Like a pheonix rising from its ashes, destruction can be a catalyst for new life and beginnings. Just as the pheonix, Broken Robots understands the significance and power of starting anew, even through unconventional and sometimes harsh, definite conclusions. With their recent music video release, BURN IT DOWN, Kat & Tony Baker & Lonnie Phillips encourage intense self reflection as a means to an end, or a beginning.
Not being strangers to difficult situations and thoughts, Broken Robots Kat and Tony Baker create a powerful message with their success and existence. From being heroin addicted, homeless and facing criminal penalties, mental health issues and abusive relationships, the two essentially burned down the toxic lifestyle that dominated their lives in order to build upon the ashes, an empire! In a conversation with Chicago Sound Check, we get a closer evaluation of the song and videos purpose and meaning.
Tony Baker leads with some powerful insight about personal relationships; “There doesn’t necessarily always have to be a protagonist and an antagonist for a relationship to end or to kind of burn out.” He continues, “And it doesn’t mean anyone’s wrong, doesn’t mean someone’s a bad person.” Kat goes on to add, regarding the video, “Its based ona lot of different experiences…Being from relationships like in the video, relationships where you have to struggle between whether or not you should stay or go or if it’s worth keeping it or burning it down.” The video shot by Joel Lopez includes actors Jessica Ebacher & Ahmed Forero in scenes of tense interactions, creating a visual metaphor to what Broken Robots conveys lyrically. Before you know it, you will have BURN IT DOWN playing on repeat as the soundtrack for your personal self fulfilling missions!
Seemingly an endless flow of creative effort, Queen Mars is back again with more music and videos to accompany. Consistency is the name of the game, and this girl is a boss player. Not letting anything stop her, she has been on the move since quarantine, when most people stagnated with the times, the queen has been releasing content after content. Taking off with the B!TCH quarantine promo video, she followed up with an official music video, visual concept art for LET ME LOVE YOU, MISS AMERICA, QUEEN OF HEARTS, and multiple video performances for Art After Dark.
Wasting no time with the new year, Queen Mars is back again with BOYS LIKE YOU. Starting out the video with a fierce gaze, as if she sees into your soul, before the beat drops, you know she is not playing any funny games! Lyrically laying out her distaste in the key word of boys, who have no intention for genuine love, but promiscuity instead. In accordence with her previous music video releases, Queen Mars creates concept, design and art to make an entertaining video, aside from her flawless singing and smokin hot wardrobe!
Personalizing a track can be a great way to cater to a certain audience or person. FAZER has it both ways with his new music video release for CATER 2 U. Lyrically he raps as if thinking about a certain individual, and can be used in a romantic setting, with its dreamy beat and chorus. The music video creates a different vibe, where you see more natural environments, around encounters with friends, breaking the 3rd wall, as if accommodating your presence as the viewer; the video feels disarming almost. Recorded at Ever Evolved Studios, The Lucrative Records artist has created a very relaxed beat, that can set the tone for a good night with CATER 2 U.
ChanSe NFO recently dropped a single with an intense music video along with it called KAREN. ChanSe’s flow breaks through with a biting speed. The slight distortion on his voice makes for a signature sound and style that is been enjoyed in his previous records. The editing of the visual sticks out because ChanSe does not make the typical choices that a lot of hip hop artists make. The black and white color scheme, strobe lights and lyrics smashing into the frame make for a ride of an experience.
“I keep a 40 on me just to gargle when my breath stinks,” is the first line that smacks almost immediately, and it is quite humorous to imagine. ChanSe then follows up later with, “Then go and run his mouth about the shit you did, WEIRD, lets be CLEAR, you ain’t about the mission then you rear view MIRRORED.” This line refers to guys that act tough, fake being hard and boast about their fighting skills, or embellished exploits that obviously never happened. The rear view mirror reference has to do with the one in the car that is too scared to go through, with whatever mayhem is about to occur. So they are looking in the mirror, wishing they did not decide to ride with the real ones that day. It is a strong visual line.
Chanse NFO ends the song abruptly after one more string of rhymes. The track is 1:30 in length and guaranteed to have you replaying it right away! The instrumental is produced by Theisy, and the visual was shot by Theisy as well, then edited by Jnicoo Productions.
Coming upon the delicate sounds of Heidi Lilli a few summers ago in Chicago. Appearing at Ever Evolved & EAT WellEvolve And Thrive Fest among a handful of Chicago hip hop, rock, edm and indie genres. To the ears delight she confidently performed solo and with her ukulele. Delighting the audience with witty jokes and up beat tunes, a head turning difference in the diversity of Chicagos talent.
Fast forward today, she is now living on the West Coast with a new brand and additional talent! Cooperating with her partner to form Lilli & Charles, the two have been releasing music consistently since summer 2020. Recently upon the new year, the duo released a lyric video for a new tune called IN MY HOMETOWN, keeping on with the up beat, pop sound that you can compare to Buddy Holly. Aside from an independent release of her EP NOMAD, Heidi has also multiplied her talents to include make up artistry for photo, film, beauty, etc. to add to her songwriting, piano and ukulele instrumentation.
YOUNG XAV follows up and comes through on his music video promise! His first release of the year, KISS KISS BANG BANG, covers the feelings of heart break in relationships; a culmination of all his personal experiences regarding love connections in one song. Ever Evolved got to interview YOUNG XAV about the significance of the new release, noting a change in direction of sound moving forward. The music video itself montages his different experiences with different women, his own lyrics expressed through their lips, creating an atmosphere of tension. The video also features behind the scenes shot, before and after the making of the visuals, giving viewers a peak into the creative process that went into KISS KISS BANG BANG.
The comeback is real and strong! Starting out the new year re-entering the scene, Candy Irene does not seem to skip a beat in her absence. Going all out with a music video, with some heavy lyrics, for her latest release, WE GOT SECURITY. Like she never even took a break, her momentum is still strong!
Entering the scene with anthemic horns and angelic vocal harmonies upon her cinematic entrance. Of course, always looking fashionably fresh, her rebellious and eccentric look and wild hair styles have always been a consistent in her appearance. The beat enters rumbling with bass, with Candy Irene’s dominating presence among nature, in front of a live band, as she boasts on the mic. “The budget ain’t cuttin down n***a, formula on how to make it bigger, think I saw it in a dream… Momma told me to be a go getta…” The quality of sound and visual along with her lyrical abilities shows good promise as she teases on social media, more new music is on the way!
It is here, the long awaited EPIC by StankNasty! A three track EP to start off the new year, continuing from the last. Consistently releasing singles throughout 2020, he thrived in an otherwise tough time. StankNasty gave us track after track of melodic, lyrically packed, conceptual, anthemic hip hop and rap beats. All to lead up to the release of EPIC; The planning behind the project itself is to be taken note of!
Releasing KNOW THE NAME last summer as the first teaser of the EP, using samples from the movie Transformers, it was preceded and followed up with multiple songs. Keeping you on your toes till the eventual release date. It was even promoted with an official LP trailer for the project, where StankNasty is consumed by the energy of music, through the mic. He keeps up with conceptualizing ideas through both music and visual, creating a cinematic touch to his art. Whether its an idea like CARNAGE, or TRAUMA, braggadocios like BEAST MODE, PREACHING TO THE CHOIR, or using music references in HOLD IT DOWN and I KNOW I’VE WON; The pattern continues with EPIC-EP.
The summer release KNOW THE NAME starts out the track, giving you that StankNasty confidence on the mic, and introducing his lyrical ability right off the bat. THE FORCE is a conceptual track lyrically as well as musically, using literal Star Wars scores, verbal and audio references and samples, and of course, THE FORCE that we seen in the very same official trailer for the project. It also seems to be a tribute and appreciation to the hip hop genre as a whole, as the chorus repeats, “Hip Hop is THE FORCE, and the force is strong with him. It surrounds us, moves through us, like the wind. It binds us, it connects us, it reflects us; and it lives within...” MAKE IT EPIC ends the project on a cinematic and positive note, with its loud biblical horns and beat work and Avengers: End Game samples, never turning off his lyrical proficiency for a moment. Leaving you with a message “If you get something out of this record it’s never say never, thats part of the essence of doing what you do, but making it epic. Make every second count, instead of counting seconds…“
Having the opportunity to sit down with YOUNG XAV for an interview, there are a few things to learn about this up and coming artist! First introduced to his music with the release of AFTER DARK, you would instantly notice there is more to this artist than just the music. He has a story to tell! Breaking down a little bit of his creative process, we also get an idea of the direction YOUNG XAV is going with, regarding his current and newer music entries.
Making music since 2017, it was not until the release of AFTER DARK that he decides to take on the hobby more seriously. When asked what his purpose is behind his music, YOUNG XAV responds with, “I think just narrative driven, that’s my thing. I can’t make music if I’m not living life… Big thing for me, is to tell what I have to feel… Cheaper than a shrink. Sometimes expensive.” Noting that relate-ability is key in the messages he conveys to his audience.
In regards to how YOUNG XAV gets comfortable expressing his vulnerabilities, he responds with, “Thing is I never created something where it’s like, wow, I’m literally exposing myself. When it comes to my friends I keep things very tight nit, I keep things very closed, but my music contradicts that. If you want to know about me, for better or for worse, you can hear my music. It’s therapeutic. It translates to something different. It’s never been difficult to deal with that vulnerability.” As you listen to his songs from AFTER DARK and the following, you will notice a deep sense of introspection within each track. Whether it is personal or involving relationships.
Out with a new release, his new tune KISS KISS BANG BANG is no exception. In the song he confides to his listeners about heartbreak and the emotional trauma connected. However the difference with KISS KISS BANG BANG and other heart break songs like IN MY HEAD, YOUNG XAV would say it is more of a culmination of thought about all his past relationships, and not specific to a single individual. When asked how he gets through heart break, he simply says, “I write a song about it, and if that doesn’t work, make more music.”
KISS KISS BANG BANG also represents a new direction of sound YOUNG XAV mentioned with his last release, MANIA FREESTYLE. Preparing for his next big release, his 2nd album, DEAD BY DAWN, ready for an October 1st release date. YOUNG XAV notes, “KISS KISS BANG BANG is the perfect bridge, if I released certain songs in DEAD BY DAWN it would sound like an entire 180. So I think with releasing kiss bang bang, instead of being a shocker, it’s more of a bridge.” Specifically, YOUNG XAV, plans to experiment past the genre of hip hop and rap that he has been used to, and into more melodic sounds and singing, live instrumentation as well as dipping into lo-fi, jazz and rock genres.
When asked why the new take on his music, YOUNG XAV responds with great insight. “It’s crucial to story telling. There’s certain stories you can tell in genre of rap, then there is certain stories you can’t. In terms of genres I don’t think about them as categories that define an artist… But instead more of which genre can I use, which tools can I use to best explain how I feel.” Very thoughtful perception to take in as you listen to his songs moving forward! The story for KISS KISS BANG BANG is not over just yet, as YOUNG XAV also plans for a music video release, on the 29th of January. So stay tuned for visuals coming up very soon, as he prepares you his next big LP, DEAD BY DAWN related in concept to AFTER DARK.
There is always room for fresh artists to be recognized and Chicago is flourishing. Seeing an influx of soulful and R&B singers, we are introduced to yet another talented voice. Charmaine Makeda steps up to the mic with a debut self titled EP Project, after releasing a few singles. Adding to the already diverse plate of creatives in Chicago, she notes to social media there is only more to come.
Seven songs deep, the EP starts out with SEE YOU AGAIN, a passionate song of romance, with a chorus that will have you singing along by the second go. LONELY gets more sensual, with a touch of saxophone, slow deep bass and a catchy piano loop, keeping the vocals to a seductive whisper. As her EP continues Charmaine gets deeper into her mind and her thoughts, a deep thinking romantic, embracing her humanity. ANXIETY INTERLUDE and NOTE 2 MYSELF, is the back and forth in our head, the lows and highs, that happens to the best of us. Charmaine Makeda so eloquently, fluently and fearlessly expresses her mind, from beginning to end, resulting in a beautiful project.