By Izzi Bavis
School is out, summer classes are in, the weather is warmer, and here is what you should be listening to while you pretend you are the lead in an indie film. These tracks remind me of driving with the windows down on Sheridan Road in Chicago with my friends not worrying about tomorrow. In an attempt to escape, here is what I have to offer. After creating this playlist I realized that four of these artists are from Chicago, the best city in the world. I’m looking forward to the day where I can enjoy summer in Chicago without worrying about getting sick. From my music library to yours, enjoy!
“Wngs” by NxWorries
What I love about this song is that it is timeless. I can see myself lounging about in the sun with this song playing. I love NxWorries and how Anderson .Paak is able to maintain his sound even in a band. This album is special to me, it reminds me of Chicago, summer 2017. The blazing sun, Lake Michigan, and pure bliss. In recent weeks I have become a huge fan of Anderson .Paak’s Tiny Desk performance with the Free Nationals, they played “Suede,” another favorite of mine.
“Baby Blue” by Action Bronson featuring Chance the Rapper
This song takes me back to 2015. I’m 15, a sophomore in high school, and falling in love with Chance the Rapper for the first time. After listening to Acid Rap on repeat, I quickly started searching the internet for other songs with Chance. Chance is special to Chicago people, he embodies the city. I wish I could put tracks like “Juice” or “Lost” but those songs honestly remind me of Chicago winters.
“Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield
The moment this track is on, I’m dancing. This song is full of horns and life. I listen to this song and I see myself cruising down Lake Shore Drive with my girlfriends. I see my life smiling with the wind in my hair. I see my family dancing in the kitchen. I see happiness. No cap.
“Lovely Day” by Bill Withers
Every time I listen to Bill Withers, I feel calm. The song “Just the Two of Us” is a classic. I fell in love with his vocals and Grover Washington provided all the jazzy feels. I adored “Just the Two of Us” so much I bought not one but two records with the track on it. After exhausting my ears to “Just the Two of Us,” I went down the beautiful rabbit hole of Bill Withers. Each track feels like sunshine and exudes summer. Tracks like “Lovely Day” and “Then You Smile At Me” fills me with joy. Perfect summer track to escape the pandemic with.
“Häagen Dazs” by Ghetto Sage
Ghetto Sage could have been super cool. The trio includes Noname, Smino, and Saba, all rappers from the midwest. Individually these artists are my favorites. Their albums and collaborations are stellar. I saw all three perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2018 prior to the formation of Ghetto Sage in 2019. This song talks a lot about ice cream. It talks about the type of paint job, includes sexual references with ice cream, and even just talks about ice cream in the normal sense. I love for that, I live for that. It reminds me of last summer, I spent the majority of my time biking to work and relaxing in my backyard. I listened to this song the whole time.
“Wet Dreamz” by J. Cole
I can’t explain it but listening to this song fills me with joy and reminds me of summer 2018, the last summer before college.
“Great Dane” by Cosmo Pyke
Cosmo Pyke is a fantastic artist. He really was only active in 2017 with his release Just Cosmo, which is spectacular. I love Cosmo Pyke, I think his vocals are rather unique and he produces a mix of stripped down and overly produced songs. My all time favorite Cosmo Pyke song is the acoustic version of “Social Sites,” which he originally released in 2016. For this playlist, however, I felt like “Great Dane” fit better. It’s a bit more groovy and easier to get into while “Social Sites” is more emotional and deep.
“Emerald Street” by Jamila Woods Featuring Saba
Ultimate Chicago banger. Jamila Woods and Saba, both hailing from Chicago, created one of my favorite songs of all time. “Emerald Street” has the most immaculate flow. Jamila Woods sings “Not a lot of places we can go to be together / Coz you know the city, how’d it get so cold,” while Saba raps “You got my house phone jumping / Play ball in the alley it’s jumping.” THE VIBES! That right there are Chicago vibes and I live by that. Jamila Woods is effortless, her voice is soothing, and her music contains the perfect ingredients for a summer song.
“Flight 22” by Kali Uchis
Kali Uchis is amazing. I fell in love with her voice the first time I spun this record, Isolation. She’s actually quite funny despite her music being very sexy and cool. I love “Flight 22,” when I was in high school my friends and I would leave campus for lunch and we would listen to this album as we toured the northern suburbs of Chicago. I felt grown up even though I was only 16.
“PRIDE.” by Kendrick Lamar
I’ve spent many angst filled drives spinning this record. Kendrick Lamar is a genius. My favorite song is “Pride” because it bleeds California. The song plays like running water, it flows and tumbles. Each vocal crashes into the next. The song is beautiful, Kendrick Lamar speaks, “Hell-raising, wheel-chasing, new worldy possessions / Flesh-making, spirit-breaking, which one would you lessen?” The song keeps you hooked. I’ve found myself returning this song more than any other song on this list. I hope you get hooked this summer.