A cinematic vivid masterpiece in audio form of what it was like growing up on the Westside of Chicago. That takes you on a journey through those mean K-Town streets Chicago emcee Skooda Chose grew up in and you can hear throughout all 12 tracks. That’s how the Chicago emcee and one-time former Twista protégé’s long-awaited debut album, The Wonder Year$, can best described.
Released just a few months ago, Chose journey is in a lot of ways similar to that of the late great Nipsey Hu$$le. Releasing several mixtapes and street albums for nearly a decade or longer before finally releasing their debut album. Both albums well worth their long wait and not only two of the best pure Hip-Hop albums of the decade, but across all music period.
Chose’s very lyrically vivid and introspective storytelling and lyrical prowess that’s street, but still conscious. Really helping paint the pictures of the great times and music, him and so many other Chicago greats grew up on. With the likes of Twista, Crucial Conflict, Do or Die, Psychodrama, Speedknot Mobstaz and so many others really helping put Chicago Hip-Hop on the map.
A melting pot of all parts of the United States. You can tell Chose drew inspiration from not only many of the Chicago greats that came before him, but even street, yet conscious emcees like Nas, Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg. To name a few. As displayed on the almost Nas-like dedication record, 96 Esco Interlude. Which finds Chose giving such knowledgeable lyrics as, “Each rhyme is like a Harvard lecture. Chop a bullet through your architecture. I lay scriptures with Anthrax.”
The very soulful, Far from Wonderful, yet another very lyrically sharp storytelling track that makes you feel those vividly dark lyrics. As if you were right in those dark K-Town streets and times that the Chicago emcee so vividly tells about over the very dark, yet still soulful backdrop. But even so, “You couldn’t walk in my shoes.” As he describes in the one lyrics towards the end of the track.
The soulful and feel-good vibes of tracks like the Wes Restless featured, Weekend Music, or even the playa-like, Ya Dig, really showing Chose’s versatility too. Not only as a great emcee, but just artist period. By far one of the best tracks and arguably the best track on the album though is, Kid from Chicago. Where Chose really perfectly describes what it was like growing up as a, “Kid from Chicago.” The very vivid storytelling and lyrics over the very organ-backed thumping backdrop really making you feel what it was like for him growing up in Chicago.
Reaching the latter part of the album is where Chose really shines though. The very cinematic sounding, Gfk, having the Chicago emcee sounding as hungry as ever. Lyrics like, “Young n***a on his Wu-Tang killer bee sh*t. Play a flu game. Yo this joint like pipe making your b**ch scream. No this joint like Ike making his b**ch sing. Fvck it this joint like Mike swinging on Ms. Green. No it’s more like Mike winning his sixth ring.” Really showing why Chose is not only easily one of the best emcees in all of Chicago, but Hip-Hop period right now.
Whether it be the very soulful and emotionally honest lyrics on the soulfully backed, I Luv My City or the fun, yet playfully true to Hip-Hop B-Boy type backdrop on Harold’s vs Remus. The way Chose is able to weave in and out like a seamstress sewing up the fine linen throughout each track with such lyrical prowess and efficiency. Shows why he’s one of the finest and most pure artists and emcees in all of Hip-Hop right now.
The very soulful and emotionally honest closing track, The Sit Down, showing why Chose created one of the most purest Chicago and Hip-Hop albums you will ever hear. A very immaculate and soulfully honest album that though it may not win any awards, will be remembered for plenty more years and generations to come. Just the same way such purely Hip-Hop classics like Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, Kanye West’s The College Dropout or even Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor were. This is an album that’s just the start of yet another sure to be promising career from a very talented and purely Chicago emcee. The perfect album of all elements of Chicago Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop period.