Woman Crush Wednesday: DJ Squadooble

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.

Dj Squadooble | Facebook | Instagram

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Artist of the Week: J-Bose Debut LP Snowflake Tackles Phobias, Anxieties, and Societal Ills.

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. 

J.Bose | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Fury

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.

Fury | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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nIgel Sprints Between Sentiments on Running Through Feelings

The title of RUNNING THROUGH FEELINGS, the latest solo project from nIgel  of 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. Catch $ U I T  at Gallery Cabaret this Saturday, September 7.

nIgel | Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram

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Woman Crush Wednesday: J. Solaye

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.

J. Solaye | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Kennyflowers Shows Loads of Versatility on JOAT

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.

JOAT is now available on all platforms.

Kenny Flowers | Twitter | Instagram

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Woman Crush Wednesday: L11

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 Votes Give 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.

L11 | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Surf Or Drown With CMONEYWAVE

Comin’ from the city where they yell Bear Down, CMONEYWAVE has been killing the sound. Poppin’ into the Chicago music scene a few years ago with his MONEY WAVE LP, a legend was born! Lyrically authentic, CMONEY keeps everything on the surface, transparent, as he spits poetry about life and growth. Unafraid to walk down the dark corners of the mind he brings you hip hop that is true to self. Emanating confidence and wisdom, in his latest release SURF OR DROWN, you will be too by the end of the album

Looking at the name, SURF OR DROWN seems to be a metaphor for success; you either rise to the top or you sink to the bottom. Listening to the lyrics you will find he means it both physically and mentally. In the opening title track CMONEY goes through thoughts of jealousy of his partners and being unmotivated with his music, but realizing “thats the devil at work and he was tryin to employ me, if I let him he’d have no problem to destroy me“. It is another level of confidence and awareness to catch yourself slippin’ like that, because you know you are better.

The next tracks you see him back on his right path in his right mind with his people on his side, which includes Tone Jonez, Apache Gross, Nu Jack, Mama Wave and Ka’ron Burgandy. Reflecting and ready to move in READY OR NOT with Joselyn Marie, the 2nd track gets you prepared for the wave. CMONEY really gets into his zone in the body of the LP, where you can really hear the rawness of his perspectives, from the ambitious to the sensual. “You still lackin ambition, how you plan to succeed, if you can’t pass the emissons, how you plan to compete.” In fact from start to finish, his lyrical ability is effortlessly bona fide, with no mercy he really shows what hip hop is about.

The LP is full of lines to keep your head on straight and sober you up. Artists like CMONEY understand the importance of the different aspects of life and the trials we go through. In tracks like AUTUMN you can see where he places his values and DROWNING you come to realize even the the strongest minds go through strong doubts on the road to success. SURF OR DROWN is a real true to self conceptual project with an authentic human touch. You can either turn up to this or reflect with it, but there is a song in here for everyone.

CMONEYWAVE | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Jai The Artist

When it comes to comes to confidence this artist shines like her stage presence and her mic handling. Coming into the scene quite recently she has already made a big name for herself in a short period of time. Introduced to Ever Evolved she quickly rose to her role with no hesitation. With a seemingly natural ability on the mic, Jai the Artist easily takes the studio and the stage, opening up for established figure heads!

Jai the Artist gets on the mic and grabs your attention. Coming off strong debuting with ZEN, she quickly racked up her playlist and followed up with OJ, BOUNCE and GAWD. With this set she rocks crowds, recently opening up for Wu Tang‘s Method Man and Redman. Jai also had the opportunity to open of for Chicago’s Tink.

While Jai bounces around the the states performing in places like Florida, Indiana, Los Angeles to name a few, she is perfecting more songs. With her attitude and confidence on the mic, stage and the studio, she seems hungry for more and with her short but significant resume it looks like she is going far! You can catch her next performance at Safari Lounge in Chicago’s Rogers Park area on the 25th of August.

JaiTheArtist | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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GQ the Fool Keeps Us Watching With Powerful New Single

The man is back after a brief hiatus from his solo project. As far as underrated hip hop and rap artist go GQ the Fool is undeniably overlooked. A discography with verses packed with a quick and clean flow, powered by raw wisdom and street smarts. GQ the Fool is one composed artist and it stands to say that nothing will break that. Even though he was under the radar he remained GQ, connecting with artists and perfecting his craft.

Slowly making his come back the Fool makes appearances and works collabs leading up to the release of his recent single STILL WATCHING. Joining artists on a cypher hosted by the former Bombay Boyz and more significantly starts the hip hop duo GoodFellaz with Safi G, who debut with the powerful hit single SOUL FOOD. You can sense something grand was cooking and finally, with DJ Curt Henny, unleash a comeback worthy beat. Reminding us with the power of his words, that he is here and stronger than ever and he will keep you watching!

GQ the Fool | Soundcloud | Youtube | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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