Woman Crush Wednesday: Pauna

Digging deeper into the diversity of Chicago artists we find people from different genres, mediums, ethnicity’s and more. This week we highlight Pauna for Women Crush Wednesday following a music video release. Introduced to Pauna at an Ever Evolved Midnight Marauders Open Mic event, she signed up to present her music among other artists. With a very calm demeanor she steps onto the stage and explodes into hip hop verses, impressing the crowd with her speed and word choice.

Residing in Chicago Pauna frequents local shows to support her fellow music artists in her circle of creatives. Getting the chance to perform here and there she recently had events at Ate Music House and HVAC Pub, giving audiences a taste of her unique hip hop style. Every artist personalizes their music to be representation of themselves, differentiating from others. Pauna blends her hip hop with wordplay through languages.

Being from a Serbian background you can hear her mixing English with some Serbian dialect. Most notably in her music video for her single IDIOTI, her native language plays a big role in the track. In the music video you can see how she places her hip hop lyricism and production in a more gothic setting and fashion more attributed to European culture than hip hop. Her most recent music video release for THE WAY YOU TREATED ME AWOKE ME takes on a more natural setting as the beat is more slowed down. Taking on a more soulful R&B vibe, you can see how she can carry into different styles with ease adding to her potential to experiment with different sounds. Keep extra eyes and ears out for Pauna she just might surprise you!

Pauna | Facebook | Instagram

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Autograf Transform With Love & Retrograde

What is love without the pain? Some will believe you cannot have the good with out the bad. For Autograf the good & the bad is what Love & Retrograde comprises of; the highs and their lows of their last couple of years. You can even hear it literally as you go through dark low bass lines and high end synths and vocals between songs.

Starting the EP off with Test the Waters, a down tempo beat setting a heavy tone. In between these hypnotic instrumental breaks echoes, “Go out and Test the Waters the tide will drag you deeper than you know“, like a test of will of some kind. What will come of this darkness and confusion? The EP then jumps into Retrograde, tunneling through minimal bass sounds, giving some life with these bassline grooves, a strong positive transformation!

Getting your energy ready the Casual Love, this track breathes life into Love & Retrograde, a hopeful sound to bounce around to and chant along with. “I’m looking for people of a like mind… I’m looking for love of a casual kind“; another house anthem for Autograf. They Then get funky with Hold Me Back, giving the right attitude for living singing, “the corners no place for me babe“. Turning this EP on its head from dark to energetic sounds with strong notes, Love & Retrograde really paints a story from start to finish.

Letting their fans know it represents growth for them musically and personally, paying close attention you can hear and feel that in this EP. From the dark, minimal sounds and the doubtful lyrics in the beginning with, to vivacious house beats and groovy tunes with strong affirmations. Autograf ends it strong with Night Drive, a mix of high vibes and low techno basslines. Love & Retrograde is the perfect title for the project for what it represents.

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Gaby Rose.

Powerful: The word that comes to mind most often when thinking about Gaby Rose, her debut single OPEN LETTER and the launch of her music career. Introduced to Gaby Rose while at one of Ever Evolved Midnight Marauders Open Mics hosted at InnJoy in Wicker Park, she signed up and went on towards the latter end of the night. Her voice is soothing, sultry, low-alto with a whispered intonation. Her sense of rhythm and lyrical acumen is impeccable. Every single line flows well with the instrumentation and every lyric hits you emotionally to the core.

Her songwriting paints a story overall but you have to listen through to the end to make sense of it. Only available to hear her music outside her live performance, until now, her one song set was remarkable to say the least. Her singing had people cheering, clapping and getting up out of their seats. Upon finally hearing her debut single on record, it was just as impactful.

Gaby Rose came through to another Ever Evolved event, Delirium IX, this past Monday hosted at Subterranean in Wicker Park. Not only is she an incredible songwriter, vocalist, and performer but she is also a down to earth person that comes out to support local music! She might be newer to the scene, but her talent and character is undeniable. Highly recommend you all to go bump Gaby Rose’s debut song OPEN LETTER. Without going into detail on much of the content on her single, know it represents selflessness, maternity, womanhood and yes, even manhood.

Gaby Rose | Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram

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The 411 On LWKY & Inversive Universe

It would be cool if a call to 411 would give you information on your favorite music artists. But digital media got us for now where we got our ears on LWKY & Inverse Universe with their latest release titled 411. A lot of talent involved in this collaboration with three heads in LWKY’s band adding two more artists with Inverse. Both compliment each others electro soul style of music.

We are introduced to Inverse Universe with this release, the duo seems to be influenced on hip hop and classic rock music mixing it with electronic bass and soul similarly to Manic Focus. Tyler Thompson and Adam Stephens add to the list of artists consistent with that sound coming out of Chicago. Paired together with LWKY on 411 they make a electro soul beat sounds orchestral. The track is so well put together between you can swear you have heard it before but it is an original, it is just that easy to listen to.

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‘All This Is’ Not So New To Manic Focus

Artists may tend to change up their original style and approach to their creative expression. It is how they survive, It is in an artists nature; they are not one single idea but many out of the box projections. Manic Focus, also known as Jmac, is known to change up styles constatantly. Between hip hop, bass, and some electro funk, even a mixture of all of em may occur, Jmac got plenty of room to express himself any which way he likes. His last two releases are a good example of experimentation between songs!

The older of the two, Never Grew Up, may be what you typically hear come out of Manic sets. Some live instrument samples followed by wonky bass lines, choppy synth work and a dynamic beat pattern to a slow bpm. All creating a groovy and tranquil energy as “we never grew up” echoes repeatedly reminding us, we are in this for the fun! A sound so familiar with Manic it can probably land under its own genre.

Fans of Manic might find his latest release All This Is hard to swallow, with an introduction throwing them off to more of a house bpm structure. Following the build up however Jmac brings it back with dark metallic bass lines and chops exuding a menacing energy that would throw a crowd into a frenzy. Living an industry surrounded by all types of genres it is only right for an artist like Manic Focus to experiment and inject his madness into it all.

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Artist of the Week: Mikal Bae

Mikal Bae, also known as Father Darko, is the flagship visual artist of the Chicago music collective SlumpGang777. Mikal Bae is chosen as artist of the week for a few reasons. The first is that he has been cranking out visuals like crazy for artists such as CantBuyDeem, Chore Boy, T.Z.Duhh, Sage the 64th Wonder, Orlando Coolridge, Flxtch, Unkle Slump, Vex the MC, Fxther Kari (Khalil Halim), Millie Boy, Novatore, and alexSlander. The second is that he has also put in a lot of work visually and aurally; shooting footage and djing live events such as SlumpFestIII and the Midwest Slump Tour! And lastly Mikal Bae as an audio, visual and graphic artist, lo and behold, he also releases music! Mikal Bae has dropped I Can Feel the Sadness in My Toes, The Man Who Ate God, If Home is Not Here. Where Is It?, All That Never Was and From Darko With Love.

He goes by Mikal Bae visually and Father Darko to present his records. Multi-talented to say the least; Visually I would describe his style as graffiti drip. I honestly could not even explain what I mean by that but I encourage you to go look at his IG page and take some ganders at his music videos by searching up Darko Visuals on YouTube both linked below. He also designs merchandise for the SlumpGang777 collective! There are these custom glass spoon pipes that have “SL” on the front of the bowl that catches the eye. He also has these tie dye shirts that are orange, black and white stamped with SlumpGang777 logos.

Mikal Bae has always been a freelance hustler and for as long we can tell his only job has been in the music, art, and entertainment business. He is not a tradesmen, he is an artist. You do not necessarily pay him for commissions, you commission him to bring and give something more life! You have a song? He can make an amazingly unique visual loop to it. You a need music video? He will shoot, edit, and produce it. If you need a live visual DJ to enhance the entertainment value of your show? He will use a beat pad to syncopate live visuals to your set!

Mikal Bae aka Father Darko is someone you want to pay attention to especially if you are a lover and fan of all things hip hop. From music videos, merchandise, visual loops, artwork, fliers, recorded songs, visually deejaying and producing. He can really do it all and artists like this are people we want to be highlighting every week!

Mikal Bae/Father Darko | Spotify | Youtube | Instagram

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Artist Of The Week: Musa Reems

As a part of a recent revamp here on the Ever Evolved, we will be doing an Artist Of The Week segment every Friday, shedding light on a Chicago artist doing big things on the local scene. Surely enough, being tasked with writing the first installment of this segment, the second this occurred a certain artist immediately popped into mind: Musa Reems.

A native of the Austin Neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, Reems comes from humble beginnings. He began rapping at the ripe age of 15 as a part of the Children of I.L.L.I.O.S. artists collective. Reems is also a fan of underground and conscious hip-hop from an early age. He cites spitters such as Black Thought and MF Doom as being among his biggest influences.

Over these last few years, Musa Reems has blossomed into one of the crown jewels of Chicago’s underground hip-hop scene. With his music being featured on numerous blogs, most notably Fake Shore Drive, Lyrical Lemonade and ELEVATOR Magazine among many others. Reems has been steadily building a buzz for himself that extends well beyond the city of Chicago.

Taking directly from his influences, Reems packs his verses with razor-sharp wordplay, colorful personality and vivid imagery covering the harsh realities of Chicago’s inner city. Reems also has a wide array of flows at his disposal and frequently delivers his verses with a poignant sense of passion that makes you believe every word he is saying. Especially lately, all of the technical skill that he possesses has really started to pay off.

During the month of May Musa Reems gifted his fans with his Musa Mondays series, where he dropped a new single every Monday for the entire month. These five cuts showed a staggering amount of diversity when it came to sounds, lyricism and flows. Reems capped off the series by dropping a compilation EP, entitled Musa Mondays, which included the original five cuts plus an additional bonus track for listening pleasure. This 6-song, 14-minute offering just might be Musa Reems’ best release yet as there are some serious highlights on here.

There are some gritty street rap cuts on tracks such as Quarter Juice where Musa does nothing but drop straight bars. The way Reems portrays the bleakness of street life is second to none and he exudes a sense of easy-going confidence on the mic that is contagious. In contrast, there are more stripped back tracks on here such as Not Know, which are far more somber and self-reflective in tone. Lyrically Musa Reems shows an incredible amount of honesty and introspection showing the complexity of being human.

Having recently been published in publications such as 4th Shore Hip Hop, Insomniac Magazine and even the Chicago Reader, it is clear that the world is starting to take notice of this talented Chicago wordsmith. If he keeps grinding the sae way he has been, it should only be a matter of time before he blows up beyond measure.

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Stories You Can Tell Yourself by Chore Boy and Brad Kemp

Stories You Can Tell Yourself is a 15 song album filled with dynamic sonic texture, lyrical prowess and witty humor. Every song relates to themes and ideas of identity, power of the mind, opportunity, self examination and the idea of what we tell ourselves may not always be there to help us. This record explores what it means to be a product of our own writing and the narratives we architect for ourselves. The record features a heavy lineup of Chicago artists such as CantBuyDeem, Beloved Gang, Danny Biggins, Zombie Manana, Dustin Borlack, Dissonant Dessert, Femdot, King Rozzie, Greediphresh, Tomcat Trumpet, Wessie, Super King Reza and Eshe. The producing, recording and engineering of the project was done in house by Brad Kemp at Second Bedroom Studio.

You have to give it to Chore Boy on his hook song writing. That was the thing that stood out the most beyond the amazing production quality and solid lyrical rap verses. My favorite songs on the album due to their strong choruses were Its About Time, Clean, Hero, Get The Bag and Blind Man Laughing. All of those songs on the LP will have you singing along whilst evoking emotion, thought and possibly nostalgia.

The catchiest chorus and the most impactful song on the project to me is Get The Bag with the hook that goes, “Get the bag, I gotta get the bag, Thank god its Friday yeah, I’m blowing it, thank god its Friday, I’m gonna get it in.” The whole song questions this life cycle we find ourselves in with exchanging our time for money. Chore Boy has lyrical phrasing that hits home and is quite relatable to the human financial struggle with lines such as “I’ve had never had a dollar that was worth a dollar… Time is money, moneys phony, whats that make time” and “If I could put my fellow man down, for a handout, then we all must be outstanding, or a standout.” Listening to that song can send literal shivers down your spine having you pondering financial freedom.

Next song that stood out was Clean ft. Tomcat Trumpet. “Clean, you won’t find no trace of me, but the bible in the drawer got a page missing, I took it with me“. A solemn and melancholy ballad that seems to speak on a past relationship, love, the idea of god and leaving old things behind. This song is best while driving in a car towards the sunset! Trust me, it will put even the most masculine of men to let their guard down.

Blind man laughing when you tell him you’re free, are you free? Blind man laughing when you tell him you’re free, what does he see?“. The guitar melody coupled with the beat on this song is phenomenal, as are the lyrics to go along with it! “They call television programming… human centipede, feed itself shit are we selfish?”. This song expounds the idea of the human being that does not know they are in chains, a sonic allegory of the cave.

The song Hero ft Greedipresh stood out the most because of the fast sing rap style of the hook with lyrics. “This for every hero in their narrative, villain is irrelevant comparison, how you think a fiend will justify the use of heroin, continuing the narrative, the story they inherited“. Greediphresh adds an introspective an honest verse about his arch and the trials he has had to face and overcome.

Every song on the record has an important message to chew on, paired with a well written chorus or hook delivered charismatically by Chore Boy. Mix that with Brad Kemp’s talent for producing and a long list of Chicago staple features. The combination cements this LP as a strong foundation for Chore Boy’s catalog and career to come. Exciting to see where this album takes him and Brad Kemp! Catch Chore Boy and guests performing songs from Stories You Can Tell Yourself at Tonic Room this Thursday night in Chicago! 

Choreboy | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Livia Gazzolo

Always dressing fashionably quaint, in the middle of a crowd she appears as art, observing with wide eyes and a shy smile. She is not making any kind of fashion statement however, Livia Gazzolo patiently waits her position on stage and behind the mic. As violin and piano by her supporting artists fill the air she walks up to her personalized microphone. A vintage styled mic similar to that of Elvis Presleys studio mic, comparable to a Shure Deluxe. As soon as she starts singing softly, through a soft smile, to a classical jazzy style tune, her appearance and flow makes sense; perhaps she is an old soul unfiltered?

A woman of many talents and ambitions she is one of many to take note of in Chicago’s growing local music industry. Primarily a vocalist she uses that talent exotically and seemingly effortlessly, welcoming ears to a fresh novel sound. Stationed in Chicago’s Wicker Park area, popular for its vibrant local music and busy nightlife, Livia found the perfect spot to grow her talents and expand her influence. Working two events a month, one self produced and coordinating with her band mates, Stefen Hess, Mr. Eugene, Will McGing and Jake Gordon, she is definitely making her mark known; supporting the local industry as a rising artist herself.

Photo By Scott Anderson: IG @ScottyRocks

Not just any new up and comer, Livia is a seasoned vocalist putting in hours, dedication, education and practice into her craft. You cannot just wake up and possess her experience and knowledge simply put! Making it a serious commitment by the age of 15, Livia has studied and performed with David Lahm, a pianist from New york, since then. Now she is currently finishing her Bachelors in Professional Music, taking her talent and knowledge to a whole different level.

Adding some mystique to her image you can really only hear Livia’s music through live performances at one of her events or other shows. She produces her own in Wicker Park’s Flat Iron Arts Building called the Mouse House “When The Cats Away”. Appropriate to her chique, it is a cabaret styled variety show featuring local artists from Chicago and other artists she has connected with. She hosts, coordinates and performs at the Mouse House monthly, every 2nd Saturday from 8p to 10pm. It is the best way to catch her in action doing her thing!

You can also catch her performing at the Atwood Cafe with her band. This event is on the 3rd Saturday every month. She will be booked for random other events like her special featured performance for Empower Herstory at HVAC Pub in Wrigleyville. The more ears get on this unique spectacle and the more artists Livia connects with through supporting local on her own shows and others, you can bet there will be more opportunities to see her live looking ahead. Maybe you will catch her at your local cabaret music parlor, give her a follow on her social media links below.

Photo by Scott Anderson: IG @ScottyRocks

Livia Gazzolo | Facebook | Instagram

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GreediPhresh Speaks Effortlessly On Latest EP

Carries himself with confidence you can sense his composure through his voice. He backs it up with powerful lyrics and a team of talented artists. Keeping true to his word, “I don’t no one to put me on, I got my brothers I am not alone” with Martell DB, Jazmyne Fountain, Kid J and Sonny Trill on the bill he got an army of wordsmiths. This 32 bit: Gangly Medium sees Greediphresh more comfortable and deeper in his zone, expressing a more bragadocious and witty attitude.

His first two of the five track EP, Level Up and Fly Away with Martell and Sonny, come off vainglorious as they explain seizing the fruits of their labor. Following Martell’s verse Greedi seals Level Up with “Audience expanding, pockets are expanding, I’m gon’ buy another wallet that’s elastic… I done turnt this from a hobby to an asset“. Bridging into Fly Away, they go from enjoying promiscuous women to lavish living and packed shows, flashy jewels cars n clothes. All without stuttering, speakin clear, Greedi’s energy really embodies the verses he is expressing and he is complimented by Martell DB & Sonny Trill and raw beats perfectly.

Judas and Effortless with Kid J and Jazmyne Fountain takes the 32 Bit on a whole different vibe as Greedi looks into deeper perspectives on himself, life and love. “Been creative for focus, dedication to my craft I’m like a capsule of motives, ridding the public of disbelief“, from Judas he continues, “I make them all hopeful, I understand that with this plan, certain friends have been chosen.” He clearly holds an understanding of the discipline n sacrifice it takes for the success he asked for and the level of honesty required he expresses in the next song Effortless. Love is a challenging concept, only the strong survive and the communication observed between the two artists is all you need to hear on this beat.

Closing it out with Flower, it exudes gratitude and god like confidence. Balancing being humble and grandiloquence, he covers a lot of areas in just few tracks. You can find a lot of wisdom in each track like, “I aint in a place to judge nobody else, i don’t really know nobody else. I know my make and i know myself… Quit lookin for a plug and plug yo’self“; from Flowers main hook. A strong following from his previous project 64 Bit: Hard Times, which uncovers even more of Greedi’s lifestyle and ideas in raw manner. With such a phresh style, you should be looking foward, like us, to more of what he has to uncover.

Greediphresh | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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