StankNasty Starts Out The Year Epic!

It is here, the long awaited EPIC by StankNasty! A three track EP to start off the new year, continuing from the last. Consistently releasing singles throughout 2020, he thrived in an otherwise tough time. StankNasty gave us track after track of melodic, lyrically packed, conceptual, anthemic hip hop and rap beats. All to lead up to the release of EPIC; The planning behind the project itself is to be taken note of!

Releasing KNOW THE NAME last summer as the first teaser of the EP, using samples from the movie Transformers, it was preceded and followed up with multiple songs. Keeping you on your toes till the eventual release date. It was even promoted with an official LP trailer for the project, where StankNasty is consumed by the energy of music, through the mic. He keeps up with conceptualizing ideas through both music and visual, creating a cinematic touch to his art. Whether its an idea like CARNAGE, or TRAUMA, braggadocios like BEAST MODE, PREACHING TO THE CHOIR, or using music references in HOLD IT DOWN and I KNOW I’VE WON; The pattern continues with EPIC-EP.

The summer release KNOW THE NAME starts out the track, giving you that StankNasty confidence on the mic, and introducing his lyrical ability right off the bat. THE FORCE is a conceptual track lyrically as well as musically, using literal Star Wars scores, verbal and audio references and samples, and of course, THE FORCE that we seen in the very same official trailer for the project. It also seems to be a tribute and appreciation to the hip hop genre as a whole, as the chorus repeats, “Hip Hop is THE FORCE, and the force is strong with him. It surrounds us, moves through us, like the wind. It binds us, it connects us, it reflects us; and it lives within...” MAKE IT EPIC ends the project on a cinematic and positive note, with its loud biblical horns and beat work and Avengers: End Game samples, never turning off his lyrical proficiency for a moment. Leaving you with a message “If you get something out of this record it’s never say never, thats part of the essence of doing what you do, but making it epic. Make every second count, instead of counting seconds…

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YOUNG XAV Explores New Sound With Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Interview & Premiere

Having the opportunity to sit down with YOUNG XAV for an interview, there are a few things to learn about this up and coming artist! First introduced to his music with the release of AFTER DARK, you would instantly notice there is more to this artist than just the music. He has a story to tell! Breaking down a little bit of his creative process, we also get an idea of the direction YOUNG XAV is going with, regarding his current and newer music entries.

Making music since 2017, it was not until the release of AFTER DARK that he decides to take on the hobby more seriously. When asked what his purpose is behind his music, YOUNG XAV responds with, “I think just narrative driven, that’s my thing. I can’t make music if I’m not living life… Big thing for me, is to tell what I have to feel… Cheaper than a shrink. Sometimes expensive.” Noting that relate-ability is key in the messages he conveys to his audience.

In regards to how YOUNG XAV gets comfortable expressing his vulnerabilities, he responds with, “Thing is I never created something where it’s like, wow, I’m literally exposing myself. When it comes to my friends I keep things very tight nit, I keep things very closed, but my music contradicts that. If you want to know about me, for better or for worse, you can hear my music. It’s therapeutic. It translates to something different. It’s never been difficult to deal with that vulnerability.” As you listen to his songs from AFTER DARK and the following, you will notice a deep sense of introspection within each track. Whether it is personal or involving relationships.

Out with a new release, his new tune KISS KISS BANG BANG is no exception. In the song he confides to his listeners about heartbreak and the emotional trauma connected. However the difference with KISS KISS BANG BANG and other heart break songs like IN MY HEAD, YOUNG XAV would say it is more of a culmination of thought about all his past relationships, and not specific to a single individual. When asked how he gets through heart break, he simply says, “I write a song about it, and if that doesn’t work, make more music.”

KISS KISS BANG BANG also represents a new direction of sound YOUNG XAV mentioned with his last release, MANIA FREESTYLE. Preparing for his next big release, his 2nd album, DEAD BY DAWN, ready for an October 1st release date. YOUNG XAV notes, “KISS KISS BANG BANG is the perfect bridge, if I released certain songs in DEAD BY DAWN it would sound like an entire 180. So I think with releasing kiss bang bang, instead of being a shocker, it’s more of a bridge.” Specifically, YOUNG XAV, plans to experiment past the genre of hip hop and rap that he has been used to, and into more melodic sounds and singing, live instrumentation as well as dipping into lo-fi, jazz and rock genres.

When asked why the new take on his music, YOUNG XAV responds with great insight. “It’s crucial to story telling. There’s certain stories you can tell in genre of rap, then there is certain stories you can’t. In terms of genres I don’t think about them as categories that define an artist… But instead more of which genre can I use, which tools can I use to best explain how I feel.” Very thoughtful perception to take in as you listen to his songs moving forward! The story for KISS KISS BANG BANG is not over just yet, as YOUNG XAV also plans for a music video release, on the 29th of January. So stay tuned for visuals coming up very soon, as he prepares you his next big LP, DEAD BY DAWN related in concept to AFTER DARK.

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The Charmaine Makeda EP: Woman Crush Wednesday

There is always room for fresh artists to be recognized and Chicago is flourishing. Seeing an influx of soulful and R&B singers, we are introduced to yet another talented voice. Charmaine Makeda steps up to the mic with a debut self titled EP Project, after releasing a few singles. Adding to the already diverse plate of creatives in Chicago, she notes to social media there is only more to come.

Seven songs deep, the EP starts out with SEE YOU AGAIN, a passionate song of romance, with a chorus that will have you singing along by the second go. LONELY gets more sensual, with a touch of saxophone, slow deep bass and a catchy piano loop, keeping the vocals to a seductive whisper. As her EP continues Charmaine gets deeper into her mind and her thoughts, a deep thinking romantic, embracing her humanity. ANXIETY INTERLUDE and NOTE 2 MYSELF, is the back and forth in our head, the lows and highs, that happens to the best of us. Charmaine Makeda so eloquently, fluently and fearlessly expresses her mind, from beginning to end, resulting in a beautiful project.

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YXNGJ.O Pulls Up With ReTread & Young Asko

Reaching out from the UK, 14 year old artist named YXNGJ.O is making moves for himself in becoming a developed hip hop emcee. Already on a good start with three singles, and collaborating with other artists. Recently he released his fourth track, PULL UP featuring Retread and YoungAsko, and the potential is clear for YXNGJ.O, with his moody, lo-fi hip hop sound. As he builds his network and maintains ambition, YXNGJ.O’s creativity and efforts should know no bounds! Looking forward to see the growth and direction of this young star moving forward.

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MOECYRUS, Novatore and A.M. Early Morning Open The Gates: Monday Majesty

With Fight Club vibes in this music video for OPEN THE GATES, the heaviest hitters of Chicago hip hop make their presence known. MOECYRUS and Novatore of Azthmatix, connect with A.M. Early Morning to create a lyrically raw and gritty hip hop beat. Challenging in their words as they open with their chorus, chanting, “We love to talk shit, this is what we do. Know there’s a big gap that’s in between us and you. We came with AM to slay and bring mayhem.” Each artist spits their lines of braggadocios bars, over an ominous slow beat with a piano progression, and the atmosphere is perfected under dark skies in a graffiti laced alley, on an urban corner in the streets of Chicago, with Yung City Slicka Films editing to emphasize energy. To step up to these fearless three on the mic would be menacing, to say the least!

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Kastaway and Krikit Boi Link Up for Revolutionary Record, El Pilon.

Regular colleagues in hip hop, Kastaway and Krikit Boi, put out a record in late 2020 that addresses social and racial issues, while celebrating the union between African American and Latino culture. Kastaway peppers this 14 track record, EL PILON with strong and notable features, while also bringing nothing less than excellence himself to the song writing table. CULTURAL COALITION is the first song where his strings of rhymes smack you in the brain with overwhelming thought. “Sink or swim, no you better think again, pretend it’s a grenade before you pull the pin,” or, “This is no gimmick this is soul spirit mixed with prolific pro spitting.

In track 4 of EL PILON, Kastaway brings on Chicago heavyweight, WRDS for his song, KINGS. “Knowing that the black out is part of my youth, melanin is menacing ,they taught ya in school,” raps Kastaway in the first verse of the song, in a fast and uptempo manner. Later following with, “Yeah, it’s true. I was raised on the hot blocks, where my father left me for the hot rocks.” Every track is filled with racial and political points, woven into the lyricism. Every song on the record has purpose, and does not waste time to be honest and truthful, in regard to the opinions of African and Latin Americans, and the struggles they face collectively.

The next song on the record, LIVE YOUR LIFE, is a brilliant and gutsy song. Skirting the lines of whats acceptable in the new normal world we find ourselves in. This song features vocals from Lester Jay. Track 6, MY FRIEND is a lyrical and melodic ode to an old friend that Kastaway had a falling out with. The song serves as a way of healing and forgiveness to this individual. The hook is super catchy, and the verses make you think about past friendships. The song features Stig Van Eijk.

Track 10, THE FEEL features a familiar cohort in Mic Logik! Altogether Kastaway features at least 12 listed artists on the 14 track record, and that is impressive to be able to organize a track listing of that density. EL PILON is a lengthy, lyrically dense, thought provoking, feature heavy and politically charged record, that deserves any hip hop head’s ears for a listen! The union between African American and Latin American culture as being part of the concept to the album is a poignant statement of self discovery and community building. Bravo, and kudos to Kastaway and the producer Krikit Boi!

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Yajaira Debuts With Realisy: Woman Crush Wednesday

Another up and coming artist in Chicago is breaking grounds with a significant achievement in her music career. Yajaira is making some noise with her debut EP, REALISY. The singer, dancer and model is inclined towards soulful genres like R&B, Pop, Neo-Soul and even Gospel, having experience singing in Church and summer camp talent competitions. Her debut EP even dips into more cultural genres like reggae, and reggaeton creating a diverse portfolio from the start.

Starting REALISY off strong with a MAKE IT, a collaboration featuring K Breeze, and J. Trav. Walking the line of confidence and ambition with a hook like, “My future I can see it. When my eyes close, I can dream it. Can’t let no one come between, all my life I swear I mean it.” Following up would be WHAT YOU DO TO ME, a reggae influenced track adding diversity to the EP, singing about the dance of a temporary and fleeting seduction. Pondering about attraction in TO BE IN LOVE, she sings beautifully as she unravels her thoughts. Yajaira innocently lets her fans know the project is about her own perspectives, embracing her point of view and being able to visually create the world she sees. Her vocals paint a colorful picture of her mind and her range is a refreshing addition to the music community in Chicago, particularly R&B.

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Father Darko – Don’t Worry, This Will Pass Too: Artist of the Week

Father Darko, who also is known as Mikal Bae for visual work and music videos, recently put out a 3 song, ambient, trippy, jazzy, dusty, boom-bap fusion, instrumental project. Father Darko has put out at least 9 records since April of 2019, and he deserves more recognition for his consistent output and additions to the culture and community. It is always fascinating to see more Father Darko tunes alongside slapping music videos from his visual brand, Mikal Bae.

It is Quite surprising in how fast this project can be consumed. You will unknowingly have it on repeat before you can process what you have heard. Track one, I DIED IN MY DREAMS AGAIN, features a range of complex composition culminating in a Travis Scott sample, that blends quite well with Father Darko’s drums, melodies and extraneous sounds. Track 2, WHEN IM AFRAID TO LOSE MY MIND, has a more sweeping luxurious, quasi melancholic sound and feel to it. Father Darko features Nelo Sahd on this song, who is assumed to be the screaming vocals towards the end of track.

The third and final song on the 3 track record is DROWNING, IT’S SOMETHING YOU’LL GET USED TO. The drums on this record sound like whips cracking, coinciding with these distorted, high pitched feminine sounds. It is an extremely interesting blend and feels highly futuristic or something right out of the video game, PORTAL. There is a depressed, ominous, robotic vibe that seems to glaze the entire 3 song project. A cohesive record of music that allows one to really ponder, and has one inside their own head for a time.

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Sip On This Coffee By Wilhelm Duke: Monday Majesty

If you love a good ol cup of joe in the morning, than COFFEE is the joint for you. Wilhelm Duke, hyperbolizes his love for the black bean of energy with a music video in dedication to it, a follow up to BOSS SHIT with RhymSter. Doing things only coffee lovers would approve of, like chilling at a coffee shop and having a coffee shower; admittedly that may be good for your scalp. Starting out with coffee on repeat on the intro, what would be assumed to be the first thought of a coffee addict as soon as they wake up, as the caffeine juice rolls down Wilhelm Dukes face. A surprisingly slow paced hip hop beat for the insanely fast heart beat you get from the bean, but either way a good song to stroll to on your way to you local coffee shop, on a morning vibe. If you can agree with and appreciate the knowledge of detail for the different brews in the Dukes lyrics, while you sip on that rocket fuel, then, you should be dancing like Wilhelm by the end of the song.

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Me’chelle Comes Back Like A Whirlwind: Woman Crush Wednesday

Real lowkey artist with a soulful voice, Me’chelle presents her fans with WHIRLWIND. Since performing at an Ever Evolved Empower Herstory event a few years back, her sound and energy could not escape the mind. Patience is well deserved as WHIRLWIND brings a sound of peaceful composure. Speaking like a goddess and a guardian, “but when we let that hurt go look how great we can be, two god like beings, with a billion destiny, I dont need you to rescue me, and with out you I’m complete.” Though the chorus would imply personal relationships, the simple yet powerful lyrics echoes independence and security. The R&B and Soulful energy brought by the drum pattern, bass line and ambient sounds compliment Me’Chelles vocals, creating a disarming yet relaxing vibe when you need it.

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