A new face to welcome into Chicago’s hip hop arena, No Montana Hannah first got our attention at an Ever Evolved Battle of the Sexes event at Auxiliary Aux Center. Winning crowd favor that night for a win for the ladies, No Montana Hannah quickly becomes a noteworthy artist with her hip hop lyricism. With a new release accompanied by a music video, No Montana Hannah turns heads once again with a reggaeton track, bringing out the dancers to back her up as she vocalizes on the chorus and raps a few verses. With the help of Scott Anderson AKA Scotty Rocks at the Dog and Pony Show Studio and Tunnel Vision Media team, NIGHT TIME is a big hit, both musically as well as visually. Exciting to see what else No Montana Hannah has up her sleeves.
In astronomy PENUMBRA is the outer shadow surrounding the edge of the dark inner shadow. Upon first listen, it is a fitting title for Mic Fort‘s latest album PENUMBRA. With dark hip hop beats and even darker lyrics, it sounds like Mic Fort is walking on the edge of his dark side, sinning, lusting, and chasing game without a care. But what is also partially hidden is a sensual side too, serenading over a series of R&B tracks, Packed with an earful 17 tracks, with collaborations from Ben Solo, Dolla Sign IME, Lashawn Cobi, Henry Arts, Young Dave, Chris Hasty, Doty G Mac, Dee-Jay and A I R. Putting in a great amount of talent and effort into the project Mic Fort created an entertaining LP fit with an intro, outro, interlude and even skits.
The intro is jazzy lounge beat with some verses, and some motivational speech sampled as if waiting in a lobby. Then the energy changes with a dark low humming bass-line on the 2nd track, FIRE, and quick witty lyrics playing on lust, and a touch of that ego we like to call independent attitude. The following track, MY TIME, gets even more rude with, “Don’t waste my time, if you ain’t ready… if you ain’t bout it,” not being shy about taking every moment serious from the start! 6:28 Remix doubles down on that idea and even foreshadows new music, “I’m so hot yea I’m so right now… I ain’t Chris Weber I don’t need no timeouts, only time I need is right now. 6:28, 6:28… I ain’t playing with ya’ll n***as, 3rd album on the way.” But even this harshness gives way to a diverse array of serenading vocals and R&B beats following a skit to bridge into it. With such an excellent eclectic release, you would be pleased to know another music video EVIDENT, second to RAIN, is on its way, along with a follow up to PENUMBRA in 2021.
StankNasty is going BEAST MODE with a new single. Continuing his spree of tracks in anticipation of his EPIC-EP release. This track follows FOCUS ON THE PAIN and a Mikey B Collaboration HOLD IT DOWN. This song title is reflecting off of StankNasty’s effort this year in gaining recognition as an artist with multiple releases, consistently up until the last moments of the year. He really is on BEAST MODE, making moves happen. Always working with a fast word flow, “Big plans play the hand that I’m dealt I’ma run this shi* like Gambit. Gonna get no where by standing, Im the tree trunk ya’ll are the branches. I’m the type that you don’t want to clash with…” He puts in those raw braggadocios energy, showing no mercy on the beat, a true Nasty Anthem to get your playlist hype!
Everyone has an idea of the music culture of their favorite genres and the artists that make them up. Talking to the artists that make it up highlights more of the details of the foundation of the culture! Having a few moments with Splash DR for an interview, Ever Evolved gets a little first hand perspective of an artist within hip hop, footwork and production. Having experienced a bit of a couple different cultures himself, Splash DR is a multi talented artist, hip hop writer, emcee, DJ and producer, with a bit of ambition, adventure and a whole lot of music. With his most recent debut LP THE KID LABOR, and his experiences with footwork and juke music in Chicago, LA and other places, he broadened our perspective on the genre itself.
Started out producing in the first hand, Splash DR grew up around musically inclined parents who toted all sorts of genres; jazz, rock, hip hop. At school he would be influenced by house and hip hop, as well as his brother, who was was an emcee in a hip hop group as well. A perfect recipe to inspire his own group he called Big Splashes, where he would rap over his own production. As well as his current name, all is a reference to, and a brand spinoff of, Sharkula and one of his songs lyrics. Splash DR then notes to us that is was also one of his brothers songs that got him hooked on footwork and juke music, eventually transitioning into production exclusively once more.
While all this is happening the junior Splash DR would be witness to the culture, making his way to specific events around the states. If you thought footwork was exclusive to Chicago, you would be pleased to know it has made its way to Americas coasts, and even abroad over seas. During his stays in LA, Splash DR would frequent Cafe Mustache for juke & footwork events, as well as events like Rock Steady and Low End Theory; New York will be hosting events for juke & footwork as well. Fast forward to today, and Splash DR can find fans of his music, footwork and juke in Oakland and even as far as Paraguay, England and Poland.
When it comes to his music, it clearly has some pull. Splash DR was recently signed to label Icy Palms, where he released his first full length LP THE KID LABOR. Splash Dr noted to us some of his influences which include TEKLIFE, GhettoHouse Bangaz, Beatdown House Productions, Juke Bounce Werk, Traxman and Polish Juke. You can have an idea from the list of what Splash DR would produce, however upon pressing play you get a whole different world for footwork and juke. It has a diverse array of melodies and beats where he blends jazz, R&B, hip hop breaks, and hype footwork beats and rhythms. It gives almost a lounge or future classic vibe to juke music but maintaining the energy for a dance floor or party.
Starting with EDGE OUT, we are introduced to THE KID LABOR with some violin thats operatic and vocal loops, right before it dives into beat work. BUSY sounds more contemporary and energetic, with a higher tempo, emphasizing the mellow synth work that follows the beat patterns, similar to Soulection style. YOU CONTROL dives into future classic style under its beat work and BRO BRO brings you into classic deep R&B energy balanced nicely with some bass. Then you get the jazz infused footwork with SNOW WAVE and CHILL YO, a couple of personal favorites, the rest of THE KID LABOR followers this sort of playthrough.
It is interesting to hear where footwork has traveled, talking with Splash DR. From where its influences land, to his own spin on it with his enigmatic style, bouncing between jazz and hip hop and contemporary bass styles. Following on his bandcamp you can see his transformation through music from a hip hop emcee, with WEAPONS, MEDICINES & TEXTILES to his first footwork and juke produtions, like his self titled ep, and TIME REALEASE VOL 1. He noted to Ever Evolved his intent with his music is inspire and challenge the listeners while creating a good atmosphere, and pushing what he thinks is an interesting sound to the fore front of Chicago’s music scene; he does just that with this new record.
Now Splash DR deals with the new adventure of being signed with ICY PALMS, where you can hear THE KID LABOR LP on bandcamp, or you can also get it on cassette! He has already a compilation collaboration scheduled in Paraguay as his sales hit with IP Recores and another project in the works. Already looking to make connections in Englad, Poland and getting back into LA, NY and Oakland, it should be interesting keeping up with this Splash DR! Click THE KID LABOR LP Cover photo below to listen on bandcamp!
Back with another track, StankNasty is keeping his fire strong with a collaboration with Mikey B. Taking a familiar tune from the Verve, A BITTER SWEET SYMPHONY, turning it into a hip hop influenced tune with a new beat battern. Rather than the somber feeling the original tune is known for, the two artists turn it into a feel good track with their lyrics, on HOLD IT DOWN. Mikey B coming in speaking, “I ain’t trying to ride a first class flight, or live a first class life. Just tryin to reach new heights. Seein’ angels in the sky, leadin’ me on the path to greatness, as I overcome every challenge on the fly.” StankNasty ends off with a good note “Nothing but love in the game raise you glass now cheers, stay motivated, rise to the occasion and have no fear.” Another uplifting song to add to your playlist to keep your day goin smooth, in anticipation for Stank Nasty’s EPIC-EP.
Chicago area artist AMK comes out with a hype and ambitious track, DUCKS IN A ROW, hip hop and trap fans can rock with. AMK gives off that confidence in his lyrics thats infectious right from the start with his chorus. “I’m too legit I give bout zero f*cks, way high up in the sky, I can’t be touched,” over some heavy bass beat patterns, and some anthemic melody, credit to Johnnyinnuendo and Geralrd Leibnitz‘s mix and mastering. An attitude to emulate, “Im headin for the door, so greedy wanting more, I reap what I sow, ten toes to the floor“, like he got his game tight and his goals right! Add this to your playlist to hype up any crowd with a dope beat, or on the regular to motivate the hustle in you!
There is always a driving force or a strong position an artist will place within the direction of their music. While StankNasty often conceptualizes tracks to different ideas or themes, there is one subject that he likes to revisits. Similarly to his tracks WALLS and TRAUMA, FOCUS ON THE PAIN treads over the topic of mental health, and how he copes as an artist. “Lookin at the man in the mirror, some time passes and you can see much clearer, pain is a phenomena we all done been thru. This pen helps me get this shit off my mental.” Even the opening lines of the song illustrates a strong context for dealing with stress, “God giveth and god taketh, why is it, when im not depressed I’m anxious.” Over a somber piano tune and a beat, StankNasty reminds us, even the best of us have our lows, but to move forward we must FOCUS ON THE PAIN, and try to find your strength.
Ill Gordon coming in with a hot message throughout his whole MY PENMANSHIP EP release. Dropped with a music video for DON’T STOP, once you go through listening through this whole project you just want to get up and hustle. As the first single, DON’T STOP is a powerful release, with strong motivating words right off the bat. “With a little bit of vision and some ambition, making all my life dreams coming to fruition, don’t make no excuses just accept the truth.” A hustlers audio bible to get yourself pumped up for the day with the exception of ON MY MIND, dipping into R&B with B. Shantele, to help you get the paper and the girl. Already equipped with projects like CaILLgraphy and ILLionaire this year, he got a playlist to get your mind set for a big move.
Coming across another Chicago artist that takes lyrical content and flow to the next level. Blac Samurai, focuses greatly on lyrical content more so than he does the production on his tracks, however the beat is equal in quality; it just caters to, or emphasizes the words. Armed with a few singles and an EP, Blac Samurai also recently released a full length album called COMPENDIUM. Now with that title, you can tell this artist owns a dictionary, and does not mess around with his words.
Once the beat drops you instantly get that old school, boom bap vibe on the first opening track PLAY ME CLOSE. Blac Samurai was looking for an old school and alternative sound and he nails it, with the balance between old and contemporary styles throughout COMPENDIUM. His next track, U WANT, sounds more modernized, with trap influenced beats, bass and hi hats, snares, but still heavy on a lo-fi ambient energy. This will be the consistent theme throughout the LP, you can comfortably play it out without disrupting its own flow.
Samurai notes that this COMPENDIUM is an album that has taught him patience, evidently from his lyrics in MASK. “Why do you continue to hide these emotions, how can you understand someone else when you never understood yourself, have you ever asked for help?… How do you really feel? Just take off the MASK…” Followed by a beautifully sung verse within the same idea, and a commentary that goes even deeper within the lines of self understanding. KELLY ROWLAND really captures the Notorious BIG 90’s R&B essence, and some Pusha T within DNA and HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW INTERLUDE, with some A$AP Rocky inspiring tracks like KNOW THAT and BRAND NEW on some acid rap. As those artist come to inspire Blac Samurai, he establishes his own flow, style and energy with COMPENDIUM, the full 12 track album is a good one to put on repeat; and he really saves the best one for last, with the smooth jazz hip hop vibes, rightly named WILL BE CROWNED.
Everytime these two get together, producer Edmur Quinn and RhymSter, it is always audio magic. Edmur Quinn with the raw production that controls the vibe of a room, combined with RhymSters lyricism, is the perfect recipe for greatness. The last time these two got together they created a 4 track album titled HEAVEN FOR ROSES, a relaxed album with lo-fi hip hop beats. That one followed up on PURE NOON, their first project together, an even dreamier project, however RhymSters flow balances out the tranquil sounds of Edmur Quinns production.
The two are back together for a short project of two tracks, and this time around they pick up the energy! Quinn works heavier on the beat work with this next two songs, IT’S ALREADY THERE and WHAT HAPPENED? RhymSter’s flows is reminiscent to his latest independent EP release 4 FOR 4, using more cerebral lyrics, putting your mind to work. IT’S ALREADY THERE gets a more urban boom bap vibe, while WHAT HAPPENED evokes a sinister energy with the melody behind the beat, while RhymSter spits some ruthless lyrics to complete atmosphere of the song, “One time two times aint shit to me, don’t fear death, only time you see… More than a man I’m a god, ya’ll know that, and my hand got the world wish you can hold that.” Two great tracks for your playlist to get your head bumpin’.