Another up and coming artist in Chicago is breaking grounds with a significant achievement in her music career. Yajaira is making some noise with her debut EP, REALISY. The singer, dancer and model is inclined towards soulful genres like R&B, Pop, Neo-Soul and even Gospel, having experience singing in Church and summer camp talent competitions. Her debut EP even dips into more cultural genres like reggae, and reggaeton creating a diverse portfolio from the start.
Starting REALISY off strong with a MAKE IT, a collaboration featuring K Breeze, and J. Trav. Walking the line of confidence and ambition with a hook like, “My future I can see it. When my eyes close, I can dream it. Can’t let no one come between, all my life I swear I mean it.” Following up would be WHAT YOU DO TO ME, a reggae influenced track adding diversity to the EP, singing about the dance of a temporary and fleeting seduction. Pondering about attraction in TO BE IN LOVE, she sings beautifully as she unravels her thoughts. Yajaira innocently lets her fans know the project is about her own perspectives, embracing her point of view and being able to visually create the world she sees. Her vocals paint a colorful picture of her mind and her range is a refreshing addition to the music community in Chicago, particularly R&B.
Real lowkey artist with a soulful voice, Me’chelle presents her fans with WHIRLWIND. Since performing at an Ever Evolved Empower Herstory event a few years back, her sound and energy could not escape the mind. Patience is well deserved as WHIRLWIND brings a sound of peaceful composure. Speaking like a goddess and a guardian, “but when we let that hurt go look how great we can be, two god like beings, with a billion destiny, I dont need you to rescue me, and with out you I’m complete.” Though the chorus would imply personal relationships, the simple yet powerful lyrics echoes independence and security. The R&B and Soulful energy brought by the drum pattern, bass line and ambient sounds compliment Me’Chelles vocals, creating a disarming yet relaxing vibe when you need it.
Patiently waiting for new Brittany Nacole tunes, and our ears are finally rewarded with the glorious sound of her voice! Back with a new record after a long hiatus, time has certainly polished her talent like water in nature. Of course an artist works at their own pace, and perfection cannot be rushed! For Brittany does not create music for the moment but timeless sounds to be played repeatedly. Still buzzing in our head is the melodies of her EARF GURL LP, released just 3 years ago, followed up with NOCAINE & RIOT singles, just a year apart from one another, giving you an idea of her musics timelessness.
The energy Brittany emits through her music is quite calming and savory, giving you a sense of comfort and relaxation. Not something to lounge to, but to stroll and dance to confidently in your own energy, influenced by her sound. This still holds true with her new track HAVE YOUR WAY. The chorus itself can take you away on a cloud, “Would you like it, if I let you have your way. Don’t you fight it, baby have your way. Been a while now, since I saw your face. Been a minute, we’ve been on the chase.” This R&B track is instantly timeless, and we can go for another while cruising on this tune happily, but let us hope we hear some more Brittany Nacole sooner rather than later!
Chicago recording artist and emcee SaruS releases YOUNG, a single from his upcoming EP, ON MY OWN TIME. The visual features Sarus in different parts of the city, downtown, on a swing-set, in Millennium park and in a high rise apartment. The hook is catchy, and Sarus has a strong unique voice whose specific sound reminds one of a mixture of Minneapolis rap, and west coast pop records. “We too young, we too young now, we too grown, we too grown wow. And I’m just trying to find my place now, but I’m still chilling in my playground.” A great line that philosophizes the idea of remaining true to one’s original self a in relationship before the world changes you.
Lines from SaruS that also stood out are, “Blessed for everyday, but steady counting my sins, I swear if Heaven got cover, I don’t think I’ll get in.” This line is great for comparing heaven’s pearly gates to that of having to pay an expensive cover charge in order to get into a fancy club. Thinking deeper into the line it also evokes such thoughts as not having enough good karma in this lifetime to afford an afterlife. As catchy as the record is, it is also quite esoteric in meaning. A great song to sing along too, but also a fantastic record for sparking self reflection. On My Own Time is arriving soon but until then get familiar with YOUNG.
Coming across another Chicago artist that takes lyrical content and flow to the next level. Blac Samurai, focuses greatly on lyrical content more so than he does the production on his tracks, however the beat is equal in quality; it just caters to, or emphasizes the words. Armed with a few singles and an EP, Blac Samurai also recently released a full length album called COMPENDIUM. Now with that title, you can tell this artist owns a dictionary, and does not mess around with his words.
Once the beat drops you instantly get that old school, boom bap vibe on the first opening track PLAY ME CLOSE. Blac Samurai was looking for an old school and alternative sound and he nails it, with the balance between old and contemporary styles throughout COMPENDIUM. His next track, U WANT, sounds more modernized, with trap influenced beats, bass and hi hats, snares, but still heavy on a lo-fi ambient energy. This will be the consistent theme throughout the LP, you can comfortably play it out without disrupting its own flow.
Samurai notes that this COMPENDIUM is an album that has taught him patience, evidently from his lyrics in MASK. “Why do you continue to hide these emotions, how can you understand someone else when you never understood yourself, have you ever asked for help?… How do you really feel? Just take off the MASK…” Followed by a beautifully sung verse within the same idea, and a commentary that goes even deeper within the lines of self understanding. KELLY ROWLAND really captures the Notorious BIG 90’s R&B essence, and some Pusha T within DNA and HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW INTERLUDE, with some A$AP Rocky inspiring tracks like KNOW THAT and BRAND NEW on some acid rap. As those artist come to inspire Blac Samurai, he establishes his own flow, style and energy with COMPENDIUM, the full 12 track album is a good one to put on repeat; and he really saves the best one for last, with the smooth jazz hip hop vibes, rightly named WILL BE CROWNED.
“I’ve been up, I’ve been down, feeling upside down-” WRDS begins the song with that catchy melody going into an uber lyrical verse. GOOD ONE from the upcoming collaborative album, PASSPORTS features WRDS, I.DEAL and Mic Logik, all trading off full verses, while adding richly sung vocals over the instrumental. The music video was directed and edited by Ron Guloy. GOOD ONE is produced by Ed Talenti, and the record was recorded, mixed and mastered by A.Quality. The CHI-NATIVE team consists of WRDS, I.DEAL, Mic Logik, and ThrowEmc.
It is refreshing to see three recording artists share the record so equitably, both in their lyrics but also in how their sounds all compliment each other quite well. Shot at what looks like a summer villa or home, showcasing the emcees living it up, drinking good liquor and playing chess. The CHI-NATIVE team has undeniable chemistry both on screen and in their sonic and lyrical content. Chicago has seen many groups come and go over the years in hip-hop, and CHI-NATIVE being so fresh, it is exciting to see how good they are already. The song has much replay value and will guaranteed have you bumping it over and over again. It is full of feel good moments, yet also a tad bittersweet, a classic in the making.
“I’ve been moving these verses out like some Pirus up in the kitchen, I’m flying to get auditions, I’m squashing the competiton.” WRDS drops a line about his work ethic being comparable to that of hustlers in a gang, as well as him being on the go a lot. “I must have gotten my heart broke and never got it fixed, and so now they looking like targets that I just gotta hit.” I.DEALs verse is an emotionally charged one, as he describes the trials and tribulations of relationship experiences, and why he is the way he is now. I.DEAL also carries the main part of the chorus on, an amazingly high voice that you would not think was possible when hearing him rap.
“Cause I feel like the time will come again when we will maybe speak, forgiveness is a strength of mine, and I don’t think that makes me weak, I think you need some introspection…” Mic Logik adds his third verse explaining his capacity for empathy and understanding is something a lot of other men lack. He also sings the “good one” hook adding another layer of vocal texture and surprising listeners while doing so. This single definitely has commercial appeal! GOOD ONE pulls deep reflections from each of the rappers on the lives they have lived so far, why they are hopeful for the future, and their presence in the current moment. “I’m not here for a long time, but I’m here for a good one, a good one,” the hook echoes in your head as you cherish being alive.
Each of the three CHI-NATIVE emcees evoke much thought and reminiscence in their lyricism while moving listeners to the good vibes of the hook and bridges. It is impressive they all sang and rapped on this instrumental. This trio has a strong sound together and Ever Evolved looks forward to their future drops every Friday. Get in tune with CHI-NATIVE! Be on the look out for their album PASSPORTS!
An astounding performative character, on and off the stage! Radiating confidence, independence and joy where ever she is seen. Emma Grace is an artist on another level, with quite an inspiring attitude, whether she knows it or not. First learning of Emma at an Ever Evolved open mic event, she is making noise right now with a release, and it is exciting to hear some new music from this artist!
Upon first look Emma looks like a sweet, cherishing gal, but that is changed instantly upon her behavior and talent on stage! Enveloping a room with her deep range of vocals and energy, and it is contagious. She is a rockstar! Her style of music and lyricism captures you and you cannot help but move! More than that, she can be an inspiring character for confidence on and off stage.
Emma is an artist to push boundaries no doubt, of what it is to be, look and act like as an artist. As a curvy woman, she proudly displays her beauty in a multitude of ways. From tastefully provocative photography as a model, to performing on stage, in front of a crowd with nothing on, but pasties and underwear. Whether she intended to or not, she may as well accept the banner of a role model for confidence, self love and joyfulness!
Aside from her inspiring and very welcoming attitude, her voice and work as an artist is the cherry on top of it all! With her latest release LOVING WAYS, she projects her energy through lyrics. The opening lines say it all, “Oh all the loving ways to know, yea we got a ways to go, all the loving ways to grow.” LOVING WAYS places you right in the moment, with a message to remain positive despite adversity. She articulates it much more fluidly, so press play and get to those LOVING WAYS.
Lassai has got IT goin on in his latest music video, and as a reminder, so do you. Whatever IT may be; energy, attitude, message, perspective or hustle, this music video is a reminder to feel IT within yourself, and to be proud of IT. From the South Side of Chicago, Lassai aims to invoke confidence in your authenticity as a human being, directing your awareness inward through his verses, “Are you feeling it, Take control of it… If you want it come get it, Do you want it?” Doubling up with the visuals, dancers passionately moving to and fro, with urban settings as their stage, it paints a metaphor that you can flourish in any environment, any circumstance. A calming song to reflect upon personally, on top of being moved by the rhythm physically.
Chicago recording artist Travie Austin links with Brad Kemp to drop an eight track record, in collaboration with a number of other artists and musicians. COME-BACK by Travie Austin and Brad Kemp, out September 18th, is an upbeat neo-gospel-soul pop record. Every track features complex melodies and harmonies laid down by Travie himself. Each song is produced and engineered by Brad Kemp, with five of the tracks featuring TomCat Trumpet, Davyd Reddyk, Anthony M. Rodriguez and Tim Burke.
The themes of empowerment, self confidence, moving on and getting through heartbreak are prevalent throughout the album. Travie Austin seems to channel Sisqo as well as soulful singers of decades further, archaic in its sound and tonality, but contemporary in his flows and melodies; his style is unique and refreshing! Track 3, MAKE A MOVE featuring Anthony M. Rodriguez, is a feel good, jazzy club record you can easily dance to, about making that first sensually strong move, falling in love, living in the moment and letting go. “If you don’t want me to leave you better make your move,” Travie sings, reminding his love interest not to waste any time. In LET GO Travie belts, “I know that it’s right for me, I’m not gonna call you back, cause you got a plane to catch,” further illustrating the theme of moving past a relationship and hoping for a better dynamic in a future partner. The feelings portrayed in each song are quite universal in their appeal.
“I don’t want to be that man anymore!” Travie croons in track eight, SAY GOODBYE, and the song sounds like he has a chorus backing him when the hook comes in. “Say goodbye to the ones who ain’t on your side, trying to tear your heart in two. And say goodbye to the ones trying to dim your light, they don’t shine as bright as you, cause you are so worthy, you are so special. Don’t let them see you fall, just keep your head up high, and say good bye!” This hook was quite powerful and exemplifies that theme of self confidence and moving on! A really inspiring song that will make you want to sing along as if you were in a huge choir.
It is exciting to hear some new music from Jamila Woods. A powerful and wisdomatic voice and advocate for black communities, women in music and in general. With numerous songs highlighting the power of Black Girl Magic, she is an inspiring voice for youth artists, who she helps support through charities like Chance the Rappers SocialWorks, and teaching them herself as an art director at Wordplay Youth Chicago Artists. Advocating for justice from police brutality, and missing black women, highlighting #SayHerName movement in her videos, is it always a delight to hear her speak her mind through her music.
Wisdomatic is no exaggeration when it comes to her lyricism. With her recent live release of ZORA on soundcloud (Which can be best experience with the live video) from her most recent LP LEGACY! LEGACY!, you can hear it in her chorus simply put, “I will never know everything, everything. You will never know everything, everything, and you don’t know me, couldn’t possibly.” From individual wisdom to self love, her most recent release SULA expresses personal independence. “I’m not sorry that I cut you out, I’m not sorry. What’s done is done,” her closing chorus emboldened by her earlier verse, “Promiscuous holiness, slope is slippery I got all this time to kill, Somethin’ like a prayer to kneel to.” Jamila always speaks to the power within you with her music, and the ambiance of it is something else entirely to get lost into.