Throwback Thursday: Chicago Becomes Incorporated

Considering the fact that Chicago boasts a present day population of over 2.7 million people, it is hard to believe that there was a time where it was nothing more than a tiny village. However such a time does exist on the historical record. On August 12, 1833, Chicago became incorporated for the first time as a Town. Sporting a population of just 350 people back then, the Windy City covered less than half of a square mile confined by Kinzie Street, Des Plaines Street, Madison Street and State Street.

Rare view looking west on South Water Street possibly in the 1830s. Hogan’s store was at South Water and Market Streets, while Wolf Point Tavern can be seen in the distance.
From a painting owned by the Chicago History Museum

It was during the years after its incorporation where Chicago’s population truly started to blossom. By 1837, Chicago’s population had exploded to over 4,000 people. It was the 92nd-largest city in the United States and it was only getting bigger as schools, churches and businesses were popping up everywhere. One of the other reasons Chicago’s population expanded at such a fast rate is its newfound prominence as a transportation hub. The Illinois and Michigan Canal came to fruition in 1848, making it possible for ships carrying consumer goods to pass through Chicago from the Great Lakes en route to the Mississippi River.

Despite the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago only kept growing. By 1890 it was the second largest city in the country, following New York, even after most of the city had to be rebuilt because of the fire. Coming from such humble beginnings, Chicago has always been known for its grit and resilience. It does not hold the flashiness of say New York or LA — but it has a certain edge to it in the sense that it can face anything that stands in its way, and will always come out on top. I would not count on that changing anytime soon.

Chicago Traffic 1833, Wolf Point
Wolf Point Tavern (Left) Millers Tavern (Right)

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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.

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A Weekend of Memory: Wu Tang Clan and Pilsen Fest

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.

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Photos: Mike Booth, Mikebooth_87, truedeal_tv

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.

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Chicago to Woodstock: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

This last weekend in the year 1969 saw one of the greatest gatherings of human beings in the expression of music, freedom and love in the history of our country. Woodstock ’69 was four days of non stop music performance and $1 lysergic acid tabs hitting the bloodstream, causing the mass consciousness in the audience to experience the stars of that era in unforgettable fashion. A time spent with the likes of Carlos Santana, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and many more icons.

There are some wildly unorganized aspects of the festival setup Woodstock the Netflix Documentary brought to light. The curators had major problems with the neighboring towns-folk being against the festival. It was also put together last minute; the stage was not completed until the first actual day of the festival when 50,000 people were already there. Not enough people to set up a fencing perimeter in time caused the biggest free music event, as the masses poured into the field. With food shortages half way in and medical supplies running out, National Guard troops were threatening a takeover. Regardless of all of that, Woodstock has gone down as one of the most unifying moments in music history as the towns people donated food and the guard delivered supplies.

Looking back on events in music history in relation to Chicago, on the 16th of August, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young played in our great gritty city at the Auditorium Theater. The very next day they played Woodstock, Sunday August 17th in up state New York. Knowing that every single artist and band member had to be flown in via helicopter it is safe to assume the folk rock quartet flew to Woodstock from Chicago. Now adding more significance to night they played the Auditorium Theater in Chicago before Woodstock the very next day, it was their first performance with the singer songwriter Neil Young added to the super group! Joni Mitchell was their opener and Crosby, Stills, and Nash had just released their debut record of that May, 1969.

So to think about how life can just fall into place at a speed faster than light. The aforementioned example displays that I believe. A trio drops a record in May, becomes a quartet in August, plays Woodstock the day after adding a new member. From Chicago to Woodstock with love, 1969.

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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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New Win & Woo Speaks Passion

It is not untrue, Love does often have us running around in circles; what is uncertain is the outcome. With a new release Win & Woo go over these woes in HERE U R. “This is not the way that loves supposed to be, a broken record on repeat“, sings Sara Skinner about hopeful feelings in a doubtful situation. Really about going through the emotions in that kind of scenario, the Chicago producers add an uplifting deep house bass line to keep you dancing away from any of those kinds of doubts and negativity. Following the even more uplifting RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, TEA TIME and a couple of impressive remixes, HERE U R is a wonderful addition to their playlist and yours.

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Cover Photo: Andrew Glatt

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!

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Artist Of The Week: Rel McCoy Reaches For Contentment With Peace

Rel McCoy is back with a new single entitled PEACE and the self-awareness he shows on this tranquil jam lands him on him Ever Evolved’s Artist of the Week. The instrumental on this joint is wavy and soulful. The synths croon softly in the background while the percussion keeps a laid-back yet steady pace. The inward vibe this instrumental gives off is perfect for McCoy’s introspective lyricism.

Speaking of McCoy, he proves that slow and steady wins the race on this one. He is not out to flex his lyrical chops or spit at a frenetic pace. His flow and delivery is every bit as patient as the instrumental is. He patiently drops lyrical bombs bar after bar musing on themes of nostalgia, family and his continuous path of life.

Eternia shows up for a feature on the song’s second half and she fits right in. She spits with a little bit more intensity but she keeps the same sense of self-awareness that McCoy shows on the first verse. Rel McCoy is a hip-hop traditionalist. Between his jazzy, soulful beats and super-conscious lyrics, nobody does it better than he does when it comes to keeping the conscious side of hip-hop alive and thriving. PEACE is just another example of that.

PEACE is now available on all platforms. Also Stream McCoy’s new album, A DIFFERENT CROWN which is also streaming everywhere.

Rel McCoy | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Whethan Adds Heat To The Summer

Summer is still vibin strong and Whethan is back with a new releases to keep the party goin. You know he can rock a hit summer single too working with artist like, Louis the Child and Flux Pavilion. With key remixes succeeding his network, this Chicago natives reputation opens the doors for himself to work with just about anybody at this point. Staying busy following the release of his Life of a Wallflower LP, Whethan has been releasing singles collabs and remixes to our pleasure.

Looks like his flip of SickoMode by Travis Scott and Skrillex got the right attention as Whethan comes back around with an original piece with Travis and Metro Boomin called Overdue. We know he has remixes on Post Malone and Justin Bieber, Lorde and Elohim that would make for interesting artist combinations. This follows collabs with Jeremih and Bearson with Saok and an original piece titled Going Up. Each stand alone works of art, only strengthening his playlist for whats to come!

Back again is frequent collaborator and friend Oliver Tree with the track Do You Feel Me. The two experiment on with thos one giving off a Killers laced Justice vibe. Not long after Whethan releases Summer Luv with the Knocks and thr Crystal Fighters. Two big names to collab wit, Whethan reach is stretching farther than ever before! Exciting to see what he comes up with next.

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