What is a party without the DJ? Even the live performing artist needs their go to DJ in between setups and songs to keep an audience amused. The radio DJ can make or break an artist. The best of them can traverse genres, no matter who is listening and make their body move. Some can even influence music cultures with their sound and style.
Many times in our publications we recognize the vocal or spotlight artist. Tonight however we highlight the DJ’s role in music through DJ Squadooble. Albeit a young artist she made her way into the nightlife industry with ease. To personal friends and acquaintances she is the life of the party, to her associates in music she is the controller of the party.
Introduced into house parties, she quickly becomes popular with local promoters. Her diverse genre base welcomed her to spin at popular local clubs and lounges such as Debonair, Lokal, Simones, Harbees and even made her way to local neighborhood festivals over a short period of time. With a variety of genres from latin influences to hip hop and dance music, if you are in the vicinity of her sound she will make your body move! Making a return to Simones in Pilsen this third weekend of September she will be a judge for a twerk contest under the Ever Evolved banner spinning alongside DJ Hunt, rocking the crowd and backing up features artists like ESSSE, T.Z. Duhh, I C Y and more.
The mix below is old news but the magic is in the present. Follow her pages below and get in tune with DJ Squadooble and catcher her spinnin live.
It attracts all types of creatives from any and every corner of the streets. If you have the need to express yourself vocally or even instrumentally, there is an open mic waiting for you to grace the stage. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there in front of an audience, open to criticism for the first time. For some, however, this is where creative minds learn to grow as artists.
From A Tribe Called Quest LP, one of hip-hop and MC’s most influential group of all time, Midnight Marauders claims the name of our Ever Evolved open mic series. Peppered monthly around the city of Chicago, Midnight Marauders finds a home at Innjoy in Wicker Park on Monday nights. In the house with Lucrative Records, we invite Chicago’s most talented MC’s you may have never even heard of. This is not your average open mic, Midnight Marauders brings artists from all walks of life.
Many times if not most you will see open mics packed with hip-hop emcees ready to get their word out. Midnight Marauders encourages all types of artists from all types of styles to bless the audience and the stage with their hard work and expression. Not just for a one night stand either, we incentivise the best of these dedicated artists with rewards ranging from hours of studio time, photoshoots, artwork, review articles and even a performance spot at a local or out of state event. This motivates the artists to bring their best out and their fans follow with them to support.
These incentives not only bring the young up and coming artists but also seasoned veterans to take advantage of clear and easy opportunity! Veterans than bring fans, meaning more audience for all artists involved. From hip hop emcees to spoken word poets, singers, instrumentalists and even stand up comedians, Midnight Marauders brings them all in numbers. The energy was evident at the our 14th event of our open mic series on Sept 9th.
Starting out as any regular monday night, it would end with not one but two talented individuals to share the prize incentives. William Bolanos on the mic hosting, inviting curious artists to the stage to sign up and get on the mic. One by one the room starts filling up with artists, supporters and onlookers waiting to see who will bring out the best performance. A room full of creatives strangers, connected by music, looking to find out who is worthy and who to connect and work with.
As DJ Hunt sets the energy for the room with some throwback tunes and what ever is hot right now, the room prepares themselves for the first call; first come first serve, one song each. The host calls upon the first names to no response and an eager crowd demand to move on. Its dog eat dog and the ones in the room are ready to eat. One of the first to hit the stage would be a hip hop artists by the name of ST. BLVD, with high energy and composure, what seemed to be some ordinary man explodes with smooth rhythm and lyricism to the audiences pleasure. He follows _Larcin_ with a flow like the late Mac Miller, setting the bar high for the following perfomers!
As the finishes the crowd cheers in approval and the mic is passed to the host for the next act. The man following, looking more for a space for his minds content rather than the incentives, bringing to the stage a different talent. For the next few minutes our audience ready’s their ears for a stand up act by an man named Christopher.a.f. Not showing any mercy, he confidently picks up a few giggles from the shy audience seemingly in tune with his dark humor.
The next few acts would bring on hip hop artists like Stank_Nasty_, CVOJAYEM, TLean, Jah.Damm and Apache. Of course Ever Evolved artists had to show had to show the open mic contestants how to rock a crowd for real. ESSSE and JoSan take to the stage as featured artists with music perfected in our very own Ever Evolved studio. Even Rhymster, Eric Wilhelm, Cmac and Beatrix Kiddo rock the mic for a song to really set things off and solidify the energy for the night.
But the real rewards go to two artists, who not only showed up to perform with their best intent, they stayed till the very end and supported each artist. One artist in particular, comes back to claim a winning prize for a second time. The outstanding K.E.N. with energy on the mic so intoxicating, there is no doubt that he is born to entertain, takes a win for the second time showing us what consistency can do. And Finally Case Move, bringing to the mic his brand of super smooth R&B music. Both not only brought captivating performances, but their patronage as well.
As an artist it is not only necessary to support other performers but it is critical in proving your dedication to the music culture. From crowd control and reaction, to handling the mic, these two did not just bring their best selves on stage but they stayed throughout from beginning to end. They show support to not only Ever Evolved, but to the local artists putting themselves out there. It may be a game of endurance, or straight up motivation to get the prize but these two show what it takes to get what they want. This game only feeds the hungry.
J-Bose is one talented individual. He raps something like a Busta Rhymes or Busdriver and sings with a unique timber unheard of before. He crafts lyrical messages using technical styles of hip hop, fusing that with pop songwriting methodologies. The overall socio-economic political message of J-Bose’s debut album stood out in particular.
He seems to be able to create this realistic hero complex of himself. Utilizing the honesty of his own experiences and coupling that with a filter of his interpretations of the outside world. The majority of these being quite socially progressive in nature. J-Bose’s mature reflections of these stereotypical occurrences might come off to some as, you guessed it, a SNOWFLAKE.
What is a Snowflake? One of the most beautiful and temporary examples of sacred geometry that comes with the absence of heat, or cold. Thinking about that makes you delve deeper into the term we use to coin so many moderate liberal millennials as Snowflakes. Are we really so sensitive that all logical debate has now been eroded? Or is it perhaps we are fed up with the supposed universal rules of society we find ourselves with. Just maybe this generation is going to completely alter the path of history? After listening to Snowflake, the latter of those ideas seem possible.
The first track to delve into is Feel Me featuring Kara Dawn. J-Bose layers much meaning, feeling and questions of morality in his writing. He begins with, “I done seen a lotta people with the biggest egos and the smallest bank accounts. Walkin’ round like they a giant, thinkin’ they Goliath, everyone else David now!”. The idea that there is a lot of fakes with inflated personalities but very little to offer, would seemingly be the person opposite of a snowflake. J-Bose continues with, “Could be inside that they’re hurting, thinkin’ this’ll be the safer route“. It could be these same fakes are actually just lost inside and the best defense mechanism is an outwardly egotistical aggression.
To be a snowflake in our current culture’s context is to admit to feelings you have towards things within society that upset you, not to be emotionless brash. In his second verse he makes this point, “See, we gotta learn how to empathize, we don’t know everyone’s situation. Take the judgement, the bigotry and the lies and remove it all from the equation. And treat everyone as an equal, all the time, not just in some occasions. Cuz we are an imperfect people and it’s time we built perfect relations“. These types of inherently idealistic yet purely loving concepts are unfortunately labeled as snowflake behavior, providing others an excuse to not mentally confront the issues at hand.
J-Bose does not tear down those bigoted, fearful, close minded people whom ignorantly project their baseless vitriol. He sees himself in them, sees their humanity and because of that can only judge so harshly. FEEL ME is a melancholic song that forces a listener to wrestle with their personal morality and sense of empathy. It will have you questioning why you judge and think in the manner that you do.
ONE CHANCE is another appealing tune because the hook is uptempo with a catchy uplifting melody! The song has to do with personal growth and change. These two things are definitely part of the mythos or ethos of what makes a snowflake. “Whether you’re fat, annoying or boring or selfish or lazy, you can identify and make a change and start anew and you can see yourself the way that I see you“. Its the idea of being able to see the light in everyone regardless of the veneer. “But stay humble and if you’re wrong sometimes, and when you are then that’s ok change your state of mind, be honest with your problems and we’ll get along fine, and rejoice we get to share this world and make it cloud 9.“
Some people simply can’t hear out a victim’s or an oppressed group’s opinion because they deem it offensive to themselves personally. Today someone could express their feelings of oppression and have those concepts fall on deaf ears because the receiver thinks they are being personally attacked or torn down. Happen all the time on social media! Some people just cannot separate themselves from the demographic they are apart of. But to be honest, you cannot expect too much out of ignorant people or those unwilling to empathize.
Snowflake by J-Bose gets your gears whizzing. There are many questions to ponder and things to think about when going through this record. Off two songs alone you can extrapolate an insane amount of ideas being conveyed. J-Bose really created an inwardly personal yet outwardly political record with extreme relevance to our current American socio-economic political climate. Questions of sexuality, anxiety, societal ills, oppression, self doubt, crippling fear — its all there.
J-Bose then takes all that and is still able to portray a silver lining. He does so exceedingly well in songs like ONCE CHANCE, ROY DEE THE GIFT, and DOUBLE LOVE. The record is emotional, visceral, piercing, honest, brutal, and eye opening. Snowflake by J-Bose is as pretty as it is structurally sound, but unlike a snowflake, this record isn’t temporary, its here to stay.
In an industry of hyper sexualized and misogynistic music coming from both men and women, as read from her bio, Fury represents raw and unfiltered hip hop. Through passionate lyrics about life, relationships and perspectives, Fury does more to preserve authenticity in hip hop than the mainstream does as a whole. A powerful voice with an old school flow her lyricism is unmatched and inspiring, giving voice to many women who aspire to be music artists. As more and more women filter into Chicago’s music industry we recognize Fury’s fearless influence.
When Fury started releasing music almost 6 years she would be entering a scene mostly dominated by male artists. She would have to do more to get noticed, but that did not bother her because she would bring something different to the table. With street wise lyricism and flow comparable to Tupac and Lauryn Hill, coupled with her ambition, she would set it off. Nothing would stop her once she got connected to the right people and started performing live and collaborating with other artists.
Introduced to Fury at an Ever Evolved Empower Herstory event at AMFM Gallery, she takes the stage and the audience with ease. Her ability on the mic is undeniable and her stage presence is unforgettable. At the time having few LPs and a handful of singles in her back pocket. Today she performs live with a band with her latest LP BLACK MAGIC, fusing hip hop and rock music genres and finishing off a tour to work on new music for 2020. From her first releases like FEAR all the way to BLACK MAGIC, she holds the same fire in her soul and she really lets you know; I would recommend you going to a show, see below.
The title of RUNNING THROUGH FEELINGS, the latest solo project from nIgelof cloud rap duo $ U I T, is a perfect summary of a listener’s experience throughout the concise and varied tape. Echoing vocal clips haunt the first few tracks’ intros. Reinforcing the spacey, distant feel evoked by the the rapper’s conflicted lyrics, djuniverse’s ethereal production loaded with fairly minimalist instrumental samples and wavy synth loops. nIgel told Ever Evolved, “I had a lot of bad relationships, interactions and dealings with women at the time when I was writing Running Through Feelings. It kinda just came to together on its own”.
He pours equal measure of soul and sauce on this 12-track project, expressing different forms of commentary on love in each track. “I gave her space, all she wanted was peace, you can leave love right there up in the streets”, he raps on ESCAPE. A song that parallels ambition for musical recognition with the pursuit of romantic interest, two paths inevitably full of rejection. Switching pace on WE MEET AGAIN to an infectious bounce, pain turns to contempt, with critiques to hypocrites like “you claim to kick the cup, but now you wanna act”. A subtle double entendre that touches on the sometimes addictive nature of a passionate relationship.
After an earnest appeal to a crush on FOND, $ U I T reunites for WITNESS. A perplexingly smooth yet hype bop laced with quicker-paced flows and light flexes as NePh punches in seamlessly, adding vocal texture to the track. Originally started rapping to follow in the footsteps of his grandmother, a poet and choir singer who he played the saxophone with, nIgel references her while affirming his greatness and his growth on CHOSEN FEW. Starting by admitting “I had to change the approach; I barely did anything, used to be determined to boast”. By the end of the brief but introspective song, not nodding your head in a silent amen proves challenging in the face of nIgel’s deep-rooted sense of purpose.
The next four tracks are the most indulgent on RUNNING THROUGH FEELINGS, beginning with the leaned-out BORED AND BORING. “You got me sleepy snoring, she not from here she foreign. I’m on the social scrollin’”, sighs nIgel in this trap house equivalent of a lullaby.Featured artist Bruc€Pill$ turns the opioid factor all the way up with his slurred flow, fittingly aspiring, “I just wanna put my face on Fader”. EASYBAKE is the rapper’s chance to demonstrate a boundaries in the relationship he describes by refusing a superficial connection through convection, aka an easy bake. This is followed by the otherwise decidedly chill tape’s most mosh worthy joint, TENSEIGA. Bars like “they need the clout, they can chase it. I’m high booking new engagements”, drip with confidence and solidify our protagonist’s drive and self-sufficiency.
According to nIgel the goal of this album itself, an unofficial sequel to EARLY MORNING TUNES, was to “show versatility and a different sound”. Both those boxes are boldly checked. Trailing off with a hazy-eyed, coarse yet heartfelt farewell on FROM ME TO YOU, the final two tracks RELEASE ME! and NEED ME! underscore the theme of contradiction that traces through the whole project. The former has nIgel disavowing critics, fake friends and even himself, suggesting he feels trapped in the world that is built up around him. RUNNING THROUGH FEELINGS closes out with a melancholy guitar that evokes nostalgia for rosier times and despite the title, NEED ME!, reading like a command, the final refrain of the song is “I’m here if you need me”. This speaks to the emotive stoner’s soft spot, a passive gesture of unconditional care no matter how thick the smoke clouds get.
Whether you are looking for the ONE romantically, want to feel ONE with yourself spiritually, need to take that ONE step towards ONE project. The loneliest number can hold much significance, in many ways! J. Solaye knows this very well as she hits a milestone releasing her first EP entitled ONE. This soulful artist, singer and songwriter has been on the rise in Chicago and she has been making her name mainly with single releases up until now, with her first about 3 years ago.
Introduced to music at a young age through her parents, as many of us have, she was lucky enough to be brought up around good music taste. With enough Hip Hop, R&B and Chicago House to influence her she decided become one with the music. At just the age of six, she starts practicing singing and songwriting seriously. Piano and choir practice in grade school will lead her to perfect her craft till High School, where she starts performing confidently. Fast forward to today and J. Solaye has grown into a seasoned artist, with countless performances in various venues around Chicago.
With the release of ONE, J. Solaye notes to her fans that it was a proud piece representing herself as one whole human being spiritually. Confident in her music journey as inseparable from her identity, she has the freedom to express herself without hesitation. ONE is certainly a project for the lovers, with her personal inspirations being artists like Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill and Mariah Carey, she does not drift far from her influences as her sensual voice stands up to match up with legendary artists. In the 6 track EP, from Light Me Up to Cold World, we get a idea of the the very personal experiences of J. Solaye’s mind. Experience her romantic world vicariously with ONE.
Chicago’s Sonic Illusionist, the elusive traveler of recording artists. A jester of mystery, formerly known to some as Flynn. Tyler James Logsdon has re-branded himself and dropped a record reminiscent of 80’s super synth pop. There are a lot on this record that can remind you of, depending on which track we look at from his 14 song LP New Policy, artists such as A-Ha, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, Robert Smith from The Cure, Interpol, Pulp, Chrome Sparks, Explosions in the Sky, Chicago’s The Drum, Royksopp, TRVST, Chris Isaak, Nick Cave, Kavinsky, Imogen Heap, and even one of my personal favorites, Brian Molko of Placebo.
Now that’s a lot of artists to compare the likes of him to but I guarantee that if you listen to this record from front to back it will feel like a lush bright mixture of all of those sounds, feelings, voices and progressions creating this all new, all too unique experience from Tyler James Logsdon. What I appreciate the most about this album is that its not only conceptual but its made to be listened to from top to bottom. It is an experience to be absorbed, not to just pick a couple songs from the record that were more popular or did better as singles.
That being said, TJL does have major single power potential on a lot of the songs on the record such as my personal favorite PLASTIC, and then STARDUST, REQUISITE, BLIND, BY MYSELF, and REFLECTION definitely can stand alone, but paired with each other on a full length project they do even better. Not every track has vocals, a few of the numbers on the record are just a great composition of instrumental. These instrumental numbers offer a dynamic texture to the album. You get 2-3 songs of TJL smooth crooning’s and falsettos for every one uptempo 80’s instrumental.
You can hear and feel so many different influences when consuming this project and what is more impressive is that everything is entirely produced and engineered by Tyler James Logsdon himself! He seems to channel Kavinsky, Daft Punk, and TRVST on the record STARDUST. STARDUST is a roller coaster ride of a song that makes you feel like you are playing the Rainbow Road level of Mario Kart or you are Garrett Hedlund driving a futuristic motorcycle in the film Tron: Legacy. The song Plastic sounds as though the Norwegian pop band A-Ha and the Swedish artist Royksopp fused into one for that record to come to life.
TJL uses strong memorable sounds for his melodies that bring you back to that 80’s era while also progressively bringing you further into our time with epic electronic dance pop. It cannot be quite explain it; but his sound is both new and old, progressive and retro, archaic and cutting edge. It is as though he is taken the timelessness of what we miss and loved about the 80’s and combined that with new pop composing techniques of today. Back to the Future, or Forward to the Past? Nostalgia and hope seem to be these ethereal feelings he exudes in his album. That is how I interpret the name, New Policy. TJL has created a newer type of sound by pulling from esteemed golden eras of music history.
Epic: A humble word to describe the music by Tyler James Logsdon. He can program drums in the manner that I have seen Chrome Sparks play live and sing deeply in the style Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen on the record Reflection. He sounds like Robert Smith from The Cure on the record Blind. And some records Tyler’s layering of his vocals remind me of James Blake or Lana Del Rey songs. The talented Mr. Logsdon capable of palpable tunes that present themselves as a blend of some of your favorite most inspiring Swedish dance pop records.
The replay value of this LP, NEW POLICY by Tyler James Logsdon is extremely high for a few reasons. It is a sonic and compositional variety that seems to draw from a plethora of artists. Its production value is pioneering what you remember and love about 80s synth pop. It’s genuinely a record that will have you singing, dancing, laughing and even crying (just wait till you get to song number 13 with Take My Hand)!
Tyler James Logsdon is chosen as Artist of the Week because I believe what he has done with his full length record, NEW POLICY, deserves spotlight and praise. His fused style of progressive and retro offers a listener an amazing sonic time. Tyler James Logsdon will be playing shows in the near future around the city of Chicago. I hope you are lucky enough to see his records performed live. Here is to growth and better futures, here is to A NEW POLICY.
From the moment you first press play on Kennyflowers’ new project JOAT you know instantly that you are in for an infectious and fantastic listen. Standing at just 9 tracks and 24 minutes in length, Kennyflowers leaves himself with no margin for error. However between the dreamy, jazzed-out soundscapes, Flowers’ versatile, introspective songwriting and his penchant for catchiness has come through with flying colors. He makes every second count on this short and to-the-point LP.
The vibe on this project stays pretty uniform throughout. The instrumentals are constantly laidback and playful, reeking of jazz and R&B influence. There are moments of pure beauty here as well as tinkling, fluttering pianos and groovy melodic synth progressions can be heard all throughout this project. Kennyflowers’ vocal performances also fits the mood of the production to a T.
He has a tendency to use his voice as an instrument all its own, often adding another layer over the already dense production. He is using his inside voice all throughout this project. As a listener it is easy to feel like you are in a 1-on-1 conversation with flowers as he dissects all different aspects of his life right before your eyes. However despite the wide range of tone and emotion Kennyflowers presents here, there is a single common thread that weaves this entire project together.
It is one 24-minute long ear worm. Each and every song here has loads of replay value on its own. Every hook and every verse has the potential to get stuck in your head. Flowers shows that he is more than capable of crafting music that is as catchy as it is creative. When it comes to songwriting, Kennyflowers shows loads of versatility on Joat.
On the albums’ first two tracks, YELLOW LINES and FAVORITE JACKET, he is adventurous and carefree; embracing a free-spirited way of life. However on LONELINESS, which appears much later on the track list, Flowers comes off as vulnerable and stunningly self-deprecating. A duality is created here, as his somber moments come off just as well as his humorous, nonchalant moments.
This album is one that is pretty easy to really enjoy. On the surface, it is easygoing and care-free; meaning one can certainly fall in love with it without paying too much attention. When one digs deeper into this album, there is much more to admire as well. The jazzy instrumentation is a testament that Kenny Flowers takes after some of the greatest musicians to ever do it. The versatility of his songwriting shows he is developing a style all his own. If JOAT is just the start, then there are three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes and the inevitable fact that Kenny Flowers’ music career will stand the test of time.
L11 is hard to miss whether it is conquering open mics, holding her own in beefy local lineups or serving a cake shake that would put Portillo’s out of business in CantBuyDeem’s Thumb music video. The hip-hop and R&B artist has carved out a defined role for herself in Chicago’s musical community. With a seamless blend of social consciousness and uncompromising agency, L11 owns her sexuality proudly in the face of objectification. “You gotta wait, wait, wait, til I say go/ you gotta understand me if I say no”, she raps on the track Consent, a sultry bop with crisp, decidedly NSFW visuals by Rena Naltsas. According to the video’s description on YouTube, the song was created in partnership with the Chicago VotesGive a Shit collective to address the necessity of consent, as it builds trust and makes fantasies a reality.
Since her 2015 debut project Nefertiti, L11’s artistry has been honed to a razor’s edge. Encompassing soulful melodies like those that fill the island vibe-tinged Spring (Self Love) as well as scathing bars to remind listeners she is not to be mesesd with. On the twerk-inducing W.A.N she delivers a cold dose of reality to leagues of fake thugs and other would-be suitors. “You ain’t even got no goals, lil n****, I fuck around and snatch you right up out your soul, lil n****”, raps L11 over tumbling percussion. A true master of her brand, she is designed a line of Good Pussy Energy merch to rep the self-produced anthem of the same title. She handles her business and expects anyone she lets herself get involved with to do the same, declaring “energy so pure I swear my demons steady duckin’”.
Recently L11’s latest single B has been racking up plays, as one could expect with a beat from a union of the artists signature assertiveness and powerhouse producer DJ Skoli. In a dynamic script-flip of rap’s favorite and most controversial term for a woman, she wastes no time letting the people know; “B is for bitch, say it loud…When you see me, I be killing this shit.” At this stage in the game, L11 has shown not only potential but real progress while maintaining an entirely authentic voice that rings relatable for strong women and those who admire them. Whether putting it down on stage or in another artfully-directed video, we cannot wait to see what is next for this promising femme fatale.
How could hip hop be dead, if Wu Tang is forever? Unfortunately Method Man could not make his performance at Joe’s in Rosemont due to some scheduling conflict. Regardless of the legend’s absence, Red Man showed up and proved why the golden era hip hop is here to stay. RhymSter, Radcliff Music and JaiTheArtist of Ever Evolved all had opening sets for the legendary honorary Wu Tang member known as Red Man (unofficial Wu Tang member).
Each artist brought out other members of their collective proving the selflessness and community driven philosophies of Ever Evolved. RhymSter brought to the stage Eric Wilhelm, Mike Booth and ESSSE to rock the mics during his set making a phenomenal impact. JaiTheArtist brought out CMac and they both got the crowd turned up! Radcliff came in right after with track after track of lyricism fit for the golden era legends. It was an incredible, unforgettable night. A night to prove that Chicago breeds real emcees and artists that perpetuate the authentic hip hop culture.
Getting off the stage, riding the high of the night, every member of Ever Evolved met fantastic fans and supporters ready to give their input and thanks for delivering impeccable entertainment in preparation for Red Man. The very next day — back at it again. Rhymster had a whole 45 minute set at Pilsen Fest and brought on every member of Ever Evolved, including a saucy DJ Curt Henny set. Seeing throngs of people walk by off 18th and Loomis start gravitating towards the Modelo Stage due to RhymSter’s performance was inspiring to say the least. This is nothing new, if you are at an Ever Evolved event, there is nothing but charisma and rapport with the audience. That is a given. That is Hip Hop.
The next day Aug. 18, last Sunday, two of our members and affiliates DJ Hunt and DJ Curt Henny also had sets for a dope showcase at Underbar. A weekend jam packed, literally, with hip hop events and experiences. Words cannot explain what it like to experience it as a whole. Ever Evolved is going to change the game for hip hop, artists in Chicago and how we as artists and entrepreneurs approach being successful in the music industry.