From face value you would see Vincent Sebastian as an innocent and upstanding character, and you may be right, but also his mind seems to tip toe the line of abstraction. His latest release FREE SKIN, with Dexter, and its music video illustrate this perfectly! The song starts out a bit cheeky, with an indie pop synth and some conceptual lyrics. You would think Vincent is going on about insecurities, and he is, but as a lizard! Music for Lizards, a shower idea, recorded at a home studio and mastered by Tony Baker of Broken Robots.
Suddenly switching gears to rock music, singing in unison with Dexter, and back to the retro vibes. Adding again to the abstract nature of the production; the two genres, indie synth pop and rock, sound like two different personalities, but it somehow works here, as if they actually belong together. The video itself has an abstract retro vibe, as Vincent sets himself and Dexter in an abandoned warehouse, with nothing but a chair and an old tiny TV; you get some kind of David Bowie energy with his aloofness, and suit. For the most part you get some aire of the 80’s coming to life again with this video and genre. From the beat, to the to the camera angles and visual edits, and even fashion and the whole minimal value that it holds, its a detailed creation not to be overlooked!
As the late great Martin Luther King Jr. would have explained at one point, “riots are the language of the unheard;” and it seems a growing number of Americans seem to connect with this message as leadership fails. Young artist Malo BRIGADE uses his voice to express his connection to that language. “NOTHING GOOD then we gon’ make it bad, make you crack. Make it worse, worse, than you every had,” the chorus itself communicates that frustration, that feeling that nothing else can be done, when power is increasingly being endowed to the greedy. In its accompanying video NOTHING GOOD, you even get the visual counterpart of these intense actions and emotions, represented by images of violence, riots, and rebellious action.
Malo BRIGADE splits his NOTHING GOOD music video like a 3 act play, either intentionally or not, it keeps you drawn in. At the intro you get civil rights commentary Chicago Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton during riots regarding civility, layered over imagery of the same and recent riots that spread across the US since 2020, setting the tone for the song and video. Then you get the main body of the track, “Fight for the basic human rights, but you know the deny it. Ironic how bodies is lying, while they ass is lying,” chants Malo, clad in black among his brigade. Then the beat takes takes a pause, slows it down for an outro, bringing a whole different much darker energy, emphasis on the lyrics. Altogether a dope project in response to the social issues being focused on today, with more music on the way as he announces on social media! Follow at the links below.
A part of Curtis Foster’s catalog might have been removed due to Spotify’s bogus purge, but that has not stopped the talented Chicago emcee and recording artist from re-working his tracks to create an even better musical product! June 25th Curtis Foster drops his INNERTIA record on all streaming platforms. It makes for a great summer project including a heavy weight feature from Wrekonize of Strange Music. “Innertia EP” also features artists Nicolette Marasa and Konsept the Emcee.
The intro track is a pretty soulful sampled record with a lady’s voice explaining the definition of the term “Innertia”, a wonderful beginning to the project. Track 2 begins Curtis Foster’s reign of showmanship, melody writing, wordplay, and technical skill. His skill and songwriting throughout is incredibly impressive, channeling the greatest of emcees when it comes to speed, rhythm, poetics. Tech N9ne, Eminem, NF come to mind, mainly when thinking of Curtis Foster, and that is of the highest regard for the work put into his craft.
In track 2, WHERE YOU BEEN, Curtis Foster details his slight MIA from the industry and dropping music, now he is back and rolling on all cylinders. “Is you still making music? or that shit come to an end, guess I got some gaps to fill, let me get my pen!” The memorability of the hook will absolutely have you chanting along by its second refrain. Curtis Foster recruits heavy hitter Strange Music signee Wrekonize for his track 3 of Innertia, SO HIGH. This song is a groove for fans of the technical styles and spitters. The overall theme of the track has to do with hitting lows in your life, that stay as motivation, to keep one on a continued path towards success. No one wants to go back to feeling like they did at some of the lowest points in their lives, Curtis Foster and Wrekonize paint that picture perfectly with their speeds and lyricism.
MISS ME (WITH THAT) is a unique tune featuring an uptempo sing-rap verse to start the song into the refrain, which is shared by Nicolette Marasa and Curtis Foster. This song is another great example of having music that can be easily gravitated to by new crowds and audiences. This record includes amazing guitar playing which is also featured on some of the other tracks on INNERTIA, presumably being strummed by Curtis himself. The electric rock guitar sound really adds a sonic thickness to the project that is enjoyable.
IDK is a dope lyrical song including a Jimmy Eat World or Smashing Pumpkins style hook and pre chorus. Throughout the project Curtis Foster seamlessly combines rock hooks with uptempo midwest chopping verses. The combination seems to touch on my favorite aspects of fast rappers records and the rock music from the late 80s and early 90s. In INNERTIA you will hear the Tech N9ne influences as well as the grunge/industrial rock of those eras.
The next notable track that stood out to me was the feature with prolific Chicago rapper, Konsept the Emcee. Curtis Foster and Konsept the Emcee lend this instrumental sizzling bars that will stick with any hip hop head. “How come everybody thinks they know me like an ICON, my GOD, y’all stuck in the past like an iPOD, you missing the picture you better go get the NIKON!” The chopping of the consonants with that line along with its implications gets you; an impeccable rhythm and timing with Curtis Foster’s verse on that song. “Cropped out the picture, since n***as trying to frame shit, i pulled you out the jam and you jumped back into the same pit, the devils in the details, that’s why I go insane, its murder in all degrees, I show you how hot the flame gets!” Konsept the Emcee’s verse will rupture your mind with its lyrical acumen and layered meanings, Konsept the Emcee doesn’t cease to impress on other rappers’ records when recruited for features!
Curtis Foster ends his Innertia project with NARCOLEPTICS‘ an anthem for haters and sleepers on his music. This song should definitely resonate with the underrated, hungry, hard working recording artists and rappers. “Who am I, you don’t know?! Quit sleeping on me like NARCOLEPTICS!” Curtis can also scream, yell and sing quite well on the record, which was reminiscent of Kurt Cobain, Fuel, and Hollywood Undead. This whole project is teeming with influences spanning many different eras and styles of rock and rap. If you are a fan of either hip hop or rock strictly for its musicality, it is really hard to not appreciate, like and smile when bumping some Curtis Foster. There is a little bit of everything on this record.
A new face enters the game with confidence and stride, already planning big moves from the jump! Certainly not her first rodeo, Ka$h has collabed on a few tunes with her colleagues like SWITCH SIDES with Nino, WHO DAT and KNOW ABOUT ME with Lil C, and ORIENTATION DAY with Nick Eston, Mac Dude, Mari Noon & Nino B. Already playing with a couple genres, Ka$h easily rocks the mic with R&B and Hip Hop vibes. Her latest, LIKE THIS, Ka$h confidently spits hip hop lyricism unapologetically, “Sleep on me shorty if you want to… How many hearts do a bitch gotta run through, for you to see I’m not the one, not your typical. Ka$h money baby I’m bout that coin. Menage a Trois, bad bitch come join.” Coupled with a music video, Ka$h already looks like a music veteran with choreographed dance moves & a crew of talented dancers. Mentioning on her social medias a project dubbed RIDE OR DIE, sounds like Ka$h is diving into the game head first, making big moves and more to come, this first single shows promising sound too forward too!
Sports and music are heavily intertwined mediums that permeate the fabric of our modern world. Specifically, basketball and hip hop appear to have a more intimate connection than most. In Chicago, we at Ever Evolved have put together a compilation record for your summer listening pleasure called, LEAGUE CHAMPS. A lot of us hit road blocks in our athletic endeavors but now when it comes to Chicago music and beyond, we are the championship team. Ever Evolved and its affiliates have been pushing the forefront of the independent music market for years now. And it is all led up to moments like these, becoming the League Champs.
Fully produced, recorded, engineered and mastered completely in house; much done by the co-founder head engineer RhymSter himself, LEAGUE CHAMPS is a 26 track LP, including a documentary, skits and more special content soon to come, that will surely pique your interest in one facet or another. LEAGUE CHAMPS includes appearances from RhymSter, Keem Singing, Hayward, Ivan L, BeatrixKiddo, CantBuyDeem, C-Mac, Ben Rose, Nate Broskii, Kidd of OTKST Society, Essse, Orlando Coolridge, DJ Hunt, DJ Curt Henny, JaiTheArtist, J-Bose, and William Bolanos.
Track 1 is an introductory record with a sports-like announcer voice over done by William Bolanos promoting the album of LEAGUE CHAMPS. A well done rendition of that vocal style for announcements. Track 2 is HANG UP, which features a voice over from DJ Curt Henny about a situation where someone is getting sent off at the studio. A typical Chicago type of scenario. “Why’d you hang up on me?” And “You didn’t text me back!” are said repeatedly over a dope instrumental containing a sample of a female singer.
BABY LEG is track 3 on the LP, it is a collaboration between CantBuyDeem and Rhymster, with CantBuyDeem on the hook, and then they split two verses. BABY LEG is a vibey track with strong lyrics from the two Chicago rappers. Essse and Keem Singing composed a surprisingly beautiful melody in GO CRAZY track 4 with the refrain lyrics reading, “Baby, can you fly away with me? Maybe, cause we not the same, we go crazy, every night and day my head crazy, but I’ll be OK!!” Track 5 is a Ben Rose production, INCOMPLETE, another surprise on LEAGUE CHAMPS is that you will hear sophisticated, and banging, heavy metal music!
Track 6 is a BeatrixKiddo song called ITS A VIBE, you never heard energy from her like this before on previous kiddo beats, and it is a favoritefrom her so far! Track 7 Interlude 2 is the 1st intermission of the LP featuring another VO from William Bolanos, and the artists who were on the first few records screaming shouts of joy in the background. Track 8 is a trifecta collabos between RhymSter, JaiTheArtist, C-Mac, and Keem Singing. “It’s the way your body moves when the songs on,” sings Jai, with Keem coming in with a complimentary “Shake it for me, shake it for me” and a guest verse in the latter half of the track by RhymSter, referencing Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker, Santana, Dusk Till Dawn, Salma Hayek, Desperados, and Missy Elliot all in one verse.
The next track cuts in immediately with lyrics from RhymSter saying “I made a milli by lunch, life can be great when you live how you want.” A nice lyrical chop by Rhymster on track 8, LUNCH BREAK, with JaiTheArtist bringing in a solid verse as well. SMELLING LIKE THE UNIVERSE, is another strong collab, featuring C-Mac, Cockykidd, Rhymster, and company. The C-Mac line, “You cant have a life if you not really living,” stands out as the main theme from this record. ESTRELLA is definitely a favorite from League Champs, a house record produced by Orlando Coolridge, featuring lovely ambient vocals from Keem Singing. J-Bose comes in on track 11 GET THE DUCK OUT, a superfluous record with amazing chopping and vocal inflection from the Busta Rhymes, Busdriver-like rapper singer. This track has insane energy and flow, highly recommended.
APOLLO is a powerhouse, 2 rapper collabos between Hayward of B.B.E. and RhymSter of Ever Evolved. You will want to bump this track for the hard lyrics, paired with the flow and the beat. A hype song live as well! Next on the super LP is another Ben Rose production, SABRETOOTH TIGER, which reminds a lot of Dragonforce’s, THROUGH THE FIRE AND FLAMES, speed and instrumentation. CantBuyDeem featuring Essse show up with another record in KEEP A WHISTLE. A really fun, incredibly catchy tune with memorable lyrics from the Chicago heavyweights. CantBuyDeem references queso, pesos, cucumber in the water, no Faygo, in the beginning of the record, and that string of lines hits so hard.
BESOS is the next track on League Champs which is a progressive house record with a high pitched vocal sample that only a few might recognize. MY ENTOURAGE flips the famous Eminem and D12 MY BAND melody brilliantly, with Keem Singing at the helm of that record. LAY UP is a strong collab between CantBuyDeem and BeatrixKiddo, who make multiple appearances on League Champs! A major part of League Champs is the Chicago to South Florida connection, thanks to Ivan L Rhymes Well. This record DIS MY SONG features impeccable verses from Rhymster and Ivan L with a flawless hook from Keem Singing. A video is out to this now on YouTube shot by Hayward of B.B.E.
SKIP A BEAT is another super collab on League Champs between CantBuyDeem and Keem Singing. Hayward shot the video to this joint as well, while the Ever Evolved family traveled to South Florida for shows earlier this year. PAIN OR PLEASURE is a Ben Rose production featuring vocals for Essse, who also doubles as a versatile rock and heavy metal vocalist, incredible song. REPEAT begins hilariously as you can hear Hayward continually tell CantBuyDeem to do the hook on the record. A bumping track that will surely have you giggling from hilarity. The theme of REPEAT has to do with the repetition of the rapper lifestyle, to keep it from becoming monotonous we must make dope tracks about it.
BOOTY CALL ends the LP with a low bass voice over on a house record that will have you dancing and vibing out wherever you are listening to it. DJ Hunt has a special extra exclusive mix attached to League Champs Vol. 1 as well, look out for that during the related content campaigns surrounding League Champs. In the last interlude, William Bolanos explains that there will be a billboard on Cermak and Racine, with all the colorful bobble head characters part of the Leauge Champs compilation record. This was done by graphic designer and artist Amanda MacMillan.
Are there any other independent recording artists that put themselves on a billboard in their own city? It is a special one, and it is encouraged everyone reading this to go see it when it is up and completed. Ever Evolved continues to push the envelope in the indie music market based in Chicago Illinois. Chicago is notorious for negativity and hatred in the hip hop scene and culture, but that is disproven over and over again by the collective of Ever Evolved and all its affiliates. Independent people, creating a true civilian based entertainment industry.
Walking into the auxiliary arts center off of Belmont and Sacramento, immediately introduced to Young Baca of BACA Productions along with his right hand colleague Sushi of 498TheFam. They introduced a trove of traveling recording artists, including LA up and comers Kasey Allen Yale, RohblezThe One, Slum The Resident, Young Kasper and more! These LA cats all surprised, being wildly different with each set. The hip hop they all delivered was not the hip hop that was anticipated, and was a blessing to hear.
Kasey Allen Yale genre fuses pop-emo rock, like Fallout Boy and Cute Is What We Aim For, with contemporary beats, solid rapping, and new wave production. An incredibly entertaining blend; he is himself, and for that his hip hop cuts and shines through. Rohblez The One is a super technical chopper, that seems to fit more words than one has heard before in a track. Extremely impressive and he pulls no punches about the laziness and lack of masculinity in younger generations. Slum The Resident probably has the most realistic and accurate gangster/drug selling bars you can ever heard. Reminiscent of Young Jeezy, Pusha T, Jay Z, Lil Bibby, YG; his lines were so splittingly true, and reminiscent of a harsh hustling lifestyle. Kasper was a hype, chop rapper, with a great grasp on crowd involving hooks and chants. His style is similar to rappers coming out of the Strange Music and T.D.E camp.
There were even more amazing performances by other artists being represented by BACA Productions, but these 4 gentlemen’s sets stood out. Kudos to every performer that night, because there is nothing easy or simple about traveling to different places, putting yourself out there, being vulnerable on the mic and sharing your story. Everyone in BACA Productions brought to Chicago did just that. They spread their narrative and did it through the mutual love of hip hop music.
Getting to know the strategy behind BACA Productions was enlightening. They have shows and residencies nightly in LA and every 5 weeks they travel to a different city and host an event. After two days in Chicago; Baca and company were due to land in LAX again that Sunday May 30th, every move posted to IG, inferring that the wheel does not stop. And for the recording artists of BACA Productions, it really does not, they proved it that Friday night at a DIY spot in Chicago Illinois. The machine never stops for Young Baca and that is a key to success. Unparalleled consistency.
If you are a recording artist and reading this right now, reach out to BACA Productions when you decide to perform in LA, it could be the best decision you make.
Demons to some, Angels to others; Pinheads quote echos at the intro, setting the tone for EMBRACE THE DARKNESS II: EXPLORERS OF EXPERIENCE. Novatore, with his masked up, demonish aura, in comparison to the Hellraiser, maybe a source of attraction, or avoidence, to curious eyes and ears. Regarding the quote, those who understand, or embrace, the darkness in life, and within themselves, may find comfort in Novatore music, like an angel. While others may scowl at this nature, as if a demon. The LP, a follow up to the first original EMBRACE THE DARKNESS, can be summed up in another popular Pinhead quote, “I am the King of Suffering; and with a hellbound heart I shall thrive in darkness.” However, diving into the music, there is much more to the art that appearences!
What summoned the wrath of Novatore on the mic? The first track, ANTISOCIAL, may give you a clue, it may have been darkness itself! “Violence and I connected at the first glance… dancing with the devil, never in the stands;” the track highlights Novatore’s dissociative behavior, that may have contributed to his harsh lyricism. Appropriately following up on the demonish intro dialogue with Hellraiser. In the next track SMOKE & MIRRORS, Novatore takes the spotlight off himself and exposes a dark side to the music industry, giving new artists a silver lining.
“Who gives a fuck about the next man, quite comparing and focus on what you got, its all smoke and mirrors anyway, what you thought it was, its often what it’s not.” The lyrics reference music artists fake popularity with paid streams and bot followers. Seemingly making them idolistic, while In reality it is a different story. It a twist of perspectives, that in itself is a darkness to embrace; your perseverance will result in stronger foundation. “Rather have a thousand views over a million fakes, cause real fans accumulate in to the bills you make.”
Inviting Nems onto the fourth track MYTH, the two rock the beat with some braggadocios lyrics. It is as if they are creating myths and legends, with their focus and raw creativity. As Nems would exclaim, “You can’t stop us when this is Gods plan.” The title track can serve as somewhat of a short life summary, an audio bio for Novatore, as he realizes and accepts the conditions of life, helping him carve his own path, outlined clearly in the chorus. “I lost faith watching life turn to carcass. I went insane seeing faces turning into targets, I disappeared and didn’t leave a trace. I turned about face and now I embrace the darkness.”
What ever summoned Novatore onto the mic we can embrace, since it has gifted us with EMBRACE THE DARKNESS II: EXPLORERS OF EXPERIENCE. Featuring artists Nems, G-Mo Skee, Termanology, AM Early Morning, MOECYRUS & C-Lance, it is packing with talent. A dope project with deep message, blessing us with raw hip hop beats, unapologetic lyricism and talented artists to connect with. Can only expect more to come from the myth, the legend, the darkness, that is Novatore! Do not forget to catch the music video for MASK UP, follow him at links below!
Novatore recruits Californian-Bay Area rapper G-Mo Skee for MASK UP, a hard hitting boom bap track with piercing mandolins, or sitars, which gives it that Asian influenced, Wu Tang vibe. A 5/5 in terms of production, lyricism, theme and overall feeling. Novatore hits this wicked flow with, “I’ve been maneuvering, getting through to the root of them, who would knew I’d get through to them, who’s the brutalist hoodlums?!” Later in his verse he also drops lines such as “Been called a skinny fag, never been a lumberjack, but one punch convert a back packer into mumble rap!” Novatore is known for piercingly hardcore lyricism with a slight raspy tone, and an old school boom bap flow.
The overarching theme in this record is the idea of dawning the mask before it was socially acceptable, or shall we say, socially forced upon us by big brother at large. “Filth and dirt, dirt and filth, get your mask up. You don’t want no blood spilt so back up, covered our faces before the days of the virus, don’t try to fight us, there’s a rage up inside us.” The chip on the shoulder that mask wearing has now become normal and they were rocking masks prior is felt intensely through the vibe of the hook.
G-Mo comes in with an insane verse, starting out comparing his skill to the crack that hits ones lips when smoking from the pipe. He has a distinct voice that sounds harsh in a way but he compliments Novatore’s flows and lyrics perfectly, the track is equal footing for both emcees to show off their honed skills of many nights, blacksmithing the right words to lay over a boom bap piece. This track is a solid old school vibe, surely to have you bumping more than once. The replay value is high, and the emcees pairing makes for great music. Novatore’s catalog is quite immense as we have covered him before and do not hesitate to go check out his collaborator G-Mo Skee! Bravo!
You might have heard of or have even listened to OVERLY DEDICATED, the legendary mixtape by Kendrick Lamar. In slight homage and reference to a portion of the great K.Dot’s catalog, RhymSter, the co-founder of Ever Evolved, started the Overly Dedicated Concert Series in Chicago Illinois to push artists live acumen, keep them sharp and create a community of music industry networking. Already on their 5th installment of the virtual shows, Overly Dedicated is raising the bar for live performances in the Chicago music scene.
Co-hosted by Scotty Rocks at his Dog & Pony Show TV Studios, together they bring in both local and national talent to perform via Twitch and Facebook live stream, to a vast online audience. They have featured recording artist talents you may have seen before such as Orlando Coolridge, CantBuyDeem, Hayward, Charmaine Makeda, Ro$e, RapCrush, Ivan L, Keem Singing, and many more! Overly Dedicated 5 airs once a month, last show being Friday May 21st at 7PM, featuring Chicago artists Big Homie, Azmattic, Essse, OG Poe, Pharoah, Monsoon Staraw, and Frostee Cavanero with contributing sounds from DJ Curt Henny! Reach out to Ever Evolved and RhymSter if you’d like the opportunity to perform at a live limited audience (also exclusive) Overly Dedicated event!
Multi ambitious can be one way to describe 2 Can. The Chicago artist is nothing but energy when it comes to hosting events, creative directing projects she co-founded,like 6D Networktainment, Radio 6D & Windy Fest. That is aside from her video/photography and solo music work as well. Recently deciding to hop back on the mic, following up on her release of WIN WIN, 2 Can comes back with THROW IT. Though her energy is playful and you can hear it in her voice, her work ethic is anything but, by the demeaner of her lyricism! Bringing out WDotIll, the duo is nothin to take lightly! With WDotIll opening the verses and 2 Can rocking the chorus and finishing verses, you cant help but feeling ready to take on the world after this beat! You can expect more music coming up from 2 Can as she announces a 3rd Ep release, BREED LOVE, OR NO LOVE, on the anniversary of her first 2 EP releases. Stay tuned!