future.

Check out a handful of pics below courtesy of Red Bull Sound Select and photographer Koury Angelo, and look at the FULL SET HERE. 

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Chicago Features News

FSD Feature: Catching up with Kidz In The Hall on the 10th anniversary of ‘School Was My Hustle’


10 years ago, the duo of Naledge and Double-O, better known as Kidz In The Hall, were thrust into the hip-hop spotlight via their Rawkus Records debut, School Was My Hustle. The duo, who met as students at the University of Pennsylvania, were able to parlay their Ivy League education into a full blown rap career, with Chi City music industry legend John Monopoly guiding the way. The album paved the way for a new DIY scene in Chicago, the movement which now reigns supreme. Sure, school might’ve been their hustle, but these two were also able to see the future. Much of Chicago’s current hip-hop royalty owe a lot to Naledge and Double-O, who undoubtedly set the trend for the current state of local hip-hop.

At the time, they were able to make their mark in a landscape controlled by major labels. They had a strong buzz and notoriety within the industry all while having to compete with other Chicago artists who had major label backing such as Lupe Fiasco, Bump J, Rhymefest and Kanye West.

In the decade since their emergence in the indie rap market, they’ve gone on to considerable success — as a duo and in their solo endeavors. For Naledge, school is still his hustle as he’s pursuing a PhD at Northwestern, while recording music on the side and running his non-profit Brainiac Project. Double-O is still producing music, and is currently criss-crossing the globe as Lupe Fiasco’s tour DJ. So yes, they’re both still very much active in the music business.

On the 10th anniversary of their seminal debut, I caught up with both Naledge and Double-O to discuss the album and how they became a duo. Today, School Was My Hustle was also released as a reissue, now available on streaming services for the first time in history. Now, let’s take a walk down memory lane with two of hip-hop’s favorite scholars.

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