Coming into scene on a rooftop, smokin’, Simone overlooks the city of Chicago, with the sunset at the golden hour in her latest music video, SORRY NOT SORRY. As 2020 comes to a close, the singer, songwriter, dancer and fitness coach can look back at an active year when it comes to music. The video follows up on a her single ENERGI, released in the autumn season, as well as her earlier track BETTER, a 4 track EP titled GO and her 5 track album SET. Moving quick and big with her moves, it was time to get Simone back behind camera for another music video!
The beat starts it off with some foreign chanting sample, looped to a hip hop beat, giving off a rural cultural style in the otherwise very urban city. Makes for a dramatic and authentic vibe into Simone’s entry as she gets to her verses, “Big ego, tight waist, short temper, boss up, pop off, remember.” With a boss attitude, standing elevated above the city, she claims her independence and hustle, “Now I get blessed with the lick. Hear the money callin’ me ring, ring. Fuck a label, now I’m gonna sing, sing.” Thinking smart on her boss shit, because labels take too much and give too little, Simone is heading in the right direction with this quality music and attitude.
If you are not familiar with the rules of engagement on the streets, then Safi G and Dolla Da Donn are here to remind you with their latest release and music video, STREET CODE. Especially to those living in cities like Chicago, people are at least some what familiar to “Never Snitch, Never Fall… Keep your eyes on your gold, thats the street code,” chanted by Safi G in the chorus. The interpretation is simple, do not turn your back on your family, do no back down, you hold your ground and keep your eyes on your wealth! Safi G is all too familiar with this sentiment, as he leads his Wolf Mob through the city, their loyalty to each other bringing them great recognition and prosperity.
“I rather die on my feet than to live on my knees, I’ve seen n***as switch when they get a little cheese. Not me I make money and eat with my team, that’s the difference between a wolf and a sheep in the streets.” Raw words from the Wolf Mob General, but true and on point to the T; that simple attitude in itself can rule more than streets, but nations! Dolla Da Donn rocks the mic with, “I been in it since I was a kid, lost my uncle, all that I got, ever since then I’ve been off the porch… been around moving through the streets, hard to move pounds for a n***a to eat, runnin out my racks tryin to get the cheese.” Explaining a tougher than life side of the streets that motivated him to make ends meet and never fall back. Filmed by Beat Box Entertainment‘s HAYWARD, the music video gives a cinematic nuance to the song. Watching Safi G and Dolla Da Donn perform transactions in parking lots, while Wilhelm Duke and another play the part of officers arresting the artists, illustrating a betrayal in the ranks and the resulting consequence, creates a movie like scene as the song plays in the background.
Regular collaborators, Novatore and MOECYRUS, deliver a strong boom bap hit in their AZTHMATIX ANTHEM song and coinciding music video. The single is the lead song from their collaborative 5 track project, FATALITY EP. The video features the two heavy hitting Chicago emcees strolling through Chinatown, culminating in comedic dream sequences. Novatore begins the track with lines such as, “Dropping hits, we coalesce, though we was opposites. Cop a zip and flip it, tripping when the profit hits.” A line about teaming up with MOECYRUS to make history with dope underground hip hop, and comparing it the rush of making money off of selling an ounce. Later Novatore drops lines like, “Severing heads like in Seven and box the cranium, I’m mainly undefeated, depleting you like uranium.” This is a nice movie reference with Seven (Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman) being compared to that of material needed to make nuclear weapons, basically that Novatore’s rap skill is lethal and ultimately atomic!
MOECYRUS pops off with the 2nd verse in the anthem with, “When I see that ugly smirk, I’m like woooo! I wanna hit that shit, mop the stupid out of idiot I’m on that shit!” Referring to all the ignorance that MOECYRUS has to deal with in life. “Me and Novatore we’re like pistol whips and robberies, hit you with the metal piece, infiltrate your salaries, siphon all your energy and snatching up your fans, if you’re inconsistent than you probably shouldn’t rap.” This is a great string of lines comparing the skills of the dynamic duo to that of armed robbery, grand theft and how they are so good that they will take other rapper’s fan bases from them, for lacking and not releasing music consistently. If you are familiar at all with MOECRYUS or NOVATORE then you know how accurate those statements are! The full 5 track ep is available on bandcamp by MOECYRUS and NOVATORE, the Fatality EP by AZTHMATIX.
Back in the middle of summer, Queen Mars had gone through some creative angst brought upon early lockdown orders, that was only cured through song and visual expression. She freed herself with the release of B!TCH, and its accompanying music video that she created with just a phone and strobe light. An artistically racy video that drew attention from censures and challenges, but was ultimately won over with support and admiration of a large audience at 11k views! That first B!TCH was a riot, but this second B!TCH is a boss!
With a new music video to top and remake the summer hit, Queen Mars turns on that boss B!TCH energy in this hyper artistic visual. With abstract visual symbolism at ever turn, Queen Mars goes from a confident, empowered woman to Picasso in just two videos. Starting at admiring herself in the mirror, to stoically sitting at a table like a center piece, laying next to a goldfish tied to floating balloons, to a favorite: fashionably posing like a Queen glowing in the sun, on a small platform fit just for her. All pointing to the fact that she is the one in control, she is that B!TCH. Whether she is creating her own music video, making abstract symbolic visual art, or just singing with that flawless and powerful voice. Join the 16k viewers in this experiencing this masterpiece!
StankNasty is proving more and more that he is unlike no other. With concept tracks released this year like CARNAGE and SCATTER BRAINED,music videos and singles like PREACHING TO THE CHOIR and THE LORD KNOWS, and collaborations like I KNOW I’VE WON and LIBRA SCALE, he is showing unparalleled work ethic and creativity! Even with the way he markets his music, building suspense with his upcoming project EPIC-EP by first dropping a song, and then a video trailer. KNOW THE NAME was teased at the end of summer as the first single to his upcoming LP, and now StankNasty just released his official teaser trailer for the full EPIC-EP project. You do not see much concept commercials for albums, let alone a trailer building up to the release, but StankNasty is proving to be an unconventional artist, creating a cinematic presence around his music.
Lassai has got IT goin on in his latest music video, and as a reminder, so do you. Whatever IT may be; energy, attitude, message, perspective or hustle, this music video is a reminder to feel IT within yourself, and to be proud of IT. From the South Side of Chicago, Lassai aims to invoke confidence in your authenticity as a human being, directing your awareness inward through his verses, “Are you feeling it, Take control of it… If you want it come get it, Do you want it?” Doubling up with the visuals, dancers passionately moving to and fro, with urban settings as their stage, it paints a metaphor that you can flourish in any environment, any circumstance. A calming song to reflect upon personally, on top of being moved by the rhythm physically.
Shay Budda Delo aka Deloney is a mysteriously talented Chicago rapper. Staying low key and popping out once in a while to rock a dope song at an open mic. His sound and style is a mesh of influences depending on the song. This record he has with a visual called QUALIFY, shows him doing street activities such as riding BMX’s, shooting hoops, and being posted up, while rapping in London with his homies. Every shot looks straight out of a scene from the popular Netflix street gangster show, Top Boy.
Deloney raps “If you not speaking Gaupanese leave me alone mane, if you’s a broke ***** I don’t even know ya name...” Ending the verse with “I can’t afford to let you play me for these tokens.” Right off the bat, (as he’s holding a bat or piece of wood in later scenes and shots) you feel the dark but very real and visceral energy emanating from Shay Budda Delo. After the visual you are left scratching your head and wondering how he has London connections being a Chicago rapper, definitely impressive. The song kicks, go stream it now!
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.
Another example of a powerful female figure in the music industry is in Bella Bahhs. Back with a new music video, following up from 2016, for her single BLACK POWER; she reps her heritage and her skin proudly. Calling herself a raptivist, you can hear her ideals in her lyrics, “Know where I come from, I’m proud of. All of my heroes are Panthers. Some say I’m biased, well kinda. We got the juice like Wakanda.” The song is full of references to Black power and growth.
Music is not the only thing on her mind as well, she does not call her self a raptivist just for her lyricism. Bella is active in resistance, attending and performing at rallies against police brutality, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration events, and other civil rights efforts. She even takes part in photo, film and acting, having major credits in IVORY AND GOLD: A DANCE FOR FILM, and also in the THIRD STRIKE for In Justice For All Film Festival. Most recently she featured in a short film by Briana Clearly, there is a lot this woman is putting on her plate! Unafraid, It seems Bella Bahhs has real power within her to make waves in this world, and those Bahhs are no joke either.
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.