Talkin So Deep With Mohawk Johnson

Connecting with Mohawk Johnson we got to talking about his music and his mission for a brief period of time. Getting into some history and details into his music intent and thought process. Painting a picture of human being going through his woes within his skin and his culture. Alleviating the pressure by fighting for noble causes and ideas through his music and empathetically connecting with listeners in mutual situations.

Within a short period of time from his starting point Mohawk gathered a collection of songs aimed to disseminate social and political constructs and to place awareness on ones mental state. Armed with an EP and music videos he does it again with the release of So Deep. With his words he mocks the typical hotep, breaking down and patronizing their behavior. Over a jazzy and vibrant hip hop beat produced by Shhh, Mohawk’s turns his heckling into a catchy, raw song calling out contradictory artists in his culture.

In our interview Mohawk Johnson breaks it down in a bit more detail with what he means with this song. We also go over his start in music and what motivated him into the industry and how that quickly grew into something different. You will get the idea that he is more ordinary than most artists claim to be, and he speaks it how it is. Connecting effortlessly with and giving voice to the unconnected and the voiceless. Whether it be through his music or social media Johnson fights for his mind and fights for better social conditions with his level and style of awareness.

When did you start rapping/handling the mic?

February 2018

Do you write and/or freestyle?

I write. I can’t freestyle for shit.

What got you to start releasing music?

I wanted my ex girlfriend to notice me and take me back. It didn’t work.

But you have new songs coming in. Did you figure forget it keep goin, did the music grow on you? What were you thinking then?

After I dropped the first EP some people I knew came out and talked to me about being suicidal and that my music inspired them to get help. So I kept making music. There have been people who didn’t care what I had to say but when I say it in songs they hear me. I have a lot to say and music seems to be the only thing that allows people to hear me.

Your profile on bandcamp says you are black and traumatized and you want to put that on display to help other similar people. Would you say your new inspiration is mental health advocacy through your music?

That and other things

Other things like?

Ending racism, tackling poverty, fighting homophobia, etc…

Your newest release so deep takes on a different persona than your other earlier darker tracks.Any particular inspiration or what are u goin for?

I am critiquing hoteps who pretend to be problack but then engage in respectability politics.

Hoteps are?

Black men who pretend to be pro black but engage in respectability politics, homophobia, sexism, able-ism, etc… They don’t want freedom from white supremacy. They want the power to oppress black women.

Do you see alot of this in todays hip hop scene?

Yeah, it’s everywhere. Anytime someone critiques racism and then turns around and calls women hoes for having the same sex we been having

How would you say your music is helping combat this?

I attack it directly through satire. I embody the style like I did in so deep but then I rip their ideology apart.

Can we expect a more socially and politically motivated project similar to how your relapse EP is about the mind?

Absolutely.

Alot of your work is produced by Shhh. How’d you two meet?

My roommate is friends with him. They came to my first show. Shhh volunteered to work with me after that.

Can we be expecting more funk and jazz influenced beats like So Deep as well?

Maybe a few, I don’t know how I feel about it. I don’t do the genre justice.

I have to disagree! I really liked the new track and I think you flowed good in that genre with your style.

If you say so.

Tellin’ it how it is man appreciate you sharing the new music.

Mohawk Johnson | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Back Up, Watch Out, Leave Her Alone, Dont Bother!

I stumbled upon Ridley Victoria and her gorgeous alto voice due to her witty online presence where she frequently comments on the state of the modern dating world. I decided to sift through a lot of her music and was instantly attentive due to her unique and savory sound. Ill refrain from comparing her to other female recording artists to stop the disservice of placing women in music and hip hop all within the same monolithic framed box. The point being you should just bump her music because she is dope and you will relate to her and what she has to say. Long As You’re Here has a sultry vibe and down scaling melody at the end of every phrasing that is extremely catchy and makes a listener want to start chiming along. The engineering of the song is particularly exceptional because the tonality from the mixing of the frequencies added to her voice in post production is perfect for radio play, in my opinion. At the end of her second verse when she hits the top pitch perfectly off a falsetto run going up in the scale,”I don’t want for you to stay, ay, ayy!”. She hits it is when you think to yourself, yeah she can sing! The song has very soulful vocals yet powerful in its composition and feeling. If you are looking for some new music and something you can relax and catch a vibe to? Put on some Ridley Victoria records and you’ll feel better afterwards; it is therapy.

Ridley Victoria | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Rich Jones is The Should You Lean On

Radiating a vibe through his music that is so disarming The Should You Lean On is a fitting title for Rich Jones latest project. “No coin to toss won’t chance my love to game“, he repeats in his first track and I know I can trust this man and his playlist, he has been around. Dipping back into a hip hop flow with the next couple of tracks, bouncing between Soul, R&B & Hip Hop these 7 tracks Jones really shows his colors off. A refreshing LP following Light Work EP and Dangerous Rainy Days releases.

Always working with prominent names in the local scene he brings on some really talented individuals once again to help with the project. J. Kelr from Rellek Studio did work on recording and Joel Gutman at Fat Tongue Studios, Kenny Keys doing some production as well. On vocals joins Kiara Lanier and the super duper secret Nnamdi Ogbonnayya. All put in good work on the LP and Rich Jones talks more in-depth in an interview with These Days to really putting it in a broader perspective. Adding the cherry on top Jones puts up a release party at the Sleeping Village, but if you want to catch him before 2018 ends check out his calendar or start replaying his music!

Rich Jones | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Stay Right Here with Saba

Saba Pivot is back with a  single and he brought some friends to contribute to the beat. Lookin’ at all the love around him, Saba puts together a feel good song that blends R&B with positive Hip Hop lyricism. Who better to match lyrical ability than Mick Jenkins with Xaviar Omar to lock in the vibes with a smooth hook.

Stay Right Here is similar in energy to Care For Me, Sabas most recent full length project release that came out earlier in the year. That album would include notable Chicago creatives such as theMind, Kaina and Chance the Rapper. It seems to follow the idea of self care, expression, the ebb n flow of life and Stay Right Here is the appreciation of it all. He sings “Coming up from nothin but drugs and the crime.. Oh yes I came out of alive”. Saba’s momentum and energy continues to stay strong like he has Heaven All Around him!  

Saba | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

CJ Run Is In A League of Their Own


Coming from the UK,  we are graced by the mind of a queer non binary artist with a style coming from multiple genre influences. Expressing them self through the perspective experiences of a black human of their chosen identity in mainstream society through a manifold of styles; UK RnB, Grime, Brit-Pop, Indie rock and more. CJ Run poses a unique brand of hip hop that is unmatched by mainstream culture and even challenges any alternative narrative. Going on a spree this month releasing a few singles, each a different breed of character.

Representing U of I in Urbana – Champaign, IL CJ got connected with a few artists for the journey. Producer yourbeautifulruin works on the two of the three tracks released recently; Indigo and 747. Going over a heart ache in one track while the other boasts future success, not letting their emotions hold them back! You can hear and feel the confidence and energy CJ is emitting in League Of My Own with Glassic. At it for quite a while and giving people hell before they had a CD on the shelf, you can expect more from CJ Run following these releases! Excited to see what is next for this artist.

editors note: CJ Run is not a “chosen idenity” but rather who they are in blood from birth, aside from extremely talented.

CJ Run | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram`

Ever Evolved Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

 

Ever Evolved Synergy

Reminiscing back to Show N Love at Sub T in Wicker Park you have to be reminded of the talent brewing in Ever Evolved Studio. Plenty of recent releases and events coming and going. A couple of independent singles and a wild collab track. We also had our buddy and talented videographer Brandon Holmes put together a highlight video of some successful events and celebrations, holding only a little bit of an idea of whats to come!

The video would be covering bits of footage from up to three events, recorded by Brandon and Canon Montana, showing the vibrant crowds that come to support. Background music is produced and recorded in house as well with the producers and hip hop artists and Ever Evolved members on stage and on screen, Rhymster and Radcliff. Engineers Gridlock Andy and Frekwenzy showing love at the studio with amazing produciton.

Most recently a project packed with Ever Evolved artists and affiliates release a single Check A Bagg produced by DJ Marskiss. Rhymster, Radcliff, Terry Tertiary, Candy Irene, Mike Booth, Safe G and Essse with the huge collaboration and a mouthful ofwords onto a 3 minute beat. A unique blend of styles between all these creatives. Interesting enough all these artists are scheduled to release more independent singles and collaboration projects and singles heading into the warmer seasons so follow for updates!

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Sun Showers Over Burn Twins, Elton & Bedows

Keeping their names separate as a way to isolate their unique talents as indivdual artists the Burn Twins, Elton & Bedows form this band of creatives. They do not commit to a singular brand or name, which can make it interesting keeping track of their work.  Coming in with fresh sound and energy altogether they have pulled off many collabs as a whole or paired off, freely performing with who ever works with eachother best. Artist like theMIND, Nafet, Akenya, KAINA, Thelonious Martin, Omar Apollo and more and worked with one of more of this collaborative group.

All of them are multi talented at some level they all bring their own unique sound together, and work within each other. Finding a perfect balance between their musical influences, instrumentation and vocal work. Never overpowering one another, each individuals talent emphasized to give credit where credit is due, as the collaboration intended. The Burns Twins (Eddie and IZ) and Bedows share music production and instrumentation talent. Elton Aura works the mic as a writer and rapper and there is much jazz and soul influence between them all. The producers are also adding backup vocals to their resume as they cover ins and outs for Elton as they adapt to each other.

Talking to DJ Booth in an interview following their Sun Showers release they highlight some of the ideas that was put into this project. Creating something that personified their feeling for the year in Chicago. “It is the duty of the artist to reflect the times”, Elton explains paraphrasing Nina Simone. Sun Showers is a metaphor reflecting Chicago’s turbulence. “It looks happy, It looks nice, it looks sunny, but its still raining”. A sentiment that can stand the test of time with these songs.

Burns Twins | Soundcloud | Elton Aura | Soundcloud
Bedows | Soundcloud

Ever Evolved | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

theMIND Wants To Rule The World

theMIND may be one of if not the more recognizable names out in the Chicago local music scene working within THEMPeople. He can be found just about every where you look, just about ruling his own world. Working with the likes of Pivot Gang, Zero Fatigue and SAVEMONEY  artists, NoNameStefan PonceMick Jenkins, Knox Fortune, Burns Twins; the influence is every where. When not workin with others his independent work is flawless and you can hear why he is such a pillar in the community. Recently with production by Matty Joynt, EW2RTW soothes with a calming guitar melody and vocals a great song to add to your playlist.

theMIND | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Emily Blue Empowers With Local Artists

Bringing together a collective of talented artists Emily Blue writes a piece following the Las Vegas tragedy honoring all the victims of any tragedy with a song of peace and love. Collecting all proceeds to Cure Violence Chicago, using her influence to fuel a good cause. Chicago can always use the positivity, bringing together as much as 15 influential local artists really sends a message that there is a community within the city. Following the release was an Empower benefit show at a sold out Shubas with Yomi and Anna Agosta. Below is a list of all the other artist you have to look out for this year that took part of this project.

Yomi – Anna Agosta – Matthew Santos – Olive IV – Nehemiah Harris Joslyn-Marie – Good At Bad – Dan Durley – Raven Byerly – Gem Tree – Carlile – Ric Wilson – Moonrise Nation – JDP – James Moore  Evan Ireland – Evan Opitz – Ben Montalbano – Mariel Fechik – Joseph Meland

Emily Blue | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

London Lo Shows No Shame In PDA

Usually PDA is underappreciated or downright frowned upon. London Lo turns that around  with her deput EP giving a new definition to the acronym as only an artist can. With her debut EP Public Display of Artistry she affectionately displays sound and emotion with an acapella performance. Immediately putting her in the spotlight for such a distinctive project. The Chi-town raised Texan gets close with her audience with her powerfully soothing vocals.

Introducing the EP with a melody expressing wide vocal range, talent as strong as her passion. She wanted the project to be stripped down and exposed, yet regal and elegant as her cover photo represents, and you can feel it in her voice. Singing about the struggles of an artist but recognizing her place and what life has awaiting her, carrying a very hopeful vibe. The album recorded produced entirely by herself. She had friend Brian Cabanatuan to mix the whole deal as well. Is it just me or would seeing this performed live on a loop station be a dream come true?

London Lo | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ever Evolved Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram