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Taylor Bennett's New Mixtape Is Another Step Towards The Mainstream

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on May 5, 2014 8:30PM

2014_05_taylorbennett.jpg Yesterday marked the release of local rapper Taylor Bennett's second mixtape Mainstream Music. Just to clear the air: Yes, Taylor is the younger brother of Chance the Rapper. Yes, Taylor is on the same free mixtape path his old brother found fame with. Whether or not Mainstream Music reaps Taylor the same sophomore release success as Chance's Acid Rap remains to be seen.

Ironically, despite the mixtape's title, Taylor Bennett's new music is more in tune with Chicago's streets than anything you'll hear on mainstream radio today. That's thanks in part to a string of guest appearances that run the gamut of Chicago's young rap scene including King Louie, Lil Herb, Spenzo and Rockie Fresh.

Mainstream Music is more hungry and buckwild than anything we've heard from Bennett in the past. Songs like "Creme Brûlée" and "Right Now" take influence from Chicago's drill music scene but the mixtape's standout track "New Chevy" has enough catchiness to be Chicago's smash hit of the summer.

Bennett clearly prides himself on being a hyper-lyrical hip hop artist but at times it feels like he's biting off more than he can chew. "Hope" suffers from his attempts to fit too many syllables into the song. However, he proves he can display just the right amount of self control on the aforementioned "New Chevy."

When it comes to Mainstream Music you're getting what you'd expect if you've been following the younger Bennett's career: A maturing artist with raw talent and varying influences, honing his ability find the balance between bringing raucous energy to his tracks and showing restraint in the studio. With a little more experience, Bennett could easily be the next Chicago rapper ready to move up to the big leagues.

You can download the free mixtape here and catch Bennett at Lincoln Hall on May 24 to celebrate the release of Mainstream Music.