Only a few have dawned a black cover to success like Metallica and Jay-Z. Axilon‘s UNTITLED project is sounding like it can stand up to greatness in its own respective genre as well! UNTITLED with four tracks that bear dark titles as well, you can expect a certain level of darkness in their tunes. This EP balances it well too, letting the beat breathe in between bass breakdowns and rhythmic and melodic bridges. A great follow up to their NO HANDLEBARS EP out on Buygore.
Creeping into your head with DARK WORLD, its ominous intro sets the tone for the whole EP. Preparing you for DARKNESS, which gets a little heavier with its build up and drop! Easily, the highlight of the UNTITLED is the following track rightfully titled POWER, with a calming piano intro that quickly gets over powered by the drop of dark bass synths, that ring and stomp through the track. As stated earlier, the duo does a great job letting the tracks breat, not over saturating each song with bass, letting you get into a rhythm.
CantBuyDeem dropped a mix tape over old school famous industry instrumentals called NOT 4 SALE Vol. 2. On the 21st of January he released the visual to a classic Mase song called WANT ME. It features Super King Reza on the vocal hook, a hot verse from Ever Evolved’s JaiTheArtist, and visual production from the video alchemist himself, Mikal Bae aka Father Darko.
CantBuyDeem really knocked it out of the park with organizing this collaboration! Super King Reza’s voice on the hook almost sounds feminine, it is so smooth and catchy, had to check the feature credits. JaiTheArtist’s verse compliments CantBuyDeem’s perfectly, they were both hitting all the relevant points of the song theme in their respective 16 bar verses. The attitude of this visual just screams 90’s classic hip hop; extremely nostalgic, but also new and quite fresh! We have the entire collaboration to thank for that, everyone involved in the project executed to a high caliber.
Visually, if this does not remind you of a Hype Williams music video from the Busta Rhymes days, or maybe even a current Hype Williams video from Griselda Records well, we’re not sure what will! Mikal Bae shooting in front of a green screen, editing in certain hilarious set pieces like a car for Super King Reza to stand on while its driving, a futuristic metallic background with a fish eye lens perspective, or just the three artists lounging on a couch. While its floating in front of one of Mikal Bae’s signature vapor wave designs. This visual has all of that and then more!
Lyrically, every line is set to make you laugh, especially since there is so much charisma behind the performances. Lines from CantBuyDeem, “The reason I treat you royal cause you loyal,” and “You know I put the d*** in your life but I wanna do more like licking you right!” Or lines from JaiTheArtist referencing Pretty Ricky and pornographic videos, “Get down with the licky licky, while you rolling sticky, blasting Pretty Ricky, tryna find a porn to do!” Then one of my poignantly favorite lines from the hook, “We can go to space, that ain’t ship to me!” I feel like that line is as old as time, yet It is an original Super King Reza line.
Bravo to all hands involved on this song and music video. It looked like an absolute blast to film. It is something that Chicago should back, put on its back and be proud of. Has Mase or anyone relevant seen this? Well they should.
RAAKMO is back and he is still making some of the Hardest Music In Chicago. On a streak of releases just a year prior with his Pazuzu EP, singles and remixes, the producer fell quiet for short period of time after wards. Working hard on getting his name out there perhaps as his latest collaborations have been making noise at festivals on the main stages from artists like Chainsmokers and Excision. His latest, a collab with Gl0bal, RTG got some mainstage time, and just before the start of the new year, RAAKMO delivered with BREAK that will surely rock any dance floor.
Tweak’G is a South Side Chicago rapper and she has been putting in an insane amount of work lately, within this last year alone! Tweak was a part of Jovan Landry‘s Synergy Chi performance on Windy City Live! She recently won the Chicago Buzz competition on January 9th, earning 1st place and the grand cash prize. She was also featured at the all women’s showcase event, Intuition, put on by Art After Dark in collaboration with Woman Made Gallery, this was held in mid December.
Towards the end of 2019 she put out two amazing music videos to her singles, GOLD and PROLL’EMS. The G in Tweak’G’s brand stands for many things and GOLD is only one of them. This theme is elaborated on her visual while chilling with her friends and family at her neighborhood spots! Her song PROLL’EMS speaks reflectively on struggles her and her community face daily. Taking a faster uptempo flow, she delivers heartfelt messages and stories related to personal experiences. Tweak’G has been recognized in mainstream publications, like USA Today and Chicago Reader, for her civil rights activism through public speaking and street demonstrations. Both in and outside of the music industry!
Tweak’G had a productive year in 2019. Here’s to recognizing her hard work, catalog building, live performance resume, and activism!
The new decade has everyone feeling fresh, breaking the bank and Jyroscope comes into the new year ready to make sure they break bank by any means necessary! Revisiting a release from their MUTE LP with Jason Gatz, the track QUASI gets a narrative music video to accompany their lightning fast wordplay. Not only is the song extremely catchy, but the video is as entertaining as a heist movie with an unexpected and hilarious turn at the end. These artists can double as actors to add onto their skillful lyricism. Make sure to watch it to the last second!
Just outside West Side Chicago, Maywood brings up a talented singer, writer and producer. Justin Famous, may sound like a hopeful name but his talent on the mic will prove he has more skill if anything. Just about 4 years into releasing music, his skillful lyricism was evident from the start! Performing and releasing EP projects and singles now, he comes with messages to deliver!
Recently releasing GRACE, a 4 track EP that rocks some funk & soul vibes to start, cannot help but to catch a similarity to Anderson Paak. The EP’s title GRACE sounds pure and the meaning behind it is refreshing. Many artists like to be their best critics, stressing themselves over deadlines and creativity and the uncertainty of making a name and a profit for doing what you love. This EP reminds you to allow yourself a GRACE period for growth and learning, so then you can emerge gracefully, prepared and ready.
“A wise man said, turn all your L’s into lessons, and use that to build don’t, dont give up just to ease your stress, it is best for you to let it go.” Famous realizes in his chorus to GRACE, and his mind battles “But it’s hard when I’m so invested, every loss hurts but I guess that’s how you let it grow.” Then his next track GOOD NEWS is that itch for influence and inspiration after that realization to GRACE. He would switch it up with his final two tracks in energy and demeanor too.
Justin Famous must have gotten the GOOD NEWS he was looking for because his next tune he is ready with some big GOALS, spittin’ game over a hip hop beat this time. “Might just end homelessness and hunger in my city, might just give these youngins hope enough to stop the killings” he notes, if that is the PLOT he is discussing in his next tune, continuing with the hip hop energy, then he got my vote. Justin Famous is taking over the world and with Yana Renea and Dro $tylez on his side, this piece of work should go far!
Enjoying a busy year, Chicago’s R&B and Hip Hop Queen Tink had one more move up her sleeve before the New Year to complete her 2019 playlist. Already coming off of a successful LP VOICEMAILS, her 5th full length album, Tink decides to release one more single she calls F*CK AROUND. That is one thing she does not do when it comes to her vibe and her playlist as well, leading up to VOICEMAILS and her latest release! Experimenting with R&B, Soul, Hip Hop and Dance music, she always brings something unique to the table.
Of course it would not be complete without a dramatic and exciting music video. Directed by Damien Sandoval, Tink not only lyrically claims her loyalty and why, but she shows it in her own creative way. “You a street n*gga but I never cared about and image” as she pulls out a clip for a come up next to her man, she celebrates singing, “I know I’m a lot some time but you keep me on my grind.” Always playing out some interesting concept on the camera to back up her lyrical versatility, she once more shows why she sits on a throne among some of Chicagos greatest!
Safi G popping out with the new beat and music video to FLEX on ’em in every single way. In the intro draped in chains and red fitted suit, with an attitude like he knows he is made. “What It Do!” Safi gets right in your face off the bat and he tells you off, “I’m the streets doing dirt, with my wolves puttin work.” Not only flexing in chains in a nice crib, with his wolf pack behind him and fellow Goodfellaz family GQ The Fool, Safi G will FLEX on you to get that food! With A309Vision working the camera this video came out as hype as the song did.
Howie Stackz showing out in a new video he released about DRIFTING away from some one who used to be. Sporting a Cadillac cruisin’ shouting “if you want to leave me girl I help you hold the door, probably need you but I’d rather be alone.” Stackz knows he is all he needs in this his lyrics stating “I just keep it moving cause it’s all a n*gga know.” With help from Danny Siavichay, pulling out the guitar for a solo, he is also responsible for directing and editing the video as well! Each other looking fresh in this latest release, good transition into the new year, what Howie Stackz has next we will have to wait and see.
A legend somehow not so well known to fans of music, but guitarists and rock artists revere him as one of the greatest. Even the man we all idolize as the greatest guitar player of all time, Jimi Hendrix, is known to have uttered that Terry Kath is better than him. Born in Chicago and one of the original founding members of the band Chicago, he is in deserving of some more recognition and we are here for it.
Terry Kath was born in Chicago January 31st, 1946 and was inspired to music by his mother and father who ran a lodge and enjoyed entertaining people, according to Michelle Sinclair, daughter of Terry Kath. He learned how to play the keyboard, accordian and banjo, it was the Ventures and George Bensen that inspired Kath to pick up guitar. Getting older he would play in local band Jimmy Ford and the Executives, where he would begin to meet his future Chicago band mates.
It seemed to be natural for him to get people together as his parents did. Connecting with sax player Walt Parazaider and drummer Danny Seraphine, they would the join the Missing Links. That is when they would meet Lee Loughnane, who would be noted saying that he never saw Kath withouth his guitar. The four would finally link up with trombonist, Jimmy Pankow vocalist, Robert Lamm and bassist, Peter Cetera by 1967 and call themselves the Big Thing. The would play an amazing fusion of Rock N Roll and Jazz and Blues.
Coming to the attention of James Guercio, he signs them to a production company and changed their name to Chicago Transit Authority. CTA would later start recording for Columbia Records to produce their first LP. Their first release was actually a double LP, a rare and bold move by most musicians. It included Kath’s FREE FORM GUITAR, where you can hear where Jimi Hendrix could possibly have gotten his influence. Kath Told Guitar Player magazine one time in an 1971 interview that Jimi was playing all the stuff he had in his head, when he first heard him!
The band actually promoted their album by opening up for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in 1969. Walt Paradaizer would recall Jimi Hendrix quoting “Your guitarist is better than me” upon their first encounter with each other. Kath would inspire many artists like Eddie Van Halen who used a style heard in FREE FORM GUITAR. He was a great leader musically and his originality and innovative work on the guitar may be more recognized than we think, but not enough yet!
Chicago Transit Authority would change their name to Chicago after the actual CTA threatened lawsuit. The band then split off with James Guercio as manager. After six albums with Chicago, Kath began taking heavy use of drugs, parties and developed a liking for guns as well. One night while cleaning his guns with at his friend Don Johnson‘s apartment, Kath did not realize a bullet in the chamber. Johnson noted to be careful and Kath said ro him without the clip it’s harmless. He would wave his pistol around, his last words as told by Johnson being “What do you think I’m going to do, blow my brains out?” Accidentally releasing the trigger by his head, he died instantly January 23th, 1978, just shy of his birthday.