Artist of the Week: Relic The Bully Gets Busy with ‘Fiend’

Relic The Bully is an artist who has been on our radar for a minute. An MC who has bars for days and a delivery full of conviction to go with it, it is long felt that it was only a matter of time before he starts getting the recognition that he deserves. With his new single FIEND, Relic is now one step closer to making that come to fruition.

The production on FIEND is incredibly moody. The synths are dark and nocturnal, the production forceful and bouncy. There is also an element of spaciness to this instrumental that allows Relic the room he needs to do his thing. Lyrically, Relic gets busy on this track, his rhyme patterns are absolutely insane as he exudes much confidence on the mic. His voice is sharp and his flow is a gun busting slugs at a rapid fire pace.

For Relic The Bully, the world is his oyster. On FIEND he proves his worthiness as one of the crown jewels of the Chicago underground. Few hip-hop artists possess the combination of raw lyricism, rapid-fire flow and the amount of confidence Relic has. For this reason, it would be wise to not stand in his way.

FIEND is now available on all platforms.

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Artist Of The Week: Janet Blackwell Tries To Pick Up The Pieces With Still Looking

What is one to do when they find themselves stripped of all sense of familiarity? For singer Janet Blackwell the answer is searching for consolation in anything that will keep her spirits up, even if just for a moment. Her new single STILL LOOKING is an authentic look at what it means to try and pick up the pieces, when all that once made sense is now lost and broken.

Instrumentally, STILL LOOKING finds honesty in minimalism and improvisational spirit. The piano lines cascade downward like tear drops. The foundation set by the double bass adds a layer of depth that carries this song forward, adding a lot of color. There is an endearing sense of conversation taking place between the piano and bass playing that adds a raw sense of emotion to this song. It serves as the perfect complement to Janet Blackwell’s vocal performance as she places her soul on wax for the entire world to see.

Janet Blackwell is second to none when it comes to conveying how she truly feels. Her lyrics are blunt, getting right to the core of whatever emotion she is feeling at a given time. She appears wounded and confused. However, there is a tinge of optimism here. Maybe — just maybe — she realizes that better days are ahead.

With STILL LOOKING, Janet Blackwell is indeed searching for something or someone. Whatever it is, it is clear that she is trying to accept the notion that heartbreak can open new doors, even though she only sounds convinced about half of the time. At points on this song, the grief is consuming her however, her inner-strength, her fortitude and passion for discovery is all there. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

Still Looking is now available on all platforms.

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Artist Of The Week: M.E.R.C Proves He’s Worthy Of More Attention With Lately

In a music scene as bustling as Chicago’s there is an artist who is deserving of more attention seemingly everywhere you go. Lucky enough to discover one of those artists playing an amazing set at the Pilsen Art House. His name is M.E.R.C and his new single LATELY shows that his name deserves to be brought up as one of Chicago’s true rising stars. He is still a relatively unknown around the scene, but given his confidence and lyrical ability that should not be the case for much longer. M.E.R.C is definitely somebody you will want to keep on your radar.

The instrumental is moody and fairly stripped back. The trap drums tend to push things forward, adding a lot of color to the jazz piano sample and staccato bass line that fit snug beneath the percussion. Lyrically M.E.R.C leaves everything on the table here, he demonstrates the full arsenal of flows and deliveries that he has at his disposal. He sounds hungry and invigorated as his words paint the picture of a man who is confident. As someone will stop at nothing in the pursuance of their dreams.

LATELY is now available on all platforms.

M.E.R.C. | Soundcloud | Spotify

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WCW: Amare Symoné Bares Her Soul With Insecure

This is the first time that Amare Symoné’s music has come through submissions and her new single INSECURE certainly does not disappoint. The instrumental is absolutely heavenly. The synths are stunningly melodic and are ethereal to the point where they had you in a daze upon first listen. The percussion and harmonies floating in the background give the beat a kaleidoscopic feel and it is very easy to get lost in everything that is going on.

Symoné’s vocals float over the top of the instrumentation perfectly. She croons about love and trust issues with the passion of someone experiencing true heartache. The melancholy tone of her voice really drives that home. With INSECURE, Amare Symoné has pulled together a track that is dreamy in tone and emotive in poetics. She bares her soul in every lyric she sings and for her, connecting to the listener takes minimal effort.

INSECURE is now available on all platforms.

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Artist Of The Week: DeadstockV1 Comes Off As Charismatic As Ever On GEEK

Few artists on Chicago’s scene bring as much heat as DeadstockV1 does. His brand new single GEEK is just another example of that. The instrumental on this joint consists of a pleasant mix of jazz and trap elements. The synth chords sound as if they are breathing and the jazzy piano chords stick out beautifully in more subtle moments. Despite its lo-fi elements the bass and trap percussion hit hard, making this track an absolute banger.

This goes without saying but DeadstockV1 rips this track to pieces. His lines are clever, sarcastic and funny as hell. His cadence is lively and full of spirit, his voice absolutely oozing with confidence. How comfortable he sounds tearing a beat to shreds vouches more for his art than any fan or blogger ever could.

If there is one word that sums up DeadstockV1’s performance on this new track, it would be charismatic. You know he is going to bring the lyrical heat every time he steps to the mic, but it is amazing how much his confidence and personality grow with each new release. He mentioned on his Instagram that this song is the “second step in a much bigger picture,” so this dude is definitely someone you are going to want to keep on your radar.

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Artist Of The Week: Punting Baxter Keeps It Groovy On “Wednesday”

Punting Baxter is making their Ever Evolved debut with their new single, WEDNESDAY and this song is GROOVY. The rhythm section is incredibly at ease throughout this one. The drums are steady and consistent in their pacing, holding down the fort incredibly well. The bass and guitar riffs are bluesy and rhythmically poignant, simmering like a midsummer barbecue. There is a certain heaviness to these riffs, yet the laid back aesthetic presented here should remind the listener not to take life too seriously.

The vocal performance here feels dreamy and animated. The lyrics are full of colorful imagery while the vocals sound heavenly in their faded tone. The way they punch through the weighty tone of the rhythm section creates a really nice blend. With WEDNESDAY Punting Baxter has yet another gem of a single on their hands. They have been busy lately between doing shows and dropping multiple singles but WEDNESDAY is a sheer indication that they are enjoying the ride.

Now available on all platforms.

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Throwback Thursday: The Opening Of Wrigley Field

It is well known that Wrigley Field is one of the oldest stadiums in all of a American sports. However what is probably a little less known is that Wrigley Field was not originally intended for the Cubs. Wrigley Field first opened its doors in 1914 when it was called Weeghman Park.

The area occupied by the stadium was originally settled by the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. Surrounding it was Eliza Hall, the presidents house, St. Marks Church and other buildings. Early as 1905 rumors of the minor league American Association planned to franchise in Chicago. With the Sox on the south side and the Cubs in the west at West Side Park, the Northside was ideal. After construction of the first elevated train lines leading to thr northside, the Lutheran seminary abandonned their expansion projects seeking quieter environments and sold their property to AA owners.

The presidents house (right) is near location to to the present day Wrigley Scoreboard and centerfield bleachers. Eliza Hall (center) locates todays left field bleachers.

As the AA owners failed to capitlize on their efforts to franchise, Charles Weeghman aquired a 90 year lease on the land. He built Weegham Park soon after for the Chicago Whales, the baseball team he owned. However the Federal Baseball League folded at the end of the 1915 season as well. The Chicago Cubs started playing at the stadium the very next season.

In 1920 the stadium was renamed to Cubs Park. A year later in 1921 William Wrigley Jr. took complete control of ownership of the Cubs. Soon after he would rename the field to its current namesake, Wrigley Field, in 1927.

During the stadium’s first season under the rebranding over 1 million fans flocked to Wrigley to watch the Cubs play. The franchise became the first National League team to ever achieve that feat. Making this fest all the more impressive was the fact that the upper deck was not even finished at that point. In 1929, the Cubs put together one of the best batting lineups in baseball history and attendance rose to over 1.5 million as a result. For the next 17 seasons, that stood as a record.

Many years and many renovations later Wrigley Field still stands loud and proud as the home of Chicago Cubs baseball. Though it does not have quite the same look as it did in the 20’s and 30’s, it indeed has never lost its charm as one of America’s most iconic sports venues. That it shall remain for many years to come.

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Kennyflowers Shows Loads of Versatility on JOAT

From the moment you first press play on Kennyflowers’ new project JOAT you know instantly that you are in for an infectious and fantastic listen. Standing at just 9 tracks and 24 minutes in length, Kennyflowers leaves himself with no margin for error. However between the dreamy, jazzed-out soundscapes, Flowers’ versatile, introspective songwriting and his penchant for catchiness has come through with flying colors. He makes every second count on this short and to-the-point LP.

The vibe on this project stays pretty uniform throughout. The instrumentals are constantly laidback and playful, reeking of jazz and R&B influence. There are moments of pure beauty here as well as tinkling, fluttering pianos and groovy melodic synth progressions can be heard all throughout this project. Kennyflowers’ vocal performances also fits the mood of the production to a T.

He has a tendency to use his voice as an instrument all its own, often adding another layer over the already dense production. He is using his inside voice all throughout this project. As a listener it is easy to feel like you are in a 1-on-1 conversation with flowers as he dissects all different aspects of his life right before your eyes. However despite the wide range of tone and emotion Kennyflowers presents here, there is a single common thread that weaves this entire project together.

It is one 24-minute long ear worm. Each and every song here has loads of replay value on its own. Every hook and every verse has the potential to get stuck in your head. Flowers shows that he is more than capable of crafting music that is as catchy as it is creative. When it comes to songwriting, Kennyflowers shows loads of versatility on Joat.

On the albums’ first two tracks, YELLOW LINES and FAVORITE JACKET, he is adventurous and carefree; embracing a free-spirited way of life. However on LONELINESS, which appears much later on the track list, Flowers comes off as vulnerable and stunningly self-deprecating. A duality is created here, as his somber moments come off just as well as his humorous, nonchalant moments.

This album is one that is pretty easy to really enjoy. On the surface, it is easygoing and care-free; meaning one can certainly fall in love with it without paying too much attention. When one digs deeper into this album, there is much more to admire as well. The jazzy instrumentation is a testament that Kenny Flowers takes after some of the greatest musicians to ever do it. The versatility of his songwriting shows he is developing a style all his own. If JOAT is just the start, then there are three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes and the inevitable fact that Kenny Flowers’ music career will stand the test of time.

JOAT is now available on all platforms.

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Throwback Thursday: Chicago Becomes Incorporated

Considering the fact that Chicago boasts a present day population of over 2.7 million people, it is hard to believe that there was a time where it was nothing more than a tiny village. However such a time does exist on the historical record. On August 12, 1833, Chicago became incorporated for the first time as a Town. Sporting a population of just 350 people back then, the Windy City covered less than half of a square mile confined by Kinzie Street, Des Plaines Street, Madison Street and State Street.

Rare view looking west on South Water Street possibly in the 1830s. Hogan’s store was at South Water and Market Streets, while Wolf Point Tavern can be seen in the distance.
From a painting owned by the Chicago History Museum

It was during the years after its incorporation where Chicago’s population truly started to blossom. By 1837, Chicago’s population had exploded to over 4,000 people. It was the 92nd-largest city in the United States and it was only getting bigger as schools, churches and businesses were popping up everywhere. One of the other reasons Chicago’s population expanded at such a fast rate is its newfound prominence as a transportation hub. The Illinois and Michigan Canal came to fruition in 1848, making it possible for ships carrying consumer goods to pass through Chicago from the Great Lakes en route to the Mississippi River.

Despite the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago only kept growing. By 1890 it was the second largest city in the country, following New York, even after most of the city had to be rebuilt because of the fire. Coming from such humble beginnings, Chicago has always been known for its grit and resilience. It does not hold the flashiness of say New York or LA — but it has a certain edge to it in the sense that it can face anything that stands in its way, and will always come out on top. I would not count on that changing anytime soon.

Chicago Traffic 1833, Wolf Point
Wolf Point Tavern (Left) Millers Tavern (Right)

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Artist Of The Week: Rel McCoy Reaches For Contentment With Peace

Rel McCoy is back with a new single entitled PEACE and the self-awareness he shows on this tranquil jam lands him on him Ever Evolved’s Artist of the Week. The instrumental on this joint is wavy and soulful. The synths croon softly in the background while the percussion keeps a laid-back yet steady pace. The inward vibe this instrumental gives off is perfect for McCoy’s introspective lyricism.

Speaking of McCoy, he proves that slow and steady wins the race on this one. He is not out to flex his lyrical chops or spit at a frenetic pace. His flow and delivery is every bit as patient as the instrumental is. He patiently drops lyrical bombs bar after bar musing on themes of nostalgia, family and his continuous path of life.

Eternia shows up for a feature on the song’s second half and she fits right in. She spits with a little bit more intensity but she keeps the same sense of self-awareness that McCoy shows on the first verse. Rel McCoy is a hip-hop traditionalist. Between his jazzy, soulful beats and super-conscious lyrics, nobody does it better than he does when it comes to keeping the conscious side of hip-hop alive and thriving. PEACE is just another example of that.

PEACE is now available on all platforms. Also Stream McCoy’s new album, A DIFFERENT CROWN which is also streaming everywhere.

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