It’s been a long crazy ride for Chicago born rapper Chi City, in his 14 years he’s encountered what most musicians’ would refer to as everyday life. Filled with a lot of ups and downs, broken promises and fake people. But the grass is greener on the other side; well it is if you keep trying to chase the dream. Its lead Chi City to become a ghost writer for the likes of Diggy Simmons and B.O.B, and just recently he released his mixtape dubbed “My Untold Story.” Chi City reveals to Stimulate Your Soul about how music was his escape route whilst growing up in the ganglands of Chicago, why he encourages ghost writing and how Chicago itself has become its own musical genre. Margaret Tra writes.
How did you get your flow as a rapper?
Just a lot of work and practice, and keeping the thought of "being different and creative” in mind. It came with time. And of course taking a little piece of all the ones who influenced you and just coming up with your own identity.
You just released a track ‘Ordinary Girl,’ could you tell us the story behind that song?
It’s actually funny because when I first got the beat, I was having a conversation about how sneaky girls are, and how they try to be players just like us, but we fall for the tricks more than they do. So I thought, why not make a song about chicks who act like they all that but really ain’t on sh**. (Laughs) And that's exactly what I did, I already had the beat and I reached out to my homie YP, to share his side of things and we came up with a great record.
You talk about how hard you've worked to get this far, being in the industry for 14 years now, was it always a struggle for you?
Hell yeah man, it’s been a long crazy ride, a lot of ups and downs, broken promises, fake people, greedy industry dudes that will really take your career from you if you let them. The struggle never stops even when you’re "on" because now you’ve got to work twice as hard to stay "on". So I just do me and stick to what works for me and I make it work for best and so far it’s been working out for me , still with a few bumps the road but overall I’m getting there.
You seem like a dreamer; at what point did you realise your dream would one day become a reality?
Since day one, growing up I could always look around and see everyday people living out their dreams so why couldn't I? And that's how I approached every moment. I realised my dreams was reality. It’s all a mental thing. It can play tricks on you and make the possible seem impossible so don't fall for life's tricks.
Has growing up in Chicago’s gang culture shaped you as an artist?
It shaped me in every way because I had to grow up in it. It was hard to avoid, but I stayed out the way as much as I can, and once I found music, that was my escape route.
You've done ghost writing for B.OB and Diggy Simmons so far, how do you feel about ghost writing? Is it something you would encourage others to do?
Yeah it’s nothing wrong with it at, I mean I personally write all my own music, but if there’s a talented singer with a great voice, but they have trouble finding the words then why not lend a song or two, and still get rewarded for your work? It’s all the same to me. So yes, I would say if you’re a great writer and are afraid of the spot light find an artist that can’t write well, but is a star to the light and make it work.
Does Chicago have a big scene for hip hop?
Yeah, a very big scene, that continues to grow every day. Chicago itself is a music genre, they have what they call "drill music" and it’s now becoming popular throughout the music culture. Favoured by some, and hated by many, but it’s still growing as we speak. As far as hip hop, that’s becoming diverse as well, with artist like myself, Chance the Rapper, Spenzo, YP, you have a new sound in hip hop and it just so happen to come from Chicago.
Is it important for you to remain an underground artist?
Oh no, that's not my goal at all, underground is a level of its own , even if you try to stay underground , and start to get national recognition, your actually no longer considered underground because now main stream knows who you are as well . So why not go bigger, I can’t see myself staying underground, my plans are much bigger than that.
What’s coming up for Chi City?
A lot of great opportunities and that breaking point I've been working so hard for. A few major features and tons of shows, working on a new project as well and tons of new videos, so you can expect the best from me in the near future.
What stimulates your soul?
Music, anything hot and girls. (Laughs)