Chicago basshead Stratus is back to HOLLER. His new track has a very cynical edge to it, with low end bass reverberating or growling throughout. HOLLER follows up on another original, named SHIVER, that balances its heavy bass with light synth breaks, and also his EP EVERYTHING GOES BLACK. HOLLER may even sound like an extenstion to the EP. With its dark quality and heavy basslines to motivate anyone to throw body around, Stratus adds a synth break in between wild drops that sounds as cinematic as a NERO track for a nice balance.
The Chicago duo is back with another original mix and vocal collaboration. They follow up on their series realeases of originals and collaborations, WIGGLE, FIGHT and HOUSE PARTY VIP. This release features vocal artist Libby Dietrix, singing from the intro with confidence and what is no doubt good club etiquette. “Dance so free like a movie scence, and I go all out cause I’m the Trash Queen. Look at me bumpin’ in the club with the system, won’t take a drink from a random mista’, no suga’ daddy if you know what I mean and I go all out…” This track starts out with that abstract Deadmau5 vibe, and onward with a techno beat to just dance and groove too. A great balancing track between their typical bass heavy house beats, with more exaggerated climaxes and drops.
Electronic bass artists are no strangers to hip hop as many would think, but most bass tracks have hip hop inspired beat work, and many use the genres lyricism in buildups and breaks. Plenty electronic music artists crossed these thresholds like Flume, Zeds Dead, Skrillex and even Daft Punk. Kyral x Banko, having worked with SoDown and Def3 on a hip hop inspired track, have the ear to work diverse sounds. They do it again on a recent collaboration with Nat Nat called ELEVATE, this time focusing more on the lyrical aspect of the track. Nat Nat rhymes smoothly over a lo-fi beat, and creates the right atmosphere to just sit back and vibe out.
It is hard to be open about your thoughts and emotions, even many adults have difficulty processing them. Artists on the other hand learn to express themselves with ease, and one young artist lets that transparency guide her recent releases. Luna Monet, recently turning 18 years young, seems to have a natural emotional maturity, as she sings and harmonizes about her battles and growth. Discovered at TIP YAS Fest last summer at Chicago’s Millennium park while scoping out K.E.N‘s performance, she left quite the imprint with her live performance.
Her performance was packed with energy, choreographed backup dancers, live instruments and a DJ, receiving much applause to a stunned audience. Luna Monet leaves people in awe, being such a young artist with such quality production to her set and music, understandably too! She only builds upon that with new releases in recent weeks, where she turns to deep intro/retro- spection as she grows as a young artist. She calls the series of releases THE L SERIES, each song holding concept to a word beginning with the letter L. With bold expression to the testament of a growing artist in Chicago, she sings about confidence, motivation, depression and mixed emotions over beautiful melodies, piano chords, percussion, R&B and A cappella tracks.
When it comes to abstract art and artists, most would think of visual art, but ESSSE Guey takes the idea and places it into his music. From his image, to his spelling, to his lyrics and wild behavior. Essse really does not follow the rules, and it works out for him musically and even visually, with his collection of music videos. As a Hip Hop artists he puts his whole mind on display, and he does not shy away from those explicit thoughts either!
His most recent music video, OD Featuring RhymSter, is a perfect visual representation of abstract antics. In the video, you will see ESSSE climbing gates, jumping around a ware house, running around dark rooms fitted with a betelgeuse (Beetlejuice) getup and masks. “Open minded odyssey, anarchy to gravity, higher than a remedy, OD off of-” ESSSE pops in with the chorus. Even the whole format of the video is abstract, with skits in the middle and the end, and even bloopers and behind the scenes footage to really reel you in.
From his image and antics, you can see the Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso esque quality ESSSE brings to hip hop. But more than only his style and attitude, his lyricism brings him a long way as well. Recently releasing a 6 track EP, dubbed TIMES LIKE THESSSE, featuring many local artists like Baggz, Black Joe, BeatrixKiddo, RhymSter and Mike Booth. Pay attention to how expresses himself in his songs, ad-libbing with grunts, growls and barks, bouncing between Spanish and English language. His lyrics can cover anything from being carefree, ominous thoughts and activities, mischievousness, sexuality, hustle and motivation, as evident through just the song titles in TIMES LIKE THESSSE, like NO CHASIN, NO Z’S, DO NOT GIVE A DAMN and SKULLS.
Will Is Chillin’ dropped a six track EP earlier this month titled LOITERING. The whole record perfectly sums up what everyone has been feeling the last two months, with the state enforced lock downs due to the COVID-19 historical pandemic. In the first song, I CAN’T WAIT TO BE OUTSIDE, Will Is Chillin’ lays out some very logical and common sense issues that arose because of mandatory business closings. He raps, “Can’t bartend from home, rent due on the first, how am I to make ends?” In Chicago, tens of thousands of service industry workers lost their jobs, and many well respected traveling musicians and artists rely on that as a source of income. Will Is Chillin’ recruited VantaBlac Sol and Rebel Legato, fellow Tiny Chain Gang members on track four, RIVER.
The shutdown definitely has weighed heavily on artists that both perform and work in bars. But not just artists, anyone can relate to these themes throughout LOITERING. Later in track one he raps, “Yes, I’m unemployed and it is out of my control… Wait, I can’t be depressed, need to remain positive but I won’t take a test!” There are many citizens right now that would oppose a mandatory vaccination, or to be tested after being exposed by contact tracing. This line tackles multiple ideas in that regard, Will Is Chillin’ needs to keep it together, smile through it, and hopefully not inundate himself into the medical system too much.
On the last track, APRIL 1ST, Will Is Chillin’ brings up points such as, “Stuck in this predicament, no therapy to cope, daring your eviction necessarily revoked.” This is a line that had one a tad baffled, but the ideas surrounding a lack of access to mental health care, and possibly being evicted due to not being able to pay rent, are extremely relevant given the current COVID-19 crisis. Will Is Chillin’ creates many layers of commentary through each track about our collective fears, anxieties, thoughts, hopes and worries in relation to the pandemic of 2020. If you cannot wait to be outside too, then make sure to give Loitering by Will Is Chillin a spin!
Lucky Iris welcomes you to sounds of electro-indie pop, debuting their music with their first EP, TURNS OUT WE SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME, with the help of Oliver Sekunda on production. A concept project based around a night on the town, and figuring it best to stay home sometimes! Coming from the Leeds music scene in England, they present a fresh perspective through their music. With influence from artists like Alt-J and Laura Mvula, Maeve & Jasper of Lucky Iris come with a unique sound.
At just four tracks, the project is short but full energy, starting out with GET READY WITH ME, an upbeat song about the curious energy of a young girl. Followed up with a more melancholic track over piano chords, TAKE 5 (WHY CAN’T YOU SEE ME) explores the feeling of being surrounded by people, yet being invisible to someone significant. GLITTER VISION is a favorite for its production, the track starts off like an electronic house beat, followed up with pop vocalization, and changes up tempo and ups the bass, flipping the energy around. Their debut gives us enough to see, Lucky Iris is dynamic and full of potential, and we cannot wait to see what they have for us in the future!
Still hot off his LISTEN IN HEADPHONES solo project, and his collaborative single, HAT/NO HAT, with Handsome Naked that premiered on NBC‘s Talent Show Livestream. The efforts lands him and proves his worth as an Artist of the Week in April. As a producer, Brad Kemp meets with a variety of artists, and on this occasion, Brad found vocal artist Eshé to work on a collaboration. They two worked together before on tracks produced for Chore Boy, now they got their own single flowin’, as apart of an album called LETTERS, filled with diverse artists.
Releasing a music video with each track individually and consecutively, until the album drops, the two the artists came up with a clever video for their latest track, WISH YOU WERE HERE. Eshé, who is currently residing in New York where she finished up a Masters Degree from NYU, worked on the writing and vocalizing while Brad, obviously, produced the music. The video illustrates the lyrics as they go with the song, highlighting each different line of a verse, with different colors. A very relaxing and upbeat track, using acoustic sounds over a hip hop beat. Very motivating from start to finish with lyrics like, “Hard work pays off, never thought I’d get days off, I remember being exhausted, workin 12 hour days days, stayin up makin demos on Halsted” and that is just to start!
LETTERS release date is scheduled for June 5th, with each track involving a different performing artist. Stay tuned for the live album premiere through their social medias linked below!
A favorite when it comes to R&B, especially if we are talking Chicago, Jean Deaux is a must have for your playlist. She is a mystifying figure, always making big moves, with big names. She has both, the cities attitude and a sense of seduction. With her hip hop influence, she balances between being intimate and powerful. Her ear for a good beat, and her lyrical talent and original flows makes her an unstoppable artist!
Recently Jean Deaux released her EP, WATCH THIS!, with the help of some talented artists. On production she would would have artists like Ambi Lyric, Prodxvzn, daedaePIVOT, Letmode, 1Mind, Grant Strumwasser, ROMderful, and she even has her own work on production, with Renzell on the track FLICK! Always working closely with big names in Chicago like Ravyn Lenae, Phoelix, PIVOT with DaeDae and Saba, THEMpeople, and Nico Segal associated with SAVEMONEY and more; she leaves quite the imprint in Chicago hip hop and R&B. Taking a look at her lyrics and style, it is apparent as to why such notable artists with Jean Deaux and vice versa!
“Might break a tradition. You ain’t gotta like my opinions or who my friends is, tell me where the benji’s? – You see, bae, don’t, play,” Jean Deaux switches up style between her verse and chorus flawlessly, OK! is an easy favorite. Her confidence and attitude shines in FLICK (STACEY), featuring Yung Baby Tate, singing: “You can’t hit it if you call me talking crazy baby, I am not your lady ’cause you bought me a mercedes, ‘cedes, no you cannot fuck me if you lay up in that lazy, safety. First thing you gon’ strap up before you jump into this hesitatin;” straight off the bat, with a hot flow! Then she follows up with MOODY!, featuring Saba PIVOT, and a personal favorite, VALID! with its chorus, and you realize how hot this EP is. The whole project and Jean Deaux’s talent really speaks for itself, hear for yourself!
As an artist, every piece of work released has a deep connection between producer and fan, a proud achievement made from pure will and effort. IIIMPULSIVEEE comes out with a single release, dubbed THIS IS APART OF ME, to outline this connection. This Chicago artist has a fluent flow on the mic, and with it he outlines his life. Starting off with “I been lookin at the mirror every year how did I get here, it’s not clear… On days I’m not complete, trust my heart with the beat.” It is lines laid out like that, that give you an idea of how much effort an artist like IIIMPULSIVEEE puts into the track, not just from the moment of recording, but the journey to the booth.