The Future of Hip-Hop is Woven into its Past: An Interview with Chicago Artist FURY

The Future of Hip-Hop is Woven into its Past: An Interview with Chicago Artist FURY

By Sondra Morris

Fury

It’s not uncommon to come across an artist who’s lyricism reveals vulnerability with the candor of a diary, yet Chicago hip-hop artist FURY manages to do so on her own terms. FURY stands out from contemporary mainstream hip-hop with her positive message, live band, and dedication to the old school 90s hip-hop sound. She agreed to talk to The 26 to discuss her stand-out brand of music and upcoming album, Black Magic.

A child of the 90s, FURY grew up listening to hip-hop legends Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, Tupac, and Eve. Though she listens to many genres, she claims that hip-hop spoke to her more as she grew older. Now, over ten years after becoming a hip-hop artist herself, FURY explains that one of the aspects that make 90s hip-hop so meaningful is the ability to “hear the love” in the music of female artists of the time. She elaborates, “In songs like ‘Ladies First’ and ‘Black Reign’ I heard Queen Latifah trying to educate me, teach me, and guide me so I didn’t go down the wrong path. I feel like that’s what we need once again. Hip-hop is there: you know, it was it’s brother’s keeper. That’s what we need to get back to.”

“Writing has become a way for FURY to dig past the anger she feels in life.”

As a mother, FURY is dedicated to showing her daughter how good hip-hop can be. “There are female artists who have a different voice than those of women in mainstream hip-hop right now,” she points out. When telling others about her music as she started out, she’d frequently say, “I’m a rapper but not like Nicki Minaj.” She goes on to explain, “Contemporary female artists in hip-hop tend to focus on using men and their music is hyper-sexualized.” FURY’s aim is to remind female fans of hip-hop that, “We are strong. We are fighters. We are loving. We are not all about taking men’s money.”

FURY describes her new album, Black Magic, as “focusing on the journey of being a black woman in America.” Songs cover a host of topics, including relationships, misogyny, self-hatred, the struggle to find one’s identity, the journey to take back one’s power, and the decision to be true to one’s self. “It’s hard to be a person of color in America,” FURY posits, “but it’s harder to be a black woman. It’s hard to have our own voice without people trying to step on our toes everywhere we go.”

Writing has become a way for FURY to dig past the anger she feels in life and investigate the underlying emotions of grief, sadness, loneliness, and fear. She explains, “anger can be made public so people don’t take advantage of the deeper emotions.” Performing gives FURY an outlet to channel anger in a positive way. In fact, her stage name was partly inspired by someone commenting on how “mad” she sounds while performing. “I heard it,” she agrees, “and I looked for a name that reflected that.”

In talking about the positive power of hip-hop, it becomes clear that FURY is a shining example of power in music. For over a year, she’s curated and arranged an event, Queendom Come, every 2-3 months to showcase women in hip-hop. Before that, she put on the event “Ladies First,” a program with the same goal which helped her connect with other women in the industry. FURY also makes an effort to remain visible in and support the local Chicago LGBTQ+ community. As a proud member of the community, she participates in pride events and is glad to represent by being herself.

“FURY didn’t let past partners get in the way of her dreams.”

As the conversation shifts to relationships, we discuss “Never Shoulda Count Me Out,” a passionate stand-out track on Black Magic. FURY explains that the song is about a romantic partner who didn’t believe in her goals and aimed to dim her shine as her hip-hop career grew faster than his. “I focused on men in this song because I’ve been in lots of relationships like that with men,” she tells me. It was the easiest song for her to write for the album and she listens to it whenever she feels down or doubtful. She says, “The message of the song is that just because they [romantic partners] don’t see your vision, you shouldn’t stop seeing it. The worst thing you could do is count yourself out.”

Luckily for her fans, FURY didn’t let past partners get in the way of her dreams. People are connecting to her music, she’s building the career she wants, and she is delivering the messages she believes young women need to hear. When asked about her professional struggles, FURY explains the importance of sharing underground artists. “Streaming sites don’t pay artists what they deserve, but they do allow lovers of classic hip-hop to find newer artists in the same vein. If you can’t afford to purchase, share the album.” She informs me that companies, labels, and the people that book her all look at her crowd engagement when making decisions, so a simple follow on Spotify, Instagram, or her Facebook page makes a difference. “I can’t compete with a major label as far as marketing,” she explains, “but if people demand my music and share it, there’ll be more of it.”

Connect with FURY at www.FURYhiphop.com. Black Magic is available for purchase at Bandcamp and iTunes.

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