(AllHipHop Features) The Chicago Hip Hop Renaissance is in full effect. Artists from across the city are making waves beyond Cook County. Hailing from Southwest Chicago’s LeClaire Courts housing projects, Veto Vangundy is one of those emcees presenting a fresh voice to Chitown’s growing Hip Hop scene.
Vangundy’s brand of rap is not solely defined by the Drill Music sound the Chi has become known for over the last few years. He brings a style more reflective of his musical influences 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, and Jadakiss - a throwback to 90’s era Hip Hop with a 21st Century twist. This approach is best represented in his latest Wu-Tang Clan inspired buzz single “Keep It Wu.”
Vangundy was introduced to Hip Hop culture at the age of seven by his older brother Leon. Van later began writing his own rhymes. Seeing the potential in his little bro, Leon christened him with the name Veto.
Sadly, Leon lost his life to the streets, but Veto used that tragic experience to drive his mission of becoming a premier rap artist. He tacked on the name Vangundy (symbolizing orchestrating the offense à la the NBA’s coaching Van Gundy brothers) and helped establish the independent-minded Lifestyle Creative Music Group (LCMG) featuring rappers, singers, and promoters from his neighborhood.
One of Vangundy’s local associates eventually hooked him up with the well established 1500 or Nothin production collective. 1500, along with other producers, provided beats for Veto’s 2012 mixtape From Pain 2 Glory. Van is now on the verge of releasing his studio album The Last Hope later this month.
Get familiar with Chicago’s Veto Vangundy in AllHipHop.com’s “5 & Done” interview series.
How did the death of your brother motivate you to pursue rapping?
From that point, I knew I had to do something different with my life, because I could have went out the same way. That was a wake up call coming from where I’m from, seeing my mother lose her son. I wanted to do something better with my life to make sure I’m straight.
When I saw that, I took it as a wake up call. My grandmother told me everything happens for a reason. I never looked back from that. I knew he wanted me to rap because he gave me the name Veto, so I had to move forward and do something positive. I chose rap. I chose to go full-time with it.
What inspired you to create the Wu-Tang Clan homage track “Keep It Wu”?
It was produced by Bolo Da Producer from Atlanta, and when I heard it I instantly fell in love with it. I knew it was the “Ice Cream” sample, so I felt it was only right to call the song “Keep It Wu” because it was a Wu-Tang track. I felt like it was needed. Especially coming from Chicago where all you hear is Drill Music right now.
I wanted to show people we really can rap over here, and there are people with substance and positive messages. So I took the sample track from “Ice Cream,” and I put a 90’s flavor on it. I just called it “Keep It Wu” to rap it up. It was only right to pay homage to them.
You opened the song by saying you’re not like other Chicago rappers. You mentioned Lil Bibby, Lil Durk, Vic Mensa, and Chance The Rapper. What do you feel separates you from some of these other new acts coming out of the city?
Substance. I give you the pros and cons. It ain’t always good. I give you bad. I pitch it right down the middle. You listen to Durk, he has more of a Drill sound. You listen to Chance, he got a more melodic sound. Me, I’m like the perfect balance. I’m straight down the middle.
And that wasn’t no diss toward them. That was just saying look all them rappers, and look at how they’re so different. That’s how much Chicago has to offer. Listen to Durk, Bibby, Vic, and Chance, and listen to me. I sound nothing like them. That means Chicago has an industry to itself. You're never going to know what you’re going to get from Chicago. That’s basically what I was saying.
And by them being at the forefront of Chicago, it was only right that I said them. That’s what people see, so I had to let you know I’m not them. I’m coming with a different sound.
I saw you posted on Instagram that you got the chance to speak with Raekwon. What did he say about the song?
I sent him the song, but it was really just a conversation about some business. He didn’t hear the song yet. Somebody put me on the phone with him, because they wanted him to holler at me.
He was a humble dude. He was one of the coolest guys I ever talk to this industry that got 20 years [in the business]. He didn’t hear the song yet. I was sending it to him trying to do a remix.
What do you hope to get out of Hip Hop?
I want people to know that I would love to be wealthy to provide for my family, but at the end of the day I want the respect. I want to be one of the best to do it. I’m trying to write a chapter in Hip Hop history. When I leave this earth, I want my fans in the Hip Hop community to tell my daughter your father was a legend. It’s not about the money or fame. I really do want to go down as one of the best.
Veto is headed out on the 5-city “Coast 2 Coast Live” Tour beginning September 21 in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information check out the flyer below.