Southside Chicago is discussed in the media as a breeding ground for unfeeling black teenagers committing black-on-black crime; youths deemed worthy of the title “super predators,” so that they may be tried by 12 as adults. Drill music is their sound and their nihilism is entirely their own. The broad strokes of the media means that the actions of a few members of a community are indicative of an entire community, therefore drill is the Southside of Chicago and its inhabitants are all super predators. Do not go there, even in daylight.
And yet, Mykele Deville‘s “May I Exist?” asks a few simple questions:
May I exist?
Without protection, ohh..
Without your bullshit perceptions, ohh..
Not tryna be your reflection, ohh..
Just want to carve new directions, and go
Deville lives in Pilsen, a neighborhood in the Southside of Chicago. At a studio known as the Dojo, he makes black music for a community that is not afforded nuance. Like Chance the Rapper and Mick Jenkins, Deville denies the Ready To Die fatalism of drill by reminding those who find his music about the soul of the Windy City. This is the sound of Super Predator, a dynamic release of spoken word and liberation raps. Deville and Co. are alive and pushing through the sound with an energy that moves past the margins of the lo-fi sound. “Revolt” sounds like it was laid to a dusty four-track circa Rawkus in 1997. Deville and Jovan Landry rapping with an intensity that reflects the urgency of the battle cry. Elsewhere, Deville navigates the abstract and no wave-esque on “I Can’t Sleep @ Night”. From the outset of Hilary Clinton demanding we “bring them to heel,” Mykele Deville exists on his terms without apology and heels to no institution.