Over the course of the past several years, the Chicago hip-hop scene has risen to prominence on the strength of elite music and a cultural renaissance within the city. One name attached to much of the greatness is THEMpeople, the production team that helped shape the sound and direction of some of the city’s most progressive body’s of work. Chance The Rapper‘s #10Day was one of them, and the rising star told me in an interview last year that the project may never have happened if THEMpeople didn’t record it in its entirety for free in their basement throughout 2011 and 2012.
Yesterday, THEMpeople released Smoke Breaks IV, an excellent compilation of previously unreleased tracks they produced over the years for various Chicago artists like Chance The Rapper, Joey Purp, Mick Jenkins, Alex Wiley, Vic Mensa, Dally Auston and more. One of the most notable is the tape’s concluding track, Chance’s “The Writer,” which was one of the last songs cut from #10Day.
If it wasn’t already clear to you how talented Chicago is and how much energy lies within the burgeoning scene, Smoke Breaks IV should paint a telling picture. Embark on the audio journey below, and stay tuned for more. At the bottom of the page is the tape trailer that provides some insight into the construction of the “New Mecca.”