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?
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.
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!
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.
Chicago’s HxLT comes out with his own tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement. The short project contains just three tracks but it packs some power. Filled with distorted bass, percussion, raw lyricism and chants depicting the angst of the current social-political atmosphere. It holds more of the Punk genre audio aesthetic, with the anti-authority, anarcho attitude, audio distortion and gutteral vocals, compared to his more hip hop and edm releases. The final track, NO MORE, jumps into the 90’s militant minded, political hip hop that first shed light on police brutality in its peak popularity, and that era’s message is just as relevant today.
Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Wilhelm Duke now resides in Chicago where he pursues hip hop independently. Starting off first making moves as a duo with another artist, he eventually disbanded to expand on his solo work. A talented artist and an innovator, with lightning fast lyricism, deep philosophies and a motivation to empower his local collective of artists. Not only pursuing music, Duke dips into journalistic writing and videographic cypher episodes, highlighting talented hip hop artists.
As if he does not write enough here on Ever Evolved as a music journalist, he adds even more to his political journal online, and gets insanely creative with how much words he can fit into a song. Does not seem to stress him as though these thoughts run though his head on a regular; his philosophical ideology may also point to the concepts in his music. With two recent releases, he conceptualizes his music as it would be on the radio, and in another track he raps about the divine feminine, independent women of the world. The radio concept is appropriately titled POP FLOW and the feminine track, Y.D.N.A.M.
POP FLOW is more relaxed lyrically compared to his other tracks, notably in his latest LP THE ROBBER BARON, and tracks like WANT SMOKE. Perhaps done purposely, as radio plays are simplistic in style and lyrics? Y.D.N.A.M. takes on a different persona, as Duke rapes over an R&B beat, experimenting with vocalizing, to take to empowering women. Pointing at perspectives that negate the power of women, in the world and in relationships, Duke sees people, of all kinds, as equal in potential and in their rights. There is always something to take from when listening to Wilhelm Duke, with his lyricism being catchy and holding metaphoric wisdom simultaneously, read between the lines!
Notable Chicago duo, The Hood Internet, just finished their music time machine! The two have embarked on a journey throughout the 80’s, sampling the decades most favored songs and artists in a handful of songs representing each year of the 80’s. Why has this not been done before? – We just needed genius’s like the Hood Internet in Chicago to manifest this concept obviously. Together they mixed together artists like Kool and the Gang, Rick James, Men Without Hats, Daryll Hall & John Oats, Survivors, Michael Jackson, The Clash, Bonnie Tyler, Eurythmics, David Bowie, Corey Hart, Van Halen, Cyndi Lauper, Eazy E, Dr. Dre, RUN DMC and way more, in a seamless progression. A homage to a decade of that forever shaped the culture of music in countless ways, from disco to hip hop, rock n’ roll, synth pop and countless cultural references from hollywood movies to music icons, perfectly represented thanks to The Hood Internet!
With a work ethic that can rival Curren$y, and a freestyle flow that is raw and endless, there is more than enough Radcliff Music to keep your speakers rockin’. With the Educated Low Life brand, as a scholar and street artist, Radcliff continues to promote individuality and resilience to adversity in himself and others through his verses. If you can keep up with his lyricism you can learn a couple new philosophies and ways to go about life. But the message is clear: be authentic, mind your own and put in some work!
Recently on a streak of releases on Youtube, during lockdown season, taking advantage of the free time to hit the studio. His latest comes as a collaboration and a single with a couple of different energies! Fresh with KEEP UP, features artists Tamica Renee and King Rozzie, this track has a more R&B vibe to it, with its beat and feminine vocals, balanced with Radcliffs lyricism. This will follow up on his track IN THE CLOUDS, with a more relaxed lo-fi beat produced by Nate Broski. These tracks, along with FOX FLOW, are his first releases on soundcloud after a hot minute, following his Youtube marathon.