Who is Hugh Lee? The 2x Emmy nominated rapper is the next break through story teller of this generation, Hugh Lee is easily set to make his mark on today’s music scene. His stories transcribe into something lyrically genius. Hugh effortlessly makes his audience feel a deep connection, through his music, to a life they may or may not have lived before. Hugh Lee’s sophomore mixtape “Cabrini” tells the story of a teenager growing up in the projects of Chicago. The project dropped March 11th and includes singles “Swimfan” and “Cabrini.” The project has gathered over 300,000 streams and 20K listeners in the week period it has been out Listeners took an audible cinematic journey with Hugh on this first act of his career.
Hugh Lee was born and raised in the west side of Chicago. Hugh experienced first hand what it’s like living in poverty with family members who used drugs as an escape from their harsh reality. Although there was hardship, Hugh does not like to reflect on his city as a torn war zone. He chooses to remind himself of the community that was there for him during those tough times, the block parties, the candy ladies, juke jams and skating rinks. Now Hugh reflects on his past (the good and the bad) to paint the well told story of his trying youth through his music.
As a child, Hugh would regularly spend time watching TV shows and films. He became fascinated with the art of story telling and character development that later influenced his songwriting, rapping and musical ideas when he fully became immersed in music as a college student. His first album Cabrini is actually inspired by his childhood experiences growing up in the projects, and the TV and film stories he became fascinated with during those times. Hugh ultimately wants to tell a story. He describes the mixtape as having extreme dark moments, but much like a story on TV or film, the album leads its way back to happiness by the end. The concept of the album focuses primarily on the youth of Chicago growing up in challenging conditions from the eyes of Hugh himself. Some could argue that this same Chicago youth story has already been told by artists such as Kanye and Chance the Rapper. However, Hugh strives to tell his own authentic story and wants to make sure people understand that everyone has their own versions. These versions are meant to connect to different people. Hugh partnered with Live Nation at House of Blues in 2017 where he accounted for over 800 tickets sold. He also partnered with Swizzle Steve at Cubby Bear in 2018 for a remarkable as well. Hugh went on a small nationwide tour late 2019 where sold out 8 of his 10 shows all 350+ capacity, including chop shop in wicker park late October.
The first single on the Cabrinimixtape is “Graduation.” It has an upbeat sound and vibe that ultimately lays the ground work for the end of the mixtape. It is the last song on the album that ends Hugh’s story with a positive outlook. Although Graduation is the first single, Hugh feels like every song is just as important as the others. “I took great time in making these songs and making sure it was a project that I could release. I always went back to the thought, ‘If this was the last thing I ever made, how would I want it to sound?” Other upcoming tracks on the mixtape include “Swimfan” and “Factitious.” Swimfan is one of Hugh’s favorites from the project and considers it a homage to Mac Miller. The song touches on the feeling of being alone in a harsh world and how to deal with that mentally and emotionally. Factitious is one that hits close to home for Hugh. The songtalks about the reality of kids living in the same city, but having two completely opposite outlooks on life. There were kids his age who were solely focused on college and the future, while others were trying to figure out what they were going to eat for dinner that night.
Outside of music, Hugh is heavily involved with charities through his own foundation, Libras Never Lie, as well as with other foundations that help support Autism Awareness. Hugh takes a special interest in working with teens and adults who are struggling with their own demons. “No matter who you are,there are people like you in the world, and you have to reach out and make sure they have a voice as well.”
Hugh’s uniquely crafted story, in album form, is created for followers and fans to have a better understanding of this particular way of life and how he came overcome it. Hugh strives to make clear that there is inevitable struggle in life, but long gone are the days when one should feel stuck in their predicaments. “We can change our circumstances dramatically. You just have to jump in order to fly!”