Along with fellow SaveMoney members Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, Joey Purp is among the boundary-pushing rap artists to break out of Chicago during the 2010s. Purp made his recorded debut as a teenager and within a few years made major headway with the acclaimed full-lengths iiiDrops (2016) and QUARTERTHING (2018), released independently amid a string of SaveMoney-related collaborations, including work with KAMI under the name Leather Corduroys.
Born Joseph Davis, Joey Purp grew up in multiple neighborhoods within Chicago. Serious interest in a broad range of music was sparked by his parents and siblings. In high school, he discovered a knack for freestyling and was fueled by the creative energy of his environment, inspired by the likes of Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, and Nico Segal, with whom he co-founded the SaveMoney collective. In 2012, Purp debuted with The Purple Tape, issued when he was only 18 years old. Between full-length solo projects, he released a handful of loose tracks and appeared on releases from numerous SaveMoney affiliates, including Mensa's Innanetape, Thelonious Martin's Wünderkid, and Segal's Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment album, Surf. Beside another SaveMoney member, KAMI, Purp also issued material under the name Leather Corduroys.
Although The Purple Tape was an impressive debut, it was instantly eclipsed by the 2016 release of iiiDrops, a full-length on which Purp put his multi-faceted approach on full display, acknowledged with placements in year-end lists published by Complex, Esquire, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone. Shortly thereafter, Purp branched out with featured appearances on tracks from artists stylistically and geographically afield, A-Trak's remix of Phantogram's "You Don't Get Me High Anymore" and ZZ Ward's "The Deep" among them. Stray cuts and additional guest appearances — most notably on The Autobiography, touring partner Mensa's Top 30 debut LP — continued through 2018, when Purp added to his acclaimed independent solo releases with QUARTERTHING, which contained appearances from RZA, GZA, and Ravyn Lenae. ~ Andy Kellman