1. Become familiar with local blogs
Chicago's Hip-Hop scene is vast in scope. I have been following the scene here for a good 6-7 years and I still come across brand new artists on a regular basis. The best way to quickly become familiar with local artists is to read through local Hip-Hop blogs. 2 of my personal favorites are Fake Shore Drive and Ruby Hornet. Both of these outlets do wonderful work in covering all aspects of the scene here, and that includes the underground. I grew up on both of these blogs, and have discovered so many amazing local artists through reading them.
2. Go to as many local shows as you possibly can
Although Chicago's underground scene has many fervent supporters, you'll run into a lot of the same people if you are constantly attending indie Hip-Hop shows. Chicago's Hip-Hop scene is very communal. Everybody knows everybody. If you are constantly attending shows and supporting local artists in the process, you are bound to run into the same people time and time again.
3. Study the history of Chicago Hip-Hop
Sure, it is artists such as Chance The Rapper, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco who have really put Chicago on the map. However, it would be negligent to ignore the contributions of other artists as well. Groups such as Crucial Conflict and Do or Die were doing big things in the 90's. Twista was one of the very first rappers with a rapid fire flow. Chicago's Hip-Hop history is as rich as any other city, and is one you will need to read up on to gain a true appreciation of the local scene.
4. Follow local artists on Instagram
These days, Instagram is the social media network where artists are the most prevalent. Artists always posts links to their music, as well as dates for upcoming shows. If there is a particular local artist that you want to support and stay up-to-date on, chances are their Instagram account will keep you in the know on current happenings.
5. Network with other fans and supporters!
As I mentioned above, Chicago's Hip-Hop scene is a vast sea of musicians and supporters. Connect with other fans at local shows! Chances are they know about an artist you didn't know about before, and vice-versa. I have found that talking with fellow fans any chance I get has exposed me to so much good music coming out of Chicago.
6. Try promoting the scene whenever you can
This one should go without saying, but it's so important. Sure, a lot of big MC's have hailed from Chicago, but where Chicago's Hip-Hop scene really thrives is in the underground. Countless artists throughout the Windy City are grinding day in and day out, making amazing music and making their artistic contribution to Chicago's artistic culture. A lot of them making a name on the local scene has to do with other people promoting their music. Without a dedicated fanbase, MC's in the Windy City would not be able to be heard.
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