Though he is an R&B singer — one of the greatest to be exact — R. Kelly has always moved with a rapper's swagger, mostly stemming from his rough and tumble come-up in the streets of Chicago. Artists like him, Kanye West, Common and Twista have gone through great lengths to put their city on music's map, and now there is a new generation of Chi-talent like Chief Keef, Maybach Music's Rockie Fresh and King L to carry the torch.
"I feel really good that Chief Keef and all of those guys, those guys are from my hood, so I'm definitely proud of the fact that finally Chicago has got the light on 'em," Kells told MTV News when he paid us a visit in July.
Thanks to his breakout track "I Don't Like" and its sensational viral video, Chief Keef has emerged as rap's most sought-after rookie of 2012 thus far. Both Birdman and T.I. put in bids to sign the teenage spitter and Kanye West reached out to do a high-powered, G.O.O.D. Music remix to his buzzing track. In June, Keef revealed to MTV News that he signed his deal with Interscope Records, but he isn't the only Chi-Town newbie to ink with a major.
In July, Rockie Fresh signed with Rick Ross and his Maybach Music Group label and King L (formerly known as King Louie) inked-up with Epic Records. Lil Durk and Lil Reese also hit the majors this spring when they signed with Def Jam Records.
All of the hoopla surrounding his hometown has the R pretty excited about the future of Chi's music scene. "I guarantee that once these guys come up that light is never gonna go out," Kelly promised. "There's a lot of talent in Chicago, a whole lot of talent."
Who is your favorite Chicago newcomer? Let us know in the comments!
He's just a Chi-Town guy with a Marvin flow! Stick with MTV News as we roll out more from our sit-down with R. Kelly, who talks Jay-Z, R&B beef, the rise of Chief Keef and more.