Chicago rapper Roy Kinsey knows that Chicago is a hard-working, blue-collar town — and he brings that approach to his music.
Kinsey, who also works as a librarian, has turned heads in the past two years with the releases blackie: a story by roy kinsey and #MoreRoy.
He answered five questions about his Chicago history, and favorite local foods and venues.
What Chicago restaurant do you most crave?
Roy Kinsey: Taco El Jalisciense at Chicago and Grand. They have the best Mexican food in Chicago.
What was the last song you listened to?
Kinsey: It was some unreleased Roy Kinsey that’s going to be on my next album. … We listened to a lot of the new songs that are going to be on the next album, figuring things out, what we need to do to them, how we’re going to tighten them up.
What’s your favorite place to hide in Chicago?
Kinsey: I like to hide in a crowd. It could be a concert, it could just be downtown. Somewhere where I can look around and just get lost in that crowd.
What's your favorite TV theme song?
Kinsey: Totally typical… It’s gotta be The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
What's your favorite venue to play in Chicago?
Kinsey: My favorite venue to go to that I’m trying to play is Thalia Hall. But I did a few shows at Sleeping Village last year, which is a fairly new venue opened by the owners of The Whistler. And it’s just fantastic in there. Great vibe. The sound is wonderful, the room is intimate, it’s just great.
Could your story have happened anywhere besides Chicago?
People describe Chicago as this hardworking place, where there’s no BS. Anthony Bourdain said there’s no BS here. … Carl Sandburg said you’ve got to work, it’s not really a talking town. And I like to think I use a lot of that approach with my music. My music is to be experienced. It’s to be heard, it’s not to be told about.
WARNING: This video contains explicit content and language.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Press play above to hear Jenn White’s interview with Kinsey from WBEZ’s The Morning Shift.