In a city where violence is prevelent, and the music tells its sad story, a rose still seems to grow from it cold concrete. Up and coming Chicago rapper, Sonny Boy, is steadily growing with his strong lyrical content, and his desire to end the "Chiraq" tag.
Urban Color Magazine: So how did you get your name?
Sonny Boy: Funny story. I got it from work, actually. The dudes at my job just started calling me Sonny Boy, and I thought it was pretty cool. Since then, I just started using it as my rap moniker.
UCM: So, talk about the whole Sonny Boy movement. How did it start? Where did it start? When did start? You know?
SB: Honestly, I've done music all my life, but I started taking it serious after the Jack Daniels "Jackin' for Beats" Contest. I finished number one in the vote; I was a finalist. It was then when I realized that I had a serious talent for it and started to take it seriously.
UCM: Since the "Jackin' for Beats" competition, what have you done to further your career along?
SB: Well, I started working on a lot freestyles and mixtapes, and I put them on a lot of the blog sites and started to get a buzz that way. I just recently released my debut EP (Sonny Daze on May 19th) which is doing pretty well. Its available on AudioMax, Amazon, Spotify, and everywhere else you can think of. I've also just been performing around the city and all over the place just trying to make a name for myself.
UCM: Talk to us about your EP, Sonny Daze.
SB: It's a combination of just party music and dope raps really. I really try not to follow along with whole Chicago Drill Music Movement that's going on; no disrespect to it, but it's just not me. I created a name for me. I don't talk about gangbanging or guns or drugs or none of that. It's just fun music that everyone can relate to and have fun with.
UCM: Why do you think rap is losing true lyricists?
SB: To be honest, a part of it is the audience. People don't listen for lyrics like they used to. Most people like to listen music is social settings. Nine time out of ten, the people are socializes and hearing the music, but they aren't listening to music. Music now is about partying and having a good time. Me personally, I listen to the lyrics. I love it. I grew up on it, but at the same you have people who don't really listen because they are partying and having a good time. I mean, I as long as you have balance, it's okay.
UCM: As an artist, who do you feel has influenced your music the most?
SB: To be 100 percent honest, the biggest reason why I do what I do today is Bump J. He's a Chicago rapper who is incarcerated right now. He was a really, really huge influence on me. I remember (Chicago Hip-hop station) Power 92 used to blackout an hour and play all of his freestyles. At one point, I rapped just like him. He painted a picture of street life, and he brought the whole city of Chicago together. Chicago is really missing that, you know? You'll never see anything like that again, especially with today's Chicago rappers.
UCM: How do you feel about Chicago rappers?
SB: It's a love-hate thing. I love their hard work and grind. I love them for wanting to do something different. At the same, I hate that they glorify that Chiraq life. For someone who may want to get out of that life, they glorify it so much. It gives kids a false message because you are showing kids that you can make it out, but your message is keeping kids in the situation that they are stuck in. If you are going to say certain things, you have to understand you have to take on a responsibility to let them know that just becuase I did it doesn't mean you to do it.
UCM: But don't you think the message is getting misdirected? I mean, kids are impressionable.
SB: Definately. It's like the rappers contradict themselves. These rappers have a responsibilty, especially to the kids that look up to you. You have to say ' yeah, I did this. I did that, but this is what I had to', you know what I'm saying? When kids are out here getting shot up, you can't go around saying 'RIP. This is messed up. Pray for my city.' Part of it is you guys, you know?
UCM: What have you done to help remove the Chiraq label?
SB: I lead by example. I'm not the type of person who says I'm gonna do this or that. I'm gonna make music the way I want to make it, and something no one else is doing. I'm not gonna emphasize violence or gang life. I'm going to show people that there are other ways to make music. We all know what's going on out here. Why do we need to keep harping on it? Let's move on from that. Let's have fun in our music. Let's have a good time in our music. Let's show people how talented we are. I think that I can be that type of an artist that kind influence that change. And every Chicago rapper is doing it. You have Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, and other rappers, but the media publicize the negative stuff.
UCM: Besides yourself, who do listen to?
SB: Right now, it's Travis Scott, B.O.B, and Chance the Rapper. The reason for that is because Travis Scott's style is so next level to me. He's the future of rap. He's a huge influence on culture. I like B.O.B for his versatility. But I listen to a little bit of everybody. Even a little bit of drill music.
UCM: So what's next for Sonny Boy?
SB: Well, I have the EP, Sonny Daze, and I'll be releasing my album in August or September.
To find more on Sonny Boy, follow him on Twitter and Instagram at Sonny_Raps. -