Tomorrow Kings
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Tomorrow Kings

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop Alternative


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"Bringing Chicago rap together"

By Andy Downing
Special to the Tribune
July 3, 2009

During local preliminaries for last year's Scribble Jam -- a national hip-hop festival/rap battle held annually in Cincinnati -- I.B. Fokuz and Skech185 scanned the crowd at Reggie's Rock Club and came to a realization: Chicago rappers, in general, don't play well together.

"It was the same thing people are always saying about Chicago. Nobody wants to work with each other," says Fokuz, born Dominic Pettis on the city's South Side.

Instead of accepting the status quo, the two decided on the spot to put a group together. Within weeks, the Tomorrow Kings were born.

The collective, which originated as a five-man crew, has since grown to eight, including one DJ (DJ Seanile) and seven MCs: Fokuz, Skech185, Malakh EL, Lamon Manuel, Gilead 7, Collasoul Structure and IL. Subliminal.

Each of the rappers, who range in age from 22 to 27, brings a distinct style and personality to the group's music. Fokuz describes Skech185 as the Kings' Incredible Hulk -- mild-mannered offstage ("Like a black David Banner"), but a beast on the microphone. Gilead 7, by contrast, often functions as the crew's conscience, lacing his intricate rhymes with biblical references and words of faith and devotion (the openly Christian MC has a master's degree in theology and is putting the finishing touches on his latest album, "Advent: A Modern Bible"). Then there's Malakh EL, whose versatility allows him to fill a utility role. EL raps on some cuts, sings on others and is even known to break-dance when the crew performs live.

"I remember hearing Twista in an interview, and he said if you lined up 10 rappers from Chicago in a line each of them would sound different," says Fokuz. "It's the same thing with [Tomorrow Kings]."

But more than individual influences, it's the Kings' shared experiences (all grew up on the South Side) that bond its members. "We don't have an ego branded on us when we're born, like some cats from New York or L.A.," says Fokuz. "Chicago is raw. You gotta be real from Day 1."

Tomorrow Kings
Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune - Chicago Tribune


Collective Projects:

On The Thrown Vol. 2 {2011}
Industrial Music Vol. 1 {2010}
On The Thrown Vol. 1 {2009}

Advent: A Modern Bible, {2009}
95th and Howard, {2009}
Spitting Glands, {2006}
The Darkroom, {2005}
Death Penalty Shots, {2007}
Brimstone, {2006}
Cold in Wendy's City, {2005}
Letters from the Low End
12inch, {2009}
What You Rhyme For, {2008}
The Lines of Blue, {2007}



Tomorrow Kings is a group of seven emcees and one DJ with a wealth of musical styles and artistic directions at their command. Their aim is to break the typical mold usually prescribed to today's Hip Hop artist. Vivid hardcore imagery and avant-garde soundscapes and lyrics reminiscent of John Coltrane or Ornetta Coleman. Composed of multitalented creative technicians known for taking the mold, shattering it, and representing several facets of reality for what they are...Tomorrow Kings.