A Lot (Remix): Dedicated to Palestine and Christchurch

Safi-G, general of the Wolf Mafia recently put out a remix of 21 Savage‘s A Lot featuring J.Cole; his version however speaks upon the tragedies inflicted to the Palestinian people in the holy lands as well as the latest of mass shootings resulting in the deaths of over 50 Muslims at two different Mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The former being perpetrated by the state-ist Zionist agenda, the latter by an alt-right white nationalist. As you listen to Safi-G’s powerful words and statements on violence and oppression remember there are real world issues at hand with disastrous consequences and we are not as isolated as we think, especially with mass shootings in America. Therefore it is important to remember above all else just how lucky and privileged we are to not be existing in a war zone.

Safi G | YoutubeSoundcloud | Facebook

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Sutato: New Beginnings For Orlando Coolridge

The No Coast battle rapper and SlumpGang777 emcee of absolutely cool proportions Orlando Coolridge recently put out a project reflective of poetic growth that the filters of Chicago’s taste makers should be hanged if this record is allowed to pass through unheard. Now that the undertones of serious demeanor have been expressed lets jump into the intro track ONSOL. “Its for the soul, because what is it if it ain’t onsol?” is the first line of the hook whose ad-libs vary through a swinging and soulful rhythm. Because what exactly is it if it ain’t onsol and that is when you realize that there really is not much because onsol is light itself. Onsol has multiple meanings if you follow the SlumpGang777 philosophies and their eastern influences. The song is a great introductory to the album so expect to hear more sharp lines and swinging-ly good hooks through out the record.

INNERGY is another song that makes you question and ponder the idea of light. With production completely done by Sean Antidote, Coolridge poses this question to a listener; “If all that glitters is gold, is the light, just like, how it is in the soul?”. A piercingly relevant metaphor especially within the modern day capitalism and post contemporary era. “That shits no coincidence, its a black fist, like an activist!...Blowing up, like you least expect it now at least expect it. More wittiness of his intellectual braggadocio.

“The message they telling us is deceptive, they don’t want us a collective or eclectic”. MAKE$ENSE encapsulates that paranoid and schizo wave length the brain goes on while trying to come to terms that it will never fully comprehend or observe this reality. Yet it will try and do a damn good job carving out lyrical descriptions. “The one’s controlling currency is 33rd degree, population walking dead but they ain’t turning me!”- A line that captures perfectly the idea of the fractional reserve banking conundrum the world finds itself in today and the idea of humans droning through their daily tasks of life.

Orlando Coolridge makes music for people who read; let me just insert that point of observation here. MAKE$ENSE is a favorite from this record with old school track references like “Cash Rules Everything Around Me, CREAM, Get tha money, dolla dolla bill y’all”,  and “make money money make money money money”. Coolridge intertwines hip hop history with an elevated perspective on global economics and modern money mechanics. RYZE! is the point of the album when your blood starts to boil from the epic and emotional nature of the build up in the instrumental coupled with Coolridges spine tingling intense black power affirmations. Every line in this song smacks you with the thought that maybe you need to go read up on Paul Robeson, Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Dubois. RYZE! is for every patriot and compatriot of the black American disenfranchisement.

The next song on the record is a super clever tune called A.L.L.A.H., playing off many triple entendres involving the idea of God. This including the acronym ALLAH which in the song stands for Arm Leg Leg Arm Head. Not only is this song layered in metaphor but also narrow enough for the simple minded folk to jam to since every rhymed ends with g-o-d. Another personal favorite from the Sean Antidote produced LP.

The song THENIGHTTIMEBUMP is Coolridge’s love making lullaby of the record. Making allusions to drug usage, meditation and night time moods with the lady; writing lines such as “the third hour odd minute when the moon is the light, when the freaks come out if you’re doing it right.” Right after the love lullaby comes a song about finding love and the divine feminine with LUHMADEME. Brush strokes of metaphors posing hard questions and evoking wondrous ideas of what love is or even means. The epitome of the ultimate philosophical doubt of love is held within this one line by Coolridge; “Yo if it wasn’t for the love is there a reason to rock, is the lack thereof, any reason to not?”. Beautifully put, getting to that line almost encircles the entire rest of the song and brings you back to the starting point of the endless rabbit hole wondering if love even exists?

The last two records are GOTTALUVEMALL and FEELTHELOVE! Where the former is a sensual seduction via boom bap goodness and the latter an upbeat tune that exudes positive feelings. Orlando Coolridge hit every possible frequency, vibration and wave possible on his LP Sutato. With all instrumentals from the Sean Antidote camp, the production quality sounding stellar, paired with legendary status hip hop songwriting Sutato should find longevity, respect and love within the Chicago hip hop community and beyond.

Orlando Coolridge | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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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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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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Mother Nature Keeps It Simple (Music Video)

If you have not heard of the refreshing girl power duo that is Mother Nature go look them up on YouTube right now. Charisma, lyricism, fun, artistic chemistry – these two have all of that. The Chicago native powerhouse duo comprised of emcees Klevah Knox and T.R.U.T.H. dropped the visual to their single Simple, which is from their upcoming 2019 EP titled Pressure. If the rest of their record is anything sonically like this first single Simple, then I think these two talents will really propel themselves forward in 2019!

The visual done by New Trash has the two ladies in black and white checkerboard pants and multi colored tops. They start off performing in front of a changing green screen with kids as their gaffers, directors, cinematographers, and lighting crew! The hook to this song is super catchy: “I do not do what you’re doing, bitch you’re simple!… I am me and you are you, bitch you’re simple!” Then the visual progresses from there with a verse and a bridge from Klevah Knox and a verse from T.R.U.T.H keeping the high energy, fun, and intensity through out. I am excited to hear and see the rest of Pressure from Mother Nature in 2019. They represent something truly positive for hip hop and their image and sound as artists is what I want to be around to write about.

Mother Nature | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Being All In and About That Action: I’m All In from I.Deal’s GAINZ

Chi Native Entertainment‘s own IdealRaps, Mic Logik and ThrowEmc come together on this hook heavy and verse rich song I’m All In, produced by the Windy City veteran producer Custom Made. This high production value track, which will be going on Idealraps’ upcoming album GAINZ, has a little bit of everything; two voices layered singing the hook, two verses, one slightly more uptempo than the other offering the song texture and vocal juxtaposition. Mic Logik and ThrowEmc are singing the refrain together. Idealraps is on the first verse and Mic Logik took the second with a clean midwest chopping flow.

I know who I am and I know what I’m doing” is repeated before the main hook and bass drop comes in, building up to “I’m about that action…I ain’t for the talking”. This is the type of song to give one motivation in the gym, to bump in your car on a night out, or in your earbuds on the daily grind of traveling in Chicago. They capture that windy city sound authentically. Lines from the verses that stood out to me were “My hair long, my blunt loud, keep a spicy chicken like Kung Pao!” from Idealraps and “No division within my coalition, I go and get it while you hoping and wishing!” from Mic Logik.

Mic Logik and Idealraps will be performing at Rap Caviar III on February 16th in Renaldi’s Throne Room venue. Rap Caviar is Chicago’s cutting edge hip hop showcase series presented by Ever Evolved and Bombay Boyz. They will be performing this and more! Check out I’m All In and browse through Chi Native Entertainment and Idealraps records below. 

IDealRaps | BandcampMic Logik | Bandcamp
ThrowEmc | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Living Up To the Name Blacking Out: Savant is a True Pupil of Hip Hop.

SXVXNT, pronounced Savant, was interesting right away with his articulate expression and knowledge of instrumental production. He is quite a learned trumpet player as well as a pianist. His composing style is lush and bright melodies with harmonies that are flushed out, giving him a sound that resembles Pharrell or Dr. Dre‘s piano beats from the golden age. SXVXNT grew up in Chicago but has been based out of Los Angeles the last few years so his sound is definitely west coast influenced to a degree. This is especially true of his latest stand alone single Blackout.

Blackout is a fast paced uptempo anthem of getting back into music making and for lack of a better term, blacking out or going crazy. SXVXNT raps quite fast you will have to replay this record multiple times just to try and fully comprehend every bar. The replay value of the record is high because it sounds good, flows well and then by the end you wonder, what the hell did just he say? Lines to point out are “…Don’t erode from the lessons you were shown in your essence for these cold soul, no holds, overgrown jesters who hope to be only known by the droves of decrepits… I chose and selected the rode of less trekkers…” to “…Signing off with text beyond measure with a picture perfect, illicit, versatile, lit, pristine flow…“. “Light as the flight of the highest seen peregrine flow…” and lastly “…down Pico driving, ‘Naima’ bleeding through the speakers// the speed shows 90 which means the beast gon’ try me so let me creep slow, lightly so deez don’t leave me next to Ezell…“.

Self produced with production help from Bobby Midas, Blackout is but a glance at the genius level potential for SXVXNT as a recording artist. SXVXNT currently has a  project in the works slated to be released in Speing of 2019. With that on his docket he is preparing for a big push in his career. As a master of his craft, it’s time for him to Blackout.

SXVXNT | Soundcloud | Twitter | Youtube | Instagram

Bobby Midas | Instagram

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Chicago Creative Spotlight: Serenity Marie and Her Brand Nitty’s Knocker

Every artist in the Chicago music scene should be familiar with Serenity Marie if they have not already had the pleasure of working with her and experiencing her business acumen. Her connections can get artists into countless events, showcases, open mics, fashion shows, music festivals. She can secure placements for music, get records spun on the radio and offer counsel time. In every sense of the word she is a curator; one who believes in the artist as well as the art and does everything they can to see successful presentation and representation.

Serenity has a weekly radio show, Nitty’s Knocker, Tuesday nights from 6pm to 8pm on Que4.org which is also AM 1680. There she hosts guest artists and discusses everything from the latest pop culture to politics, artists’ brand and projects to philosophy and the always hilarious mentioning of unicorns. She has hosted industry names such as Quentin Miller, Matthew Knowles, Hott Headzz, Van and Dani Jay of Black Ink Chicago, Milk N Cooks and she has even interviewed Angela Yee of the Breakfast Club. Over the last two years Serenity has grown Nitty’s Knocker into a platform that every artist in the city wants to hop on for an in depth interview and solid media content. Serenity has also produced many events with proceeds going to a charity of choice, highlighting a glance at her selflessness. She hosts and curates a lot of women-centric events as well because she supports and empowers her contemporaries.

When you bring artists together you can only imagine the boundaries to be pushed by their collaborations. Serenity Marie is probably vicariously responsible for a lot of art that gets created within Chicago-land area. Armed with an uncanny networking ability, Serenity and her creative brands will find longevity in the arts and entertainment industries because she possesses a sharp mind and a helping hand. In the end art seeks out the kindest of merchants. Follow her content linked below.

Nitty’s Knocker | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

 

Back Up, Watch Out, Leave Her Alone, Dont Bother!

I stumbled upon Ridley Victoria and her gorgeous alto voice due to her witty online presence where she frequently comments on the state of the modern dating world. I decided to sift through a lot of her music and was instantly attentive due to her unique and savory sound. Ill refrain from comparing her to other female recording artists to stop the disservice of placing women in music and hip hop all within the same monolithic framed box. The point being you should just bump her music because she is dope and you will relate to her and what she has to say. Long As You’re Here has a sultry vibe and down scaling melody at the end of every phrasing that is extremely catchy and makes a listener want to start chiming along. The engineering of the song is particularly exceptional because the tonality from the mixing of the frequencies added to her voice in post production is perfect for radio play, in my opinion. At the end of her second verse when she hits the top pitch perfectly off a falsetto run going up in the scale,”I don’t want for you to stay, ay, ayy!”. She hits it is when you think to yourself, yeah she can sing! The song has very soulful vocals yet powerful in its composition and feeling. If you are looking for some new music and something you can relax and catch a vibe to? Put on some Ridley Victoria records and you’ll feel better afterwards; it is therapy.

Ridley Victoria | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Omg Really!? Its Unkle Slump & Orlando Coolridge

Bar for bar these two rappers embody the golden age spirit, but there’s never a dull moment with their punchlines. I say that for the new heads out there that think the simpler sounding but deeper lyrical hip hop is boring. Both emcees are a part of the Chicago powerhouse collective SlumpGang777 brandishing their swordsman like wordplay over a dusty laid back boom bap instrumental.

Unkle Slump and Orlando Coolridge team up to bring a track about their distaste for the attitudes and behaviors of new whack rappers and old heads that all sound the same now. Coined with the onomatopoeia by Unkle Slump “wah wah wah…, everything you say is trash, a bunch of gaga!” comparing these rappers and their lines to little babies and the outbursts that come with being a child. “Most these n****s is speaking in broken tongues, holding drums with the smoking gun” Exclaims Coolridge. “Professor X with the pen, that means my mind can move it!“. Unkle Slump then quips “Shout out to the white people taking over Pilsen!”.

Every line cuts like the searing truth in regards to the entitled whining of certain archetypes and embodiment within the music business. Namely what we know as the prima-donna or diva. My favorite rappers are far from such personalities. If you are not familiar with the Chicago collective SlumpGang777 then the dynamic duo that is Unkle Slump and Orlando Coolridge is not a bad place to start. Sink your teeth in, you will not regret doing so.

Uncle Slump | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram