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Written by Logan Woodard
Chicago rap is one branch of rap music that has effortlessly maintained its notoriety since the likes of Chief Keef, Lil’ Durk, Lil’ Reese, Fredo Santana, and more. Not only were new styles of rap birthed, many new artists have been able to ride the coattails of these legends out of the chaos of the city. One case study we could refer to is South-Chicago rapper Lil Zay Osama.
Recently, we were gifted with a new music video from Zay titled “Shooters” featuring Cleveland’s very own Doe Boy. The video is the definition of cinematic, an ode to hip-hop music videos back in the early 90’s that were mostly shot on film and used stills. The dark and ominous color grading really sinks you into an understanding of Zay’s “pain music,” which he has described his style as. One thought that is interesting to entertain is that Lil Zay is seamlessly relatable in comparison to other rappers from the Chicago Drill/Rap scene. There’s a resonance in his words when speaking on the struggles of where/how he grew up. “Same n*****s I grew up with, I’m having shoot-outs with,” he raps firmly alongside Doe Boy. There’s a simplistic yet tough nature in bars like that, because on a surface level, outsiders looking in hear the different tales and stories of growing up in such a place. One might hear it, see it, absorb it. But at its core, it’s extremely emotional and most wouldn’t be able to understand, relate, or comprehend.
Lil Zay Osama had been rapping since a very young age until he was booked and sentenced to juvenile hall on gun charges following a shooting in 2015. The shooting had actually put the young rapper in the hospital before it being known he was going to be spending a few years away. However, during this time Zay had made the decision to learn from his mistakes and bounce back. He focused heavily on music, striving to tell his story and rectify his truths. Following his release, still young and hungry, Zay released a few tracks on Soundcloud. He had then continued into 2019 to release a collection of songs titled “Hood Bible” that would include his first hit “Changed Up” which has garnered 53 million views on Youtube. Keeping on his toes, he’s been able to transition into the world of rap music simply but surely. Now to loop it all in, Lil Zay Osama released a mixtape titled “Trench Baby,” that’s already well received and features a fine list of features.
If you aren’t familiar to Lil Zay Osama, then do a service to the scene of Drill rap and Chicago music and blast “Shooter” through some headphones or speakers. The video is linked below.