Chicago’s Mother Nature aims to ‘disrupt’ monotony heard on mainstream radio airwaves
Amid a cosign from a prominent member of Chicago’s indie music scene, the University of Illinois alumnae say their music fits in with the times.
Chicago rap duo Mother Nature believes in timing — and one of their latest singles, “Momentz,” aims to be the vehicle to get their brand of hip-hop recognized by audiences who want more than the average content heard via mainstream radio.
“‘Momentz’ is a reintroduction for Mother Nature in Chicago,” said TRUTH, one-half of the successful duo. “We wanted this project to be something that allowed us to shine as MCs, as well as disrupt the monotony that we see going on right now; a lot of things being regurgitated through the airwaves. We wanted to bring that boom-bap, straight hip-hop ’90s feel while still again just tapping into the consciousness of what’s going on right now. I think ‘Momentz’ gives us that first peek into that window and allows us to understand a little bit deeper about what we bring to the table of who we are.
“Getting back to the essence of what we bring, which is real MCing; something that you can play that’s gonna allow you just to move, think, and have fun.”
Mother Nature, which consists of longtime friends — University of Illinois classmates Klevah and TRUTH — plans to strike while the iron is hot via “Boom-bap,” a hip-hop sub-genre popularized by 1980s and ’90s East Coast rappers.
Buffalo, New York, rap trio Griselda — Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Benny the Butcher — are proving that the subgenre continues to resonate with audiences.
“Mother Nature is everything that you didn’t expect — that you didn’t know that you needed,” says TRUTH. “It’s a mix between giving you the medicine and turning up the party at the same time. Definitely something that is a mix between allowing you to feel, as well as pushing you on your journey.”
The duo (who’ve opened up for Run the Jewels, Cupcakke, and Ty Dolla $ign) will release “SZNZ,” on April 20, a 15-track mixtape with features from Valee, The Cool Kids’ Sir Michael Rocks, and Brittney Carter, among others.
Klevah says Mother Nature’s message in their music is “intentional,” as the duo believes the music dictates their place in curating context amid social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s why we got to break s- - - down to build it up, and that’s our approach when we come on records like: ‘Nah, y’all lying or not giving the full scope of you can give,” said Klevah. “That’s what we try to offer to our audience — radical honesty.
“It’s the natural order of things. The world is getting one conscience, and Chicago is getting one conscience for sure. … There’s definitely a need for Mother Nature in both the music sense and in the sense of bringing people back to nature, and a slower pace. Bringing people back to understanding and taking care of each other.”
Mother Nature’s brand of hip-hop garnered them a cosign from singer/poet Jamila Woods, whom they got to know by attending shows — a relationship that evolved into mentorship, and their signing with Chicago-based, independent record label Closed Sessions.
“In the hip-hop industry, I’m definitely gonna trust a Black girl over anybody,” said Klevah. “Her sisterhood, having that recommendation, and having that trust within definitely secured the situation. I don’t know if we would have gone with it if we didn’t have that extra, Black girl voice say: ‘Yeah, that’s cool. Y’all could do that.’ ”
While Mother Nature achieves followers, cosigns, and critical acclaim, their advocacy is where they want to make a difference via “The Miseducation of Hip-Hop,” their nonprofit organization rooted in mental health, entrepreneurship and community.
“We know what hip-hop has done for us as adults — and growing up, what if we had [Mother Nature] when we were young?,” said TRUTH. “Someone showing us the important pillars of hip-hop, what it’s really about, what you can do with it, and how far it can take you. … It has allowed us to take our hip-hop influence in a whole new direction.”
And what should fans expect to hear from Mother Nature in the future?
Klevah says to expect a well-thought-out project detailing the nuances of creating music during a pandemic.
“It’s just a mixtape; it definitely has elements of an album,” said Klevah. “We got in the studio a couple more times and made a couple more joints that we thought we didn’t need, but we needed one there. And before you know it, we have one of the most solid projects we’ve ever created together.”