Her status reads, “As I prepare for the release of this dope ass content, I hope all my friends and fans understand my distance. I’ve been working non stop on making my dreams come true.” Following Freddie Old Soul can inspire, given her unapologetic freedom of self and her spiritual perspectives. Too imperfect to be called a conscious rapper however her ideologies seep into her rhymes driven by street smart bravado. Simply put, she is as real as they come!
Old Soul been on hiatus but don’t you worry because she got everything that you need in this mother f**ker. She comes back strong after leaving everyone with a taste of HONEY with a music video. In her silence she has been putting together her SOUL WORK, while managing her life and motherhood. She is easily a strong figure and influence for women in hip hop and music in general, just by being herself. Old Soul has put together a listening party for her upcoming project SOUL WORK, along with a documentary of her writing and experiences as an artist in Chicago with SurrealChi at 3101 N Sheffield this November 24th at 8pm.
There are not much milestones like the first and for an artist they can be significant. This month DJ Heily B hits a big one as he debuts his first ep. Not out of no where however, Heily B has been working on single releases for the longer end of the year, practicing, getting better and more creative each time. More known as an electronic dance music DJ, spinning for events and venues around Chicago and event a couple of times for Ever Evolved events as well, Heily B has picked up producing along the way.
From his first release BREAD BOWL to ELECTRONIC DANCING MUSIC EP, there is quite a difference that can represent his growth as a producer, but the quality was present from the start. The EP itself is a quick 4 song package packed with energy reaching into diverse genres. Heily never seemed to stick with a single genre from the start and from beginning to end the EDM EP takes you on a audio trip. From the future bass track FORGET A DAY bearing feminine vocals, the hispanic lingo over a dubstep beat in DIVIDE, to the bass and riddim style ending out the EP. Heily B really puts Respect on his name with this release. If you missed his ep release party at The Auxillary Art Center, press play and live through it vicariously.
The visual to this record has to be one of the most touching music video intros you have seen. Dat Bizness shows off his family, unafraid of presenting himself as a father, a proud black man who provides for and loves his family. He is even matching with his youngest son, AJ.
There is a lot of negativity perpetuated as a form of self expression from the experiences that young black men go through coming up in Chicago. Dat Bizness takes these experiences and flips a lyrically positive spin. He still makes it clear these are very real times to be alive and negative things are still obviously going on. With the main phrase and theme of the record being I AIN’T GOING, there is much about the surroundings and lifestyles of Chicago that Dat Bizness is rightfully against.
I AIN’T GOING presents lines that pierce the emotions and thoughts of the listener like, “Black girls going missing, times real!.. White man pulling me over while I’m behind the wheel, but I ain’t dying today, that’s what my mind wills!” Followed by “Grew up with the gods but the devils call us n***as, either or, even odds!.. Jo, this is top shelf from the basement though, this that smoking blunts in staircases flow, scarred faces, stressed thoughts, broke dreams, turn some to kings and queens, turn some to dope fiends!” Dat Bizness has been in the Chicago hip hop community for a while now but this new record and visual is elevating him quickly; reminding the rest of us to focus on the craft and the pen game first.
Chore Boy and Brad Kemp recently dropped the visual to the hit single NOSCE featuring CantBuyDeem, on their LP “STORIES YOU CAN TELL YOURSELF“. This music video, directed by Patric Coakley, is a simple but brilliant visual expression of the three rap verse song, including sound bites from what you can only postulate is Alan Watts since the timber of the voice in the audio is a popular archaic tone. Chore Boy and CantBuyDeem give so much wittiness throughout.
Chore Boy starts off with a fast tight flow and high technical skill “They just like me for the weed, they don’t like me for the rapping!” Later in the same first verse, “I leave my lid open like some stale chips and I skate by like a stale fish, you on stalemate while I nail shit, whats an earthling to an alien!” Chore Boy takes the first and last verse, giving CantBuyDeem the middle. That was only a taste of the wit Chore Boy co. has on this one record.
CantBuyDeem starts off with this line that will make you laugh everytime, “I put in 5 brought back 10, that shit felt like MAGIC!.. Hear a lot of boss talk, but they got no sauce, gotta put the packet in the ramen at the right time!” Followed up by, “Jumped off the porch like a skydive, I be smoking spliffs feeling like I’m in the ozone, standing round a room full of squares trying to phone home, trap phone, cell phone, main phone, same phone no ringtone but that bitch stay buzzin!” Can’tBuyDeem per usual, drops a verse thick and rich in humor, style and banter. His first line is significant because, think about the idea of being an entrepreneur that can flip a product and how it is like literal magic. In CantBuyDeem’s case, he puts that work in as a recording artist and gets more back. Basic simple math having to do with a sonic return on investment.
Chore Boy’s third and final verse has more density packed into it! “Took a D.A.R.E. class, but my dawg double dared me, talk isn’t scary, everyone who’s watching went from awestruck to wary. And they be taping everything like caution so carefully, I’m lost in the sauce but I’m found at the scene!” His little play on drugs and crime is interesting, it seems to be an ode to the 90s public school war on drug culture, as well as metaphors for his mind and acumen when it comes to rapping.
Brad Kemp’s production and engineering is top notch as always and really helps brush out the flavor of the recording artists he works with. We are all for more Chore Boy x CantBuyDeem records! Hip hop such as this record and visual are vital to the life line of the culture. If you can get anyone to bump, dance and think. Well then you have done your part.
As far as influential women go, there is one that deserves the most praise and recognition! The one third emcee, photographer and film maker, Jovan Landry, has had a seriously busy year connecting with different collectives, producing music and working the camera. Humbly yet passionately challenging male dominated roles and uplifting women in her industry. She has created quite a rank for herself, an international interdisciplinary artist.
Over the last year alone she has lead a workshop centered around female music producers at A3C Festival and Conference in ATL. She was also involved in a project for Green House Artist Showcase with Dorchester Housing and Art Collective, demonstrating the historical employment of the black female body as a tool for manual labor with Keyierra Collins. Also helped the film Red Clay Dance Company and even was apart of a strength challenge with TBFit. Just to point out a few achievements, because her list of skills go on for ever!
That is all just within the year, her discography and skill set goes much deeper. Recently Jovan has released an album with SynergyChi, a collective of her own creation, made up entirely of creative women with talents in vocals, engineering, graphic design, photography, the works. Supported by WeWork Creator Awards, they have also been featured in Chicago Tribune, Vocalo Radio, NPR and on ABC7 for a television debut. SynergyChi also was chosen to speak in St. Louis University for Women in Hip Hop Conference and in Berlin for WeWork Creator Awards.
Jovan is force of influence, not stopping at the camera, production and building collectives either. She also influences growing artists too, through her video blogging tutorials and guiding tools on her Youtube channel. Yet some of her best work comes from her soul and her music. You can see it when she performs live at events like Jeff Fest, Wicker Park Fest, Hoist Fest or at smaller venues like Emporium or Silver Room. Her music and her lyricism is of consciousness and quality after a short busy hiatus she has released her single Made It Thru following her Synergy LP release.
No two men are one in the same and that especially rings true for Radcliff Music! Where many would faulter, Radcfliff thrives. Could be his raw mindset etched in lyrics like, “I’m going to keep on dropping music bitch, I’m good on the fame“. This mentality allows him to rise above, no matter what the situation, because his dedication to his authenticity. Influenced by no man but himself, he spits his words in raw form in a spree of releases this month.
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.
Fierce, beautiful and passionate are words that come to mind for this weeks WCW. “Creative, ambitious, and pretty badass!” Is how up and coming R&B artist T$, or TMUNY, describes herself. And it is not hard to understand why. On the road to self love and discovery, the Chicagoan artist is only 20 years old and is a professional model, actress, R&B singer and fashion designer. And that is only skimming the surface.
It is not often that we meet an artist as dynamic as TMUNY. She started writing her own poetry, filling numerous journals in the process, and music at a young age. She was also dabbling in music production as a senior in high school. Her music is in her own words, trap princess music, reminiscent of Jhene Aiko and Syd.
With a somewhat complicated past, as all artists have, TMUNY has experienced a lot in her life. It is those experiences, from family, past relationships, her goals, and her own personal perspective of life, that she chooses to sing about. Her music has is smart, confident and rich with undertones of Chicago throughout.
When she is not writing and recording her music, you can find her modeling. As a professionally trained freelance model, she has worked with Iridium Clothing and has been inspired to start her own fashion line, titled after her own name. She is also an actress and had a solo performance in New York for National Women’s Day. She also stars in a short film that will be released around Christmas time.
While she maintains a balance between her different areas of artistic expression, her favorite method is writing and singing. Doing so since the age of four, sixteen years later she is releasing her own EP. The culmination of hard work, dedication and passion. The EP, releasing November 16th, is titled HEALING and is co produced by Malcolm Flex. You can find her music on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, to name a few of her platforms.
Many songs, to the untrained ear and regular fans, may seem final and complete once released. Seasoned artists however know that any song or creation can be added onto or restructured completely, to create a similar work of art or new one altogether, from the foundation of original. This yea, remixes have played a significant role in Louis the Child‘s playlist. From a remix EP of the KIDS AT PLAY project, to remixing Elohim and Death Cab For A Cutie, Louis the Child now picks another catchy tune to remake.
This time around the Chicago duo picks a song from a couple of EDM legend to rework. The former Dog Blood duo, Skrillex and Boys Noize, have teamed up again and this time with Ty Dolla $ign to make a bass house beat. Now remixing artists as complex and established as Skrillex may be a bit of a challenge, but none too much for Louis the Child too handle. Known for the consistency with producing anthems, the two take the MIDNIGHT HOUR and flip it into a more hip hop & R&B influenced down tempo tune. An interesting remake to add to your playlist, Louis the Child is no stranger to unusually catchy sounds. An acquired taste to add to your playlist, let it grow on you.
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.