The Chicago hip-hop label Closed Sessions is best known for introducing the world to Jamila Woods and Kweku Collins. Before that, the label emerged out of the blog-rap world, with co-founder Alexander “DJ RTC” Fruchter — who ran the blog Ruby Hornet at the time — inviting online stars like Curren$y to rap alongside him in the DJ booth at parties before hitting the studio. In the decade since, Closed Sessions has become a key player in the Chicago rap scene, in addition to releasing a series of compilations featuring those guests from out of town.
Today they’re announcing another one. Out later this year, Closed Sessions Vol. 3 will feature Kemba, Kipp Stone, Mother Nature, ShowYouSuck, Khary, Dave B. Its lead single, “Whiskey And Push-Ups,” is produced by BoatHouse and fronted by LA-based Chicago native Open Mike Eagle, fresh off the first season of his Comedy Central series The New Negroes and his excellent What Happens When I Try To Relax, one of my favorite EPs in recent memory. According to Bandcamp, the new song was recorded “during Chicago’s polar vortex of 2019.”
Some background from DJ RTC himself:
We did our first ‘closed session’ in July of 2009 with Curren$y (“Rapper Weed”). We didn’t know what we had, but we knew we had something. We established ourselves by putting great artists in the studio and then getting out of their way as they create. From 2009-2012, we released 3 compilations of music and documentaries featuring some of Hip Hop’s most exciting new artists. We pivoted a bit after to focus on building a more traditional label, but the foundation has always been those intimate sessions and experiences. To commemorate our 10-year anniversary, we wanted to get back to our roots, have some fun, and invite new and exciting artists to participate. The result is Closed Sessions Vol. 3, kicking off with “Whiskey And Push-Ups” featuring Open Mike Eagle who came out to Chicago during our polar vortex, rocked our party at Empty Bottle to a sold-out crowd, then hit the studio with BoatHouse.
Hear “Whiskey And Push-Ups” below, where you can also watch a short documentary about Eagle’s visit to Chicago to make the song.