Chicago Hits the Lottery

Thursday, 26 June 2008 18:58 Written by  Rashauna C. Hull

When Kanye West stepped foot on stage at the United Center in his hometown Chicago, for his Glow in the Dark Tour, the love he received from fans was like no other. Up and coming rapper/writer/producer and Chicago native, Lottery aka Derrick Hardy hopes he can follow in the footsteps of his idol Kanye West and become an international superstar.


“He’s [Kanye] everything I wanted to be growing up. I wanted to be the face of Chicago. I wanted to be the man that could put Chicago on the map. I wanted to be the one that could do all of that and to me he did that and he did it in a style that I wanted it to be done,” said Hardy.

So far Hardy is off to a good start. Nowadays you can see Hardy featured in the unsigned hype section of Hip-Hop Weekly or on Hip-Hop blog spot. You can also check out his performances at local venues in Chicago or at the Yoga Music Festival in Minnesota. But his road to success had its many twists and turns.

Hardy was heavily influenced by hip-hop. In high school you could find him free styling jokingly about class or girls. But dreams of becoming the next Anthony Hardaway over shadowed his aspirations for rapping.

“Actually the name Lottery was because I thought I was gonna be a lottery pick in the NBA. So all you saw me say is who ever is gonna sign me is gonna hit the jackpot,” said Hardy.

When his passionate dreams of being a basketball player became a long lost reality, Hardy turned to the one thing that never ceased to fail him, hip-hop. Hardy attended Jackson State University as a Mass Communications major. He was able to use his major to get interviews with hip hop artist like 8 Ball and MJG and hopefully break into the music industry. Seeing artists like Lil Wayne and Nelly perform on campus was enough for him to decide to take his career in a different direction.

“When you see those cats you’re thinking more and more about dropping out of school and pursuing your dreams,” said Hardy.

And he did just that. Hardy moved back home to Chicago and finally got tired of lying around the house, not being productive, and decided to attend Chicago State University where he would meet his idol Kanye West. A conversation with West about leaving school and taking control over his rap career, was enough for Hardy to kiss CSU goodbye.

Hardy left CSU in hopes of becoming the next big thing. To make ends meet, Hardy delivered pizza and sold drugs. Hardy prided himself on becoming a one man band that could write and produce. He took a couple of music and production classes at Columbia College. There he would meet best friend and producer ‘Vanysh’ Noah Thomas, who motivated him to get off the streets and into the classroom full-time. From then on, Hardy would give 110 percent to both his college and music career and embodied the five Ps that his high school football coach once told him: Proper Practice Prevents Poor Performance.

“Most people think that it just happens over night, but it’s a lot of practice, it’s a lot perseverance it’s a lot of time when you perform at a show and there’s going to be only three people in a crowd. I’ve been there,” said Hardy.

Hardy interned for record labels Warner Bros. Group and ICEE Records. He also participated in the high selectively Columbia College program, Semester in L.A. There he took two buses and a train from South Central all the way to Studio City for class everyday. It was a two hour ride. His determination landed him a single for the Lionsgate movie “Frankenhood”, starring Charlie Murphy and Drew Sidora. The movie will be in theaters later this year.

Now Hardy stands as a college graduate and founder of the record label, Michigan Ave Music Group. He is also working on his debut album Ghetto Amerikkka that will come out in July. The album features producers Vanysh and Slot-A and artist D2G and Flow Eazy. It touches on various subjects from teen violence to men on the “down low.” Hardy is also coming out with a clothing line, B.Lorraine, named after his mother and is a working on a You Tube TV show called Michigan Ave. TV. Hardy no longer takes no for an answer. He strives for the best and will stop at nothing.

“When one door closes, I don’t let it close all the way. I open it right back up,” said Hardy.


Rashauna C. Hull

Rashauna C. Hull

Rashauna C. Hull is Chicago native and a broadcast Journalism major at Columbia College Chicago. She has interned at several news stations including ABC News. She has also written for several publications including Boheme Verite and her school newspaper, The Columbia Chronicle. She is currently associated with Christi With an Eye PR and hopes to continue with public relations following college.

She can be reached at