Chicago lyricists, and Flight Night Alum Daylight Tone and Joel Q each released potent new EPs last Friday. For Tone, fiery and up-tempo two-pack Two Tone marks his first drop of 2022. Joel Q continued a prolific run of new music this year with his Friday release Love, My N*gga.
The new drops come five months after Daylight Tone and Joel Q performed alongside Kota the Friend at Metro Chicago, April 29th 2022. Both artists display their limitless potential on the new releases, with Chicago once again turning out an abundance of gifted, driven independent emcees.
A quick-hitting project, with serious bounce, Daylight Tone’s two track offering Two Tone does not disappoint. Leading off with a certified banger, Money Counter leans into a bass heavy beat driven forward with a haunting guitar melody. Tone delivers, with his hallmark nonchalant delivery, and clever bars. The message in this one is clear – Daylight Tone is about his paper, and won’t be led off course by any distractions that will stop him from getting it. “If the deal for a 100 than throw me a millie to break off my homies b*tch I’m getting cash/I’m lifting my city, not chasing bad biddies, I don’t want your number, hoe I want a bag.”
Tone separates himself from the competition with his dynamic mic presence on Money Counter. Simultaneously hard and playful, he purposefully drags his bars at times, creating a tension and humor that allow a listener to easily react to each line.
Track two, EnMaiWay offers another side of Tone. He employs a more chill, instrumental, albeit with similarly heavy 808s. EnMaiWay is a masterclass in presenting varied vocal styles all in the fabric of a single track. From well executed harmonies, to a near-screamo part section, to perfectly placed adlibs, Tone creates vivid soundscapes on a track with real punch.
EnMaiWay is a cohesive joint from a lyrical perspective as well, with some truly impactful bars. One of our favorite segments of the track highlights that. “I’m from the lane ain’t no running your mouth or looking for clout/was stuck in my head, I’m out of the drought/addicted to winning sh*t I’m losing count.” Overall, Two Tone is a superb representation of Daylight Tone’s in your face style, and huge upside.
A self-proclaimed “290 baby”, Daylight Tone was born and raised in Westside Chicago. He embodies the soul of his neighborhood; grit and big energy radiate from his tracks. Tone favors beats that flip jazz and soul samples, melding them into heavy hitting, classic sounding instrumentals. Clearly, his comfort zone is boom bap beats, that pave the way for his heady, lyrical style. However, Daylight Tone is adaptive enough to experiment with more energetic, heavy-hitting instrumentals.
Joel Q wasted no time building on that momentum, with his acute, thoughtful new EP Love, My N*gga. As always, Q paints a picture of hope in spite of the hardship life presents. Off the top, track one The Other Side outlines a landscape ripe with police brutality, low paying jobs, and personal loss. Despite these afflictions, Q states that his voice, his pen game, are the instruments that can make real change.
Never Lose and Hustlin’ serve as exclamation points on the type of motivational tracks Q has become known for. This side of Joel Q is truly inspiring, providing his people with encouragement to overcome challenging circumstances. The method Q suggests is simple: find the drive within yourself to be successful, and ride that to the top. These bars from Never Lose suggest exactly that. “I’m just the difference from n*ggas who look at it easy, I’d rather take flights of the stairs./Heart of a lion, but humble as sheep, get with the people and follow my lead.”
Throughout the project, Q links his potent verses with melodic hooks. In the time we’ve been following the Windy City lyricist, we’ve noticed great growth in his hook making ability. This development certainly has the potential to propel his career to new heights.
The last two tracks, Sunday Service and the title track Love, My N*gga use poignant soul samples to set the stage for Q’s contemplative lyricism. Joel Q’s ability to seamlessly pair instrumentals with appropriately emotional delivery is undoubtedly his superpower.
Joel Q is from the Roseland/West Pullman area of Southside Chicago. He very much fits and expands the mold of some of his city’s most celebrated acts. Q’s crystal-clear vocals, and smooth delivery allow a listener to appreciate his advanced storytelling and wordplay. Socially aware, specific, but never self-important, he weaves intricate tapestries of his city, experiences and hopes for community growth.
Daylight Tone and Joel Q have once again proven the limitless talent of Chicago’s underground. Stay tapped in with Today’s Hip Hop, as we will continue to follow these two artist’s burgeoning careers.