Artist of the Week: Mikal Bae

Mikal Bae, also known as Father Darko, is the flagship visual artist of the Chicago music collective SlumpGang777. Mikal Bae is chosen as artist of the week for a few reasons. The first is that he has been cranking out visuals like crazy for artists such as CantBuyDeem, Chore Boy, T.Z.Duhh, Sage the 64th Wonder, Orlando Coolridge, Flxtch, Unkle Slump, Vex the MC, Fxther Kari (Khalil Halim), Millie Boy, Novatore, and alexSlander. The second is that he has also put in a lot of work visually and aurally; shooting footage and djing live events such as SlumpFestIII and the Midwest Slump Tour! And lastly Mikal Bae as an audio, visual and graphic artist, lo and behold, he also releases music! Mikal Bae has dropped I Can Feel the Sadness in My Toes, The Man Who Ate God, If Home is Not Here. Where Is It?, All That Never Was and From Darko With Love.

He goes by Mikal Bae visually and Father Darko to present his records. Multi-talented to say the least; Visually I would describe his style as graffiti drip. I honestly could not even explain what I mean by that but I encourage you to go look at his IG page and take some ganders at his music videos by searching up Darko Visuals on YouTube both linked below. He also designs merchandise for the SlumpGang777 collective! There are these custom glass spoon pipes that have “SL” on the front of the bowl that catches the eye. He also has these tie dye shirts that are orange, black and white stamped with SlumpGang777 logos.

Mikal Bae has always been a freelance hustler and for as long we can tell his only job has been in the music, art, and entertainment business. He is not a tradesmen, he is an artist. You do not necessarily pay him for commissions, you commission him to bring and give something more life! You have a song? He can make an amazingly unique visual loop to it. You a need music video? He will shoot, edit, and produce it. If you need a live visual DJ to enhance the entertainment value of your show? He will use a beat pad to syncopate live visuals to your set!

Mikal Bae aka Father Darko is someone you want to pay attention to especially if you are a lover and fan of all things hip hop. From music videos, merchandise, visual loops, artwork, fliers, recorded songs, visually deejaying and producing. He can really do it all and artists like this are people we want to be highlighting every week!

Mikal Bae/Father Darko | Spotify | Youtube | Instagram

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Stories You Can Tell Yourself by Chore Boy and Brad Kemp

Stories You Can Tell Yourself is a 15 song album filled with dynamic sonic texture, lyrical prowess and witty humor. Every song relates to themes and ideas of identity, power of the mind, opportunity, self examination and the idea of what we tell ourselves may not always be there to help us. This record explores what it means to be a product of our own writing and the narratives we architect for ourselves. The record features a heavy lineup of Chicago artists such as CantBuyDeem, Beloved Gang, Danny Biggins, Zombie Manana, Dustin Borlack, Dissonant Dessert, Femdot, King Rozzie, Greediphresh, Tomcat Trumpet, Wessie, Super King Reza and Eshe. The producing, recording and engineering of the project was done in house by Brad Kemp at Second Bedroom Studio.

You have to give it to Chore Boy on his hook song writing. That was the thing that stood out the most beyond the amazing production quality and solid lyrical rap verses. My favorite songs on the album due to their strong choruses were Its About Time, Clean, Hero, Get The Bag and Blind Man Laughing. All of those songs on the LP will have you singing along whilst evoking emotion, thought and possibly nostalgia.

The catchiest chorus and the most impactful song on the project to me is Get The Bag with the hook that goes, “Get the bag, I gotta get the bag, Thank god its Friday yeah, I’m blowing it, thank god its Friday, I’m gonna get it in.” The whole song questions this life cycle we find ourselves in with exchanging our time for money. Chore Boy has lyrical phrasing that hits home and is quite relatable to the human financial struggle with lines such as “I’ve had never had a dollar that was worth a dollar… Time is money, moneys phony, whats that make time” and “If I could put my fellow man down, for a handout, then we all must be outstanding, or a standout.” Listening to that song can send literal shivers down your spine having you pondering financial freedom.

Next song that stood out was Clean ft. Tomcat Trumpet. “Clean, you won’t find no trace of me, but the bible in the drawer got a page missing, I took it with me“. A solemn and melancholy ballad that seems to speak on a past relationship, love, the idea of god and leaving old things behind. This song is best while driving in a car towards the sunset! Trust me, it will put even the most masculine of men to let their guard down.

Blind man laughing when you tell him you’re free, are you free? Blind man laughing when you tell him you’re free, what does he see?“. The guitar melody coupled with the beat on this song is phenomenal, as are the lyrics to go along with it! “They call television programming… human centipede, feed itself shit are we selfish?”. This song expounds the idea of the human being that does not know they are in chains, a sonic allegory of the cave.

The song Hero ft Greedipresh stood out the most because of the fast sing rap style of the hook with lyrics. “This for every hero in their narrative, villain is irrelevant comparison, how you think a fiend will justify the use of heroin, continuing the narrative, the story they inherited“. Greediphresh adds an introspective an honest verse about his arch and the trials he has had to face and overcome.

Every song on the record has an important message to chew on, paired with a well written chorus or hook delivered charismatically by Chore Boy. Mix that with Brad Kemp’s talent for producing and a long list of Chicago staple features. The combination cements this LP as a strong foundation for Chore Boy’s catalog and career to come. Exciting to see where this album takes him and Brad Kemp! Catch Chore Boy and guests performing songs from Stories You Can Tell Yourself at Tonic Room this Thursday night in Chicago! 

Choreboy | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Throwback Thursday: Chicago’s First “L” Service

Thus begins the weekly historical section of Ever Evolved popularly titled Throwback Thursday. We will use this section every week to highlight a specific historical event pertinent to the city’s upbringing and colorful past.

On June 6th 1892 the private company Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit (later renamed South Side Elevated Railroad) conducted their first ever L ride that morning at 7AM. The trains spanned from Congress to 39th street, now the south section of the Green Line, and extended to Jackson Park shortly after. The portion of the elevated line that ran between State and Wabash became to be known as the Alley “L”.

South Side Elevated Railroad Train at Indiana Ave Station

The early train car models featured wooden varnished and cushioned seats. Rides cost a nickel, ran for 24 hours, were lit by gas lamps and the steam-powered locomotives pulled the trains. Customers would have to deal with some steam, smoke and cinders from the engine but this was normal for the time period and the technology.

In fear of people falling of the platforms and onto the tracks they installed railings. Unfortunately these were cumbersome and did not always line up with the trains sliding into the station. After a short while they were removed. The Lake Street Elevated Railroad, today as the west section of the Green Line, was completed a year after just in time for the 1893 Worlds Fair held in Chicago.

Lake Street Elevated Railroad train pulled by steam-powered locomotive

In 1895 the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad added their services to Logan Square, Humbolt Park (demolished), Garfield Park (replaced) and Douglas Park areas branching off from downtown Chicago. Parts of this line is used now as the Blue and Pink Lines. It is the first of Chicago’s transit lines to be electrically powered and the first non-exhibition rapid transit system powered by electric traction motors in the United States. This technology was demonstrated on the “intramural railway” at the World Fair in Chicago.

The Northwestern Elevated Railroad emerged in 1900 with the original deadline being 1899 but construction temporarily halted two years prior due to financial backing issues. After an inaugural run declaring it unsafe, the company defiantly ran a train to the Loop, transferring onto Lake Street Elevated to avoid police. Eventually the company and the city reached an agreement. This line ran from the Loop to Wilson with a branch extending to Ravenswood and Albany Park. The branch now operates as the Brown Line while the main line to Wilson operates as the Red and Purple.

Chicago Rapid Transit Map

The merging of the South Side Elevated, Lake Street Elevated, Metropolitan West Side and Northwestern Elevated Railroad private companies created the Chicago Elevated Railways Collateral Trust (CER). Laying down the ground work for Chicago Rapid Trasit Company (CRT) in 1924, they continued under private ownership. After the opening of the subway system in 1943, by 1947 it merged into the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) we know today following a public takeover. Since its start over, 125 years later the CTA sees more than a million riders daily and has a combined 224.1 miles of rail. The rails are now electric, cleaner, and quieter.

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Joliet’s 2nd City Son and Chino Bean release How To Raise The Dead.

First introduced to Mike Negus aka 2nd City Son in early 2019 at a showcase featuring Bombay Boyz, Unkle Slump and the EWOKK at the Donut Shop in Joliet. Keeping in contact since and following his music, How To Raise The Dead release got our attention. Longtime friend of 2nd City Son and collaborator Chino Bean provided all the instrumentals. 2nd City Son did all the recording, mixing and mastering! The fact that there were not too many hands involved with the creation of this record give it a really clean cohesive sound; dusty boom bap, back pack rap with crisp, slightly distorted vocals. This record leaves you grinning from ear to ear after all the witty punchlines and references that 2nd City Son cakes throughout the entirety of the raising the dead experience. Or as we like to think – elevating consciousness of the masses through poetry and music.

How To Raise The Dead starts out with a fat bass beat for the first song called Raise the Dead, introducing 2nd City Son and Chino Bean using a unique sound bite that sounds like a sports announcer. 2nd City Son flows effortlessly with a raspy sing song flow beginning the LP off to great start. Awesome Sauce is a dark melancholic piano boom bap instrumental with a cynical raps like, “And I do it again, look inside the mirror like who is this kid?!” and “My life like if I compare it a movie, so do me I’m American Beauty!“. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album being a lyrical piece to reflect on all the references 2nd City Son lays out for the listener. This whole album is reference heavy, giving a listener much to digest in terms of metaphorical ideas.

You Don’t Really is the third song off the record portraying a realistic yet optimistic view of issues ranging from the music industry, lost aspirations and depression. Coining this idea that normal people are not ready for the trials and tribulations that he has had the misfortune to experience – “They don’t really wanna hold this pain!“. Most every song on the record is around 2 minutes long allowing for transitions of ease and a palatable overall experience. Thirteen tracks, most being short and sweet with a couple longer ones to challenge the listener’s patience and attention span.

Hope You Listening is a melodic bell heavy track, offering the listener to come and rock with 2nd City Son – “And yeah we ride the wave, so come and rock with us, yeah come hip hop with us!“. “Tiny awkwardness, hold up my accomplishments, your ears are all hostages!“; This track is a prime example of the overall theme and idea about raising the zombified humans’ consciousness ie I hope you’re listening. Hunters Rule Book was a personal favorite from a lyrical standpoint. Lines like “Rule one number leave it alone if it floats, and rule number two, stay away from them boats, cause all them murky creatures gonna throw you off the ropes” and “tough skin you know we leather bound, lord gnomes its time to settle down… whatever we did, cable capture but in the post apocalypse reign masters” stand out.

2nd City Son starts hitting this next instrumental on his probably most notable track with Too Much. “And I don’t want no cash back, and no i dont want no cash app, back in the day I got back stabbed We don’t want no fucking gats clapped, I want a fun time, I want back packs, i want boom bap, i want skateboards, I want pudding pops, I want snap backs!“. He ends the track with a reference about seeing the underworld. 2nd City Son features Unkle Slump, The EWOKK, and Wilhelm Duke. He saves the three emcees for the latter third of the record as a sort of treat for the consumer, tying up the LP seamlessly. I will save you descriptions because these three tracks are gems just go bump them on bandcamp and donate to support independent recording art!

Slippin is a track with one consistent rhyme scheme he pulls off for almost 2 minutes. Notable lines would be, “Modestly, yeah Im known to release, killing the game i hold the chrome to the beats, all you little chickens you the bone to the meat, and all you little bitches you been known to be freaks.” He continues with, “Im dope, you sold dope to the geeks, we sold os we got boats on the beach, you sold toast you should go brush your teeth, black market hustle we the ocean kapeesh, chosen, golden globes for the week, potion, propellers floating the league, bird bath, put the gold in the beak“. A literal monstrosity of a rhyme scheme that goes on for a while. If you listen close is quite impressive and the metaphors hit that euphoric feeling!

I am excited to see more music coming out of 2nd City Son and his camp. He with out a doubt is elevating the taste and reputation of recording artists hailing from the suburbs. He stays true to the craft, offering timeless authentic appeal and a record to digest for any fan of good hip hop. You can listen to the full album on his Bandcamp linked here and below.

2nd City Son | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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CantBuyDeem’s Chili is a Record Worthy of Chicago’s Highest Praise.

Who could perfectly encapsulate what its like to grow up in the South Side of Chicago, ie Englewood, in the most poignant and palatable manner such as Deem Beamon aka CantBuyDeem? First of all, its lovely how this record paints pictures of poverty in a braggadocios and playful manner, not glorification and idolization but instead, a peer into the life of a young ambitious black man weathering the storm of racial politics growing up in Chicago.

Rather than break down the album song for song lets dive into the philosophy of how impactful CantBuyDeem’s story telling can be. He utilizes lines in his first song Alone like “Home alone, all the time momma got it on her own, only thing she couldn’t afford so I started moving shit, corner boy, corner stone of the city that got him enslaving a n***a, but I still do this shit!… and the grind was all I gained from the gangsters”. As well as “they had a n***a try to set me up for a couple petty hundreds…knowledge is pain, I’m a sponge I just soak up the game, so just in case it gone rain, we say be safe instead of see ya later”. A common phrase from Chicago folk implying that the city is inherently dangerous and random in its criminal activity, to take precaution when traversing the concrete jungle.

To continue on this same train of thought, here is more lines referencing the trials and tribulations of coming up in the disenfranchised neighborhoods in Chicago. In STO he quips “grandma used to send me to the store for her cigarettes, with a written note and they would go and really give me it.” In the song he references having to hide his new Jordans or else he would get in heap of trouble. In Saudi he notes “I used to sell weed to the deacon used to smoke bowls with the teacher“. Then he adds lines like “head leaning on the big booty like a beanbag say she cooking up the ramen I want 3 pack.” The way CantBuyDeem mixes punchlines with a storytelling narrative is honestly remarkable. It makes you vibe while thinking of the human experience. Its something un-quantifiable and quite reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar.

CantBuyDeem likes to pay homage to Chicago slang with track names such as Sto, Allcaps, Saudi, OT, IFU, etc. Another addition in painting the picture of Deem’s colorful upbringing. The title track of the album sits at the core of that picture. In Chili every line Deem spits is directly a reference to a Chicago homie or family member of his. If you really know CantBuyDeem then you might understand some of these phrases and similes he uses to compare those that surround him.

In Character, Deem philosophizes the idea of being steadfast to one’s beliefs as opposed to bending to another’s will. The idea of your character being in question if you were to act like, for lack of a better word, a bitch. In that song he still has an overall narrative he is keeping to except he is describing more general instances with goofy types – Or someone in Chicago that acts afraid and nervous all the time which infers that there must be a good reason why. Acting goofy or scary is a Huge indicator of how to progress forward with an individual. This type of archetype and circumstance has been normalized in Chicago.

CantBuyDeem employs a number of peers including Windy Indie, a violinist who has been making waves with her violin remixes of popular hip hop anthems. Chai Tulani, a Kenyan recording artist with a strong African fan base, unique style and rhythm. Illy Muse, Winnie Page, Sleepy Brotha, and SharmonJarmon, to name a few more! This record is as authentic as it gets to perceiving the harsh realities of Chicago living yet still sitting proud and shining through it all. CantBuyDeem makes his art and his craft come off effortlessly and with ease. Deem, Chicago’s playboy, intellectual and savant extraordinaire, following his single Tony Stark has released another record of potent homegrown intimacy and shocking memories.  CantBuyDeem’s “Chili” is available everywhere.

 

Deem | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Youtube

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A Lot (Remix): Dedicated to Palestine and Christchurch

Safi-G, general of the Wolf Mafia recently put out a remix of 21 Savage‘s A Lot featuring J.Cole; his version however speaks upon the tragedies inflicted to the Palestinian people in the holy lands as well as the latest of mass shootings resulting in the deaths of over 50 Muslims at two different Mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The former being perpetrated by the state-ist Zionist agenda, the latter by an alt-right white nationalist. As you listen to Safi-G’s powerful words and statements on violence and oppression remember there are real world issues at hand with disastrous consequences and we are not as isolated as we think, especially with mass shootings in America. Therefore it is important to remember above all else just how lucky and privileged we are to not be existing in a war zone.

Safi G | YoutubeSoundcloud | Facebook

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Sutato: New Beginnings For Orlando Coolridge

The No Coast battle rapper and SlumpGang777 emcee of absolutely cool proportions Orlando Coolridge recently put out a project reflective of poetic growth that the filters of Chicago’s taste makers should be hanged if this record is allowed to pass through unheard. Now that the undertones of serious demeanor have been expressed lets jump into the intro track ONSOL. “Its for the soul, because what is it if it ain’t onsol?” is the first line of the hook whose ad-libs vary through a swinging and soulful rhythm. Because what exactly is it if it ain’t onsol and that is when you realize that there really is not much because onsol is light itself. Onsol has multiple meanings if you follow the SlumpGang777 philosophies and their eastern influences. The song is a great introductory to the album so expect to hear more sharp lines and swinging-ly good hooks through out the record.

INNERGY is another song that makes you question and ponder the idea of light. With production completely done by Sean Antidote, Coolridge poses this question to a listener; “If all that glitters is gold, is the light, just like, how it is in the soul?”. A piercingly relevant metaphor especially within the modern day capitalism and post contemporary era. “That shits no coincidence, its a black fist, like an activist!...Blowing up, like you least expect it now at least expect it. More wittiness of his intellectual braggadocio.

“The message they telling us is deceptive, they don’t want us a collective or eclectic”. MAKE$ENSE encapsulates that paranoid and schizo wave length the brain goes on while trying to come to terms that it will never fully comprehend or observe this reality. Yet it will try and do a damn good job carving out lyrical descriptions. “The one’s controlling currency is 33rd degree, population walking dead but they ain’t turning me!”- A line that captures perfectly the idea of the fractional reserve banking conundrum the world finds itself in today and the idea of humans droning through their daily tasks of life.

Orlando Coolridge makes music for people who read; let me just insert that point of observation here. MAKE$ENSE is a favorite from this record with old school track references like “Cash Rules Everything Around Me, CREAM, Get tha money, dolla dolla bill y’all”,  and “make money money make money money money”. Coolridge intertwines hip hop history with an elevated perspective on global economics and modern money mechanics. RYZE! is the point of the album when your blood starts to boil from the epic and emotional nature of the build up in the instrumental coupled with Coolridges spine tingling intense black power affirmations. Every line in this song smacks you with the thought that maybe you need to go read up on Paul Robeson, Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Dubois. RYZE! is for every patriot and compatriot of the black American disenfranchisement.

The next song on the record is a super clever tune called A.L.L.A.H., playing off many triple entendres involving the idea of God. This including the acronym ALLAH which in the song stands for Arm Leg Leg Arm Head. Not only is this song layered in metaphor but also narrow enough for the simple minded folk to jam to since every rhymed ends with g-o-d. Another personal favorite from the Sean Antidote produced LP.

The song THENIGHTTIMEBUMP is Coolridge’s love making lullaby of the record. Making allusions to drug usage, meditation and night time moods with the lady; writing lines such as “the third hour odd minute when the moon is the light, when the freaks come out if you’re doing it right.” Right after the love lullaby comes a song about finding love and the divine feminine with LUHMADEME. Brush strokes of metaphors posing hard questions and evoking wondrous ideas of what love is or even means. The epitome of the ultimate philosophical doubt of love is held within this one line by Coolridge; “Yo if it wasn’t for the love is there a reason to rock, is the lack thereof, any reason to not?”. Beautifully put, getting to that line almost encircles the entire rest of the song and brings you back to the starting point of the endless rabbit hole wondering if love even exists?

The last two records are GOTTALUVEMALL and FEELTHELOVE! Where the former is a sensual seduction via boom bap goodness and the latter an upbeat tune that exudes positive feelings. Orlando Coolridge hit every possible frequency, vibration and wave possible on his LP Sutato. With all instrumentals from the Sean Antidote camp, the production quality sounding stellar, paired with legendary status hip hop songwriting Sutato should find longevity, respect and love within the Chicago hip hop community and beyond.

Orlando Coolridge | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Unkle Slump Recruits All Star Chicago Artists For Full Length LP

With all star golden age production from the lot of SlumpGang777 and features from some of the most prolific characters in Chicago hip hop, Unkle Slump’s You Gotta Be FKN Kidding Me hits home for fans of that thing we like to refer to as “real rap”. Thus behold the 2019 epitome, Unkle Slump recruits producers such as Father Darko, Emperor Bohe, Sage The 64th Wonder AKA LUNXCH, Cuzzin Vinny, beDOTwater AKA Orlando Coolridge, Lil Kydd?!, Chris Ruben, Chief Takinawa and Brandon Deshay. Fifteen tracks of slapping boom bap music with stabbing witty lyricism, punch-lines and catchy hooks to rap along to while bumping in the ride. His features consist of SlumpGang777 family Vagabond Maurice and Orlando Coolridge. Vagabond Maurice helps out on Heal Up while Orlando Coolridge goes in on OMG Really?! which has a music video to compliment it. He also has Tresside leader and Lucrative Records member Baskaveli on Bait ‘N. The notable Chris Crack, who is one half of Chris Spencer and has been written up on by Rolling Stone, features on Vultures. Michael Christmas and J.Arthur also make appearances on the album. My personal favorite is the aforementioned track Vultures due to the sarcasm of every line between Unkle Slump and Chris Crack. Slumps line “I’m above and beyond I watch it all from start to finish, they counting all that green, hands are looking like some spinach!” and Chris with “Them culture vultures that be riding the benches, they ain’t in the trenches, that’s the ones they be dying to mention, selling music off PayPal that was my invention!“. This is the type of song where you sit back, smoke one and chuckle to yourself as you reflect on the cynicism of every line from Slump and Crack. With every song being engineered, mixed, and mastered by Brotha Gif, the albums sonic consistency is quite impressive through out. Buttery, dusty, boom bap, snare and rim shot goodness! One of my favorite mixes was that of Heal Up ft. Vagabond Maurice. A positive uplifting hip hop track with the hook “Heal up, Heal up, and get better, it only goes up from here, it only goes up from here!“. Slump and Maurice then do a jazz skatting bit after each refrain. There is samples of birds and saxophones in the song adding to its lushness and quite poetic verses too from both of the SlumpGang777 emcees. Slumps construction of this album is cohesive, lyrically and sonically, production wise but this is not something to listen to once and move on. These types of projects slide themselves into works to be studied and come back to through out time. The tracks Hibernation, Bait ‘N, Lions, Tigers, Bears, OMG Really?!, Harpoon, Vultures, Heal Up, and Brown Sabbath are my select picks from the album and songs I’m excited to see performed live! But this whole album packs a refreshing punch. It is something we would have been blessed to study and grow up on in the 90s, but we are even more blessed that its new and to be able to call this album a 2019 release. Any fan of hip hop should love this record, in Chicago and beyond! Listen to and purchase it fully at Bandcamp.

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Vesper Soothes, Heals and Makes You Dance With Debut Album Years.

Vesper is the dance pop duo spawned in Chicago between Zak Fox Jablow whom of which produced for names like Chance the Rapper, the late Mac Miller – and songstress Samantha Humphreys. They are releasing their debut album Years on vinyl April 5th, digitally April 18th, with a release party at Chicago’s Empty Bottle two days prior on Tuesday, April the 16th.

Made in Chicago yet they have recently moved to Nashville and finished the writing and production of their first album. Prior to this project they had dropped a few singles, some of which have made it on to Years including Sway Better and Electric. Their 10 song LP is perfect in its length and progression offering a listener a warm mixture of piercingly beautiful vocals reminiscent of the late Dolores O’riordan, Regina Spektor, Natasha Bedingfield and funky, swooping rhythmic sections which reminded me of Flying Lotus, an alternative Mike Will Made It, and Chrome Sparks. Although comparisons nonetheless, this record Years is a unique sonic experience.

My personal favorite song on the album: Bird starts with a hip hop like sample going into Samantha singing lyrics about her mother giving her one last piece of advice before passing. A hauntingly gorgeous tune. “And again I was an orphan, who newly hit the ground“, “When my sorrow sneaks up onto me, I think of what I’ve let go, and somehow its gone like a shadow of a bird across my window!“. When the lyrics aren not hitting you and evoking emotions over past traumas, their somewhat cryptic style offers much to be thought about by a listener and fan.

Ghosts was another favorite from Years. Like every song on their LP there is much aural texture and dynamics within the sonic production and musical composition. Every song has build ups, bass drops, rhythmic drop offs containing melody, and vocal stacks with Samantha’s layered harmonies. Vesper has what gives a song a potentially timeless experience to listen to rather than another song to be consumed. Lyrics I enjoyed and felt: “We’ve got a heart but someone’s trying to take it, we’ve got a heart but something’s always pushing it around!” and “There’s ghosts in this city, there’s ghosts in our town, their words are so pretty, but they’ll only drag you down!“. Again, much depth to their almost early 90’s grunge rock like lyrical structure.

Samantha Humphreys carries the vocals of the duo whereas Zak Jablow makes sure the instrumental production will make you want to dance and jam. They do however have a duet on the record. Offering a glance at Zak’s earnest vocals and a tenor softness which is slightly emulative of the male counterpart of Boyce Avenue. Better has Zak and Samantha’s voices intertwined on the refrain, giving the entire LP vocal diversity as well! Not that I would not listen to a record of only Samantha Humphreys but Zak’s voice was pleasant to listen to! Zak also contributes background vocals on the songs Married to the Night and Sway.

Listening to the record Years straight through, I felt a sense of rejuvenation. The music offers pleasantries and traumas to think about all the while making you want to shuffle dance on the floor. I am excited to see them live at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, April 16th. I hope you join me!

Vesper | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Mother Nature Keeps It Simple (Music Video)

If you have not heard of the refreshing girl power duo that is Mother Nature go look them up on YouTube right now. Charisma, lyricism, fun, artistic chemistry – these two have all of that. The Chicago native powerhouse duo comprised of emcees Klevah Knox and T.R.U.T.H. dropped the visual to their single Simple, which is from their upcoming 2019 EP titled Pressure. If the rest of their record is anything sonically like this first single Simple, then I think these two talents will really propel themselves forward in 2019!

The visual done by New Trash has the two ladies in black and white checkerboard pants and multi colored tops. They start off performing in front of a changing green screen with kids as their gaffers, directors, cinematographers, and lighting crew! The hook to this song is super catchy: “I do not do what you’re doing, bitch you’re simple!… I am me and you are you, bitch you’re simple!” Then the visual progresses from there with a verse and a bridge from Klevah Knox and a verse from T.R.U.T.H keeping the high energy, fun, and intensity through out. I am excited to hear and see the rest of Pressure from Mother Nature in 2019. They represent something truly positive for hip hop and their image and sound as artists is what I want to be around to write about.

Mother Nature | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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