Blac Samurai’s Compendium Of Hip Hop: Artist of the Week

Coming across another Chicago artist that takes lyrical content and flow to the next level. Blac Samurai, focuses greatly on lyrical content more so than he does the production on his tracks, however the beat is equal in quality; it just caters to, or emphasizes the words. Armed with a few singles and an EP, Blac Samurai also recently released a full length album called COMPENDIUM. Now with that title, you can tell this artist owns a dictionary, and does not mess around with his words.

Once the beat drops you instantly get that old school, boom bap vibe on the first opening track PLAY ME CLOSE. Blac Samurai was looking for an old school and alternative sound and he nails it, with the balance between old and contemporary styles throughout COMPENDIUM. His next track, U WANT, sounds more modernized, with trap influenced beats, bass and hi hats, snares, but still heavy on a lo-fi ambient energy. This will be the consistent theme throughout the LP, you can comfortably play it out without disrupting its own flow.

Samurai notes that this COMPENDIUM is an album that has taught him patience, evidently from his lyrics in MASK. “Why do you continue to hide these emotions, how can you understand someone else when you never understood yourself, have you ever asked for help?… How do you really feel? Just take off the MASK…” Followed by a beautifully sung verse within the same idea, and a commentary that goes even deeper within the lines of self understanding. KELLY ROWLAND really captures the Notorious BIG 90’s R&B essence, and some Pusha T within DNA and HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW INTERLUDE, with some A$AP Rocky inspiring tracks like KNOW THAT and BRAND NEW on some acid rap. As those artist come to inspire Blac Samurai, he establishes his own flow, style and energy with COMPENDIUM, the full 12 track album is a good one to put on repeat; and he really saves the best one for last, with the smooth jazz hip hop vibes, rightly named WILL BE CROWNED.

Blac Samurai | Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram

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Here For a Good One, CHI-NATIVE Debuts New Single

I’ve been up, I’ve been down, feeling upside down-” WRDS begins the song with that catchy melody going into an uber lyrical verse. GOOD ONE from the upcoming collaborative album, PASSPORTS features WRDS, I.DEAL and Mic Logik, all trading off full verses, while adding richly sung vocals over the instrumental. The music video was directed and edited by Ron Guloy. GOOD ONE is produced by Ed Talenti, and the record was recorded, mixed and mastered by A.Quality. The CHI-NATIVE team consists of WRDS, I.DEAL, Mic Logik, and ThrowEmc.

It is refreshing to see three recording artists share the record so equitably, both in their lyrics but also in how their sounds all compliment each other quite well. Shot at what looks like a summer villa or home, showcasing the emcees living it up, drinking good liquor and playing chess. The CHI-NATIVE team has undeniable chemistry both on screen and in their sonic and lyrical content. Chicago has seen many groups come and go over the years in hip-hop, and CHI-NATIVE being so fresh, it is exciting to see how good they are already. The song has much replay value and will guaranteed have you bumping it over and over again. It is full of feel good moments, yet also a tad bittersweet, a classic in the making.

I’ve been moving these verses out like some Pirus up in the kitchen, I’m flying to get auditions, I’m squashing the competiton.” WRDS drops a line about his work ethic being comparable to that of hustlers in a gang, as well as him being on the go a lot. “I must have gotten my heart broke and never got it fixed, and so now they looking like targets that I just gotta hit.” I.DEALs verse is an emotionally charged one, as he describes the trials and tribulations of relationship experiences, and why he is the way he is now. I.DEAL also carries the main part of the chorus on, an amazingly high voice that you would not think was possible when hearing him rap.

Cause I feel like the time will come again when we will maybe speak, forgiveness is a strength of mine, and I don’t think that makes me weak, I think you need some introspection…” Mic Logik adds his third verse explaining his capacity for empathy and understanding is something a lot of other men lack. He also sings the “good one” hook adding another layer of vocal texture and surprising listeners while doing so. This single definitely has commercial appeal! GOOD ONE pulls deep reflections from each of the rappers on the lives they have lived so far, why they are hopeful for the future, and their presence in the current moment. “I’m not here for a long time, but I’m here for a good one, a good one,” the hook echoes in your head as you cherish being alive.

Each of the three CHI-NATIVE emcees evoke much thought and reminiscence in their lyricism while moving listeners to the good vibes of the hook and bridges. It is impressive they all sang and rapped on this instrumental. This trio has a strong sound together and Ever Evolved looks forward to their future drops every Friday. Get in tune with CHI-NATIVE! Be on the look out for their album PASSPORTS!

WRDS | Spotify | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Mic Logik Spotifty | Bandcamp | YouTube | Twitter | FB | IG

IDealRaps | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Instgram

Ever Evolved | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Emma Grace And Her Loving Ways: Woman Crush Wednesday

An astounding performative character, on and off the stage! Radiating confidence, independence and joy where ever she is seen. Emma Grace is an artist on another level, with quite an inspiring attitude, whether she knows it or not. First learning of Emma at an Ever Evolved open mic event, she is making noise right now with a release, and it is exciting to hear some new music from this artist!

Upon first look Emma looks like a sweet, cherishing gal, but that is changed instantly upon her behavior and talent on stage! Enveloping a room with her deep range of vocals and energy, and it is contagious. She is a rockstar! Her style of music and lyricism captures you and you cannot help but move! More than that, she can be an inspiring character for confidence on and off stage.

Emma is an artist to push boundaries no doubt, of what it is to be, look and act like as an artist. As a curvy woman, she proudly displays her beauty in a multitude of ways. From tastefully provocative photography as a model, to performing on stage, in front of a crowd with nothing on, but pasties and underwear. Whether she intended to or not, she may as well accept the banner of a role model for confidence, self love and joyfulness!

Aside from her inspiring and very welcoming attitude, her voice and work as an artist is the cherry on top of it all! With her latest release LOVING WAYS, she projects her energy through lyrics. The opening lines say it all, “Oh all the loving ways to know, yea we got a ways to go, all the loving ways to grow.” LOVING WAYS places you right in the moment, with a message to remain positive despite adversity. She articulates it much more fluidly, so press play and get to those LOVING WAYS.

Emma Grace | Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram

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Lassai’s Got ‘It’ Within (Music Video)

Lassai has got IT goin on in his latest music video, and as a reminder, so do you. Whatever IT may be; energy, attitude, message, perspective or hustle, this music video is a reminder to feel IT within yourself, and to be proud of IT. From the South Side of Chicago, Lassai aims to invoke confidence in your authenticity as a human being, directing your awareness inward through his verses, “Are you feeling it, Take control of it… If you want it come get it, Do you want it?” Doubling up with the visuals, dancers passionately moving to and fro, with urban settings as their stage, it paints a metaphor that you can flourish in any environment, any circumstance. A calming song to reflect upon personally, on top of being moved by the rhythm physically.

LassaiSoundcloud | Twitter Facebook | Instagram

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Come-Back: Travie Austin and Brad Kemp

Chicago recording artist Travie Austin links with Brad Kemp to drop an eight track record, in collaboration with a number of other artists and musicians. COME-BACK by Travie Austin and Brad Kemp, out September 18th, is an upbeat neo-gospel-soul pop record. Every track features complex melodies and harmonies laid down by Travie himself. Each song is produced and engineered by Brad Kemp, with five of the tracks featuring TomCat Trumpet, Davyd Reddyk, Anthony M. Rodriguez and Tim Burke.

The themes of empowerment, self confidence, moving on and getting through heartbreak are prevalent throughout the album. Travie Austin seems to channel Sisqo as well as soulful singers of decades further, archaic in its sound and tonality, but contemporary in his flows and melodies; his style is unique and refreshing! Track 3, MAKE A MOVE featuring Anthony M. Rodriguez, is a feel good, jazzy club record you can easily dance to, about making that first sensually strong move, falling in love, living in the moment and letting go. “If you don’t want me to leave you better make your move,” Travie sings, reminding his love interest not to waste any time. In LET GO Travie belts, “I know that it’s right for me, I’m not gonna call you back, cause you got a plane to catch,” further illustrating the theme of moving past a relationship and hoping for a better dynamic in a future partner. The feelings portrayed in each song are quite universal in their appeal.

I don’t want to be that man anymore!” Travie croons in track eight, SAY GOODBYE, and the song sounds like he has a chorus backing him when the hook comes in. “Say goodbye to the ones who ain’t on your side, trying to tear your heart in two. And say goodbye to the ones trying to dim your light, they don’t shine as bright as you, cause you are so worthy, you are so special. Don’t let them see you fall, just keep your head up high, and say good bye!” This hook was quite powerful and exemplifies that theme of self confidence and moving on! A really inspiring song that will make you want to sing along as if you were in a huge choir.

Travie Austin | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Brad KempSoundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Jamila Woods Emboldens Through Words: Woman Crush Wednesday

It is exciting to hear some new music from Jamila Woods. A powerful and wisdomatic voice and advocate for black communities, women in music and in general. With numerous songs highlighting the power of Black Girl Magic, she is an inspiring voice for youth artists, who she helps support through charities like Chance the Rappers SocialWorks, and teaching them herself as an art director at Wordplay Youth Chicago Artists. Advocating for justice from police brutality, and missing black women, highlighting #SayHerName movement in her videos, is it always a delight to hear her speak her mind through her music.

Wisdomatic is no exaggeration when it comes to her lyricism. With her recent live release of ZORA on soundcloud (Which can be best experience with the live video) from her most recent LP LEGACY! LEGACY!, you can hear it in her chorus simply put, “I will never know everything, everything. You will never know everything, everything, and you don’t know me, couldn’t possibly.” From individual wisdom to self love, her most recent release SULA expresses personal independence. “I’m not sorry that I cut you out, I’m not sorry. What’s done is done,” her closing chorus emboldened by her earlier verse, “Promiscuous holiness, slope is slippery I got all this time to kill, Somethin’ like a prayer to kneel to.” Jamila always speaks to the power within you with her music, and the ambiance of it is something else entirely to get lost into.

Jamila Woods | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Some Adam Houston To Uplift Your Soul When You’re Feeling Low

Bringing some soul to Chicago, Adam Houston, all the way from Houston, TX, joins other Chicago jazz inspired artists like Lili K and Livia Gazzolo, as he debuts his solo work. Formerly lead singer of Hot Planet, Adam Houston continues strong with his first solo single, LOW. Accompanied with a music video directed & edited by Kaden Acosta, giving off a very 90’s urban vibe, showing off Chicago’s skyline, street corners and art, while horns, bass guitar and guitar riff away smoothly in the back. Adam really catches you in a groove right off the bat with this song, flawlessly diving into the next chapter of his career.

Adam Houston | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

ELL V!rtuoso Reflects After A Look Around Todays Situations: Woman Crush Wednesday

The multi-talented artist from Chicago is back with a social-politically charged song. Since releasing KILLING (PAIN), a deep personal memoir, she has been working in the background on graphic design, art, hair styling and production. Recently being invited to Insomiac Studio to perform on the God Hour to showcase her lyrical ability. Very skilled with her lyricism, ELL V!rtuoso quickly strikes through her new track, LOOK AROUND, with power like lightning, with one message to behold: All systematic oppression and injustice must end. Starting with a vibe like Lauryn Hill on the intro coupled with vocal harmonics, balanced with raw lyrics; the most powerful line comes in the outro: “They play brutality like a game of chess, there’s no rest. Off stress cause you guessing who’s next, will it be me? Can we be free? There’s a war on peace, I need Malcom X and Dr. King…

ELL V!rtuoso | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Lili K Callin’ Out Bluffs: Woman Crush Wednesday

An artist to add wonderful diversity to your Chicago playlist, the style and vocals of Lili K will leave you stunned! Originally from Milkwaukee, this Midwest artist bases herself in Chicago. Blending in easily with the vibrant music culture, she gained exposure working with artists like Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. Learning to perform at an early age in church and school choirs, and being trained in classical, jazz and opera, you can hear the experience in the control of her voice! Along with her talent and love for music, she also expresses a bit of altruism, donating to important social causes.

Within recent events Lili K has been advocating to match her donations for Love and Land Foundation efforts for Black women and girls to reach therapy. In another case she donated to help free BLM protesters in downtown Chicago arrests; with a great voice comes a great heart it seems, in this case! Her vocal talent and style fits the burlesque culture and jazz lounges, and with frequent performances at spaces like Untitled Supper Club and Soho House, her name is becoming quite known in Chicago among lovers of jazz and soul. Recently releasing the song BLUFF, calling out the weak intentions of a significant other and leaning towards independence, Lili sings beautifully over bass and string instruments, sax and vocal harmonies, with the help of Jeremy Jones.

Lili K | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

A Toast of Moscato with John Renaissance: Artist of the Week

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 “MOSCATO challenge” 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.

John Renaissance | Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram

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