When New Chicago Rappers Rise to the Radio

Chicago Radio and FKMG working together....

Dreams of making it big in the music industry consume the thoughts of those who would become the next big Chicago rappers. They know it’s hard work making it to the top. If only they could break through that invisible wall beyond which they can find that success - a choice few make it once they apply that perfect mix of sweat, discernment, and talent combined with a little help.

Getting a track played on the radio has to be one of the most exciting milestones to reach. The good news is that there are still some stations and disc jockeys like DJ Nehpets of Power 92 willing to give new artists a chance to gain some recognition.

A lot of hopefuls send their tracks over to Nehpets in the hopes that he’ll put them on. But Nehpets is one of the few out there who still believes in giving the lesser-known and the upcoming a shot. When he thinks any of artist show promise, he’ll play their track on the air.

Still, it wasn’t an email or sent-in track that made Nehpets claim Monop as his new favorite and put him on. Back in 2013, Monop opened for Trina at Adrianna’s in Markham, performing “Real Life”. And Nehpets just happened to be at that performance.

Nehpets was so captivated by Monop’s powerful stage presence and crowd-moving performance that he went immediately and made Monop get back on the stage for an encore. From that moment on, Monop had Nehpets’ attention and favoritism. The song “Real Life” was soon being played on Power 92, where Monop’s talent earned him many more fans.

But then Monop had to spend the next two years incarcerated in Cook County Jail over two drug cases. With a conviction on one of the cases and a plea on the other, the judge sentenced Monop to time served. He was released in February of 2016. Upon release, Monop went straight back to focusing on his music. By September he was back to being featured on Power 92 with his brand new single, “Wait Til’ I Get Me Some Money”.

"Power 92 is the only one playing my song right now,” says Monop, “It would be a blessing to get over at 'GCI. That would be my next goal. Radio is most definitely helping, [but] it's basically the people, man. It's what the people want to hear. If you can get someone to request your song, that's love. But it's hard."

Although Monop is a relatively new artist on the scene, even vets can find it rough to get those first jewels of air time and get some momentum going, but the push is more than worth it. Nard, for example, after seeing great success with Do or Die, having 20 years of experience, and running his very own record label, Paperchas’n, is now working to make his way as a solo artist. For him, the process of getting that break though and momentum has started all over again.

It takes more than a bit of musical talent to make it in the music industry; it takes determination, strategy, endurance, and the ability to make wise connections. Monop and Nard are already on their way to the top.