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Chance the Rapper hits the stage in Grant Park to play a sold-out Lollapalooza Music Festival 2014.

The best hip-hop music clubs in Chicago

See rising MCs or listen to a DJ spin classic rap tracks at some of the best hip-hop music venues in Chicago

By Zach Long

Want to hear hip-hop in the city that gave the world Kayne West, Chance the Rapper, Twista and Chief Keef? Chicago currently fosters a healthy scene of rising rap artists, which makes sense when you consider how closely the city's culture has been cultivated and expanded upon by hip-hop. Footwork and bopping were created in Chicago dance clubs and you can hear echoes of the homegrown electronic sounds of house music in modern hip-hop production. Whether you prefer throwback, soul-sampling beats or modern drill production, here are the top Chicago clubs and music venues where you can get your hip-hop fix.



Chicago's best hip-hop music venues
Photograph: David Miller

1. Beauty Bar

Clubs River West/West Town

After touring with Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, 107.5 WGCI DJ Timbuck2 passed away unexpected a few years ago, but the free DJ night he used to headline lives on at the Chicago outpost of Beauty Bar. Timbuck2uesdays brings together hip-hop DJs from all across the city and has been known to welcome some famous guests, including rappers like A$AP Rocky and Freddie Gibbs.

The Promontory
Photograph: Martha Williams

2. The Promontory

Restaurants American Hyde Park

While this Hyde Park restaurant and music venue may be best known for its hearth-cooked dishes and delicious brunch offerings, you'll also find hip-hop on the menu at the weekly Dolla Holla DJ night. The regular Thursday party brings in local selectors who spin hip-hop that corresponds to a changing theme, like old school, boom bap or trap. Elsewhere on the Promontory lineup, you'll find performances by legacy acts, including Kool Moe Dee (of hip-hop crew Treacherous Three) and Scarface.

James Atkins

3. East Room

Bars Cocktail bars Logan Square

This 4am bar in Logan Square is known for dance parties that last until the wee hours of the night, so it's no surprise that the club's soundtrack includes plenty of hip-hop. Chicago producer Stefan Ponce is a regular behind the decks and the monthly Aux Cord DJ night showcases playlists assembled by local rappers like Ric Wilson, Taylor Bennett and Joey Purp.

4. Bottom Lounge

Bars Lounges West Loop

Head past all of the fancy restaurants and cocktail bars in the West Loop and you'll find the Bottom Lounge, a non-descript music venue where you can play pinball in the front room or see rock, electronic and rap performers in the back. Hip-hop fans are well-served, with a mix of classic acts (J Rocc, Karriem Riggins) and rising talent (Brockhampton, Denzel Curry) filling out the Bottom Lounge's concert schedule.


5. Concord Music Hall

Music Music venues Logan Square

While EDM acts dominate the lineup at this former Hispanic nightclub in Logan Square, hip-hop definitely has a presence at the Concord Music Hall. Acts like Tyler, the Creator, SZA and Method Man have taken the stage here, often in conjunction with major music festivals like Lollapalooza, North Coast or Riot Fest. Arrive early so that you can get an elevated vantage in the back of the room—you'll have no problem hearing the music wherever you stand, but the sightlines at Concord are often pretty brutal.


6. Subterranean

Bars Cocktail bars Wicker Park

Indie and punk rock rules the stage upstairs at Subterranean, but downstairs in the bar, you'll find hip-hop every Tuesday night at the 606 Open Mic. MCs from across the city come to the Wicker Park venue to try out new verses, while onlookers throw back cheap beers. 


7. Reggies Rock Club

Music Rock and indie Near South Side

As its name suggests, Reggies is all about rock, whether that means metal, punk, garage, power-pop or hardcore show. However, it's also a popular venue for 17+ hip-hop concerts, featuring rising local acts and appearances by touring performers such as Kami and Cousin Stizz. Reggies is also one of the preferred venues of rap-loving Chicago promoters 1833 Presents, so keep an eye on the schedule for buzzed-about acts.


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