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Chicago rapper Alex Wiley continues his streak with 'Sexual Dolphin'

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Alex Wiley
Andrew Zeiter

Twenty-one-year-old Hyde Park native Alex Wiley is an increasingly important player of a movement of Chicago hip-hop artists–with Chance the Rapper at the forefront–who are uniting the city’s history of smart, bohemian backpacker rap with cunning pop sensibilities that have helped earn them a far broader audience than their biting social commentary and emotionally raw personal narratives might suggest. “When I was younger I had a turning point in my life,” Wiley writes in an email. “It made me what I am right now, set that in motion. I guess now, I’m trying to make music that that kid who was going through a lot of shit would have wanted to hear, and would have helped him get through his day.”

Back in June, he released his Village Party mixtape that drew more attention from outside of his city than anything else he’s released. His first song since then is “Sexual Dolphin,” a far deeper and heavier song than the title would suggest, produced by Odd Couple and Carter Lang. “With this,” he writes, “I’m trying to pick up where I left off from Village Party and take people to the next place. I’m really excited to drop it. It’s my first song with two verses. It’s a new sound for me, but I think it still feels relatable, it still feels like me.”

“I’m trying to make rock music,” he writes. “I don’t want rock n’ roll to die. I think Kanye said it best: Rappers are the rock stars right now.”

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