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The Forecast is a music series, hosted by sibling duo Rome J & Morgan Elise Johnson, which predicts the next wave of Chicago artists. This episode includes rappers Kidd Kenn and SoLo The Dweeb, and our featured artist, Chimeka.

It’s safe to say that Chimeka stays busy. At the time of this interview, the self-proclaimed “unicorn” rapper had just released her Cool EP, the first in her three-part mixtape series CrazySexyCool. Though her choice to drop Cool first was technically out of order, the video for its lead single, “Elevator Music,” emphasized her versatility as an artist.

Chimeka then followed up with a mini-movie for her second single, “Champagne Showers.” This song and visual speaks to Chimeka’s ever-growing creativity and vision for her artistry.

Next she recruited a crew of South Side creatives to form Don’t Do Coke, a marketing company determined to create a local industry and develop artists.

Now, the 29-year-old rapper and her Don’t Do Coke collective are gearing up to bring us Camp Smokey Bear, a one-day music festival in the South suburbs this Saturday. Curious about the one-day festival, I asked Chimeka what made her want to throw something like this to round out the summer.

“With Camp Smokey Bear, we want to create an idea of industry for our local artists, media and pretty much anyone in the entertainment field,” Chimeka explained. It’s also her way of helping develop new Chicago artists in an effort to keep them here.

“It’s almost like artist development because majority of Chicago is just winging it,” she continued. “This is why all Chicago artists leave home. No one is actually trying to create an industry for us here. So this was our first step of doing so.”

Visual proof that Chimeka can be whoever she wants to be – in whatever language!

Although Chimeka’s goals appear to be bigger than music, she’s still a rapper at heart. Formerly known as Chin Chilla Meek, Chimeka got her start around 2012. Because drill was the hottest sound coming out of Chicago at the time, music critics tossed her into the rap subgenre alongside female contemporaries such as Sasha Go Hard, Tink and Dreezy.

“But it was, like, everybody wasn’t drill in Chicago,” Chimeka said. “It wasn’t a sound that represented all of us.”

The Harvey native thought of herself as a lyrical rapper, one whose sound alternates between one whose sound alternates between hard and soft. Additionally, she didn’t like the stereotype that comes with being a female rapper from Chicago.

“If I wanted to wake up and throw a skirt on, being Chin Chilla Meek, people was going to be like, ‘What the fuck is she doing?’” Chimeka said. “I want people to be comfortable with the idea of women should not be confined to a specific look, or a specific anything. You wake up and you live how you want to live.”

That’s why she named her mixtape series CrazySexyCool. She’s currently planning on releasing the second installment, Sexy, after giving listeners a few months to digest the first EP. Essentially, there are many sides to being a woman, she said, and she’s unafraid to show the world each and every side at Camp Smokey Bear.


Chimeka will be heading the festival, welcoming the whole city – especially the South Side – to come party with her. From 2-10 PM this Saturday, the camp-themed festival will include a Food Truck Court, a game zone called “Game Land” and vendors from all across Chicagoland.

This episode’s On The Radar artists, Kidd Kenn and SoLo The Dweeb, are performing at Camp Smokey Bear as well. Other performers include rappers Asa Asa and J. Sprado, singer Chanelle Tru and more.

“Right now I’m just trying to get people to understand that I’m a unicorn and I can do whatever I want to,” Chimeka said.