Acoustic Trap Queen, Niykee Heaton: Woman Crush Wednesday

Niykee Heaton comes out of Chicago a successful player of grassroots music stardom. Similarly to Tasha Sultana, she gained fans and followers by performing covers on Youtube with acoustic guitar. However she leans more towards acoustic trap queen more so than the raggae-ska, indie hippie with covers of songs by artists like Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla Sign, and Chief Keef. She followed up with modeling, and solidified her position in music entertainment with her flawless, racy aesthetic leading up to and after her first project, BAD INTENTIONS.

Since then she has grown in ambitions as an artist. She now produces and performs original songs, and in front of live audiences, graduating from simple acoustic & vocal covers. Niykee also owns her own unisex sportswear collection called, NATURYL A Vibe By NBK, and uploads fitness & health videos on her YouTube channel, as well as a personal Vlog. More than ambitious, she is charitable as well, donating money from her campaigns to Good Shephard Shelter (the first domestic violence shelter in LA) and Feeding America‘s Covid-19 Relief.

Far different from her acoustic trap covers that gained her glory, her original production leans towards more R&B and pop soul. Continuing on with more sophisticated guitar chords and melodies, vocal harmonic layering, bass and percussion. Just released is her previously unreleased demo, COME FORE ME, flawlessly swerving on unwanted advances in her lyrics. “You don’t need to come for me, I don’t need the company… I would rather come for me,” taking self love and confidence to another level. Strong sentiments to share for a feminine following and just about everyone!

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Wilhelm Duke Challenges & Entertains with Conceptual Tracks

Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Wilhelm Duke now resides in Chicago where he pursues hip hop independently. Starting off first making moves as a duo with another artist, he eventually disbanded to expand on his solo work. A talented artist and an innovator, with lightning fast lyricism, deep philosophies and a motivation to empower his local collective of artists. Not only pursuing music, Duke dips into journalistic writing and videographic cypher episodes, highlighting talented hip hop artists.

As if he does not write enough here on Ever Evolved as a music journalist, he adds even more to his political journal online, and gets insanely creative with how much words he can fit into a song. Does not seem to stress him as though these thoughts run though his head on a regular; his philosophical ideology may also point to the concepts in his music. With two recent releases, he conceptualizes his music as it would be on the radio, and in another track he raps about the divine feminine, independent women of the world. The radio concept is appropriately titled POP FLOW and the feminine track, Y.D.N.A.M.

POP FLOW is more relaxed lyrically compared to his other tracks, notably in his latest LP THE ROBBER BARON, and tracks like WANT SMOKE. Perhaps done purposely, as radio plays are simplistic in style and lyrics? Y.D.N.A.M. takes on a different persona, as Duke rapes over an R&B beat, experimenting with vocalizing, to take to empowering women. Pointing at perspectives that negate the power of women, in the world and in relationships, Duke sees people, of all kinds, as equal in potential and in their rights. There is always something to take from when listening to Wilhelm Duke, with his lyricism being catchy and holding metaphoric wisdom simultaneously, read between the lines!

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Radcliff Music Up In The Clouds

With a work ethic that can rival Curren$y, and a freestyle flow that is raw and endless, there is more than enough Radcliff Music to keep your speakers rockin’. With the Educated Low Life brand, as a scholar and street artist, Radcliff continues to promote individuality and resilience to adversity in himself and others through his verses. If you can keep up with his lyricism you can learn a couple new philosophies and ways to go about life. But the message is clear: be authentic, mind your own and put in some work!

Recently on a streak of releases on Youtube, during lockdown season, taking advantage of the free time to hit the studio. His latest comes as a collaboration and a single with a couple of different energies! Fresh with KEEP UP, features artists Tamica Renee and King Rozzie, this track has a more R&B vibe to it, with its beat and feminine vocals, balanced with Radcliffs lyricism. This will follow up on his track IN THE CLOUDS, with a more relaxed lo-fi beat produced by Nate Broski. These tracks, along with FOX FLOW, are his first releases on soundcloud after a hot minute, following his Youtube marathon.

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Artist of the Week: Rizzi Konway Releases Morning/Mourning LP, Packed With Chicago Artists

A real lover of hip hop music in Chicago, Rizzi Konway has been very active in the music community as early as 2009! He has created a vast network of seriously talented underground Chicago artists, due to the fact that his style and flow is authentic and unexaggerated. Being multi talented as well, he originally got his start in music producing with ProTools. Rizzi has been getting recognized in front of audiences at handful of venues, performing at spots like Refuge, Olympic Theater, the Abbey, Subterranean, Beat Kitchen, even Daley Plaza for Chicago Sizzle Radio, and frequenting open mics at venues like Uncommon Ground and Innjoy. His efforts thus far has even gotten him an interview for Artist PR.

Since joining Tiny Chain Gang, he has seen more releases, like his projects BLKDMN & DIGITAL, and Rizzi is back with another one called MORNING/MOURNING. This release will feature many popular and underground artists, giving you the scope of his reach within the hip hop music community in Chicago. Names you should be familiar with like BaSkaveli, MOE CYRUS, Will Is Chillin’, Vantablac SOL, EELSIRCC, Rebel Legato and DJ Hool. The first lines of this whole project can summarize his mentality and effort with his music and life, “Workin, workin, workin, never sleepin’. A paper chase is wearing out my feet, can’t take a break cause rest is for the weak. If you cut my pay, decapitate a thief.”

Straight off the bat, MORNING/MOURNING hits you with awe, but to get more of an idea of his complete style and energy keep listening. The very next track, IT’S US, shines light on his more suave side, with an R&B beat, a catchy chorus, and 4+ artist on one song, you can catch a vibe easily, but wait till you hear BET IT ALL. From raw to smooth, he jumps into playfulness, positivity and motivation with enlightening lyricism on the following track, ELEVATE with EELSIRCC and Rebel Legato. “My n*gga we risin up, im living the life I love, so I’m reaching the skies above, we can get high enough.” The first half of MORNING/MOURNING sets you up nicely for the latter half, as he juggles retrospection, raw lyricism and lo-fi tracks that can soothe your soul.

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Holler At Stratus For A Beat

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.

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Artist of the Week: ESSSE Guey Music Is Perfect For Times Like THESSSE!

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.

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Artist of the Week: Will Is Chillin’ Conveys What Everyone Thinks With Loitering

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!

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Jean Deaux

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!

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CantBuyDeem and Konsept the Emcee Join Forces for Bonnie

CantBuyDeem and Konsept the Emcee came up with a unique idea for their latest single, BONNIE. The idea that sometimes the only person you can trust in your life is your lady, a Bonnie to your Clyde. Bonnie and Clyde were an infamous heterosexual couple back in the early 30’s. They robbed banks and gas stations, traveling the continental United States, until they were gunned down in Louisiana by Texas and Louisiana officers in 1934.

The song alludes to this ride or die theme through out both verses from the seasoned Chicago rappers, and it does this exceptionally. CantBuyDeem raps, “If I get locked, she take my phone, and keep my money coming in.” The idea that CantBuyDeem’s lady will still help him secure income, even if he is incarcerated, that is a Bonnie and Clyde type love. Konsept the Emcee raps, “You gonna hold me down, I’ma hold you down, you done kept it silent since you’ve been round;” the idea that Konsept’s lady will not snitch on her man no matter what, a staple in a relationship built like Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie, the new single by CantBuyDeem featuring Konsept the Emcee is streaming everywhere!

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Artist of the Week: T.Z. Duhh With T.Z. Tuesdays

Consistency is the key to anyone’s success. It is about keeping your brand fresh and ever present, so followers can have a constant flow of your new content or services. Not only that, but you also have to consider the consistency of the presentation that has attracted your following. For artist T.Z. Duhh, this would mean lyricism and output of new music, and he has been taking consistency to a whole ‘nother level!

When people follow an artist, they are constantly hungry for new material, and since the start of the year, T.Z. Duhh has been replenishing the appetite of his followers, every single week. Calling the campaign T.Z. Tuesdays, so far he has not missed a week of releasing beats, a heavy feat for many artists, as a good amount of would go up to a year or more without releasing new content. You would think TZ would get tired of his delivery, possibly straining his lyrical abilities, but he has only been growing stronger and better. This is proven by the play count of his last track SHOPPING SPREE, which gained upwards of 5k views in just a week, which is followed by this weeks release, DEVIL EYES.

Going back three weeks, T.Z. releases ULTRA, a track full of energy and motivating, hyped lyrics promoting his personal values. “I’m here to do the impossible, so you cannot tell whats possible. Never gave up, I stuck to it. Nike I run up a check, Nike the way I just do It, Nike I only want checks.” SHOPPING SPREE is more down tempo, with a little darker, powerful energy to its lyricism, which would feature artist JDP. Finally DEVIL EYES, you can imagine the sinister quality to the track, starting out with a nasty beat and slowed lyrics for the deep effect on the voice. He fires off with; “Starin’ in the mirror, what is it i see? My demons in me, I guess that’s one thing we agree, I guess the demon’s really me. All the hell I seem to bring, crown the fire, guess I’m king. Want the watch, exchange the rings, would you give your soul to me?” A real track to vibe to, and if that is not enough, T.Z. Duhh even released a music video recently for ALL GOOD, keeping you entertained for a while to come. Stay tuned for more T.Z. Tuesdays!

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