The best Chicago music of 2011
As each year winds down, Turn It Up focuses on the best of Chicago's independent music scene. Here are my 10 favorite local indie releases: -- Greg Kot
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1. Serengeti, 'Family and Friends' (Anticon)
Ultra-prolific South Side native David Cohn (Serengeti) is a modest MC. As he raps in "California," he's "one of 10 acts at a venue called hell." But there's nothing quite like this album in the hip-hop spectrum. Leaping from the abstract to the transparent in the space of a few words, Serengeti sounds like the guy at the end of the bar conversing with his friends. As the night rolls on, the conversation turns surreal, plaintive, pock-marked with stories about junkies, failed fathers, even a mixed-martial arts fighter. Seemingly tossed-off lines ("Maybe he could've opened his own gym"; "She mixed paint at Menard's") open doors to vivid storytelling. The homemade beats sneak up on you the same way.