Chicago’s Knox Fortune has spent the summer touring as Joey Purp’s DJ, whipping festival crowds into frenzies and garnering rave reviews from music industry insiders and concert goers alike. The musician’s party-starting ability is in line with his production work for Purp, Vic Mensa, Towkio, Kami, TheMIND, and other Chicago rap scene mainstays, as well as his most high-profile feature to date, a vocal turn on Chance The Rapper’s “All Night.”
But as a recently-minted solo artist, Knox taps into an entirely different skill set altogether. Following what seemed like a one-off debut track last year, “Seaglass,” the producer has been gearing up for a debut solo project, dropping off a series of intriguing tracks verging on virtuosic. It all began with “Help Myself,” a psychedelic, shape-shifting track shared back in April. May’s “Torture” traded the ‘60s ideology for expansive synth textures of the ‘80s, but stuck with the horns and reverby vocals that keep Fortune’s warm, trippy factor intact.
The latest is “Lil Thing,” Knox’s first single-worthy track, released with a video to match. Contrasting with the other two album cuts, it doesn’t feature any substantial changes, tempo shifts, or instrumental noodling, instead coasting by like a laconic skater on a summer day. “Lil Thing” is Fortune’s closest attempt at a traditional “hip hop beat,” with his most straightforward hook, and the catchiest melody to boot, giving the track a Toro Y Moi vibe at times. Put “Lil Thing” on your August playlist, roadtrip mixtape, or just click the repeat for the rest of the summer, you won't regret it.
The video is a perfect complement to the warm weather track, it’s pastel, slightly washed out hues acting as a perfect visual representation of summertime Chi humidity. We don’t have official news about his debut yet, but based on a few Knox tweets, we can tentatively confirm the existence of the producer’s first solo album. Stay tuned for more from Chicago’s most interesting newcomer.