Great and iconic music is reflective of the times that it was made in. It is also reflective of things that have been permeating through out history. Both are true when it comes to the hit social-political single, IT’S GOING DOWN, by Keem Singing and Radcliff Music, produced by Keem Singing and RhymSter of Ever Evolved. With imagery (visuals by Hayward of B.B.E. and BTS by Scotty Rocks of the Dog & Pony Show) of Keem portraying Malcolm X, and black freedom individuals holding a vigil in response to police brutality, Keem sings, “There’s a fire burning, spread across the nation.” Radcliff Music raps a verse that pays tribute to fallen black people at the hands of police officers ie. Sandra Bland, George Floyd, Emmet Till.
Whether or not our country is better than it was in the 60’s, there is photographic and video-graphic evidence that suggests that systemic oppression against people of color has largely stayed the same. So far the music video gets rejected by multiple platforms for its supposed edginess. IT’S GOING DOWN is only edgy in that it sheds light on the frustrations that BIPOC have faced in this country for hundreds of years. Platforms will put up and publish images to negatively stereotype the black man. But show something that incites pride, political organization, and intelligence, now its edgy. When it is a music video of black men coming together to demonstrate?
An artist to add wonderful diversity to your Chicago playlist, the style and vocals of Lili K will leave you stunned! Originally from Milkwaukee, this Midwest artist bases herself in Chicago. Blending in easily with the vibrant music culture, she gained exposure working with artists like Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. Learning to perform at an early age in church and school choirs, and being trained in classical, jazz and opera, you can hear the experience in the control of her voice! Along with her talent and love for music, she also expresses a bit of altruism, donating to important social causes.
Within recent events Lili K has been advocating to match her donations for Love and Land Foundation efforts for Black women and girls to reach therapy. In another case she donated to help free BLM protesters in downtown Chicago arrests; with a great voice comes a great heart it seems, in this case! Her vocal talent and style fits the burlesque culture and jazz lounges, and with frequent performances at spaces like Untitled Supper Club and Soho House, her name is becoming quite known in Chicago among lovers of jazz and soul. Recently releasing the song BLUFF, calling out the weak intentions of a significant other and leaning towards independence, Lili sings beautifully over bass and string instruments, sax and vocal harmonies, with the help of Jeremy Jones.
GQ the Fool is back on his bull sh*t, as he announces on his latest freestyle release. BOMBS dawns a sports anthem sample with some percussion, GQ unloads his mind in the name of Chicago! Being busy with his Goodfellaz project with his partner Safi G, promoting their single SOUL FOOD, GQ remains the Fool and with his signature conscious, thought provoking and witty lyricism.
Elevatd turning another corner into foreign influences! Always the duo to challenge their musical boundaries, as with their last hip hop influenced release, flipping Da Baby’s BLAME IT ON BABY. Typically hitting on their dubstep and bass roots, this release extends a deep welcome to some experimental future bass. Inviting Hissander Flores on a track dubbing Abraham Vasquez ballad, HOY ME ESTOY COMIENDO, an unexpected but refreshing homage to hispanic culture.
A young underground mogul, RhymSter is connected with the some of best artists, beat makers, producers, DJ’s, collectives and labels Chicago can offer. Working in the background and the fore front of music, from performing to coordinating the events, to spittin’ freestyles and making beats from scratch at Ever Evolved Studios. Always one to get involved with others as well, as his last release brings out four talented hip hop artists on his EP titled 4 FOR 4. This project follows his single PRODUCT OF ME and EP HEAVEN FOR ROSES.
Every track has an artist that can bring the most raw verses you can hear, no holds bars! Cannot mention heavy bars without naming Mike Booth, a photographer with unstoppable freestyle flow, explaining on the track CONSEQUENCES, “This lifestyle comes with consequences, either you on the court or on the benches.” That just being the chorus, a hard lesson; his verses always come unfiltered, and his next verses show you just that. Rhymster chimes in with hunger, “I’m that young man heading for the Forbes on that top list, the keys only open for me, I’ll challenge any locksmith.”
From there you already know this project is going to hit. One track with BeatrixKiddo takes on a lo-fi vibe on the beat. Starting with a sample from Rodney Dangerfield‘s stand up on LIL DIFFERENT, the creativity on production with this project is quite noteworthy by JAKETHESNAKE. Each track presents something different, and with Italo, he adds a touch of R&B to the project in POP UP. Finally to complete 4 FOR 4, Greediphresh comes in to match some bars on the fourth track! TELL ME brings it all out, as RhymSter brings his toughest verses with Greedi’s signature raw style and heavy voice, over a haunting beat. An EP to have on every hip hop playlist with the bass way up!
AKA Fátima Valle, currently residing in United Arab Emirates (UAE), and close friend to Chicago artists, released another tune carrying a personal message. TELL THE ONES YOU LOVE YOU LOVE THEM, nothing to be misconstrued there, Fafa dedicated the song to a friend in passing. In her artistic fashion, she reminds us all express more positive affirmations towards your companions in life!
Never one to shy away to express her mind, it is important to do so! This release follows a music video, THE SKY CRIES WITH ME, a track about battling through mental bouts. Fearlessly, lovingly and creativly taking lifes challenges, helping listeners on their own journeys as well. To really get connected to Fafa’s journey, her social medias are full of activity where she covers numerous songs & unreleased previews, continuously expanding her vocal abilities on the daily!
Niykee Heaton comes out of Chicago a successful player of grassroots music stardom. Similarly to Tasha Sultana, she gained fans and followers by performing covers on Youtube with acoustic guitar. However she leans more towards acoustic trap queen more so than the raggae-ska, indie hippie with covers of songs by artists like Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla Sign, and Chief Keef. She followed up with modeling, and solidified her position in music entertainment with her flawless, racy aesthetic leading up to and after her first project, BAD INTENTIONS.
Since then she has grown in ambitions as an artist. She now produces and performs original songs, and in front of live audiences, graduating from simple acoustic & vocal covers. Niykee also owns her own unisex sportswear collection called, NATURYLA Vibe By NBK, and uploads fitness & health videos on her YouTube channel, as well as a personal Vlog. More than ambitious, she is charitable as well, donating money from her campaigns to Good ShephardShelter (the first domestic violence shelter in LA) and Feeding America‘s Covid-19 Relief.
Far different from her acoustic trap covers that gained her glory, her original production leans towards more R&B and pop soul. Continuing on with more sophisticated guitar chords and melodies, vocal harmonic layering, bass and percussion. Just released is her previously unreleased demo, COME FORE ME, flawlessly swerving on unwanted advances in her lyrics. “You don’t need to come for me, I don’t need the company… I would rather come for me,” taking self love and confidence to another level. Strong sentiments to share for a feminine following and just about everyone!
They call him Renaissance for his ability to blend an eclectic mix of styles including R&B, pop, trap, and soul. A singer and songwriter, John Renaissance has placements on NBC, worked on Empire, the Steve Harvey Show and he is a member of the Chicago Federation of Musicians. A multi-talented phenom, his latest record MOSCATO, is a pop smash hit anticipating a long game break in the mainstream.
Eight months ago John Renaissance was featured on a song called, “BOTTLES IN THE AIR“, by an artist named DND. Upon viewing that, it was clear Renaissance could easily take that Usher, Donny Hathaway, Trey Songz, Jeremih and Chris Brown like sound, and push the craft even further. Now since dropping MOSCATO in late February, John Renaissance bodies the song and leaves listeners wanting a whole album of more!
To help break the record to a larger audience, John Renaissance started a “MOSCATOchallenge” on social medias. Type in hashtag #johnrenaissance or #moscatochallenge to find it. You can either do a dance routine, a freestyle, or find your own creative way of showing your support to John Renaissance, and his soon to be hit record to the industry.
To get on the phone with John Renaissance was a pleasure, he is a joy to talk to, and very knowledgeable about the music industry. He explained how the Chicago Federation of Musicians is essentially the Chicago union for working musicians and musical performers. Over the course of JR’s career, he has rejected seven record deals; One record deal he declined for the label taking too long to come up with the legal paperwork. Another deal he declined due to the A&R being unprofessional, and sexually harassing a singer he regularly collaborates with. These are certainly commendable decisions, and his intelligence and discernment is something to be applauded.
John Renaissance is a well traveled artist, from New York to LA to Atlanta and hanging out with Lil Boosie; he is full of great stories. He spent the better part of last year working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean as the nightly musical entertainment, performing covers and originals, getting paid to do what he loves to do and live while cruising the Earth’s seas. His perspective on the pandemic, the start of the racial tension, and the BLM protests was quite insightful and beautiful. He said that everyone on the ship was from every corner of the planet, and that there was nothing short of love and unity to experience in that cruise.
John is working on a single called NOAH’S ARK, about how the world is seemingly falling apart, and he is singing on a yacht. He is also working on two other singles, THOUGHTS FROM A PRIVATE JET and CATALINA, and a full project called LIFE IS A TRIP, a Drake influenced style of diary writing. JR will release a precursor EP to that project as well titled, WALK AWAY.
John Renaissance is inspired by Smokey Robinson. He wants to write the records, find the artists, build the empire. He is actually secured two SAG roles for artists of his, NDPNDNT and Aaron Mack, both with roles on EMPIRE. John Renaissance has a quote that will be used directly, it is a fantastic way to sum up his brand in one word when needed: “You can be a jack of all trades, master of none, but me? I’m a Renaissance Man.” JR is inferring that everything he does and touches, is at a masterful level. After listening to his music and hearing his stories, one would undoubtedly have to agree.
From the East Side of Chicago, and currently residing in Los Angeles, Hannah Got Raps releases music with raw hip hop flow! Since moving to LA, her music has been welcomed to stages shared by Bone Thugs, Vince Staples, Common, Odd Future, Action Bronson and more. Spreading positive messages to her new found audiences, Hannah raps about life and transcendence as she uplifts the soul with her music! Evident in her last EP BLOSSOM and recent music video BLACK, inspired by current turbulent times.
Set 48 hours before Juneteenth, Hannah Got Raps celebrates black lives with an inspiring and powerful visual. Filled Black Power symbolism, like traditional black cultural family values, black entrepreneurship and black leather clad get ups, representing the legendary Black Panthers! The video ends with a poem about fear, from the perspective of the oppressed. The song leaves you more aware of the power and magic of black love, and a reminder, “All black love is the mission, everybody talk about peace, while the blood shed, hear the cries of the streets.” Will You Rise?
California born, Chicago based elite emcee, Orlando Coolridge took this latest single to his west coast roots with AK LIKE YOU KNO. A groovy bass rhythm and a clap on the one and the three. Coolridge croons a catchy hook with slight auto-tune to add some accent to the chorus. A member of SlumpGang777, and a regular contender on the No Coast rap battle circuit. When Coolridge is not lighting up his opposition in a battle, or touring with his collective, you can find him rocking some of the best shows in the Midwest, and dropping regular tunes with it.
AK LIKE U KNO brings out a funkier side of the rap battle extraordinaire, and the song still contains the classic Coolridge bar structure. Coolridge raps, “You can probably catch me on the I-5, chronic in the left hand, sliding by the skyline. It’s my time, to show off my divine mind, my style ages like fine wine, Malibus most wanted with the fine dine.” The exceptional way he strings together lines is definitely not void in his latest single, you get classic and contemporary Coolridge all in one record.