Change It Up With Saladin

Many artists release a genre consistent set of music but that is not how Saladin works. His consistency is in change and most artists typically get the cold shoulder from fans for this but he has his own formula keeping his listeners captivated. From House music to Future Bass, Trap to Dubstep Saladin works it all with no hesitation, though House and Techno are rudimentary. Just within the last couple of months we got to taste his creativity in most of our favorite music styles.

Keeping it different with every release he really shows his versatility as an artist. Since the start of the year Saladin been releasing diverse and note worthy beats, even gaining support from artists like Hardwell, Morgan Page & more with tracks like his House influenced C’mon Now on Revealed Recordings. There is something to learn from every genre in production and the quality of his music shows that. This opens him up to working with diverse set of artists as well. On top of that he can always keep it fresh whether it be on the dance floor or on a playlist, Saladin can control any audience with ease.

Most recently he works with Trap, Future Bass and House music. Starting here with GNGBNGR, Saladin rides a simple melody and beat pattern while a vocal sample chimes in, “I used to be a gang banger… now I’m just a mother f*ckin’ headbanger”, into a smooth bass drop and high frequency synths. Turning that vibe around with ITSALL4U with more ambient melodies and bass-lines for his Future Bass fans. Then finally he comes back to House music with his latest, Fight For Love, featuring EDM vocalist OMZ with the hopeful lyrics, “I can’t even look you in the eye its the darkest night of my life… But baby we can fight for love tonight“. Listening to Saladin music you will feel all kinds of ways, you will catch yourself throwing elbows to jumping and dancing.

Saladin | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Kynetyk Has Xero Chill

Putting a few bass heads together on a beat you should expect some madness. Kynetyk teams up with Reesebay and Cha boi to show you how that sounds like. Rippin’ sound bites of Frank Murphy from the cartoon F Is For Family adds a little emphasis on the overall mayhem. Packed with heavy growling bass lines between dark melodic breaks supporting Murphy’s tantrums. This follows We All Float, another track with Reesebay for a comeback. Keep an eye out for his next move Kynetyk got a sound you do not want to miss out on!

KynetyK | Soundcloud | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram

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RAAKMO Takes Over With Gl0bal

If you were to plan world domination, starting with music influence would be smart. RAAKMO seems to be foreshadowing; his latest collab Take Over with an artist named Gl0bal? Maybe only obvious to some. Working together last year on their track Slept On ft Malcolm Flex following the Pazuzu EP, seems they been plotting for a while, as their style certainly got heavier and production quality got cleaner. RAAKMO also worked with Porn & Chicken recently releasing Get Back. Gearing up for festival season crowds, tracks like these will cause a ruckus!

RAAKMO | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Osa North Lets the Music Breath on Osa North and The Holy Spirit of God EP

Osa North is back with his new Osa North and The Holy Spirit of God EP and he is serving up a diverse array of sounds on this one. The project kicks off with the soulful trackFree You, which serves as a sensual ode to intimacy. North’s vocals on this track are layered in such a way that they carry a sense of divinity as if he is calling down from the heavens above. The instrumental here is rhythmic yet spacious and Osa North does a brilliant job of filling in that space with his vocal delivery.

The 2nd track Debbz is a logical continuation of where Free You left off. North once again is crooning about that special someone, asking the listener if they have ever been in love. The instrumental here sounds more epic with soaring string sections and a sense of rhythmic pulse that build momentum by the end of the track. Osa North is showing more and more musicality with each project he brings to the table.

There is a drastic switch up on the third track 1900. Instead of building on the soulful airiness of the first two tracks, North comes out of left field with a menacing trap banger. The instrumental here is bleak and unforgiving while North oozes with confidence on the mic. The closing track Adesuwa is a dance hall jam reminiscent of something off of his Ginjah EP. The instrumental possesses the contagious sense of rhythm that has become a hallmark of North’s music and his vocals here are vivacious and full of color.

Even though Osa North and The Holy Spirit of God clocks in at just four tracks and eight minutes in length, North is in no rush to get to the finish line. There is an endearing sense of patience on this EP. The instrumentals have an airy, almost ethereal quality to them, and North spaces out his vocals in such a way that he is content in letting the music speak for itself. The marriage between these two elements make for another fantastic project from Osa North.

“Osa North and The Holy Spirit of God” is now available on all platforms.

Osa North |Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Kyral x Banko Stacks Gold

When you put two dope Chicago artists together you get gold and these two got stacks of them! Kyral x Banko have been pumping out their arsenal of bass little by little and each one gets better everytime; they all sound like anthems. Their dub-plates are heavy and clean with beat patterns and hooks influenced by hip hop and trap bass. A good composition of sound to represent their city which is raw, authentic and in your face. With some heavy Colorado roots the two have been all up and down Chicago and Denver spreading some good music and good energy.

Just to highlight a few of their releases since the start of the year we have Gold released as apart of an artist compilation EP called Alchemy, a slow but energetic track building up to their drop phrase Im Gettin Paid Bitchwhere a whole bunch of frequencies on the low end hit you. Following you got Rambo by So Down who featured Kyral x Banko and Def3 for a hip hop beat to tell it how it is. Most recently the duo released Stacks on Plenum Records with a few hooks to build up to a bass drop that hits you with the high end synths low bass and wild beat patterns ready for their adrenaline hungry fans at their next events in Colorado and adding Iowa to that list too! If you cannot catch them live follow their uploads, they hit the spot every time.


Kyral x Banko | Soundcloud | Twitter 1 & 2 | Facebook | IG 1 & 2

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Unkle Slump Recruits All Star Chicago Artists For Full Length LP

With all star golden age production from the lot of SlumpGang777 and features from some of the most prolific characters in Chicago hip hop, Unkle Slump’s You Gotta Be FKN Kidding Me hits home for fans of that thing we like to refer to as “real rap”. Thus behold the 2019 epitome, Unkle Slump recruits producers such as Father Darko, Emperor Bohe, Sage The 64th Wonder AKA LUNXCH, Cuzzin Vinny, beDOTwater AKA Orlando Coolridge, Lil Kydd?!, Chris Ruben, Chief Takinawa and Brandon Deshay. Fifteen tracks of slapping boom bap music with stabbing witty lyricism, punch-lines and catchy hooks to rap along to while bumping in the ride. His features consist of SlumpGang777 family Vagabond Maurice and Orlando Coolridge. Vagabond Maurice helps out on Heal Up while Orlando Coolridge goes in on OMG Really?! which has a music video to compliment it. He also has Tresside leader and Lucrative Records member Baskaveli on Bait ‘N. The notable Chris Crack, who is one half of Chris Spencer and has been written up on by Rolling Stone, features on Vultures. Michael Christmas and J.Arthur also make appearances on the album. My personal favorite is the aforementioned track Vultures due to the sarcasm of every line between Unkle Slump and Chris Crack. Slumps line “I’m above and beyond I watch it all from start to finish, they counting all that green, hands are looking like some spinach!” and Chris with “Them culture vultures that be riding the benches, they ain’t in the trenches, that’s the ones they be dying to mention, selling music off PayPal that was my invention!“. This is the type of song where you sit back, smoke one and chuckle to yourself as you reflect on the cynicism of every line from Slump and Crack. With every song being engineered, mixed, and mastered by Brotha Gif, the albums sonic consistency is quite impressive through out. Buttery, dusty, boom bap, snare and rim shot goodness! One of my favorite mixes was that of Heal Up ft. Vagabond Maurice. A positive uplifting hip hop track with the hook “Heal up, Heal up, and get better, it only goes up from here, it only goes up from here!“. Slump and Maurice then do a jazz skatting bit after each refrain. There is samples of birds and saxophones in the song adding to its lushness and quite poetic verses too from both of the SlumpGang777 emcees. Slumps construction of this album is cohesive, lyrically and sonically, production wise but this is not something to listen to once and move on. These types of projects slide themselves into works to be studied and come back to through out time. The tracks Hibernation, Bait ‘N, Lions, Tigers, Bears, OMG Really?!, Harpoon, Vultures, Heal Up, and Brown Sabbath are my select picks from the album and songs I’m excited to see performed live! But this whole album packs a refreshing punch. It is something we would have been blessed to study and grow up on in the 90s, but we are even more blessed that its new and to be able to call this album a 2019 release. Any fan of hip hop should love this record, in Chicago and beyond! Listen to and purchase it fully at Bandcamp.

Uncle Slump | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook Instagram

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Meet YOUNG XAV: A Chicago MC With a Rare Sense of Intelligence

Ever since he was a young kid growing up on Chicago’s Southwest side rapper YOUNG XAV has always possessed an unusually high degree of intelligence. He says he taught himself computer coding when he was in the 6th grade. He also stated that later on, he taught himself graphic design and video editing as well. In casual conversation, XAV is poignant and well spoken. He leaves no stone un-turned when getting his points across and is very expressive about his goals, ambitions and thoughts about the world around him.

Like a lot of brilliant people, XAV spent a lot of time on his own growing up. Stating he was bullied a lot, XAV had trouble making friends and says he even transferred schools five times as a direct result. However all of this time spent on his own served as the breeding ground for the intense introspection that has become a defining characteristic of who he is as an artist- More on that later.

Much like his rare level of intelligence it is easy to see where his musical roots stem from. His father was a DJ growing up and he says that music had always played one role or another in his life. XAV says some of most vivid memories from childhood were listening to early Eminem records on car rides with his mom which led to him discovering other artists such as 50 Cent and Dr. Dre.

XAV attended high school at Muchin College Prep in Downtown Chicago and he says it is here that he really found his place. He says it was here where he discovered his love of attention, stating he would go far as to campaign for his birthday; meaning that he would talk to as many people as possible in an effort to get as many happy birthdays as he possibly could. After graduation XAV attended Tribeca College in Downtown Chicago to study Film, leaving after a year when he realized it was not what he wanted to do. It was right around this time where XAV started to pursue a career in music.

After dropping a series of singles as well as an EP XAV decided that he wanted to get more serious with his craft. He came up with the idea that he wanted to throw a show and says he worked nonstop for two weeks selling tickets, promoting the show and even making an intro trailer for it. The final product was the After Dark Show which XAV says was a big success. After the show was over XAV was asking himself what he wanted to do next. He decided he was going to start working on his next EP. Despite wanting to make another short project the final product came to be something much greater than anything XAV could have realized or hoped for.

What came of it was XAV’s debut full-length studio album After Dark which is a 15-song time capsule documenting XAVs’ experiences over the most trying sixth month period of his entire life. Over the course of these 15 songs XAV puts his struggles with substances, heartbreak and depression on full display for the whole world to see. He conveys a stunning amount of honesty in his bars, getting more personal than a lot of artists are willing to go.

From the very beginning the album has a very cinematic feel. The intro track features an energetic brass section and planking pianos as well as a car revving up and driving away. It really feels like the opening scene to a movie. XAV views this album as cyclical and that he structured the songs in a way that would resemble a heavy night of drinking followed by the morning after. Early in the album on cuts such as Sinners and Life is Grand XAV is living the rockstar lifestyle, musing on misadventures with alcohol and women. However this is presented simultaneously with the consequences of his actions as cuts such as After Dark and Still Alive explore the dark side of substance abuse and excessive indulgence in an effort to escape ones demons.

XAV does a beautiful job painting a full picture of what it is like for one to be drowning in their own vices. A true highlight on the album arrives with the Dear You interlude and the following track Dancing in the Dark. These two tracks see XAV coming off as apologetic and remorseful for past mistakes towards an ex-lover as well as addressing his general experiences with love up to this point in his life. XAV has described this part of the album as the part in the night when one is drunk and in their feels. However this sentimentality of these two tracks is abruptly followed by the track On the Low, a banger of a track featuring more themes of vice and excess.

The back end of the album features more moments of introspection from Xav. The 12th track Chasing Dreams finds XAV contemplating his current place in the rap game and dreaming of one day rising to the top. XAV describes this track as the thoughts of somebody sitting drunk and alone in a bar at 4 am dreaming of better days. The 14th track Til Dawn is a beautiful meditation on the relationship between XAV and his mother. The track has a nostalgic ring to it and really is a beautiful moment on the album.

After Dark closes out with the song Road to Legend which sees XAV reflecting on more past experiences and coming grips with where he is currently at in his life. XAV views this track as the sun rising after a long night and coming back down to earth to face the reality that awaits. Aforementioned, After Dark has a very thematic feel to it throughout its duration. Everything is concise and orderly. XAV pulled together a sequence of tracks that truly tell a powerful story. For him to be so young yet able to pull together a conceptual project like After Dark is a true sign of the intelligence he possesses.

Today XAV is a lot more extroverted than that young kid who used to sit on his computer all day. However it is clear that XAV got to know himself quite well during that time as introspection and taking self-inventory are a big part of what makes his album work so well. Despite finding a sense of contentment at the end of the After Dark XAV is still far from the finish line. He is now waking up to the sun in his eyes that is his own brutal reality. However the LP gives you a sense that he is now inviting the suns daunting rays into his soul with open arms.

These days YOUNG XAV is only focused on whatever comes next. He has found closure in the mistakes of his past, now looking forward with two feet in front of him. He says he is solely focused on promoting his album which has done quite well and is now past a hundred thousand streams. He is also planning his next album which he says will be entitled Dead by Dawn and that it will be tied back to After Dark in some way. He says he has not started work for this project yet and that there is no timetable for its release date. If it is every bit as tight and conceptual as After Dark, rest assured that it will be worth the wait.

After Dark is now available on all platforms.

Young XAV | Soundcloud | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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Musa Reems Turns Back the Clock with Dear Winter

Musa Reems is back with his new single entitled Dear Winter and he has taken initiative in turning back the clock on this one. Putting his own spin on the Jay-Z classic Dear Summer, Musa has added his name to the list of MC’s who have spat their game over this iconic Just Blaze produced beat. A list which includes names such as Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and so many more. However instead of simply going in over the original cut of the instrumental Reems decided to breathe new life into this classic song, making it sound more current while maintaining its throwback vibe.

Producer Othellobeats took a fresh approach on here. He creates a lot of tension with how he slowly brings in the vocal sample in the beginning of the track and it really sets the stage for Musa when he comes in with his verse. Equally impressive is the way Othellobeats puts his own spin on the instrumental while simultaneously respecting what made it so great in the first place. Despite the clean, thematic feel of the intro, the beat still has the same soulful piano and vocal samples carrying the track. The only difference here is that this re-imagining of it sounds more lively. Like Othellobeats, Musa Reems does his thing on here as well.

Although the song clocks in at just 2 minutes and 18 seconds in length, Musa makes every second count on this one. His bars on here are nostalgic yet hopeful as Musa shows himself to be someone who can handle anything life throws their way. He approaches his lyrics with a staggering amount of transparency, showing that he is more than happy to own up to past mistakes. Reems’ delivery is also worthy of note here. He carries a sharp grittiness in his voice that shows the authenticity of a man truly marked by past experiences. Not phased by what anyone might think Musa Reems shows on this track that he is embracing his flaws as a human, wearing his war wounds on full display.

There is an interesting duality on Dear Winter. While the tasteful re-imagining of this song makes it sound like it could be on an upcoming project. Dear Winter still possesses enough vintage aesthetic at its core that it almost sounds like it could have been on a DJ Drama mixtape in the mid 2000’s. This duality really shows who Musa Reems is as an artist; a man who has a deep appreciation for the past while simultaneously keeping a close eye towards the future. Time will tell what Musa Reems will bring us next, but Dear Winter is surely a sign of good things to come.

Now available on all platforms.

Musa Reems | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Vesper Soothes, Heals and Makes You Dance With Debut Album Years.

Vesper is the dance pop duo spawned in Chicago between Zak Fox Jablow whom of which produced for names like Chance the Rapper, the late Mac Miller – and songstress Samantha Humphreys. They are releasing their debut album Years on vinyl April 5th, digitally April 18th, with a release party at Chicago’s Empty Bottle two days prior on Tuesday, April the 16th.

Made in Chicago yet they have recently moved to Nashville and finished the writing and production of their first album. Prior to this project they had dropped a few singles, some of which have made it on to Years including Sway Better and Electric. Their 10 song LP is perfect in its length and progression offering a listener a warm mixture of piercingly beautiful vocals reminiscent of the late Dolores O’riordan, Regina Spektor, Natasha Bedingfield and funky, swooping rhythmic sections which reminded me of Flying Lotus, an alternative Mike Will Made It, and Chrome Sparks. Although comparisons nonetheless, this record Years is a unique sonic experience.

My personal favorite song on the album: Bird starts with a hip hop like sample going into Samantha singing lyrics about her mother giving her one last piece of advice before passing. A hauntingly gorgeous tune. “And again I was an orphan, who newly hit the ground“, “When my sorrow sneaks up onto me, I think of what I’ve let go, and somehow its gone like a shadow of a bird across my window!“. When the lyrics aren not hitting you and evoking emotions over past traumas, their somewhat cryptic style offers much to be thought about by a listener and fan.

Ghosts was another favorite from Years. Like every song on their LP there is much aural texture and dynamics within the sonic production and musical composition. Every song has build ups, bass drops, rhythmic drop offs containing melody, and vocal stacks with Samantha’s layered harmonies. Vesper has what gives a song a potentially timeless experience to listen to rather than another song to be consumed. Lyrics I enjoyed and felt: “We’ve got a heart but someone’s trying to take it, we’ve got a heart but something’s always pushing it around!” and “There’s ghosts in this city, there’s ghosts in our town, their words are so pretty, but they’ll only drag you down!“. Again, much depth to their almost early 90’s grunge rock like lyrical structure.

Samantha Humphreys carries the vocals of the duo whereas Zak Jablow makes sure the instrumental production will make you want to dance and jam. They do however have a duet on the record. Offering a glance at Zak’s earnest vocals and a tenor softness which is slightly emulative of the male counterpart of Boyce Avenue. Better has Zak and Samantha’s voices intertwined on the refrain, giving the entire LP vocal diversity as well! Not that I would not listen to a record of only Samantha Humphreys but Zak’s voice was pleasant to listen to! Zak also contributes background vocals on the songs Married to the Night and Sway.

Listening to the record Years straight through, I felt a sense of rejuvenation. The music offers pleasantries and traumas to think about all the while making you want to shuffle dance on the floor. I am excited to see them live at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, April 16th. I hope you join me!

Vesper | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Cofresi Keeps U High

If you think music is your drug then check out these tracks! Cofresi is back after enjoying the success of the Coda EP late last year. Started the new year off right with a video accompanied remix for the modern classic by Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know. Cofresi’s take on the song really takes you by surprise if you think the original was overplayed, this may change your mind! Behind the scenes Cofresi continues to detail his live performances as he prepares for a long list of events for the spring calender.


Introducing a theme to the tour with the release of Keep U High, his second release and first original of the year, you will notice the tour calender matching the songs cover art. Included in his tour will be Bassphysics, who worked with Cofresi on Keep U High, and Plantrae. On other dates Cofresi supports SoDown on their own tour making it a two in one commitment; capitalizing on the opportunity to make a big thing bigger!

Similar to artists like Elevatd, Cofresi keeps most his treasures exclusively for his live audience. Sometimes he is generous to give some his online fans a taste of the exclusive but it would be best to catch him live. Following his Keep U High release with Bassphysics, Cofresh drops visuals from a live set as he plays his own version of Liquid Stranger and Space Jesus‘s collab track Dragonhawks. An surprising choice for Chicagos future bass drummer but an impressive take as can see through the crowds reaction; or even your own stank face.

COFRESI – DragonHawks Live @ STL

Closed out STL w/ my edit of Space Jesus & Liquid Stranger's Dragonhawks 🐉🦅

Posted by COFRESI on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

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