Photos courtesy of Jimmy Fontaine
As soon as the world started to forget where it all started, the DCG Brothers emerged to remind us all once again which city wears the crown for Drill music.
With a majority of hip-hop being very territorial — holding tons of emphasis on where artists are from — Chicago can never be ignored for its massive impact; not only in rap music, but music as a whole. Dating back to its house music days, Chicago is and has always been known to bring people together through the power of music. As times evolved, music started to change, and Chicago would birth one of the biggest genres in rap music ever: The Drill scene.
Originating in the early 2010s, Drill would soon become one of the most impactful genres that the rap game has ever seen, due to its dark and gritty lyricism, heavy-hitting 808s and authentic bars coming from many acts surrounded by and in the streets of Chicago. Seeing nothing but this raw and uncut nature, it took the world by storm, as the genre brought forth a slew of Chicago drill wordsmiths such as Lil Durk, G Herbo, Fredo Santana (may he Rest In Peace), and the legendary, Chief Keef.
As time progressed, other cities started to construct their own form of Drill music. Atlanta started to progress into a rejuvenated form of Trap music, which is essentially rapping about life coming up in the hood. New York Drill started to become popular a few years back with the rise of Pop Smoke (RIP), and now being led by others such as Fivio Foreign and Kay Flock. The United Kingdom even has its own form of Drill music, which all stems back to the scene that Chicago birthed back in 2012. As time went on, it appeared that the Chicago scene was slowly beginning to fade away when it came to drill music.
Now in 2022, music is blessed with a brand new wave of artists emerging out of Chi-Town. By far, one of the leaders of the next generation of Drill music would be none other than the DCG Brothers. Bsavv and Shun coming together as a unit was one of the best things that Chicago has seen since the initial burst of Drill rappers back in 2012. With those leaders such as Chief Keef, Durk, and G Herbo still active in the game, it’s been amazing to see the passing of the torch as these newcomers begin their rise to fame in the city’s soundscape — revisiting and evolving the scene that took the world by storm a decade ago.
Still basking in the success of their debut album Jungle Life, and their killer performance at Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash festival, the DCG brothers sat down with Our Generation Music to discuss their early life in Chicago, their inspirations in music, their creative process, the evolution of drill music and much more.
Read our entire conversation and be sure to check out their latest album ‘Jungle Life’ below!
LM: Tell me about your early beginnings in life and what life was like for you both as kids coming up on the Westside of Chicago.
BSavv: “Coming up in the city, it was rough, but we always made the best of it. We made it fun. Before the Drill music scene really popped off in the city, we had fun music, like dancing, footworking and “boppin’” music. We enjoyed it.”
LM: Before you started making music, what did you both think your career was going to be?
Bsavv: “To be honest, I don’t even know, man. I ain’t really play no sports like that; I was in the streets for real [laughs]. I always thought about being a rapper though. That was the one thing that I would always look forward to if I ever wanted to stop being in the streets, which is to become a rapper.”
LM: At what point did you realize that rap was working for you both?
Bsavv: “When I started rapping with my brother Shun. Once we started rapping together, I saw him starting to take it seriously and that made me want to start taking it seriously. I always felt like we coil be unstoppable together and become a dynamic duo. So once we both locked in together, that’s what made it real.”
LM: Who were some of the artists you were inspired by that made you want to make music?
Bsavv: “Chief Keef. Lil Wayne. Lil Durk. G Herbo. That’s about it for me.”
Shun: “It’s the same for me as well. Around that era, that’s when the Drill scene started to take off. I was maybe ten years old when it really took off. So as I was transitioning into a teenager, that’s what was really going on in the city so I felt their music the most. A lot of people get to naming names of people they’re inspired by and they don’t even really feel the music for real.”
Bsavv: “When I was young and coming up, I would watch Chief Keef doing his thing from music and making money from it. When you’re young, you wanna have a lot of money and live that life so the fact that I saw Chief Keef really make it off of music, inspired me to really go crazy with it.”
LM: With you two being brothers, what is that dynamic like? How does it feel to be making music with your brother?
Bsavv: “It feels like a dream come true. I feel like I couldn’t do it with anyone else but my brother. It makes it special for me because it’s authentic. We both hold each other accountable with this music shit for real. I wouldn’t hop on a song and rap about something I don’t have because my brother is with me and we both know each other’s life, so we want to keep it authentic as possible. We live the same life; we’re blood brothers.”
LM: Seeing so many stars come out of Chicago at that time, did that give you more hope that you could one day be one of the next stars to come out of Chicago?
Bsavv: “It gave me a lot of hope, for real. When they all came out around that time, it seemed like they all blew up together, so we trying to make that happen again. It’s a lot of underground artists making noise in the city right now. We got PGF Nuk, us of course, Big Kay Beezy, Shoebox Baby, it’s a lot of us coming up right now and we are all connected.”
LM: The Chicago music scene has been pushing out a bunch of stars lately; how does it feel to be amongst those new stars ten years after the drill wave started back in 2012?
Bsavv: “It feels really good, honestly. After Keef, Durk and them blew up, we didn’t really know who was gonna bring that drill light back to Chicago and be the next to blow. We started taking it seriously and now DCG is making a name for ourselves. Nuk just started going crazy too so now he making a name for himself too. It feels good that we’re grabbing the new culture’s attention and the old culture’s attention too of people that compare our styles to the old wave of Drill rappers from Chicago.”
LM: Being from Chicago, do you think it made it easier or harder for you to blow up and get your music heard?
Shun: “Honestly, bro, I don’t know if it was easier or harder, I think our story is what made it happen faster for us. I feel like there are a lot of artists in Chicago that may have tried and failed, but maybe it just wasn’t authentic enough. For DCG, we have a real story. We brought that fun back to the Drill scene. It wasn’t just all shoot-’em-up, killing type of shit, you know? Also, we’re likable, so that made it easier for people to adapt to our music and our lifestyle.”
LM: What is one thing that you think the Chicago music scene is missing or could benefit from?
Bsavv: “We need to see more of what PGF Nuk and DCG are about to do; collaborating. We need to see more collaborations among different artists in the city. A lot of artists get hot in the city, and then they go to New York or L.A and go work with those artists and then they forget about the artists here in Chicago. There’s nothing wrong with that because we work with other artists from other cities as well, but I will always rock with Chicago hard.”
“A lot of the times, there’s artists who don’t collaborate with artists from Chicago because it’s a lot going on out here, so if we had more artists that make it big from the city come back and hop on some remixes and collaborate with the new generation, we can keep that light held on the city. This tape that we’re working on with Nuk, it’s gonna be a lot of big names from Chicago as well as some of the up-and-coming rappers from Chicago. We wanna bring back that collaborative aspect to the music scene in Chicago.”
LM: What is your creative process like in the studio?
Bsavv: “We do have our own personal producer, his name is Spank Onna Beat. Whenever we’re in Chicago, we just hit Spank up and it’s like a regular routine. We tell him what type of vibe we’re feeling, whether that be a Drill vibe or something for the females, or anything. He knows our original sound so he already knows how to get us right. We go through a ton of beats; I’ll pick three beats and Shun will pick three and we just go through them and knock ‘em out, just like that.”
“As far as the vibe in the studio, whenever we’re in Chicago, we like to bring all the guys with us and have a bunch of people in the studio and we make that turnt music. We make that real Drill music. When we’re in L.A, we like to be solo. Our A&R, our team, our manager, our producers, we have them in the studio when we really trying to make some different shit.”
LM: You guys released your debut album Jungle Life back in April. Tell me about the title and the inspiration behind the album?
Bsavv: “Where we grew up, it’s kind of like a real jungle in Chicago. We named the album Jungle Life for everybody that lives in a real jungle, not just our jungle. In our hood, we really feel like there are a bunch of different animals in it. We got some lions and some snakes. Gorillas. We’re referring to these animals as different types of people in Chicago. For the cover, we wanted to channel that old school, Master P, Three 6 Mafia-style on the cover ‘cause we really are some old souls at heart.”
LM: Which songs on that album mean the most to you and why?
Shun: “I would say ‘Jungle Life’ means the most to me on the album because a lot of people didn’t believe in that song, and now it’s one of the most streamed songs on the album. That was one of the last songs we turned in before the album came out too.”
Bsavv: “I would definitely say “Buss It” and “Stomp” with G Herbo. We held onto those songs for so long so it was amazing to finally see those songs get released.”
LM: While a lot of people may classify your music as Drill, I think that it’s beyond that because you both can adapt to any beat. How do you guys keep your music sounding so fresh and evolving past that typical “drill” sound?
Bsavv: “The people around us, we all graduate as a team so we were not stuck just doing the same thing over and over, you know? We figure it out, we master what we do, and then we move on to the next thing. We’re beyond Drill now because that’s not the only music we make. We knew that if we wanted to evolve and last longer in the game as artists then we would have to master different sounds, and that’s what we’re doing.”
LM: Outside of making music, what other ventures are you looking forward to participating in?
Bsavv: “A bunch of things. Acting, entrepreneurship, ownership. We really wanna open something up. Maybe a hair salon or a barber shop, you know? We really wanna get into acting; we can definitely act our ass off. We have small little cameos in the Chicago comedian’s videos like Korporate and SkinBone.”
LM: When it’s all said and done, what do you want the world to remember you for?
Bsavv: “We want the world to always remember the dynamic duo DCG. It’s a trio too, shout out Msavv. We want them to know we’re the next biggest thing after the Migos. We will be the next biggest thing closest to the Migos. We want the world to remember that if we can do it, you can too. We’re from Chicago, you know. We wanna give hope to those people who think they can’t do it. It won’t be easy, but you can do it.”