On August 5th 1966 Martin Luther King Jr., during the fair housing protests in Marquette Park, is met with 700 angry white protesters and gets struck by a brick.
MLK was in Chicago that day advocating with his demonstrators that this leasing office on 63rd Street in the South Side sell properties on a non-discriminatory basis in the mostly white Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Bricks and bottles thrown, racial slurs hurled, pushing, shoving, cops in-between King, his demonstrators and the large white crowd from Chicago’s local south side. At least 30 people were injured and 40 were arrested. Apparently after this whole ordeal King was unafraid and un-shaken stating, “All in a day’s work“.
Post 1964 America with the signing of the Civil Rights Act was hopeful for the future of its minority citizens. However the ghettoes in northern cities were still quite affected and mandated by Jim Crow laws. King even promoted this issue by moving into a Chicago apartment in 1966 infested with rats and roaches. This was ideally to expose the segregated housing and redlining issues that were designed against blacks and minorities largely prevalent in major American cities, especially Chicago.
Segregated cities are still an issue today, albeit laws and ordinances against such civil illnesses. Today let us remember that MLK Jr. was working tirelessly to improve the equity and lifestyles of black Americans and all those that shared in his vision of peace and unity.
The year is 1951 on the 25th of July. The bassist Verdine White, who is most known for playing with Earth, Wind, and Fire, was born in Chicago Illinois. Verdine White is ranked as being the no. 27th all time bass player by Bass Player’s List of the 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time. He started playing with Earth, Wind, and Fire at the age of seventeen due to his older brother Maurice White being the founder, main record producer, and co-lead singer. Today his net worth is over 10 million dollars. These are the types of success stories that define Chicago music and culture in history.
In an interview with Microphone Check with Frannie and Ali, Verdine White got to sit down with the platform to give a little insight into the history of himself and the great band that became Earth, Wind, and Fire. His older brother Maurice and Ramsey Lewis originally were going to name the band Salty Peppers (Salt N Peppa ended up being a thing years later ironically enough) until Maurice decided to name the band after his astrological chart which did not contain the element water. It only had earth, air, and fire; Maurice decided to rename air to wind. And thus a legendary band is born.
According to Verdine White his older brother Maurice instilled a foundational sound and musicality in the group through his extensive study of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. He credits Maurice with his and the entire bands legacy and success. Verdine White’s father was a saxophonist and a drummer by passion and a doctor by trade. He instilled an attitude of strict proper musicianship in his sons according to Verdine. Maurice was ten years older than Verdine elder and the two technically did not start playing together till they were out in California.
Verdine says Maurice was always encouraging and always took him seriously although, Verdine was not ready to keep up with his brother for years. One day Maurice told Verdine, “I need you at the studio in case the bass player doesn’t show up“. Even though the bass player did show up that day, the energy that Maurice wanted to give Verdine and uplift his little brother as a musician was definitely there! Even though it took years for Verdine White to end up playing with his beloved brother, that is now past on, from age ten onward Verdine’s life has been nothing but music.
It was interesting to read about his experiences in Chicago through the 60’s, according to him music related things were happening constantly. Whether Verdine was practicing to keep up with his brothers and father, attending shows with his mother, putting on events for Maurice, or just studying and learning from his older contemporaries, Verdine was always entrenched within the culture of Chicago music. And to me the most awesome fact is that, according to Verdine, he was completely sober and focused through his teen years due to what was required of him as a musician. He did not party, he did not do drugs, there was only one thing he had to do back then and that was play music. Happy birthday to a real Chicago legend, Verdine White of Earth, Wind, and Fire!
Who has been putting in the work other than Emily Ramirez aka BeatrixKiddo, the fierce hard spitting fatale with a style reminiscent of early Eminem or Da Brat! She has dropped three visuals this year already, two of her own records, shot by CVO Films. She dropped STOGIE in mid January and she released BITCHES BE MAD in May. STOGIE is a well paced lyrical turn up track about how she gets down with the cannabis culture, while BITCHES BE MAD is about well, certain people being quite mad.
Both of these projects are a great display of her vocal prowess and edge she has over an instrumental. She is completely unique while leaving the listener in a position to desire more; her music, sound and style demands an increase in content. She also was featured on the Bombay Boyz record AFTER YOU, produced by Rhymster and Frekwenzy, which dropped in the middle of March. Her verse on that record hits hard but was still delivered with a smooth tone giving the track’s mix a lush blend. Its refreshing and inspiring to see more and more women being consistent in the Chicago scene with producing music.
Most recently BeatrixKiddo dropped her single Titled BACK AT IT. She goes bar for bar letting you know what she is capable of while detailing some of the admirable attributes of the Ever Evolved cohorts and affiliates. You can find this new single of hers on Spotify and Apple Music. As we continue to highlight and shine attention upon women in the scene that are simply put, killing it let us remember emcees like BeatrixKiddo. Emcees that are unafraid to portray a sort of feminine heroism that the hip hop industry largely ignores.
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.
Powerful: The word that comes to mind most often when thinking about Gaby Rose, her debut single OPEN LETTER and the launch of her music career. Introduced to Gaby Rose while at one of Ever Evolved Midnight Marauders Open Mics hosted at InnJoy in Wicker Park, she signed up and went on towards the latter end of the night. Her voice is soothing, sultry, low-alto with a whispered intonation. Her sense of rhythm and lyrical acumen is impeccable. Every single line flows well with the instrumentation and every lyric hits you emotionally to the core.
Her songwriting paints a story overall but you have to listen through to the end to make sense of it. Only available to hear her music outside her live performance, until now, her one song set was remarkable to say the least. Her singing had people cheering, clapping and getting up out of their seats. Upon finally hearing her debut single on record, it was just as impactful.
Gaby Rose came through to another Ever Evolved event, Delirium IX, this past Monday hosted at Subterranean in Wicker Park. Not only is she an incredible songwriter, vocalist, and performer but she is also a down to earth person that comes out to support local music! She might be newer to the scene, but her talent and character is undeniable. Highly recommend you all to go bump Gaby Rose’s debut song OPEN LETTER. Without going into detail on much of the content on her single, know it represents selflessness, maternity, womanhood and yes, even manhood.
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!
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 asCantBuyDeem, 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!
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.