To Put On Or Not To Put On: Why Kanye West Has Done Enough For Chicago

Andrew Barber

*This is an FSD guest Column from Alan @Snobworthy. This piece does not reflect the views of Andrew Barber or Fake Shore Drive.*

Words by Alan @Snobworthy

To Put On or Not to Put On

Why the rapper has done enough for Chicago

On Young Jeezy’s 2008 hit “Put On”, featuring Kanye West, the Chicago MC exclaimed, “I put on everybody that I knew from the Go”. His verse on “Put On” was one of the most memorable verses of his career. The verse was filled with Kanye’s witty rhymes, honesty, and edge. I remember going to watch Young Jeezy at the House of Blues in Chicago and when Kanye’s verse for “Put On” was coming up, Jeezy just lifted his mic and the crowd rapped Kanye’s verse in perfect unison. That particular line about putting on everybody that he knew from the Go always stuck with me. Not because I doubted his claim but because of the reaction it stirred within the Chicago rap community. Despite being the most successful rapper to come from the Windy City, there are some people in Chicago that would doubt his boastful claim. Some would even say that he do doesn’t enough to help artists in Chicago, that he should reach out and do more with local artists. Last year Fake Shore Drive interviewed King The Savior (R.I.P.), a young up and coming rapper and he shared some thoughts about Kanye West, King stated, “I dont have a problem with Kanye. I feel by him being as big of an artist as he is, there’s more he could be doing to help the Chicago hip-hop scene. I love the way he rep Chicago, though, but it’s tons of artist in Chicago that will never be heard cause the artists who are on don’t reach back.” I’m sure King the Savior wasn’t the only one who thought that way but is it a valid opinion? I don’t think it’s valid at all.

For those who like to have a short memory Kanye has done a lot already for Chicago artists already. He played a important role in resurrecting the careers of Common and Twista. Introduced the mainstream to what we already knew in Chicago was one of the best lyricists in rap Lupe Fiasco, when he put him on his single “Touch The Sky”. He Helped the careers of GLC, Really Doe, Malik Yusef, and Syleena Johnson. He brought back his mentor No I.D. into producing prominence. He’s crafted beats and appeared on tracks for Bump J, Sly Polaroid, any many other rappers that call Chicago home. He’s shouted out Chicago on countless songs. One of his most popular songs “Homecoming” is a ode to his hometown. He premiered his short film Runaway in Chicago. So it’s safe to say that he’s done plenty for local artists. Yet there’s people that will sit back and ask what has he done for me lately? Instead of looking for a handout, they should go back and listen to “Last Call” and realize how far determination and passion can take someone.

It’s no secret that Kanye holds a lot of sway within popular culture and hip-hip. Whatever the guy says gets dissected as if he was presenting the State of the Union address. Whenever he tweets, which is something he hasn’t done in a while automatically gets a response from a wide range of people and is worthy of becoming a trending topic. Whatever latest fashion style that he’s on becomes a hot topic of conversation between fashionistas and bloggers alike. Back when he had his blog up and running he would often post music videos and tracks from artists that he liked. One of those artists was a no name from Atlanta. Once Kanye posted one of his videos he started gaining a buzz in the hip hop blogosphere. That artist turned out to be CyHi Da Pyrnce, who eventually signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music label. For a young artist a co-sign from Kanye can be a blessing. It can be the difference between only a handful of downloads a day to over a thousand downloads a day. Kanye has signed acts to G.O.O.D. Music from all over the country and the world. He’s signed midwest natives Kid Cudi and Big Sean from Cleveland and Detroit respectively. Signed Mr. Hudson from England. Signed D’banj and Don Jazzy from Nigeria. He’s signed established rappers Mos Def and Pusha T. He’s seems to be looking for talent anywhere and everywhere. Yet none of the acts that he’s signed as of late have been from Chicago. The music industry may seem like large place but in reality it’s small world in which everyone is one phone call away or one tweet away. If there was someone from Chicago that was creating a buzz or had the potential to become a major force in music, I’m sure Kanye would do his best to make sure their rocking a jesus piece. I don’t think he’s ignoring his hometown despite that he’s currently more likely to found on a fashion range in Paris instead of at Ralph Lauren on Michigan Ave. Maybe a part of the reason Kanye hasn’t been endorsing new artists from Chicago is because recently Chicago hasn’t produced a new artist or a group that’s created a nation wide buzz. The only act from Chicago that’s creating a buzz right now are the L.E.P. Bogus Boys but I wouldn’t exactly put them in the category as new. It’s worth noting XXL Magazine’s annual freshmen list, which consists of hip-hop most promising rappers, the ’09, ’10, and ’11 classes haven’t featured a Chicago representative. Freddie Gibbs doesn’t count as one. So maybe Kanye like everyone else around the country shrugs at what Chicago has to offer lately.

I understand the importance of a co-sign and how important it would be to have one from one of the city’s rap legends but you shouldn’t expect to get one just because you have a Chicago address on your drivers license. You think 9th Wonder and Little Brother were waiting around for Petey Pablo to put them on in North Carolina. No they went out and made it happen on their own. I know there’s someone in their bedroom or basement right now working on their raps or tapping their fingers on the MPC doing their best to catch a break. Chicago is a city filled with talent and it’s a city capable of producing new sounds. The city produced Kanye West and he didn’t have any established artist putting him on. So instead of booing him when he’s sitting front row at a Bulls game, it would be a better idea to think about all the things he has done for Chicago already and be thankful that one of the most popular artists in music fantasized about everything he’s earned back in Chicago. Mercy, mercy me, that Murcielago.


  • Show Comments (39)

  • Am I the only one that despises GLC’s sole existence?

    Sorry, but I couldn’t read the article as the writer received a full blown reach-around from Kanye while he typed up that biblically long, stan diatribe. What a waste of bandwidth. West hasn’t put on Chicago and neither has FSD. Point blank, period.

    Andrew just does what Kanye’s lyrics and samples do, recycle the same bullshit. Chicago is more than just sneaker ’boutiques’ and LEP bogus boys. Dig deeper.

    • EmilyLondon


  • B2times

    I was personally never impressed with the “I put on everybody that I know”…..

    Who you know is rarely the most talented individuals in any field so that doesnt mean any dam thing especially to the city as a whole

    If Jay-z only “put on” cats he knew then RocaFella wudnt have been the dopest squad in hip hop.
    Imagine if all Jay chose was other Marcy niggaz… 8 versions of Memph Bleek??? FOH
    Thats stupid to even think like that.

    Also you cant say that no one has a national buzz and act like that matters RIGHT AFTER you just said he found a relative “no name” in Da Prynce. There are plenty of MORE talented “no name” cats than him in this city. Ye wudnt know cause he doesnt/hasnt looked.
    Its simple….He doesnt owe none of these cats anything. But dont think that reviving KNOWN rappers careers is as difficult as making a Beanie Sigel famous.
    Kanye “Put on” for the Chi only in the sense that he mentions the city alot which is dope.
    Just dont act like he’s done all he can do for our local talent just cuz he put his best friends on his albums…he could have met them in college and they could NOT have been from here and HE still would have given them features. Chicago aint really got shit to do with that

  • Michelob Mike

    why Post this article and put the disclaimer “This piece does not reflect the views of Andrew Barber or Fake Shore Drive.”? That discredits the whole article.

    So, Mr. Barber When you post all the bafoonery, violent rap videos and you don’t put a disclaimer does that mean it does represent your views????

  • DG

    ^^^ It doesn’t need a disclaimer when its another artists video or song…we’re not dumb, we know a song by someone else is a representation of someone else.

    Granted, this article has weird timing…thats all…There’s no real controversy going on with Ye right now, so this is just out the blue.

  • gucci

    big sean and mr hudson and exc….are wack!.. cant read…way too fuckin long! Why r you writing this article? stupid! and to the bitch ass nigga above, why you hatin on glc…? he must of fucked yo bitch or something…how you gone despise another nigga existence…? HATER! Let that nigga do him and you stay in yo lane! only reason you poppin shit on him cause u anonymous. this bullshit is propaganda! you media motherfuckers think yall know what yall doing…until somebody get the shit smacked out of them! inny, minny, miny, moe! and yea kanye put on..kinda…but he didnt put on any real niggas! and he got everybody acting and dressing like bitches… STOP IT 5! long story short 3 of the top 5 rappers in the world are from chicago…but you cant tell…not (alot) studios, media, or labels here…and the bull shit needs to change…hopefully by choice and not force! to much talent here for this not to change in my lifetime.

  • Andrew

    The reason there is a disclaimer is because these words are not mine. I did not write the piece. The views of Alan do not reflect my views or the views of Fake Shore Drive. This is an opinion piece. One person’s opinion – not gospel. It’s not that deep guys….

  • Legit

    Lol fuck yall mad at Drew for? *jay-z voice*

    Anywho, I disagree with this article entirely. Made a solid point in the third paragraph, but other than that… *shakes head* nah. not accurate lol.

    “Putting On” doesn’t mean literally putting artists on… that can be included but its much more than that. Hustle Simmons RT’d some shit the other day that said “I feel a certain way about the fact that MBDTF dropped in November and we still haven’t gotten one performance from him in Chicago” But he kicks off his lil tour shedig in NY… Thats not putting on. The Homecoming video = Putting On. Throwing Lupe on the third verse for Touch The Sky=Putting On. But the shit pretty much stops there aside from Common and Twista. Nigga come to more bulls games.. let a nigga like Rockie or Mikey Rocks open for you when you hit the Chi… Fuck with Leaders.. give FSD some exclusive interviews or SOMETHING. That’s putting on.

    Just my opinion, though.

    • Andrew

      Good point Legit…

      • Prolyfic

        I DO feel that thought.. good point Legit, but still.. nah.. put on for yaself to the point where you MAKE ppl wanna help you.. Which I don’t feel anyone is doing.


      That real shit Cuz!!!!

  • 4BigRick.

    i respect artist for being artist but i dont respect the fact that Kanye did enough for da city, I got love for ye and his movement but his movement and style does’nt represent my chicago far as artist at home its alot of great underground artist in da city..thats worthy of the co-sign and do’nt get exposed on this site as well truly i feel like if your not wearing skinny jeans a tight fitting t-shirt nerd glasses, and damn near sounding like you from ny, or damn rock-rap/pop-rap and a back packer rapper this blog will not post your music, my music has been on this site numerous of times and i thank them for the love but in reality Co-signs is what got me on here lol but at the end of the day i feel he and others that can Co-sign, expose and introduce music, bloggers,radio personalities, etc hasnt did enough for da city..i know we all want money but giving will always bring blessings……1 love BigRick of Speedknot Mobstaz

  • Prolyfic

    For the most part I support the words of this article. I wanna say damn near 100%

    Now granted there are some grants, the grants are sure there’s about a HANDFUL (loosely) of artists that can be looked into, however some of which have already had pasts with Kanye. But even beyond Kanye, there’s not really much to find here when it comes to Hip-Hop or R&B artist.. it’s sad that when I go in meetings only two names are Mentioned, sometimes only one, and that’s LEP Bogus Boys, and then Mikkey Halsted.. But in a city with a million people, why does it only come down to 2 acts that are doing something strong for themselves? Nobody’s gonna just HAND you over a career! You have to bring something to the table, not just walk up with your pockets turned inside out, and your hand extended.

    Me and my partners have been looking for a artist from chicago worthy to break.. I can’t find one.. cuz they not out there.. Too caught up in the local “Scene” to stay working in the studio day in and day out and doing what it takes to get where they need to get.. won’t spend the money that they need to spend to get quality, rather buy clothes… it disgusts me, that people can be so careless with they career, yet have a stance as thought Kanye, or anybody for that matter, who got on, should just put their reputation, and finances on the line for a city of artists who’s resume says “I don’t take this seriously”

    truth is the truth.. I was with Kanye as he came up.. I seen him pack up and go make it happen, hell I helped him pack lol.. I knew the story to Last Call before the song, bcuz I seen it unfold… I know who was around.. the Cap 1’s.. the gravity’s… etc. Maybe you just wasn’t part of that wave… that don’t mean he ain’t put on.. just means you missed that boat.. Really Doe is on a song with Nas.. J Ivy is on a song with Jay-z.. Bump had move around in a Mcdonalds commercial and was on MTV… shit, he even helped put more confidence in the label (Atlantic) to give my situation the attentive green light with the whole touch the sky thing, AND did a beat for F&L.. List goes on and on man.. what more do you want from a man, that’s emotionally going thru so much?

    Take ya thumb out cha ass, and get to work


    • Legit

      Oh I definitely agree… These rappers don’t have their priorities straight. If the music’s not first, then you aren’t serious. Expecting to get to Kanye’s status with a co-sign, mediocre material, and a fraction of the work…. and that mindset is fatal.


      When it comes to other things OUTSIDE of you know.. breaking and artist, or collabing with one and what have you.. I cant really get mad at someone for saying Ye couldn’t do more to.. put Chicago on the map if you will.. Like I said linking up with a boutique shouldn’t be a tough call. PHARRELL has come to Leaders for a meet and greet….. and he’s from Virginia. You see what i’m getting at? I just think Ye could do a better job as far as helping the city itself out.. re-vitalizing the scene you know? If he were to do something as simple as recording an album here, he’d help alot. With damn near a flick of the wrist, he could make the scene 20x better than it is right now, because as we all hopefully know, its not where it needs to be. I’m fucking tired of being second to NY man. SICK OF IT lol.

  • Greg

    PREACH. The fact of the matter is, Kanye doesn’t owe Chicago rappers anything. Most other cities would be happy just to see one of their own make it big, but for some reason Chicago can’t just be happy for people who find success. I might be wrong here, but I don’t think any Chicago rapper put Kanye on. No I.D. is a great producer who taught him a lot–and Kanye gave a lot back to No I.D.–but No I.D. didn’t make Kanye famous. The people who had the biggest role in putting Kanye on were Talib Kweli and Jay-Z–both New Yorkers. And they both helped Kanye because helping Kanye helped them. Kanye made the Blueprint way better and revived Rocafella, and Kanye made Kweli’s tour better when he opened for him. So it would have been bad for their careers to NOT put on Kanye.

    If you want help from Kanye, figure out how you can help him first! People expect charity from Kanye and get mad when he doesn’t give it. Kanye didn’t owe anyone anything, but he was nice enough to shout out his city all the time and help out a ton of Chicago artists. No he hasn’t performed in Chicago recently, but maybe he got sick of giving love to a city that just expects more and more from him without giving anything back in return. I’m not saying everybody in Chicago has that attitude, but if I were Kanye and I got booed at a Bulls game after all I did for Chicago, I wouldn’t come back soon.

    Oh, and lol at people who say “I didn’t read the article, but here’s why I disagree.”

  • Keith

    Me and my partners have been looking for a artist from chicago worthy to break.. I can’t find one.. cuz they not out there.. Too caught up in the local “Scene” to stay working in the studio day in and day out and doing what it takes to get where they need to get..”

    This is the funniest shit I heard in a long time. You and your partners cant break you, yet you are looking for a Chicago artist to break. Are you kidding? Please tell me you are not serious. Step the ego game down fella. No one even knows who you are.

    • Prolyfic

      Lol.. who me? oh i’m just a fly on the wall.. pay me no mind.

  • K. Sidney

    To owe somebody, you have to first receive a favor. What favors has the city of CHICAGO done for KANYE? When he was out here hustling, doing the GO GETTERS thing, nobody fucked with him. When he goes to NEW YORK, he gets put on and now all of a sudden, he owes CHICAGO? But hey, that’s CHICAGO niggas for you: always feel like they’re owed something when they never did a favor to merit being owed.The only people an artist owes are his supporters and apparently, he didn’t have too many when he was trying to make it happen out here. Crabs-in-a-barrel-ass-niggas!

  • Legit

    Lol mogs is out here not knowing their shit I see. Tisk Tisk.

  • pocket science

    PUT ME ON!! Subscribe, comment! Post My Future Videos on FSD!!! Thanks

  • Chi-99

    What you guys fail to realize when posting your comments, which everyone is entitled to, is that you have no idea what it must be like to be one of the biggest pop stars in the world. This guy was in Chicago for years, now when he’s kicking off his tour, NY makes sense cuz he is HUGEEEEE! It’s about the global marketplace at this point.

    The music business isn’t a game you play with your friends after school or some shit. It’s a job, sorry guys. Shit doesn’t just work out peachy like it would if your comments came to fruition. How many people have any of us put on to jobs recently?

    I could barely get my cousin the hookup at my restaurant. Now you expect someone making six figures to just make an investment or risk his business credibility on an artist who’s from chicago. Ye’s made some solid business moves, he’s not gonna half-ass a move on the strength of home field advantage.

    When it comes to business, do you know how difficult it is just to maintain a shred of integrity? We don’t even expect it from our lawyers, or doctors. We know their crooks! Now when it’s an artist we want him to be some saint on the side of good. Ye’s got a job to do like the rest of us; and putting on is not in his job description.

  • M. Earl

    Dude, Kanye West owes nobody no matter where the fuck you are from a DAMN THING!!! If you’re a rapper, producer or whatever and waiting for another nigga’s co-sign… You failed already!!!! I was taught that a real man goes out and stands on his own 10 toes… If Ye takes notice and respect your GRIND. Then I’m sure he’ll reach out and want to fuck with you… But until then allow your talents to make room for you instead of bashing Kanye for not doing what he’s been doing… Every bodies not cut out to be star…. GRIND BEFORE YOU SHINE!!!!

  • L.E.N.O. XTR


  • Wow!

    @prolyfic damn how you gonna insult all chicago rappers. many of them seem to be doing more than you!






    • Chi Promo

      I’ve been to your site and it sucks sooo….Stay on topic dumb ass

  • blue

    Kanye dont owe yall shit, he gave twista and common a second leg. Shit Ye was gonna do bump whole album. Thats it, thats all he need to do. Its up to you to get his attention. Not his

  • Token

    Good points BUT ye did not resurrect commons career dog. That dude was doin just fine before him. He enhanced it but dont make it sound like com was finished before they hooked up though

  • mecknon

    he also put on KID SISTER, another Chicago artist

  • nigga please respond

    to the faggots that say this dude dont owe nobody are dick suckers kanye do song with camron and jim jones who diss him and gunit who shit on him ,look at glc ,really doe ,shayla g, boogz,he putting on big sean are you serious look dummies if its not his job to help his city then who job is it shit lep let him in the ickes he not from the projects you see him reach out to them or yung dudes like rockies fresh,kaye and lupe help other cities before they help there own and you bitches say he dont owe aybody well this city is known for gangster mentality that what he boast about the gang structure that was her he even go as far to call him and don c folks really,well dude niggas are dieing every da about that stuff he dont do shit for this city ,he still mad at how the djs didnt support him back in the day he needs to create a company be a boss not a worker and giving back to the white kids is not giving back go to the hoods see what really can be dne yall are phony because chicago music artist struggle is extremely hard turn the light on in tis city.

  • nigga please respond

    to the faggots that say this dude dont owe nobody are dick suckers kanye do song with camron and jim jones who diss him and gunit who shit on him ,look at glc ,really doe ,shayla g, boogz,he putting on big sean are you serious look dummies if its not his job to help his city then who job is it shit lep let him in the ickes he not from the projects you see him reach out to them or yung dudes like rockies fresh,kaye and lupe help other cities before they help there own and you bitches say he dont owe aybody well this city is known for gangster mentality that what he boast about the gang structure that was her he even go as far to call him and don c folks really,well dude niggas are dieing every da about that stuff he dont do shit for this city ,he still mad at how the djs didnt support him back in the day,he needs to create a company be a boss not a worker and giving back to the white kids is not giving back go to the hoods see what really can be done yall are phony because chicago music artist struggle is extremely hard turn the light on in this city.

  • That’sBroadway

    Just chiming in. I think we as artist think that we are entitled to certain things. I believe Kanye has done what he has had to do for Chicago. It isn’t his job to hold A&R meetings to see who’s hot or not in Chicago. In this industry we all have to remember that this is a business and the object in it is to sell records and make hits. I believe he initially “Put On” Chicago artist and has opened the doors enough for them to make money. The object isn’t for him to fund their projects but in fact to come up with the best tunes and then have him to put his Stamp on it. If it succeeds then more opportunities will arise. If not it’s like any other business. It must find resources to make money to keep it going. I think reaching beyond your city is a great idea. I think any artist should find his own legs first and then from that point I’m sure it won’t be hard to get his attention to the point where he would say damn this kid is dope and he’s from the crib. People are moreso willing to help when they see the drive determination and results of a project. Ye’ is human and will make some errors in life however I think going hard on him is pointless. If we really look at it the biggest artist right now are all from here and that says volumes. Ye is damn near pop! Lupe done proved Atlantic wrong!! Common is everybodys favorite rapper and on the young side Chuck and Mikey have a deal through a Soda Beverage company. Chicago is and has been doing it. Keep going!

  • Midwest4lyfe

    what happened to Chi-Bangin?????

  • nigga please respond

    broadway are you from this city dude because you dont sound right its not his responsibility to put the chi on thats like saying we not responsibile for what goes on in our hood dude if you not doing anything to help you hurting go head on with that passive convo dude its some dudes in this shit forreal homie yall nerds kill me its not just ye its kells lupe kanye common and who ever have the chance to help others and dont.

    • co-still

      kanye dont owe us nuthn at all, but erbody in his defense has either worked with him or had some personal experience wit em (and im sure wants to do music wit him in the future) so i feel like alot of these statements are bias. i wont even get off into anything specific bcuz erbody is entitled to their opinion, but when i see glc out here basiclly on his own as well as the other artist that were once art of the go gettas in chgo. it gives me a bad feeling. timmy g etc. i would love to see him help his home team which is the original gogettas. but he hasnt and nobody should be waiting on him to do it. keep grinding erbody and eventually some body will be the person that REALLY puts on for our city. in my opinion nobody has done it but im eager to see who it will eventually be. good luck to all producers and artist from chicago keep grinding

  • Paul Scientific

    Mickey Halsted and L.E.P. were signed to major label deals before ANYONE knew who they were, and were obscure before getting signed. Everyone likes to act as if you can “Buzz” your way around in the city, solely based on “grinding” or quality of the music. It sounds good, but like anything else in this world, you’re more judged/measured by who you associate with and what you can buy or pay for. People think that they can Master P/No Limit their way in the game, but forget the fact that these guys had “capital” to PAY for the buzz they got, and were willing to spend it with that goal. If you’re a hot rapper/singer/producer, unless you have the money to buy your way in, you better be trying to be associated with people already known in the game, and not just the pretentious bloggers. You’re NOT going to go from being a person with a day job and a hot song to being known otherwise…

  • Charlie Breeze

    Lupe = Touch The Sky, produced songs on his album; Common = Resurrected his career; Don C = Ye’s manager; Bump J = Produced a gang of songs 4 him, put up bread for his lawyer(Read Bump’s interview); Twista = Produced songs for him; Million$Mano = Ye’s DJ! And other countless things he’s done for Chi-Town artists! MAN KANYE DON’T OWE CHICAGO SHIT!!!!!

  • Jade

    Chicago sucks as a whole in the music scene. I went to a show about a month ago at Reggies and the crowd was wack. A lot of really good artist performed and no one gave love. Mikkey Halsted, YP, and Rockie rocked the stage and damn near no one in the crowd responded. How in the hell do we expect someone to put chicago artists on and we can’t even show them love. Maybe if we respected and supported our artist at home we will start to get noticed. Kanye got disrespected not too long ago when he and Don C came for a Bulls game. Hell I wouldn’t want to perform or kick my tour off in Chicago either. Just my opinion, but what do I know.

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