Chicago’s Hi Love boiled down her approach to making music into one line in her recent interview with Hip Hop Weekly: “Get busy and work like any day could be my last day.” Not one to wait for the right moment to come to her, she makes her own. That’s probably why she’s already worked with Kanye and two other Grammy Award-Winning Producers – Needlz and NO I.D. She speaks from the heart, and with that comes a natural versatility and a relatable honesty that grabs listeners from the first note. Her authenticity is born of a love for ’90s hip-hop, and that kind of stripped-down realness flows through her entire full-length Cold Wind. “Queen & Slim,” the second single, is a celebration of a love that’s young and new but true and timeless.
It’s the rare artist who can fill you with fire and leave you with chills. Hi Love may be influenced by Minnie Riperton, Aaliyah, and Stevie, but she pulls from way down deep in herself: what you’re hearing is what’s in her heart. What began as poetry scrawled in a notebook now lives as fully-realized soul that can hang with the household names. You don’t have to be a fan of soul, Motown, or ’90s R&B to get Hi Love and feel “Queen & Slim.” All you have to be is alive. From the big, roomy drums and crescendo-ing synths to her soaring, soulful voice, this Trackhouse-produced tune gets it right. It’s clear from her performance on this track that Hi Love is taking her cues from the title characters and putting everything on the line. There are a million reasons Grammy winners are already lining up to work with her, so if “Queen & Slim” is your first taste, don’t make it your last.
The video for “Queen & Slim” finds Hi Love straddling two very different worlds, equally at home in both. One is among the high-rises that make up the iconic lakeshore skyline; the other is an ordinary playground down the block in any Chicago neighborhood. Hi Love knows how to inhabit these worlds as easily as she lives in each of her song’s subject matters. Director Chollette follows a day in the life of two starry-eyed kids who’ve probably fallen in love for the first time. Flowers, takeout, a game of Uno, an afternoon at the swings. We dare you to watch this and not long for the days when love could get serious without getting, you know, so serious. Hi Love puts out some major wattage here as she performs. Just a singer and her song, no stagecraft, no flashbulbs, no crowds… and yet somehow you know you’re looking at a star.