Midnight Marauders Open Mic at Innjoy Wicker Park

It attracts all types of creatives from any and every corner of the streets. If you have the need to express yourself vocally or even instrumentally, there is an open mic waiting for you to grace the stage. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there in front of an audience, open to criticism for the first time. For some, however, this is where creative minds learn to grow as artists.

From A Tribe Called Quest LP, one of hip-hop and MC’s most influential group of all time, Midnight Marauders claims the name of our Ever Evolved open mic series. Peppered monthly around the city of Chicago, Midnight Marauders finds a home at Innjoy in Wicker Park on Monday nights. In the house with Lucrative Records, we invite Chicago’s most talented MC’s you may have never even heard of. This is not your average open mic, Midnight Marauders brings artists from all walks of life.

Many times if not most you will see open mics packed with hip-hop emcees ready to get their word out. Midnight Marauders encourages all types of artists from all types of styles to bless the audience and the stage with their hard work and expression. Not just for a one night stand either, we incentivise the best of these dedicated artists with rewards ranging from hours of studio time, photoshoots, artwork, review articles and even a performance spot at a local or out of state event. This motivates the artists to bring their best out and their fans follow with them to support.

These incentives not only bring the young up and coming artists but also seasoned veterans to take advantage of clear and easy opportunity! Veterans than bring fans, meaning more audience for all artists involved. From hip hop emcees to spoken word poets, singers, instrumentalists and even stand up comedians, Midnight Marauders brings them all in numbers. The energy was evident at the our 14th event of our open mic series on Sept 9th.

Starting out as any regular monday night, it would end with not one but two talented individuals to share the prize incentives. William Bolanos on the mic hosting, inviting curious artists to the stage to sign up and get on the mic. One by one the room starts filling up with artists, supporters and onlookers waiting to see who will bring out the best performance. A room full of creatives strangers, connected by music, looking to find out who is worthy and who to connect and work with.

As DJ Hunt sets the energy for the room with some throwback tunes and what ever is hot right now, the room prepares themselves for the first call; first come first serve, one song each. The host calls upon the first names to no response and an eager crowd demand to move on. Its dog eat dog and the ones in the room are ready to eat. One of the first to hit the stage would be a hip hop artists by the name of ST. BLVD, with high energy and composure, what seemed to be some ordinary man explodes with smooth rhythm and lyricism to the audiences pleasure. He follows _Larcin_ with a flow like the late Mac Miller, setting the bar high for the following perfomers!

As the finishes the crowd cheers in approval and the mic is passed to the host for the next act. The man following, looking more for a space for his minds content rather than the incentives, bringing to the stage a different talent. For the next few minutes our audience ready’s their ears for a stand up act by an man named Christopher.a.f. Not showing any mercy, he confidently picks up a few giggles from the shy audience seemingly in tune with his dark humor.

The next few acts would bring on hip hop artists like Stank_Nasty_, CVOJAYEM, TLean, Jah.Damm and Apache. Of course Ever Evolved artists had to show had to show the open mic contestants how to rock a crowd for real. ESSSE and JoSan take to the stage as featured artists with music perfected in our very own Ever Evolved studio. Even Rhymster, Eric Wilhelm, Cmac and Beatrix Kiddo rock the mic for a song to really set things off and solidify the energy for the night.

But the real rewards go to two artists, who not only showed up to perform with their best intent, they stayed till the very end and supported each artist. One artist in particular, comes back to claim a winning prize for a second time. The outstanding K.E.N. with energy on the mic so intoxicating, there is no doubt that he is born to entertain, takes a win for the second time showing us what consistency can do. And Finally Case Move, bringing to the mic his brand of super smooth R&B music. Both not only brought captivating performances, but their patronage as well.

As an artist it is not only necessary to support other performers but it is critical in proving your dedication to the music culture. From crowd control and reaction, to handling the mic, these two did not just bring their best selves on stage but they stayed throughout from beginning to end. They show support to not only Ever Evolved, but to the local artists putting themselves out there. It may be a game of endurance, or straight up motivation to get the prize but these two show what it takes to get what they want. This game only feeds the hungry.

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Rhymster Doing It All

Anything you can think of he already did it! From music videos in the streets to the skyscrapers, rocking underground and main-stages, touring in and out of cities and states. Coming into the warmer Chicago seasons with an established sound and an expanding volume of content Rhymster keeps it going with new release after another. Pulling out a collab recently, alongside a  couple singles and a music video. This is only what he is doing as an artist, behind the scenes is a different story. With endless flows Rhymster works with certain producers within his circle that know him well and vice versa. If not he makes his own beat as he did with Face It and Don’t in which he had Frekwenzy join. This follows a couple more collaborations and singles from Ever Evolved studio artists and close associates. Linking up with producers Forest Fire, YaBoySlaps and reuniting with Henrik3000, all within the last month or so. Rhymster yet finds time to revisit Don’t to reward it some visuals. Armed with a camera attachment and Brandon Holmes directing, Rhymster tours the city of Chicago blaring Don’t on the speakers. Turning a simple idea into an eye catching city-scape montage synchronized to beat, they do a great job capturing some of the cities historic landmark buildings and roads. Cruising through the city where he is building himself a legacy, being a boss and planning his next moves. Follow his social media pages and soundcloud below to keep up.

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Cant Keep This LWKY Forever

The influx of live music performers in recent years is refreshing. There is something about music fresh off the instruments or a freestyle beat smith that adds some real energy to a performance. Giving the opportunity to improvise on stage can turn a regular show in a unique and memorable event. Artists like Disclosure, Flume, Beats Antique, Griz, Brasstracks, and more have perfected their own styles with live dance music. While DJs and producers like A-Trak, Trentino, Zebo and aarabMUZIK have long mastered scratching or live beat work.

Chicago is becoming a emerging hub for local independent artists and a growing number are getting creative with live instruments and bands. Coming arcross LWKY music I was pleased so see the experimental dance music artists joining others in breaking away from the CDJ norm. Using guitar, synths and midi controllers, with their style and production they can easily bend genres and experiment.

In the most recent releases you can hear many different influences. Combining electro funk and jazz beats reminiscent to Manic Focus and future bass that can match Cofresi and his live work on drum pads and midi controllers. Flux has some glitch hop and funk influence and the Down Low sounds like K-Theory reborn. Just releasing a music video as well for Happy To Be Human coming from their 2014 LP No Sleep, you get a visual idea of how they work in real time.

Yes this group has been mastering their craft a while. Up till now they have few albums, couple EPs, countless singles and remixes and best thing about it is its all free to you. Or you can go out and find one of their shows and see them in action. In Chicago they are opening for Manic Focus early March at the Riv. I can expect to hear a lot more from LWKY this year, excited to see what they got goin on next.

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Willy Joy Branching Out [ Free Download ]

Willy Joy is an artist for an artist. Most creatives stick to expressing their work outward for people, while others like to boost their creative counter parts. Willy Joy not only thinks about him self, but other artists that need help too and you. He releases music for you to enjoy and for the artist, he runs a weekly podcast called Back to Back for fellow DJ/producers to talk about advice, passion and experiences. Interviewing and getting support from artists like Jayceeoh, Kaskade, 12th Planet, Destructo, Diplo, Wolfgang Gartner and many more throughout about 35 episodes and counting.

Thats a pretty big schedule and that  is not even mentioning the shows he plays! Playin tracks like his latest release I Found You, a remix of Axwell, one of Willy Joy’s favorite classics he notes. Also with the release of the track he announces new music on the way! So more originals like Can U Bounce, Get Down, Forever, Bust It Up,  to add onto you trap n bass playlist. Keep track of Willy Joy and not only will you get your bass cravings fulfilled but some industry knowledge as well.

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Trentino Chicagos Remix King [ Free Downloads ]

Hip hop, rap and electronic dance music have not always been so harmonious together but over the past decade genres like dubstep, Trap and Bass created a bridge for the styles to be combined. EDM artist like their production to breathe freely while Hip Hop artist need a simple repetitive beat to emphasize the flow of their verses. Artists like Trentino, being a lover of both worlds found a formula working those two together as if the genres were always compatible, made for each other.

Following an R&B EDM remix of Purple Peanuts by Rama Duke Trentino remixes another two popular artists. Derez DeShaun and A$AP Ferg get caught in the crosshairs for a couple of revisions.  Hardaway and Plain Jane can now find their way into a club for music lovers do jump around, throw their elbows or just dance to. What will Trentino pick out next, and original or remix and by who? Can only guess what music his library in his head is ready to be revived.

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Benasis Bass Frenzy [ Free Downloads ]

If you are low on bass music we got just the fix. Benasis, one of Chicago’s wildest dubstep, trap and bass producers, gets trigger happy and releases a series of tracks from his library. One week after another his fans got a new release from his Swamp Movement EP. Not stopping there Benasis got together with old friend Rico Act to finish it this release frenzy.

Makin their rounds across the sound board Swamp Movement‘s 3 tracks are perfect to turn a crowd upside down. The trap fans will put their elbows up for Run It with Rico Act, a frequent collaborator that got the media rolling with their Wook track. With support from Cherney, Eptic, Habstrakt, Slander and more, Benasis is inching up to 100k followers on soundcloud. Thought he is kept underground for now you can catch him opening up for some pretty big names and festivals. When he is quiet you can bet he is working on new tunes so keep your eyes and ears open!

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Get Solstis Stuck In Your Head [ Free Download ]

Solstis pull a quick move and come back with a new single. The Chicago duo treating fans to a couple of originals released within about a month of each other. Continuing a trend following their last single Take Me, the two invite independent singer/songwriter Simona Shao onto the mic. Frequent collaborator SANDS joins in on production as well. In My Head will be their second single release off their upcoming debut album scheduled for early 2018! In the meantime you can download this piece for free

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Solstis Takes You On A Ride [Free Download]

Solstis is back with new music for Chicago and fans abroad. This time they pull out an original from their playlist. Up until now this past year the duo have been releasing remixes for artists like Luna Shadows and Autolaser w/ PLS&TY and a throwback with Nelly FurtadoThis release also makes their first original track with an independent singer/ songwriter. Ally Ahern and Solstis compliment eachothers flow and style with Take Me they just created an instant with ease. With this release  maybe a full project can be on its way we will have to see!

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Ill Esha Creates Hologram Midnights [Free Download]

Ill Esha is back with an original she produced for Nest HQ. Following a collab and remix release she redefines her style on Hologram Midnight with synths that would accompany 80’s styled futuristic apocalyptic adventures. The intros buildup prepares you for the journey through dark basslines and beats in the main body of the track before surfacing back to back along the vibrant melody. This Denver based, Chicago influenced Nap Girl producer whom is responsible for a community of music producers on Discord channel continues thinking outside the box with the styles and work that she puts out. You can grab this track for free here.

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Sleepless with Autograf

Wild schedule so far up till now for Autograf, I wonder if they for saw all this in their Future SauceSo much to happen in a years time; Originals have been released, remixed and played on stage for fans to hear. A remix project just last month saw PLS&TY, James Carter and TELYkast , Gianna Kosta and Mynga take on their Simple. Cant forget fellow local Cofresi‘s remix of Nobody Knows either. Autograf has a good arsenal for a the many shows and festivals they have been apart of, over 100 just this year! When do they sleep?

Remaking other artists work as well the Chicagoan’s are showing no signs of stopping, already working on a remix for Halsey ahead of their single release Sleepless in NYC. Post Malone got the deep house treatment just last month following their Lukas Graham remake. Dealing with two differnt styles here Autograf makes it their own like second nature and comes back with an original piece, with their signature ambient synths and hypnotizing vocals.

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