Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records releases “Good Company” EP
One of the freshest voices in Twin Cities hip hop gets a formal introduction
Yes, that’s his real name. And no, you don’t have to kick him out of the club; he’s on the bill. What Chantz Erolin lacks in age, he more than makes up for in experience. At just 18 years old, he’s been a part of the Twin Cities hip hop scene for a very long time, performing at Yo! The Movement events, winning battles, rocking the stage at Soundset 2009 with new label-mate Guante and playing alongside artists like MC Lyte, Naughty by Nature, I Self Devine, Brother Ali and many more. Over the past few years, you may have seen him sneaking into a 21+ Big Quarters show, ciphering outside South High or winning a youth poetry slam.
Wherever you saw him, though, the odds are good that he won you over. As an emcee, Chantz sticks out from the crowd with a biting, intelligent sense of humor, nuanced political savvy and songwriting skills that put most other punchline-oriented rappers to shame. Describing one of his performances, City Pages said: “[Chantz] gave off an infectious energy and suggested his age with goofy asides while belying it with noticeable displays of versatility.”
And nowhere is that energy, versatility and… goofiness more evident than on his debut EP, “Good Company.” Featuring production by one of the best young beat-makers in the country (Cory Grindberg of Audio Perm), the EP is a brief collection of guitar-driven hip hop tracks “about friends, fashion’s guts, hunger, home, race and family,” as Chantz says. Featuring laugh-out-loud punchlines, touching meditations on identity and relationships, and lots of poetic details, “Good Company” is the perfect introduction to one of the Twin Cities freshest voices. Rising indie label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records recognized this, and will be re-releasing the EP in preparation for a future full-length.
Though he was born in Los Angeles, Chantz is very much a product of the Twin Cities hip hop scene. At times, you can hear flashes of other artists in his flow: Big Zach’s drawl, Slug’s confidence, Big Quarters’ down-home realness. But Chantz also manages to transcend his peers and influences by focusing on his own story and offering something new. If “Good Company” is any indication, TC rap is in very good hands. ‘Good Company’ will be re-released on November 10th.