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Video Premiere: Get To Know Chicago Rapper Nick Astro

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 1, 2014 4:00PM

Photo courtesy of Nick Astro and Side By Side PR

Chicago's rap scene had its breakout year in 2013 as critically acclaimed releases, high profile collaborations and a handful of documentaries focusing on local artists made the Windy City the focal point of the genre. This year wasn't quite as high profile but there were still some successes. Drill evolved into the poppier, less morally jarring bop style and ambitious MCs capable of taking the lyrical game continuously to new levels popped up across the city on what seemed like a weekly basis.

As the clock ticks down on another year of releases, another name is starting to rise to the top of the blogosphere. Nick Astro's latest single "Ribbon In The Sky" caught the attention of the likes of FakeShore Drive and caused almost instant anticipation for his eight-track EP Listen To New Music, out in early 2015.

Most important, local backpack rappers like Astro continue to prove that hip hop artists don't fit the molds of previous generations. Astro, a high school speech team member and Columbia College film school graduate, is more concerned with spreading his quick-witted raps and building on his crafts than he is with building street cred. Like rappers who've made noise on a local and national level without a traditional sound—ProbCause, Fluffy, Chance The Rapper and Donnie Trumpet's Social Experiment band—Astro need not worry about having the "right" image when he brings this much talent to his tracks.

Since graduating from Columbia in May, Astro's been pursing his music career full time. With the new EP on the way, Astro is introducing himself to new fans with a short documentary film on his career so far. Filmed and edited over dozens of hours by fellow Columbia graduate Vincenzo Anastasia and Astro himself, "Circle of Life" highlights some of Astro's biggest shows like his main stage performance at Columbia's Manifest (a growing hotbed for local artists about to blow up) and his dogged positivity.

"When I was editing all of that footage that Vincenzo shot of me I saw how happy and positive of a person I am," Astro told us prior to the video debut. "I think it's because I understand the most important things in life are family and knowing who you are. I have all of that. I'm wealthy in that sense. I'm blessed and I want to share that happiness."

Take note of Astro's relentless smile throughout the short film. It's one we expect to see a lot more of in the coming months.

Catch Nick Astro live at Schubas on Dec. 17. Tickets are an easy $5 in advance.