*The Forecast is a music series predicting the next wave of Chicago artists to shake up the scene. This episode includes rappers Tae Hunna, Valee and our feature artist, Julian Love. 

Julian Love is on a mission to be the antithesis to Drill.

That’s why the East Side rapper dropped his original stage name, Carerra Kool, while taking a hiatus from the hip-hop quartet, Dope Fantasy, to create a solo debut more true to his heart.

It’s entitled Fillet; a play on the mispronunciation of the French word. He released the project in the wee hours of April 5th, his birthday, before going to his full-time IT job at Empire Today (yes, the Chicago-area carpet company).

“If someone put that word in front of me when I was young, I would say, ‘feel-it,'” Love says about the EP title. “Some of these songs are very new and some very old. You could never tell, though.  You’re going to run into different genres of music. I took a different approach and did it my way.”

The lead single is the uptempo “Crazy,” a cute ode to the girl who’s caught Love’s eye. Producers on the 14-track lineup include C-Sick, Sango and 808 Louie.

“I don’t call it an album or a mixtape. I call it an experience. That’s really all it is,” Love says. “I created a trailer with no words and it got 7,000 views [on Facebook] in six days. For me to be recreating myself as an artist and putting something out for the first time, this is huge to me.”

Love’s interest in music started early – writing poetry to girls he liked in fifth grade. Eventually, his rhymes turned into raps in high school. “I was one of those battle rappers,” Love adds. “I never lost a battle.”

He also danced in the footwork crew, Terror Squad. Rapping didn’t become a serious thing for Love until 2011 when the violence-laced Drill scene began to make waves. 

“Since I come from a city of hate, I feel that pushing love is a good thing,” Love says. “I want people to realize that there is more styles of music coming out of Chicago than what’s been coming out for the last two summers. I want people to know they can be themselves.”

Watch The Forecast (above) to see why Julian Love is next up in Chicago. Then, listen to Fillet below.

Words by Tiffany Walden