Many of us already know about the first man to permanently settle in Chicago at the mouth of the river. Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable is credited to be first non-native settler and founder of this great city, but there were a couple of previous European settlers to come to be the first to explore it. About a hundred years before Jean Baptiste would reside on the river, Jacques Marquette from France and Louis Jolliet from Quebec traveled through the territory and recognized its significance.
Jolliet left Quebec after coming back from studying in France to trade with Native. Following a year he meets Marquette, a Jesuit missionary and the two begin work together. In 1673 they both gather a group of men and head to explore the Mississippi towards the Golf of Mexico. At Arkansas, they turned back toward the Great Lakes fearing a run in with Spaniard Colonists after finding many Natives with European trinkets.
On their way back they found their way to the Illinois River where they learned of a shorter route to the Great Lakes. They reached the Great Lakes at what today is Chicago, by way of the Chicago Portage. Later the Jolliet and Marquette would split and Marquette would head back to Illinois with his men. In 1674 they would be the first to spend a winter in what would be Chicago today. Marquette would die a year later near Starved Rock at the age of 37 from dysentery acquired by illness from the Mississippi travel.
First introduced to Mike Negus aka 2nd City Son in early 2019 at a showcase featuring Bombay Boyz, Unkle Slump and the EWOKK at the Donut Shop in Joliet. Keeping in contact since and following his music, How To Raise The Dead release got our attention. Longtime friend of 2nd City Son and collaborator Chino Bean provided all the instrumentals. 2nd City Son did all the recording, mixing and mastering! The fact that there were not too many hands involved with the creation of this record give it a really clean cohesive sound; dusty boom bap, back pack rap with crisp, slightly distorted vocals. This record leaves you grinning from ear to ear after all the witty punchlines and references that 2nd City Son cakes throughout the entirety of the raising the dead experience. Or as we like to think – elevating consciousness of the masses through poetry and music.
How To Raise The Dead starts out with a fat bass beat for the first song called Raise the Dead, introducing 2nd City Son and Chino Bean using a unique sound bite that sounds like a sports announcer. 2nd City Son flows effortlessly with a raspy sing song flow beginning the LP off to great start. Awesome Sauce is a dark melancholic piano boom bap instrumental with a cynical raps like, “And I do it again, look inside the mirror like who is this kid?!” and “My life like if I compare it a movie, so do me I’m American Beauty!“. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album being a lyrical piece to reflect on all the references 2nd City Son lays out for the listener. This whole album is reference heavy, giving a listener much to digest in terms of metaphorical ideas.
You Don’t Really is the third song off the record portraying a realistic yet optimistic view of issues ranging from the music industry, lost aspirations and depression. Coining this idea that normal people are not ready for the trials and tribulations that he has had the misfortune to experience – “They don’t really wanna hold this pain!“. Most every song on the record is around 2 minutes long allowing for transitions of ease and a palatable overall experience. Thirteen tracks, most being short and sweet with a couple longer ones to challenge the listener’s patience and attention span.
Hope You Listening is a melodic bell heavy track, offering the listener to come and rock with 2nd City Son – “And yeah we ride the wave, so come and rock with us, yeah come hip hop with us!“. “Tiny awkwardness, hold up my accomplishments, your ears are all hostages!“; This track is a prime example of the overall theme and idea about raising the zombified humans’ consciousness ie I hope you’re listening. Hunters Rule Book was a personal favorite from a lyrical standpoint. Lines like “Rule one number leave it alone if it floats, and rule number two, stay away from them boats, cause all them murky creatures gonna throw you off the ropes” and “tough skin you know we leather bound, lord gnomes its time to settle down… whatever we did, cable capture but in the post apocalypse reign masters” stand out.
2nd City Son starts hitting this next instrumental on his probably most notable track with Too Much. “And I don’t want no cash back, and no i dont want no cash app, back in the day I got back stabbed… We don’t want no fucking gats clapped, I want a fun time, I want back packs, i want boom bap, i want skateboards, I want pudding pops, I want snap backs!“. He ends the track with a reference about seeing the underworld. 2nd City Son features Unkle Slump, The EWOKK, and Wilhelm Duke. He saves the three emcees for the latter third of the record as a sort of treat for the consumer, tying up the LP seamlessly. I will save you descriptions because these three tracks are gems just go bump them on bandcamp and donate to support independent recording art!
Slippin is a track with one consistent rhyme scheme he pulls off for almost 2 minutes. Notable lines would be, “Modestly, yeah Im known to release, killing the game i hold the chrome to the beats, all you little chickens you the bone to the meat, and all you little bitches you been known to be freaks.” He continues with, “Im dope, you sold dope to the geeks, we sold os we got boats on the beach, you sold toast you should go brush your teeth, black market hustle we the ocean kapeesh, chosen, golden globes for the week, potion, propellers floating the league, bird bath, put the gold in the beak“. A literal monstrosity of a rhyme scheme that goes on for a while. If you listen close is quite impressive and the metaphors hit that euphoric feeling!
I am excited to see more music coming out of 2nd City Son and his camp. He with out a doubt is elevating the taste and reputation of recording artists hailing from the suburbs. He stays true to the craft, offering timeless authentic appeal and a record to digest for any fan of good hip hop. You can listen to the full album on his Bandcamp linked here and below.