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The idea of a good kid in a mad city was popularized by a certain Compton rapper in 2012, but the concept behind it resonates in cities and neighborhoods across the globe. Art imitates life, and while the aforementioned rhymeslinger took the approach of someone with one foot in and one foot out the the game, others are knee deep in the front line of the trenches. That’s what makes Chicago and the rapper’s coming out of the city so interesting — it’s the ecology.

We’ve seen a list of newcomers represent different aspects of the mecca of the midwest, but perhaps none fully encompass the city’s grit, soulful lineage, and the technical skills a true MC needs to possess like Lil Bibby. You may have heard of the 19-year-old with the voice of a man thrice his age. But, by our standards, that’s the residual affect of a place that builds character like few others.

It’s a place currently defined by the youth, it’s Drill Music culture (though Bibby doesn’t particularly care for the term), and blatant honesty. Those are all factors in Bibby’s appeal, but it’s his raw rapping ability that separated him and close friend Lil Herb (G Herbo) from the pack in recent months. Late last year, the baby-faced MC packaged 17-tracks into a mixtape aptly titled Free Crack. On it, was a pair of songs that stood out like a sore thumb — the soulful “Water” and a Hit-Boy-produced heater coined “Whole Crew.”

The project propelled Bibby, our latest Certified Fresh selection, to greater heights. Learn more about him below.

Who: It’s been said before, but no one can deny that it’s a shock to see what Lil Bibby looks like. His fair skin and curly hair give him the look of a honor roll student, but after you hear him rhyme, you’ll know he majors in “hustlnomics.” His name stems from his hoop dreams days — he reportedly had a jumpshot and to some resembled NBA point guard Mike Bibby.

The Chicago native hails from the East Side of the city. That molded him into the MC he is today — one whose penchant for street jargon is as fluid as his wordplay. Simply put, at no time in a Bibby verse will you doubt the validity of his statements. That’s big in a day and time where most rhymes seem fabricated or at least dolled up for good measure.

Credentials: Lil Bibby’s buzz has been growing for some time. However, 2013 was his breakout year after he received co-signs from hometown artists like King Louie. But nothing was the same (pun intended) after the young wordsmith received a direct message on Twitter from Drake. “Streets need that TAPE! I’m waiting on it,” read the message the OVO frontman sent prior to Free Crack‘s release. Since then, things have been on and popping for Bibby, whose traveled nationwide in his short stint of fame. Now, many are anxiously waiting to see what the kid can do.

Fun Fact: Lil Bibby attended the first half of high school at Chicago’s famed King College Prep, but left because he felt like he didn’t fit in.

Photo: Instagram

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