There are not much milestones like the first and for an artist they can be significant. This month DJ Heily B hits a big one as he debuts his first ep. Not out of no where however, Heily B has been working on single releases for the longer end of the year, practicing, getting better and more creative each time. More known as an electronic dance music DJ, spinning for events and venues around Chicago and event a couple of times for Ever Evolved events as well, Heily B has picked up producing along the way.
From his first release BREAD BOWL to ELECTRONIC DANCING MUSIC EP, there is quite a difference that can represent his growth as a producer, but the quality was present from the start. The EP itself is a quick 4 song package packed with energy reaching into diverse genres. Heily never seemed to stick with a single genre from the start and from beginning to end the EDM EP takes you on a audio trip. From the future bass track FORGET A DAY bearing feminine vocals, the hispanic lingo over a dubstep beat in DIVIDE, to the bass and riddim style ending out the EP. Heily B really puts Respect on his name with this release. If you missed his ep release party at The Auxillary Art Center, press play and live through it vicariously.
A few weeks ago many artists in the Chicago hip hop scene sent Chore Boy off in style onto new career horizons as he goes city hopping for the better half of a year. While we are sad to see him go, we are also quite excited to see what he will do with his time outside Chicago. Danny Rahrig aka Chore Boy is artist of the week due to his outstanding productivity and output of music. We recognize his drive, vision and consistency as staple qualities of the kind of artist we like to push!
Earlier this year In January, Chore Boy dropped the LP EXORDIUM, fully produced by Brad Kemp, featuring Fashawn, Vagabond Maurice, MoeCyrusformerly known as Unkle Slump,M.Whise The Shogun, OG Denzo and more. He then dropped a single in February, another Brad Kemp production featuring Elly Tier of White Ppl and Beloved Gang’s Matthew Payne. In May he released a remix of one of his EXORDIUM tracks featuring Orlando Coolridge and MfnMelo. Then in June, Chore Boy he had releasedSTORIES YOU CAN TELL YOURSELF, fully produced by Brad Kemp featuring CantBuyDeem, Femdot, Zombie Manana, TomCat Trumpet and other Chicago standouts!
Last week Chore Boy released STILL LOCAL featuring Kasean and OG Denzo. This week he dropped NERO an EP produced by Rice Master Yen, a german born boom bap producer, featuring Orlando Coolridge on two joints. We also have undisclosed word of another Chore Boy and Brad Kemp album as well as a second Rice Master Yen EP coming out before 2019 is over. Besides his own output he was featured on Super King Reza’s album MOSEY, Handsome Naked’s album “DOORS“, and CantBuyDeem’s single FAKE, featuring Cado San. That is an insanely high level of productivity, more than well deserving of an artist of the week slot on Ever Evolved.
His most recent recorded project NERO is four track ep with two of the records toting verses from Orlando Coolridge on “TUCK EVERLASTING” and “PEPITAS“. “Thats just how it be sometimes” rings true on the second record over an eerie alien like instrumental having to do with seeing ghosts and battling demons. Possibly sleep paralysis too! “PEPITAS” is a sarcastic and witty boom bap rap track with a beautiful harp melody in the instrumental. Coolridge drops his second verse ending the whole song with “You come at me with the work well I’ll be laying you off, gone!” Chore Boy wraps up the extended playlist with “ACTRESS” where he plays with the word ‘act‘ in a string of rhymes having to do with a strained relationship. This leads into a short hook “Its far from over”…ending the ep with on an ere of wanting more raps, cuts, chops, and thick features from one of the hardest working and most productive emcees in the game, Chore Boy.
Rest assured, this will not be the last you hear about Chore Boy in 2019, and 2020 is shaping up to look like another explosive year for him.
Ever since releasing their hit EP NO LOVE FOR BLAQKID back in 2018, Chicago rap-rock band Blaqrock have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the local scene. Having performed at some of the biggest indie venues in the city, Metro and Cubby Bear just to name a couple, this band has garnered as much clout as anyone. And what is even more impressive is how they have done it in such a short time span.
Back on August 2 Blaqrock closed the door on the NO LOVE FOR BLAQKID era with the release of their new single MASS APPEAL. This gem of a track possesses the same passion and energy as the material on their debut EP, except here everything is turned up a notch. In between the explosive cohesiveness of the rhythm section and lead singer, Gardner McFadden‘s feverishly intense vocal performance, Blaqrock has shown a great deal of growth and progression.
The passion and energy I spoke on before translated into an unbelievable live set at the MASS APPEAL single release party back on August 1 at HVAC Pub. Though it was a Thursday night and they did not go on until almost midnight, the venue was packed full of Blaqrock enthusiasts anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new single. There was a certain energy in the air and they tapped into it from the very beginning of their set.
Right around midnight with the crowd standing shoulder to shoulder in eager anticipation, drummer Danny Delgado let it rip on the opening drum hits to MASS APPEAL. What took place over the next four-plus minutes can only be described as magical. Every drum hit from Danny Delgado‘s kit was jaw-crushing. Every note from Myles Bacon‘s guitar was a searing streak of light penetrating your soul. Austen Goebel‘s poignant bass playing was a gentle staccato hum you can feel at the bottom of your feet. And of course, Gardner McFadden’s frenetic vocals strike you to the core to the point of numbness.
Between the intensity of Blaqrock’s performance and how the crowd reacted, the noise levels at HVAC bordered on deafening. There are not too many artists who can accomplish that on a random after hours show on a hot, muggy August night but Blaqrock showed that they are more than capable. For this reason, if you follow the Chicago scene, then I can guarantee you that Blaqrock is an artist you most certainly will not want to sleep on.
“The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.”
According to dragonfly-site.com, the Dragonfly serves as a metaphor for change and self-realization.
Bring in south-side MC Ajani Jones, whose debut album of the same name embodies these sentiments to a T. Released on July 16, DRAGONFLY is a 13-track, 47-minute essay on growth, adaptation and personal evolution. The final product is the journey that encompasses those three aforementioned, which result in Jones coming to a full actualization of who he is as an artist and human.
The opening track, JANI’S INTRO, kicks off with Ajani Jones conversing with his 11-year-old self, asking what this younger version of himself likes to do for fun. Jones looks back on a delicate time in his life which consisted of playing with roadblocks and hanging out with his cousins. There is a sense of innocence that little Ajani brings in this skit — a sense of purity that is yet to be tainted by the harsh realities of the outside world. As the conceptual arc of Dragonfly develops further, the innocence portrayed in the opening skit is threatened more and more.
Where Ajani Jones shines most on this album is how he grows from the obstacles that stand in his way. On DRAGONS he confronts the terrifying notion of his cousin being recruited by a gang. His flow and delivery hold the sense of urgency that comes with someone being under siege for the first time, often not knowing how to react. However Jones does not fold here; he fends off the temptation associated with his surroundings, keeping his head afloat and his feet planted firmly on the right path.
On LUCID, which pops up in the middle of the track list, Jones goes into detail about a call he received from his mother late one night while he was at the studio. After checking his bank account she was left wondering how Jones would pull through while lacking funds. Jones however appears calm and collected despite the dire circumstances, confident he will pull through once again. As the second leg of the album progresses, the obstacles only continue to pile up.
PLUTO sees Jones and his mother dealing with their house being foreclosed on, as well as loved ones he has lost due to Chicago’s gun violence. On the closing track TIME FLIES, Jones confronts how lost he felt as a kid searching for a god to believe. He also touches on the fractured relationship between the police and the black community. Despite closing out on a somewhat somber note, the underlying notion that Jones has made becomes abundantly clear. He has refused to succumb to all of the obstacles that have stood before him, instead using them as periods of intense personal growth.
Aside from the well fleshed-out, conceptual arc of the album, the beats and lyrics are noteworthy by themselves. Lyrically Jones displays loads of technical skill on every song here. His wordplay is sharp and the pictures he paints holds a quality of vividness that so few MC’s have. His flow and delivery are equally as gripping as he delivers his verses with a robust sense of urgency. The instrumentals shine as well, ranging from bleak and dreary sounding to jazzy and laid-back. Jones did a great job of picking beats that fit the mood he was in on a given track.
On the beginning of DRAGONFLY, Ajani Jones is an 11-year-old kid unaware of the cold, harsh truths that have yet to invite themselves into his life. What comes after is the battle to either grow within himself, or fall victim to the obstacles that are constantly standing in his way. Jones not only chose to grow, he chose to grow triumphantly. How he conceptually realizes that over the course of an album is a true testament to that. That sentiment in combination with the moody production and lyrical dexterity from Jones himself makes for a great album. That is why Ajani Jones is this week’s Artist Of The Week.
Building his way to the living legend title, he is well known in many underground Chicago hip hop circles. RhymSter has been making a big name for himself in Chicago and it is due to his determination from a young age to be one of the best emcees. Having left his imprint on the 606 Chicago nights at Subterranean and open mics across the board with his freestyle talent, this young emcee quickly got connected with the right people and follows through.
Connecting with the right people plays a big role in an artists success and RhymSter can identify these people with ease! Knowing that, the Chicago emcee got himself to open for popular artists like Dave East and Curren$y, twice. Right now actually, he awaits to open up for the iconic Method Man and Redman this August at Joes in Rosemont. Through his network RhymSter also finds opportunities to collaborate with talented artists and promoters in and out of state.
Networking not only as an artist emcee, RhymSter also helps run a music studio and sets up events as one of the main partners under Ever Evolved. Through this platform he not only invites himself to work with other artists, promoters and venue owners, but he gets to help influence the scene. With over dozens of artists in his contact list through either recording, producing for or collaborating with, he easily puts together local artists, djs and hosts to express their talents on stage! Artists from Los Angeles, Omaha, St. Louis, New York and Michigan, to name a few, have worked with RhymSter and Ever Evolved in either Chicago or their own hometowns, giving one another opportunities for their talents to be seen and heard.
Taking that knowledge RhymSter uses it to perfect his own craft and promote himself efficiently. All the experiences and people he has met has turned growth into quality! Allowing him to release music videos, interviews, singles, EP’s and LPS, beats and so on. If there is any question as to who this artist is the answers are not hard to find. The best way to know him is through his music as he tells it how it is and what made him who he is, through his lyricism.
Between recording artists, producing music, planning events and connecting with promoters, visual artists, designers, studio collectives and businesses, RhymSter still finds time to speak his peace. With a handful of hit singles and music videos, an album and an EP, there is plenty of content for you to get familiar with. Get familiar with why many artists new and old in Chicago look up to and respect RhymSter. From his freestyle flow and writing, to his ideas and business savvy, it is all raw, authentic and unique.
Consistency, hard work, perseverance and an eagerness to learn to be one of the best! Anthony Radcliff aka Radcliff Music is in a league all in his own making. He raps, produces, engineers himself and he freestyles his ass off, just ask 606. And above all he actually drops records regularly and is in the process of building a catalog and legacy that will cement him as a hip hop legend.
Radcliff has been making literal moves, he recently got back from a show in Omaha Nebraska, and is now in LA doing a show with the majority of the Ever Evolved team. He is opening up for Method Man and Red Man mid August opened up for Cam’Ron earlier this year and Curren$y, twice. He has been dropping self produced tapes and singles this throughout 2019 and we are only halfway done with the year. Also dropping a remix and music video to Big L’s Flamboyant track a few weeks ago into June. I don noy know what else to call that besides real, hard work.
Radcliff Music is the truth and not the gimmick, in reference to his song, because he actually lives off of music and hip hop. He can freestyle or write, he can compose a beat, he does not need backing vocals, he is nice with the hooks, and he is nice with the lyrics and the flow. With a catalog of already over 50 songs released Ever Evolve recognizes Radcliff Music for his dedication to the craft of music and record making. Some of his popular tracks include WATCH ME off of his POP QUIZ project, his single Fall N Off, and his new single STEELERS!
Radcliff is gearing up to take the stage with Essse, CMac, JaiTheArtist, UNDFTD of the North, and William Bolanos in Los Angeles, California in collaboration with ScoBrazy, Octo5quid, Keyblayd and BunnyLiiu. He is about to put on and represent for the city of Chicago and show the West Coast how real, off the cuff spitters perform and express the culture of hip hop. Salute to Radcliff Music.