Kweku Collins comes out of Evanston, Il with much respect and rep. Having worked artists like Jamila Woods, Sylvie Grace, OddCouple, Taylor Bennett,Stefan Ponce, Julian Bell and more; if you have not heard of him you are not paying attention! Following his Grey LP release in spring Kweku takes off on a tour round the states gathering his following. From New York, Texas. Philly and New Orlean Kweku spreads his name and music far and wide, as far as the UK even.
Chicago gets the best of the tour as he repeatedly brings it back home as Red Bull Honors him as well as Dr. Marten, theMID and the Chop Shop. As that slowed down Kweku gets back to makin new music decides on a new release is due. Bringing FemDot in onto a beat the two go back to back with some reflective words.
MFnMelo makin his rounds on the stages following a big release early Oct. Melodramatics makes its way around Chicago as he celebrates his brother John Walt with fellow Pivot Gang members. From start to finish the album is bonafide, you will be bobbin your head before you know. You can even see the vibes with Watcha Feel music video. With the help of Pivots Saba, DaeDae, Squeak and of course the aforementioned DinnerWithJohn – Phoelix, Corey Grindberg and others, an epic LP forged by ambitious minds manifested. Moving foward you will be craving more MuhFuckin music.
Jean Deaux releases some new music for that Wikipedia. Somethin other worldy from her hidden gems produced by ROMderful mixed and mastered at Classick Studio by Lanre and Bryan Shwaller . Following, No Pressure, Stranger Things and her Outer Body EP Jean has another project in the works upcoming. While touring with Smino and independently around North American and in the Midwest supporting locals, she finds the time for new music and collaborations and getting featured in GQ Mag as a notable female artist. Apart of a growing number of active and powerful voices and influences for woman in Chicago. Add that to her Wikipedia.
Stefan Ponce teams up with some reputable locals and fellow friends. Nothing like some Hip Hop and Soul with theMind, Julian Bell, Micah Freeman & Kyle. Few different vocal styles to make make the perfect jam for your favorite girl. This Hip Hop and Soul piece is fit with catchy hooks and verses, uplifting piano chords and lively percussion. Spread the love with this track on repeat!
Joseph Chilliam pulls off an incredible album featuring a handful of local collaborators. Henry Church together Jamila Woods, Pivot Gang, NoName and Supa Bwe amongst others. The fellow Pivot-Gang co-founder shining light on West Side Chicago talent, didnt need much but his reputation to promote the LP. Coming out of a sold out show, his first ever to headline in Chicago to attest to that.
The message is clear he will not come to conform to society be real and true to yourself; and fuck Bow Bow. Henry Church is filled with wordplay, pop culture references, jabs at celebrities and some real talk. An LP than to define Chilliams character, he brings some loose comedy, west side attitude, and inspiring ambition to the mic. Of course it cannot go on without honoring the fallen, friends to family most notably John Walt Aka DinnerWithJohn and fellow Pivot Gang co-founder.
From the start its relaxed and playful; Setting the tone with Fergie, pulling his own spin off of a Fergalicious sample and demonstrating versatility in his flow. Then inviting MfnMelo on mic to get Buck. West Side meets the South as the mic is passed to Jamila Woods on Shake My Ass, with a seemingly reversal in roles between the two artist to make a statement about sexual consensual perspectives. Chilliams gets real with NoName and Supa Bwe on Kale standing tall against music labels, who really makes the culture? And kicking it back with FN – 2187 for a laid-back tribute track with SKYLR and Sen Morimoto.
Such is the attitude of the full LP and that only the one third of the LP. Layered with diverse lyricism and live instruments between raw production. The project appropriately concludes with a DinnerWithJohn outro. Hannah Vernier on cover art perfects the image of the Henry Church. Find you favorite track and put it on repeat.
Ethos is the characteristic spirit of a culture, era or community. Is he a single representation of a growing community of creative geniuses coming out of Chicago? Or an activist and a voice echoing the resistance of ideologies and labels society places upon groups of individuals? Maybe a poet with deep perspectives on love and life?
In the beginning of the month, from Chicago, Ethos releases his debut album appropriately titled August. More than a musical measure it is filled with poetry defining creativity, beauty, power and change. A love note to Chicago in his own words. On the album are a series of collabs including Smoko Ono, Ashe Om, Tasha, Morimoto, Chul, Happie and Cosmo. Loaded with local talent this LP’s unique presentation challenges traditional album projects.
Jovan Landry is a photographer, filmaker and emcee coming up in Chicago. On her own an inspiring individual; To woman in chicago and persevering artists. Always about a positive and strong message. The multidisciplinary artist flows with an old school hip hop and boom bap style with contemporary influence and conscious lyricism. With all her projects aside her music career is growing and getting stronger as she flexes the limits of her creative abilities.
Releasing an impressive project, the Concious EP, in 2016 she has been consistenly releasing singles and working with locals. Collaborating withMykelle Deville on a few tracks and Fury as well. Recently released Note To Myself, a boom bap beat produced by M-Phazes with powerful words reminding you to challenge and believe in yourself to rise above any obstacle.
Talking to Chicago Tribune she has mentioned the release of her upcoming album. A project to be created entirely by creative women in photography, videography, production and MCing. Made possible by a grant from a WeWork Creator Awards, the album should be defining challenge for Jovan and should see a release soon after already a couple years in the making. It should be the first of 2 albums to be created simultaneously!
The Cool Kids have been building up much anticipation since releasing their first couple of singles off of their upcoming re-union album. Since Connect Four and Running Man, the duo released two more singles Check Out and TV Dinner accompanied with music videos to raise the excitement. Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks have been busy working and promoting their projects. Their forth coming album Special Edition Grand Master Deluxe recently saw a pop up shop at Congruent Space closing in on the release date soon to come.
How ever that is not all the Cool Kids have been working on. Amongst touring around the states and appearing on publications like The Price Is Aight and radio show with Hannibal Buress promoting themselves they got one more idea that makes this reunion one of the greatest. These two not only have talent in production and lyricism but this Labor Day weekend they will be adding acting and comedy to their resume. The Shit Show a Sketch Comedy show created by Jimmy Regular that will star the duo will take things to the next level in their career in entertainment.
Futura Bloom cements their sound with the release of their debut EP Honey! Going back and forth with single releases as duo and individual Ali and Sly Luke present a dynamic body of work. Swaying the mind with R&B, Hip Hop and skillfull lyricism, leveling up and joining many other up and coming Chicago artists releases work this summer.
Futura burn through 6 tracks with ease over production by Dougy. NversivE, another local assists on production on a couple beats as well a Kidwin. Starting off with Rare Candy and into BeenUp bleeding attitude from Chicago streets, highlighting their ambition. Simplifying the project with Cakewalk to clear headspace, a soulful track that spaces out the tracks for smooth transition into the sensual Body Type. Butterflies vocally melds the two artists in an R&B album probiving a safe landing for Pt 2 outro. The duo certainly made some noise with this EP, marking only the beginning of their story.
You got to listen to the Autobiography as it is. From beginning to end Vic Mensa tells the story about his life up to this point. Blood, Sweat and Tears have been poured into the making of this album; his debut LP, as he explains throughout his interviews prior the release date. From cheating death to experiencing. From heartaches, headaches and addictions to politically charged words he bears all.
Mensa has a prominent history preceding him. Leading up to this point Vic Co-Founded SAVEMONEY in the early twenty teens with successful local Chicago artists, TOWKIO, Kami, Joey Purp, Nico Segal and Chance amongsts others; influencing the direction of Chicago Hip Hop among many talented MC’s Producers and Instrumentalists. Releasing solo projects with visionaries in hip hop production like Cam O’bi,Phoelix and oddCouple. Needless to say his debut album release was a long time coming.
A long time worth waiting though once you see the names collaborating on the album. Fellow Chicago artists Chief Kief and Joey Purp get the invite on Down For Some Ignorance. Other collaborators will include Weezer, Pharrell & Saul Williams, Ty Dolla Sign, Pusha T, Syd tha Kid and the Dream. Even Carl from Chicago’s favorite show Shameless brings his talents to the table in a music video for OMG with Pusha T. If that is not enough we even have the Chicago Hip Hop icon in production No I.D.
If that is not enough for putting love back into your city, Vic visits NPR to stream his whole album for his fans to hear before the release. Just getting his story, his human side out there though music. A sobering reminder that an artist like Vic Mensa goes through every day struggles and metal and physically as anyone else. But also at full potential, capable of achieving great success and greatness in whatever it is that makes you happy.