The Surge, member of the Mic Commanders, and known for his intensely witty, sharp lines, and distinctive voice, recently dropped a hilarious animated video to the lead single from his 2020 LP SURGE IN GENERAL WARNING. The LP runs 17 tracks long at almost a full hour, and featuring only one Mic Commanders comrade, SamIam the MC. The lead record from the album, RAP RAP RAP, produced by Dreamtek, has a visual out now, done by Big Herc.
The visual is incredibly impressive for animating different characters and scenarios involving phones and social media, notably that of Surge in a library. Done in a comical animation style, it is bound to have you laughing while pondering the harsh words from beginning to end. The Surge basically calls out how rappers self promote on social media platforms, namely Facebook. He strings multi-syllabic rhyme schemes in an explanatory manner regarding the different habitual tendencies of rappers.
Some of the specific things he calls rappers out for are: tagging 99+ Facebook users in a music promotion post, going live on Facebook with nothing worthwhile to say, or artists having meaningless discussions in an endless thread of comments. Every line hits home in terms of the daily activities seen from local rappers. The Surge is highlighting symptoms of some the twisted normalcies we find in the music business.
Easily the most impressive visual and sonic from Remey Le Flow to date. This five minute and fifty second long music video is bound to entertain and leave a listener pleased about the current state of hip hop. Remey takes a hard flow with bars about coming up in an uneasy atmosphere with competitive players. He raps the first half of the record with one of his more signature low rap voices. “My squad, we set traps, we came prepared, set up for all racks. Money hid in the safe house, gotta ask if its safe out.”
The visual features Remey performing at night in a snowy back alley, and inside a garage with a flame torch. The second half of the music video features Remey in a white hoodie sing rapping in a completely different voice, almost Kendrick Lamar-esque. “Family raised me by the bible belt, first gen but yet I’m still a baby.” The melody and lyrics he weaves with the instrumental are complex and enthralling. Remey Le Flow’s gravelly, oddly high pitched voice from that second half of the record is still ringing.
This Remey Le Flow is only vaguely familiar, but here is to hoping he continues with this style as well as his others. It is refreshing and unique considering much of Chicago hip hop is dominated by low bass fast rhythmical rapping. This visual was a hit, bravo to Remey Le Flow on the project, and the growth he has made in an insanely short amount of time. We should be anticipating much more!
Also known as Josh Young, the Chicago producer went and gave us a combo of new music to add to our playlist! Flexin’ his taste of old school classics, he reworks GYPSY WOMAN by Crystal Waters and LOVE IN THIS CLUB by Usher. And he tops it all off with FEELIN’ MYSELF with Masayoshi Iimori and Blumbros on a wild trap anthem. If you do not recognize YehMe2 from his days as half of Flosstradamus, helping catapult EDM to where it is today, these beats here can remind you.
Though many have traveled through these lands known today as Chicago, there is one regarded as the first permanent settler. Europeans have been exploring North America’s since the 17th century, and one of the first to be on record to explore the land, rivers and portages go by the name of Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette. Others have since visited or posted up for a time including Renee Lasalle, Henri Tonti and Father Francois Pinet for the Mission of the Guardian Angel. It was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable that held permanent residence here and laid a foundation to expand upon.
There is not much documented history on the early life of Jean Baptiste, however there are many accounts and theories that lead to a general idea believed to be accurate. Baptiste Point Du Sable is known to be born in Haiti, and later studied in France, before returning to Haiti to sell coffee, and then travel up to New Orleans, Louisiana, by the account of Joseph Jeremie; who claims to be his great grandson. Historian Milo Milton Quafe found a French immigrant in Canada with the title Sieur de Sable, with descendants titled Du Sable living around the Great Lakes. Quafe speculates Jean Baptiste father is from this family, while his mother was most likely an enslaved woman.
Land acquisitions would place Baptiste to own land in Peoria in from March 13th, 1773 to 1783, prior to his settlement at the Chicago River, while other records placed him in Michigan. In 1779, British officers arrested Baptiste on suspicion of being an American sympathizer. He then worked for British lieutenant-governor Michilimackinac in a pinery in what is now St. Clair, Michigan. Jean Baptiste was married to a Native Pottawatomie woman, Kitihawa AKA Catherine, and had two children, Jr. and Suzanne. The marriage was recognized by a Catholic priest in Cahokia, Illinois in 1788.
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable was not recognized as the founder of Chicago at first however. Many believed the first settler to be Scots-Irish trader John Kinzie, who bought Du Sables property in 1803. During construction of the Century of Progress Internation Exposition or Chicago’s World Fair, the fair recognized the construction of Fort Dearborn as the historical beginning of Chicago. Several African American groups campaigned for Baptiste to be recognized at the fair, and succeeded. Today we recognize the founder of Chicago in many different ways, with marking is home-site in 1976 as a National Historic Landmark, a memorial at Pioneer court and a renaming Michigan Bridge to Du Sable to name a few.
Jean Baptiste spoke Spanish, French, English, and several Native Dialects. He had established his home and trading post at the mouth of the Chicago River in early 1779 or early 1780’s. It included huts for employees, bake, poultry, dairy and smoke houses, two barns, an orchard and plenty of space. He served Natives, French and British as frontier trader and settler during the American Revolution and thereafter. He sold his farm in 1800 to John Kinzie‘s front man Jean La Lime. He died on August 28, 1818 in St. Charles Missouri, formerly French Louisiana, buried in an unmarked grave in St. Charles Borromeo Cemetery, where Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission erected a granite marker. His entry in the parish burial register does not mention his origins, parents, or relatives; it simply describes him as nègre, French for negro. He was often regarded as a big, handsome, wealthy and well educated!
A pair that have evolved so much since the start of their journey, these two seem to be an everlasting force in Chicago EDM. Starting early as a trio over a decade ago, Krewella has become a well known name in the EDM community, beyond the city. Gaining popularity when dubstep and dance music was at its peak momentum, around 2012-14. The Yousef sisters have come to represent much more than just their music flavor. Having played in major festivals around the world, worked with popular artists like, Diskord, Taylor Bennett, Yellow Claw, Pegboard Nerds and being remixed by some of the most prominent names in electronic music culture, their legacy holds power.
Today, way past departing with third wheel Rainman, the Chicago duo have completely evolved with their style, image and sound. Diving deep into their Pakistani roots, the Chicago sisters incorporate their ancestral culture into their image and sound, while maintaining their original creative energy. A new era surrounding the ideaology of the Krew.
Not just about their specific culture, Krewella inspires in more than one aspect. Family, culture, gender, self, and music. Their very existence inspires resistence in all norms, sending a message of self confidence no matter what. Being powerful role models for ambitious women, ethnic backgrounds, and rising arists who experience challenging come ups like Krew; the release of their first album since 2013, paired with a comeback headlining North American Tour, Krewella is only scratching the surface of their potential.
Mic Logik of Chi-NativeEntertainment recently released GONE featuring E.Brown, another talented Chicago rap veteran. The song surrounds the idea of how music is idolized and elevated only after an emcee has passed on. It is a slightly dark, lyrical, laid back, boom bap single that makes one introspective about their own path in the music business.
Mic Logik’s first verse starts in with lines that evoke thought, “So what did you expect? Some one to give you all the keys? For record deals I swear that y’all would fall to knees!” Eventually leading into a line with a que from your stereotypical friend that says they will come out to a show, but obviously they do not because they are full of air. “Hey whens your next show? I’ll be there bro! Trust me,” Mic Logik responds, “I lost count how many times I killed at SubT.” That line has to be relatable to every working artist that performs in Chicago, even if you are not familiar with Subterranean. Bringing in that other frat bro voice seals the cynical humor on the record.
The subsequent line again attacks that feeling when someone runs into a friend or acquaintance, just how quick they are to say they will come out to a show knowing they never will. “Be authentic, keep all that fake love please, I’ve been telling y’all forever Mic Logik’s a must see!” And he’s honestly right, he is, either by himself or rocking mics with WRDS and I.Deal of Chi-Native Ent.
Mic Logik can flow, write, freestyle, has a steadily growing catalog, and he has been sharpening his hip hop craft for a while. He utilizes tight succinct rhyme structures, and he is great at staying on topic and leading a listener from the beginning to the end of a 16 or 32 bar verse. He also has a dope feature and beat selection, and can perform all of his material live. Mic Logik, like most of the elite emcees circulating through Wicker Park on any given Tuesday night, can rap over an instrumental with out any backing tracks.
When the hook of the song comes in, it is a slightly complex but effective audience grabber that the crowd will be able to hear a few times and repeat back to get into the rhythm of GONE. As well as further exploring the concept of accolades while alive vs milestones while dead. “They gon’ miss me when I’m gone, gone. So today you’re hot, then tomorrow somebody new! They gon’ love me when I’m gone, gone. I’ve watched them come and go, acting like something was due! They gon’ miss me when I’m gone, gone. And through all the ups and downs, I always tried to stay strong. They gon’ love me when I’m gone, gone. And when my spirit rolls on, you resurrect me with songs.”
E.Brown drops hard bars and schemes throughout with rhymes like; “I don’t expect much, but it sucks when people neglect, that we do it for love, cause some of these clubs don’t cut the check.” As well as “Got more cosigns than a notary, so my shows supposed to be packed wall to wall, with all my homies g, but look out in the crowd its all strangers, most notably.” This song is a great example of staying on topic. Every single bar touches upon the theme of a lack of support for being a musician or artist while being alive. Mentally battling the negative people around you is a struggle many will face within their lifetime as a creative, and GONE illustrates this idea quite well.
The songs production was done by Chicago’s own, Custom Made. If you are not familiar with his sound or work, we highly suggest checking out his catalog of instrumentals and songs he has produced for a plethora of Chicago talent. The song ends with a chant style bridge leading back into the hook leaving a listener pondering how people will view or think of their music once they are star dust and ashes. GONE is a song every creative needs to hear, especially if they have dealt with fake support or a lack there of.
Talent often times is a harvested practice but for Queen Mars it seems to have come natural! Just as well as her ambition and hustle to grow with her craft. With a hand full of songs in her belt, an EP and a few shows, this new artist is making her growth seem effortless. Just coming into the spotlight and already making big moves as an artist and turning heads, a real down to Mars girl.
A talent that we found at one of our Open Mic events at Subterranean on Tuesday nights. More than that, it was a competitive event, and she won favored performer of the night among many talented Chicago artists, crowd decision! With beautiful vocal range, her stage presence stole the show. Catching the audience with R&B and Pop music vibes, as she sings from the soul.
Putting in work early in this year, her win at our Subterranean Open Mic prepares her for the stage again as she is prized with a featured event performance with a full set, March 3rd. Perfect timing as she just released new music for to build up on the momentum, TO ALL THE FUCK BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE. Getting deep into her personal diary with this track, she lets out the big F**k You to retire her feelings of the past, with the help of D’mitri; complimenting the song and Queen Mars vocals flawlessly. She seems more than ready for the world and when she hits the stage she proves it.
Find more on her Spotify linked below, and catch her Sofar Sounds performance on 3/11/20.
StankNasty is back and picking up the energy with his new single to follow up on CARNAGE. Even as a young artist he quickly learned how to put together a talented team to execute his idea. With producer Jonathan McBride, guitarist Avery Lopez backing him up, and Gerald Leibnitz mastering the audio, StankNasty can go in on the mic SCATTER BRAINED. To define that is a mind typically chaotic, and under stress, unhinged. Try to catch up with his lyrics and see if you do not feel the same way!
In a modest gated community in West Chicagoland, somewhere past the gentrified and still developing neighborhoods, resides a self made businessman and entrepreneur by the name Aki Johnson aka ADotmixedit. You might be familiar with him if you have ever heard music from CantBuyDeem. ADot has engineered a lot his projects, most notably the NOT 4 SALE mix tapes. He runs a professional recording studio out of his own home in Galewood, IL. His business is called Sound Minded Recordings.
He also owns and runs a barbershop called Barber By Nature located in Hanover Park, IL. He drew inspiration from a famous record cover art by Naughty By Nature themselves, eventually getting shouted out by Vin Rock of the legendary hip hop trio. Now ADotmixedit is gearing up to make his own waves in the music industry. Starting with his work with CantBuyDeem, as well as a versatile catalog of artists including Eyeball, Gitta Thompson, Kasean, Pop Pizzle, Monster Clique, and more!
ADotmixedit is a certified engineer from the RRFC; which stands for Recording Radio Film Connection, under the tutelage of Miller Street Studios. It was here that he was able to hone his craft and learn about the theory behind audio engineering. His own studio is high tech, including a lot of the industry standard hardware and even his own custom modifications.
Sound Minded Recordings utilizes dual Raven MTI screens, an Avantone mono for mixing, Yamaha NS10s, 2030 3 Way EVENTS, Universal Audio Interface with the Avalon software. Slate Digital MS1, MPCX with the 16 beat pad, AKAI 61 Advance, and lastly a custom analog mixer he is building to attach under his Universal Audio interface. Safe to say that ADotmixedit has put quite a lot of time and money into his set up! But now that he has a fully functional studio, it is time for him to not only maintain it, but continue to grow and expand his small business acumen of recording and music clients.
ADotmixedit believes in engineering music that he can actively get behind, support, or feel. If he does not think the music is good, or has enough energy he will not touch it regardless of the paycheck. He is not in the music industry as an engineer solely to make money, he wants to create amazing works with artists that he truly can promote and be proud of. And that deserves respect because it is about taking the craft of music seriously and giving time and attention to those creatives that deserve it.
From mixing music using tape decks, which no one even knows how to do anymore, to mixing music digitally using Logic and ProTools; ADotmixedit has seen things come and go in the recording industry through out his life. From being in an analog studio with 100 track mixers to using mixers only in the DAWs; ADotmixedit understands how music technology has changed over time, couple that with his experience, ear, and musical training; and Sound Minded Recordings will soon be a blossoming recording house.
From the San Francisco Bay Area emerges Cardboard People, an up and coming dynamic trio with strong perspectives. Comprising of vocalist Yunoka Berry, producer and songwriter Jim Greer, and Hieroglyphics founder and producer Damien Siguenza, all with a common goal. To give voice to the voiceless, with strong lyricism outlining social and political barriers and differences in our culture, through a blend of hip hop and avante-garde pop music. Announcing their self titled project with their debut single BONDAGE; it sounds like it will turn some heads.
BONDAGE is a strong message of the effects of slavery on the Black experience in America. Not leaving anyone out, being told through the perspective of the captor; the white man, singing “I am your leader, your fearless leader… I will control you, seek out to own you.” Acknowledging, no matter how uncomfortable, the imperialistic mindset, that oppressed and violated the sovereignty of many people. “I traveled from sea to sea, I want whats owed to me. I’ll do whatever it takes, to snatch all your kingdoms away.” To accompany the release is a music video, taking place at the ocean, a metaphor to slave ships perhaps? A strong intro to the forthcoming project, exciting to see what else they have on their minds.