You might have seen Tweak’G rocking killer live sets at one of Ever Evolved Empower HerStory events. She has a mean flow, hard attitude, strong lyrical structure. Her cuts on a record make Young M.A. seem like literal Child’s Play. Comparing her like that does not even do her sound or image justice.
This new single and visual she just dropped for GOLD is H-O-T! Sporting cut off jean shorts, a white tank and timberlands, Tweak’G flows effortlessly about her upbringing, lifestyle and how nothing she has experienced in her past will affect her spirit or mind. She is strong and persevering. A lot of the music video shows off Tweak’G and her people making ice slushies for sale on the street corner and ripping blunts with her crew around their vehicles. The culture she is portraying definitely comes off authentic and through her flow and energy, you feel what it means to be a Chicago thoroughbred.
Tweak’G philosophizes about the idea of GOLD. By the end of the visual there is a cinematic rating label that resembles a G, PG or PG-13 type of film. It reads, “TWEAK’G, GOLD, GOLD: SYMBOLIZES DIVINE PROTECTION AND ENLIGHTENMENT“. This music video may be the start of her brand’s gold rush. She has solid professional production quality throughout, a seasoned flow and a composition style that might see a lot of biters. If so, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Should be exciting to see where she takes her career and her unique concepts.
Neha Chawla speaks softly in conversation, yet her creations are viscerally expressive. Despite her slight frame she looks tough, adorned in her trademark gothic face paint and a neck full of chains, swimming in a large black hoodie. Bleach spots draw the eye to her low-top Vans, sleeves and hair, all of which bear her fledgling fashion brand 2000zero’s distorted aesthetic. A lifelong painter with a keen sense of hustle, Chawla began customizing clothes for friends and acquaintances to fund the materials for the brand’s initial wave of releases not long ago. Though she will still take commissions personally (act fast, the price is only going up), she keeps the brand separate from her other endeavors, maintaining its lean, organized chaos, stylistic identity.
We meet on DePaul’s campus where Chawla studies psychology, which makes increasing sense as we talk; her mind is as analytical as it is creative.Along with her business partnerLupe, with whom she splits executive responsibility for2000zero, Chawla has built the brand from a nostalgia-evoking concept. Curating a collection of unique, hand-treated garments, that are sold more like art pieces than like typical apparel. In addition to creating 2000zero pieces, Chawla handles social media for the company and sources models for visual campaigns.She is often appearing in them as well. The first two drops so far have featured a limited selection of one-off t-shirts, each designed using bleach as a primary medium. Through a proprietary and somewhat impulsive creative process, about which Chawla is careful not to say too much, every shirt has a completely irreplicable look. With distinct lines, shapes, shades and splatters they create a variety of striking visual effects.
Mastery of technique allows different styles to emerge with logically-assigned titles like THE GRID; criss-crossed by thick, industrial lines and washed out in the middle, resembling a decaying chain link fence. Somewhere between patterned and fully abstract, all the shirts in 2000zero’s current collection offer free-form explorations of texture grounded in (roughly) symmetry-minded sensibility. From the psychedelic, tie dye-inspired rifts of THE SUNSET to the bold pools and streaks of THE BLEEDER. The longer you look at one, the more detail you inevitably find yourself appreciating, not unlike staring at clouds.
Chawla believes the openness of her art to interpretation directly contributes to its impact, since more people can identify with less specificity. Intrigued by 2000zero’s product line and Chawla’s own artwork, I wanted to learn more straight from the triple threat artist, model and COO herself. This interview has been edited for style and clarity.
“How did you get involved in art and fashion design?”“I’ve been doing art all my life but I just started this designing shit like five months ago. I’m from Maryland and no one really has their own style there They’re all kind of wearing the same things. Then I moved to Chicago and all of a sudden everyone is dressing different, so I was influenced by all the streetwear here. Growing up in the suburbs it’s hard to see a lot of individuality there. It’s easier in the city to stand out and be unique, especially when you know how to dress yourself.”“Describe your personal style.”“I try to have everything color-coordinated but not like I’m trying too hard, does that make sense? It really depends on how I’m feeling, but most of the time it’s pretty gothic; I like heavy chains, I like wearing black. I don’t necessarily want to label myself but I would say my style is mostly dark. Art is an expression of an emotion, so the way I dress and the way I make my art are the same.”“Is there a different process to produce each design?”“There is, but I can’t talk about it too much (laughs). My business partner and I both come up with ideas, but sometimes he’ll just throw the bleach and see what happens while I kind of have a little more planning to it. I really value having unique pieces because when something’s handmade and you can get it from the creators, themselves, it’s very personal. Like ‘here’s your pink shirt, you’re not gonna get that ever again,’ you know? We’re really all about being one-on-one.”“So it’s not only a totally individual piece someone gets to own but also an individual connection to you guys as people, that’s awesome. Going back to the beginning, where did the 2000zero brand identity come from?”“My business partner and I wanted to re-imagine the shitty style sense of the early 2000s by making clothes that would have been really cool back then. The early 2000s were such a mess bro, oh my God.”“What does the immediate future of the brand look like?”“We’re not gonna be bleaching anymore after the third drop. It’s gonna be completely different; A lot more eccentric, a lot of bright colors. You can expect that around December most likely. I eventually want to expand out of Chicago and grow national, still have each style be unique but have them in multiple sizes instead of literally just the one.”“What else are you working on artistically right now?”A lot of abstract painting, a lot of ink drawings and tattoo designs for people. I’m also doing some merch for an artist friend of mine. Lately it’s been explosions of emotion, a little bit all-over-the-place. I use different colors based on how I’m feeling and hopefully people will be able to see and feel those differences. I never have a plan for when I’m painting but when I do ink drawings, sometimes those are figures I see in my head. For example I did one drawing of a woman fading away and kind of unravelling into thread. I feel like a lot of my inspirations come from dreams.“Thanks so much for your time, Neha.”
It was a cloudy Chicago day, early Saturday morning brings in the early birds gettin the worm. Downtown Chicago was bustling with traffic, both car and foot, heading on over to Millennium Park as the city comes alive for a day of music. Chicago Park District Department of Cultural Affairs and Special EventsYAS! Fest takes off for a growing youth music movement within the city. This year gives platform to artists like Luna Monet, the Ambi/\nce, popular headliner TINK and one ambitious artist making his rounds across the city.
Earlier in the month, K.E.N made his return to Midnight Marauders Open Mic hosted by us here at Ever Evolved. He did it once and he did it again, gaining top performance recognition, so here we are intrigued and following his next moves. Last time he made an appearance at Midnight Marauders at Innjoy he won, taking away prizes like an event performance and studio time. Taking consistency to another level he is keeping true to his name, Killin Every Note, in every aspect. Attending local events, supporting his local artists and peers and consistently winning, getting himself in headlines.
Just past Michigan Ave and Monroe you can hear the sounds and crowd of YAS! Fest as soon as you come in range of the mist of the Crown Towers waterfall. K.E.N is not unfamiliar to the crowd and stage at Millenium Park, another consistency in his work, he has performed at this landmark area in Chicago through other events like Chicago Blues Festival. The God Level Goat has also worked with Chicago Park District and Teens In the Park consistently as well.
Coming up to the Chase Promenade South stage, just before K.E.Ns performance, the crowd enjoys a freestyle session by the Ambi/\nce as a dance choreographer goes solo in the middle of the audiences. A graffiti artists sprays a mural onto canvas as the Smurfit Stone Building and Prudential Towers overlooks the park. K.E.N enjoys a photoshoot with Windy Indie back stage just before they both go up to perform with each other.
As Luna Monet and her dancers finish up their routine and performance K.E.N gets prepared for the crowd. Aced Spade accompanies K.E.N as his DJ on stage and the God Level Goat hides in the middle of the audience. He is notorious for heavily interacting with the crowd, getting in your face, you cannot stand still as his energy is contagious. Performing a few songs, introducing his new music to fans and dancing with the crowd, you can tell in the eyes of the immediate spectators that they are witnessing a memorable moment.
Of the songs he performed, his fans chanted along together to a familiar piece about his and our city Chicago. Spelling our city rhythmically as everyone bounces to the orchestral blues and funk influenced song, while Windy Indie’s violin adds to the atmosphere. K.E.N got extra hype for his set as well as he performed a new track from his upcoming EP THE PREVIEW. It is great to see artists like K.E.N and the other young aspiring creatives alike be apart of something so significant in helping the youth find their creative outlets and networks to help their future. Even more so to have such an exuberant and talented artist coming out of the Chicago music scene to inspire them!
Punting Baxter is making their Ever Evolved debut with their new single, WEDNESDAY and this song is GROOVY. The rhythm section is incredibly at ease throughout this one. The drums are steady and consistent in their pacing, holding down the fort incredibly well. The bass and guitar riffs are bluesy and rhythmically poignant, simmering like a midsummer barbecue. There is a certain heaviness to these riffs, yet the laid back aesthetic presented here should remind the listener not to take life too seriously.
The vocal performance here feels dreamy and animated. The lyrics are full of colorful imagery while the vocals sound heavenly in their faded tone. The way they punch through the weighty tone of the rhythm section creates a really nice blend. With WEDNESDAY Punting Baxter has yet another gem of a single on their hands. They have been busy lately between doing shows and dropping multiple singles but WEDNESDAY is a sheer indication that they are enjoying the ride.
What is a party without the DJ? Even the live performing artist needs their go to DJ in between setups and songs to keep an audience amused. The radio DJ can make or break an artist. The best of them can traverse genres, no matter who is listening and make their body move. Some can even influence music cultures with their sound and style.
Many times in our publications we recognize the vocal or spotlight artist. Tonight however we highlight the DJ’s role in music through DJ Squadooble. Albeit a young artist she made her way into the nightlife industry with ease. To personal friends and acquaintances she is the life of the party, to her associates in music she is the controller of the party.
Introduced into house parties, she quickly becomes popular with local promoters. Her diverse genre base welcomed her to spin at popular local clubs and lounges such as Debonair, Lokal, Simones, Harbees and even made her way to local neighborhood festivals over a short period of time. With a variety of genres from latin influences to hip hop and dance music, if you are in the vicinity of her sound she will make your body move! Making a return to Simones in Pilsen this third weekend of September she will be a judge for a twerk contest under the Ever Evolved banner spinning alongside DJ Hunt, rocking the crowd and backing up features artists like ESSSE, T.Z. Duhh, I C Y and more.
The mix below is old news but the magic is in the present. Follow her pages below and get in tune with DJ Squadooble and catcher her spinnin live.
It attracts all types of creatives from any and every corner of the streets. If you have the need to express yourself vocally or even instrumentally, there is an open mic waiting for you to grace the stage. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there in front of an audience, open to criticism for the first time. For some, however, this is where creative minds learn to grow as artists.
From A Tribe Called Quest LP, one of hip-hop and MC’s most influential group of all time, Midnight Marauders claims the name of our Ever Evolved open mic series. Peppered monthly around the city of Chicago, Midnight Marauders finds a home at Innjoy in Wicker Park on Monday nights. In the house with Lucrative Records, we invite Chicago’s most talented MC’s you may have never even heard of. This is not your average open mic, Midnight Marauders brings artists from all walks of life.
Many times if not most you will see open mics packed with hip-hop emcees ready to get their word out. Midnight Marauders encourages all types of artists from all types of styles to bless the audience and the stage with their hard work and expression. Not just for a one night stand either, we incentivise the best of these dedicated artists with rewards ranging from hours of studio time, photoshoots, artwork, review articles and even a performance spot at a local or out of state event. This motivates the artists to bring their best out and their fans follow with them to support.
These incentives not only bring the young up and coming artists but also seasoned veterans to take advantage of clear and easy opportunity! Veterans than bring fans, meaning more audience for all artists involved. From hip hop emcees to spoken word poets, singers, instrumentalists and even stand up comedians, Midnight Marauders brings them all in numbers. The energy was evident at the our 14th event of our open mic series on Sept 9th.
Starting out as any regular monday night, it would end with not one but two talented individuals to share the prize incentives. William Bolanos on the mic hosting, inviting curious artists to the stage to sign up and get on the mic. One by one the room starts filling up with artists, supporters and onlookers waiting to see who will bring out the best performance. A room full of creatives strangers, connected by music, looking to find out who is worthy and who to connect and work with.
As DJ Hunt sets the energy for the room with some throwback tunes and what ever is hot right now, the room prepares themselves for the first call; first come first serve, one song each. The host calls upon the first names to no response and an eager crowd demand to move on. Its dog eat dog and the ones in the room are ready to eat. One of the first to hit the stage would be a hip hop artists by the name of ST. BLVD, with high energy and composure, what seemed to be some ordinary man explodes with smooth rhythm and lyricism to the audiences pleasure. He follows _Larcin_ with a flow like the late Mac Miller, setting the bar high for the following perfomers!
As the finishes the crowd cheers in approval and the mic is passed to the host for the next act. The man following, looking more for a space for his minds content rather than the incentives, bringing to the stage a different talent. For the next few minutes our audience ready’s their ears for a stand up act by an man named Christopher.a.f. Not showing any mercy, he confidently picks up a few giggles from the shy audience seemingly in tune with his dark humor.
The next few acts would bring on hip hop artists like Stank_Nasty_, CVOJAYEM, TLean, Jah.Damm and Apache. Of course Ever Evolved artists had to show had to show the open mic contestants how to rock a crowd for real. ESSSE and JoSan take to the stage as featured artists with music perfected in our very own Ever Evolved studio. Even Rhymster, Eric Wilhelm, Cmac and Beatrix Kiddo rock the mic for a song to really set things off and solidify the energy for the night.
But the real rewards go to two artists, who not only showed up to perform with their best intent, they stayed till the very end and supported each artist. One artist in particular, comes back to claim a winning prize for a second time. The outstanding K.E.N. with energy on the mic so intoxicating, there is no doubt that he is born to entertain, takes a win for the second time showing us what consistency can do. And Finally Case Move, bringing to the mic his brand of super smooth R&B music. Both not only brought captivating performances, but their patronage as well.
As an artist it is not only necessary to support other performers but it is critical in proving your dedication to the music culture. From crowd control and reaction, to handling the mic, these two did not just bring their best selves on stage but they stayed throughout from beginning to end. They show support to not only Ever Evolved, but to the local artists putting themselves out there. It may be a game of endurance, or straight up motivation to get the prize but these two show what it takes to get what they want. This game only feeds the hungry.
J-Bose is one talented individual. He raps something like a Busta Rhymes or Busdriver and sings with a unique timber unheard of before. He crafts lyrical messages using technical styles of hip hop, fusing that with pop songwriting methodologies. The overall socio-economic political message of J-Bose’s debut album stood out in particular.
He seems to be able to create this realistic hero complex of himself. Utilizing the honesty of his own experiences and coupling that with a filter of his interpretations of the outside world. The majority of these being quite socially progressive in nature. J-Bose’s mature reflections of these stereotypical occurrences might come off to some as, you guessed it, a SNOWFLAKE.
What is a Snowflake? One of the most beautiful and temporary examples of sacred geometry that comes with the absence of heat, or cold. Thinking about that makes you delve deeper into the term we use to coin so many moderate liberal millennials as Snowflakes. Are we really so sensitive that all logical debate has now been eroded? Or is it perhaps we are fed up with the supposed universal rules of society we find ourselves with. Just maybe this generation is going to completely alter the path of history? After listening to Snowflake, the latter of those ideas seem possible.
The first track to delve into is Feel Me featuring Kara Dawn. J-Bose layers much meaning, feeling and questions of morality in his writing. He begins with, “I done seen a lotta people with the biggest egos and the smallest bank accounts. Walkin’ round like they a giant, thinkin’ they Goliath, everyone else David now!”. The idea that there is a lot of fakes with inflated personalities but very little to offer, would seemingly be the person opposite of a snowflake. J-Bose continues with, “Could be inside that they’re hurting, thinkin’ this’ll be the safer route“. It could be these same fakes are actually just lost inside and the best defense mechanism is an outwardly egotistical aggression.
To be a snowflake in our current culture’s context is to admit to feelings you have towards things within society that upset you, not to be emotionless brash. In his second verse he makes this point, “See, we gotta learn how to empathize, we don’t know everyone’s situation. Take the judgement, the bigotry and the lies and remove it all from the equation. And treat everyone as an equal, all the time, not just in some occasions. Cuz we are an imperfect people and it’s time we built perfect relations“. These types of inherently idealistic yet purely loving concepts are unfortunately labeled as snowflake behavior, providing others an excuse to not mentally confront the issues at hand.
J-Bose does not tear down those bigoted, fearful, close minded people whom ignorantly project their baseless vitriol. He sees himself in them, sees their humanity and because of that can only judge so harshly. FEEL ME is a melancholic song that forces a listener to wrestle with their personal morality and sense of empathy. It will have you questioning why you judge and think in the manner that you do.
ONE CHANCE is another appealing tune because the hook is uptempo with a catchy uplifting melody! The song has to do with personal growth and change. These two things are definitely part of the mythos or ethos of what makes a snowflake. “Whether you’re fat, annoying or boring or selfish or lazy, you can identify and make a change and start anew and you can see yourself the way that I see you“. Its the idea of being able to see the light in everyone regardless of the veneer. “But stay humble and if you’re wrong sometimes, and when you are then that’s ok change your state of mind, be honest with your problems and we’ll get along fine, and rejoice we get to share this world and make it cloud 9.“
Some people simply can’t hear out a victim’s or an oppressed group’s opinion because they deem it offensive to themselves personally. Today someone could express their feelings of oppression and have those concepts fall on deaf ears because the receiver thinks they are being personally attacked or torn down. Happen all the time on social media! Some people just cannot separate themselves from the demographic they are apart of. But to be honest, you cannot expect too much out of ignorant people or those unwilling to empathize.
Snowflake by J-Bose gets your gears whizzing. There are many questions to ponder and things to think about when going through this record. Off two songs alone you can extrapolate an insane amount of ideas being conveyed. J-Bose really created an inwardly personal yet outwardly political record with extreme relevance to our current American socio-economic political climate. Questions of sexuality, anxiety, societal ills, oppression, self doubt, crippling fear — its all there.
J-Bose then takes all that and is still able to portray a silver lining. He does so exceedingly well in songs like ONCE CHANCE, ROY DEE THE GIFT, and DOUBLE LOVE. The record is emotional, visceral, piercing, honest, brutal, and eye opening. Snowflake by J-Bose is as pretty as it is structurally sound, but unlike a snowflake, this record isn’t temporary, its here to stay.
In an industry of hyper sexualized and misogynistic music coming from both men and women, as read from her bio, Fury represents raw and unfiltered hip hop. Through passionate lyrics about life, relationships and perspectives, Fury does more to preserve authenticity in hip hop than the mainstream does as a whole. A powerful voice with an old school flow her lyricism is unmatched and inspiring, giving voice to many women who aspire to be music artists. As more and more women filter into Chicago’s music industry we recognize Fury’s fearless influence.
When Fury started releasing music almost 6 years she would be entering a scene mostly dominated by male artists. She would have to do more to get noticed, but that did not bother her because she would bring something different to the table. With street wise lyricism and flow comparable to Tupac and Lauryn Hill, coupled with her ambition, she would set it off. Nothing would stop her once she got connected to the right people and started performing live and collaborating with other artists.
Introduced to Fury at an Ever Evolved Empower Herstory event at AMFM Gallery, she takes the stage and the audience with ease. Her ability on the mic is undeniable and her stage presence is unforgettable. At the time having few LPs and a handful of singles in her back pocket. Today she performs live with a band with her latest LP BLACK MAGIC, fusing hip hop and rock music genres and finishing off a tour to work on new music for 2020. From her first releases like FEAR all the way to BLACK MAGIC, she holds the same fire in her soul and she really lets you know; I would recommend you going to a show, see below.
The title of RUNNING THROUGH FEELINGS, the latest solo project from nIgelof cloud rap duo $ U I T, is a perfect summary of a listener’s experience throughout the concise and varied tape. Echoing vocal clips haunt the first few tracks’ intros. Reinforcing the spacey, distant feel evoked by the the rapper’s conflicted lyrics, djuniverse’s ethereal production loaded with fairly minimalist instrumental samples and wavy synth loops. nIgel told Ever Evolved, “I had a lot of bad relationships, interactions and dealings with women at the time when I was writing Running Through Feelings. It kinda just came to together on its own”.
He pours equal measure of soul and sauce on this 12-track project, expressing different forms of commentary on love in each track. “I gave her space, all she wanted was peace, you can leave love right there up in the streets”, he raps on ESCAPE. A song that parallels ambition for musical recognition with the pursuit of romantic interest, two paths inevitably full of rejection. Switching pace on WE MEET AGAIN to an infectious bounce, pain turns to contempt, with critiques to hypocrites like “you claim to kick the cup, but now you wanna act”. A subtle double entendre that touches on the sometimes addictive nature of a passionate relationship.
After an earnest appeal to a crush on FOND, $ U I T reunites for WITNESS. A perplexingly smooth yet hype bop laced with quicker-paced flows and light flexes as NePh punches in seamlessly, adding vocal texture to the track. Originally started rapping to follow in the footsteps of his grandmother, a poet and choir singer who he played the saxophone with, nIgel references her while affirming his greatness and his growth on CHOSEN FEW. Starting by admitting “I had to change the approach; I barely did anything, used to be determined to boast”. By the end of the brief but introspective song, not nodding your head in a silent amen proves challenging in the face of nIgel’s deep-rooted sense of purpose.
The next four tracks are the most indulgent on RUNNING THROUGH FEELINGS, beginning with the leaned-out BORED AND BORING. “You got me sleepy snoring, she not from here she foreign. I’m on the social scrollin’”, sighs nIgel in this trap house equivalent of a lullaby.Featured artist Bruc€Pill$ turns the opioid factor all the way up with his slurred flow, fittingly aspiring, “I just wanna put my face on Fader”. EASYBAKE is the rapper’s chance to demonstrate a boundaries in the relationship he describes by refusing a superficial connection through convection, aka an easy bake. This is followed by the otherwise decidedly chill tape’s most mosh worthy joint, TENSEIGA. Bars like “they need the clout, they can chase it. I’m high booking new engagements”, drip with confidence and solidify our protagonist’s drive and self-sufficiency.
According to nIgel the goal of this album itself, an unofficial sequel to EARLY MORNING TUNES, was to “show versatility and a different sound”. Both those boxes are boldly checked. Trailing off with a hazy-eyed, coarse yet heartfelt farewell on FROM ME TO YOU, the final two tracks RELEASE ME! and NEED ME! underscore the theme of contradiction that traces through the whole project. The former has nIgel disavowing critics, fake friends and even himself, suggesting he feels trapped in the world that is built up around him. RUNNING THROUGH FEELINGS closes out with a melancholy guitar that evokes nostalgia for rosier times and despite the title, NEED ME!, reading like a command, the final refrain of the song is “I’m here if you need me”. This speaks to the emotive stoner’s soft spot, a passive gesture of unconditional care no matter how thick the smoke clouds get.
Whether you are looking for the ONE romantically, want to feel ONE with yourself spiritually, need to take that ONE step towards ONE project. The loneliest number can hold much significance, in many ways! J. Solaye knows this very well as she hits a milestone releasing her first EP entitled ONE. This soulful artist, singer and songwriter has been on the rise in Chicago and she has been making her name mainly with single releases up until now, with her first about 3 years ago.
Introduced to music at a young age through her parents, as many of us have, she was lucky enough to be brought up around good music taste. With enough Hip Hop, R&B and Chicago House to influence her she decided become one with the music. At just the age of six, she starts practicing singing and songwriting seriously. Piano and choir practice in grade school will lead her to perfect her craft till High School, where she starts performing confidently. Fast forward to today and J. Solaye has grown into a seasoned artist, with countless performances in various venues around Chicago.
With the release of ONE, J. Solaye notes to her fans that it was a proud piece representing herself as one whole human being spiritually. Confident in her music journey as inseparable from her identity, she has the freedom to express herself without hesitation. ONE is certainly a project for the lovers, with her personal inspirations being artists like Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill and Mariah Carey, she does not drift far from her influences as her sensual voice stands up to match up with legendary artists. In the 6 track EP, from Light Me Up to Cold World, we get a idea of the the very personal experiences of J. Solaye’s mind. Experience her romantic world vicariously with ONE.