ChanSe NFO recently dropped a single with an intense music video along with it called KAREN. ChanSe’s flow breaks through with a biting speed. The slight distortion on his voice makes for a signature sound and style that is been enjoyed in his previous records. The editing of the visual sticks out because ChanSe does not make the typical choices that a lot of hip hop artists make. The black and white color scheme, strobe lights and lyrics smashing into the frame make for a ride of an experience.
“I keep a 40 on me just to gargle when my breath stinks,” is the first line that smacks almost immediately, and it is quite humorous to imagine. ChanSe then follows up later with, “Then go and run his mouth about the shit you did, WEIRD, lets be CLEAR, you ain’t about the mission then you rear view MIRRORED.” This line refers to guys that act tough, fake being hard and boast about their fighting skills, or embellished exploits that obviously never happened. The rear view mirror reference has to do with the one in the car that is too scared to go through, with whatever mayhem is about to occur. So they are looking in the mirror, wishing they did not decide to ride with the real ones that day. It is a strong visual line.
Chanse NFO ends the song abruptly after one more string of rhymes. The track is 1:30 in length and guaranteed to have you replaying it right away! The instrumental is produced by Theisy, and the visual was shot by Theisy as well, then edited by Jnicoo Productions.
YOUNG XAV follows up and comes through on his music video promise! His first release of the year, KISS KISS BANG BANG, covers the feelings of heart break in relationships; a culmination of all his personal experiences regarding love connections in one song. Ever Evolved got to interview YOUNG XAV about the significance of the new release, noting a change in direction of sound moving forward. The music video itself montages his different experiences with different women, his own lyrics expressed through their lips, creating an atmosphere of tension. The video also features behind the scenes shot, before and after the making of the visuals, giving viewers a peak into the creative process that went into KISS KISS BANG BANG.
Having the opportunity to sit down with YOUNG XAV for an interview, there are a few things to learn about this up and coming artist! First introduced to his music with the release of AFTER DARK, you would instantly notice there is more to this artist than just the music. He has a story to tell! Breaking down a little bit of his creative process, we also get an idea of the direction YOUNG XAV is going with, regarding his current and newer music entries.
Making music since 2017, it was not until the release of AFTER DARK that he decides to take on the hobby more seriously. When asked what his purpose is behind his music, YOUNG XAV responds with, “I think just narrative driven, that’s my thing. I can’t make music if I’m not living life… Big thing for me, is to tell what I have to feel… Cheaper than a shrink. Sometimes expensive.” Noting that relate-ability is key in the messages he conveys to his audience.
In regards to how YOUNG XAV gets comfortable expressing his vulnerabilities, he responds with, “Thing is I never created something where it’s like, wow, I’m literally exposing myself. When it comes to my friends I keep things very tight nit, I keep things very closed, but my music contradicts that. If you want to know about me, for better or for worse, you can hear my music. It’s therapeutic. It translates to something different. It’s never been difficult to deal with that vulnerability.” As you listen to his songs from AFTER DARK and the following, you will notice a deep sense of introspection within each track. Whether it is personal or involving relationships.
Out with a new release, his new tune KISS KISS BANG BANG is no exception. In the song he confides to his listeners about heartbreak and the emotional trauma connected. However the difference with KISS KISS BANG BANG and other heart break songs like IN MY HEAD, YOUNG XAV would say it is more of a culmination of thought about all his past relationships, and not specific to a single individual. When asked how he gets through heart break, he simply says, “I write a song about it, and if that doesn’t work, make more music.”
KISS KISS BANG BANG also represents a new direction of sound YOUNG XAV mentioned with his last release, MANIA FREESTYLE. Preparing for his next big release, his 2nd album, DEAD BY DAWN, ready for an October 1st release date. YOUNG XAV notes, “KISS KISS BANG BANG is the perfect bridge, if I released certain songs in DEAD BY DAWN it would sound like an entire 180. So I think with releasing kiss bang bang, instead of being a shocker, it’s more of a bridge.” Specifically, YOUNG XAV, plans to experiment past the genre of hip hop and rap that he has been used to, and into more melodic sounds and singing, live instrumentation as well as dipping into lo-fi, jazz and rock genres.
When asked why the new take on his music, YOUNG XAV responds with great insight. “It’s crucial to story telling. There’s certain stories you can tell in genre of rap, then there is certain stories you can’t. In terms of genres I don’t think about them as categories that define an artist… But instead more of which genre can I use, which tools can I use to best explain how I feel.” Very thoughtful perception to take in as you listen to his songs moving forward! The story for KISS KISS BANG BANG is not over just yet, as YOUNG XAV also plans for a music video release, on the 29th of January. So stay tuned for visuals coming up very soon, as he prepares you his next big LP, DEAD BY DAWN related in concept to AFTER DARK.
With Fight Club vibes in this music video for OPEN THE GATES, the heaviest hitters of Chicago hip hop make their presence known. MOECYRUS and Novatore of Azthmatix, connect with A.M. Early Morning to create a lyrically raw and gritty hip hop beat. Challenging in their words as they open with their chorus, chanting, “We love to talk shit, this is what we do. Know there’s a big gap that’s in between us and you. We came with AM to slay and bring mayhem.” Each artist spits their lines of braggadocios bars, over an ominous slow beat with a piano progression, and the atmosphere is perfected under dark skies in a graffiti laced alley, on an urban corner in the streets of Chicago, with Yung City Slicka Films editing to emphasize energy. To step up to these fearless three on the mic would be menacing, to say the least!
Regular colleagues in hip hop, Kastaway and Krikit Boi, put out a record in late 2020 that addresses social and racial issues, while celebrating the union between African American and Latino culture. Kastaway peppers this 14 track record, EL PILON with strong and notable features, while also bringing nothing less than excellence himself to the song writing table. CULTURAL COALITION is the first song where his strings of rhymes smack you in the brain with overwhelming thought. “Sink or swim, no you better think again, pretend it’s a grenade before you pull the pin,” or, “This is no gimmick this is soul spirit mixed with prolific pro spitting.“
In track 4 of EL PILON, Kastaway brings on Chicago heavyweight, WRDS for his song, KINGS. “Knowing that the black out is part of my youth, melanin is menacing ,they taught ya in school,” raps Kastaway in the first verse of the song, in a fast and uptempo manner. Later following with, “Yeah, it’s true. I was raised on the hot blocks, where my father left me for the hot rocks.” Every track is filled with racial and political points, woven into the lyricism. Every song on the record has purpose, and does not waste time to be honest and truthful, in regard to the opinions of African and Latin Americans, and the struggles they face collectively.
The next song on the record, LIVE YOUR LIFE, is a brilliant and gutsy song. Skirting the lines of whats acceptable in the new normal world we find ourselves in. This song features vocals from Lester Jay. Track 6, MY FRIEND is a lyrical and melodic ode to an old friend that Kastaway had a falling out with. The song serves as a way of healing and forgiveness to this individual. The hook is super catchy, and the verses make you think about past friendships. The song features Stig Van Eijk.
Track 10, THE FEEL features a familiar cohort in Mic Logik! Altogether Kastaway features at least 12 listed artists on the 14 track record, and that is impressive to be able to organize a track listing of that density. EL PILON is a lengthy, lyrically dense, thought provoking, feature heavy and politically charged record, that deserves any hip hop head’s ears for a listen! The union between African American and Latin American culture as being part of the concept to the album is a poignant statement of self discovery and community building. Bravo, and kudos to Kastaway and the producer Krikit Boi!
Father Darko, who also is known as Mikal Bae for visual work and music videos, recently put out a 3 song, ambient, trippy, jazzy, dusty, boom-bap fusion, instrumental project. Father Darko has put out at least 9 records since April of 2019, and he deserves more recognition for his consistent output and additions to the culture and community. It is always fascinating to see more Father Darko tunes alongside slapping music videos from his visual brand, Mikal Bae.
It is Quite surprising in how fast this project can be consumed. You will unknowingly have it on repeat before you can process what you have heard. Track one, I DIED IN MY DREAMS AGAIN, features a range of complex composition culminating in a Travis Scott sample, that blends quite well with Father Darko’s drums, melodies and extraneous sounds. Track 2, WHEN IM AFRAID TO LOSE MY MIND, has a more sweeping luxurious, quasi melancholic sound and feel to it. Father Darko features Nelo Sahd on this song, who is assumed to be the screaming vocals towards the end of track.
The third and final song on the 3 track record is DROWNING, IT’S SOMETHING YOU’LL GET USED TO. The drums on this record sound like whips cracking, coinciding with these distorted, high pitched feminine sounds. It is an extremely interesting blend and feels highly futuristic or something right out of the video game, PORTAL. There is a depressed, ominous, robotic vibe that seems to glaze the entire 3 song project. A cohesive record of music that allows one to really ponder, and has one inside their own head for a time.
If you love a good ol cup of joe in the morning, than COFFEE is the joint for you. Wilhelm Duke, hyperbolizes his love for the black bean of energy with a music video in dedication to it, a follow up to BOSS SHIT with RhymSter. Doing things only coffee lovers would approve of, like chilling at a coffee shop and having a coffee shower; admittedly that may be good for your scalp. Starting out with coffee on repeat on the intro, what would be assumed to be the first thought of a coffee addict as soon as they wake up, as the caffeine juice rolls down Wilhelm Dukes face. A surprisingly slow paced hip hop beat for the insanely fast heart beat you get from the bean, but either way a good song to stroll to on your way to you local coffee shop, on a morning vibe. If you can agree with and appreciate the knowledge of detail for the different brews in the Dukes lyrics, while you sip on that rocket fuel, then, you should be dancing like Wilhelm by the end of the song.
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.
Christmas is typically full of traditions, and CantBuyDeem has one of his own. As he mentions on social media, it is a tradition to gift his fans every year during the holidays, after reigniting his holiday spirit following unfortunate events. This year CantBuyDeem gifts us all with an order of POPEYES, a two piece combo, a single with a side of music video. With a cool demeanor, and even cooler visuals, CantBuyDeem spits game over the smoothest, Curren$y type, hip hop beat, with real ambient lo-fi sounds that will get you in the clouds before the weed hits you like ah-ha.
There is nothing more that would make you want to be in CantBuyDeems shoes than a beautiful, sexy woman, dancing around your money, while eating popeyes, wearing so much drip. But “You can’t follow in nobody tracks exactly, look n***a keep movin.” CantBuyDeem leaves quite a few insights that entertains uniqueness, he does not “live his life by movie one liners, that sh*t corny,” as he would say. Filmed by TevDesh Productions, the tight angles, slow pace and evening colors, with a hint of lustful seduction, really puts a mystifying feel to the video. Following up on the NUMB EP, CantBuyDeem looks to have found a comfortable position with his sound and presentation.
“Still an addict even though I don’t sniff coke. In love with rap, I’m buying beats until I’m sick, broke.” Novatore hopelessly deep into his art, is literally turning into a portrait in his latest music video for I’M AN ADDICT. Confessing his love for music, specifically hip hop and rap, Novatore expresses his passion over a dramatic hip hop influenced violin progression. The violin adds dramatic effect and a classical renaissance atmosphere, emphasizing passion for the art of music, as strongly as classical artists once were as they studied deeply and transformed music in their time.
With modern and some what flagrant language, Novatore’s unadulterated words expresses in his lyrics what histories greatest musicians expressed with their sounds. “When it comes to this music I’m like a crackhead, I know I’ll rock whether or not I’m making back bread.” The music video itself perfectly illustrates the energy of the renaissance period as Novatore dresses in their historic fashion, in traditional settings like an old dark church and rooms, sitting around candle light, or even inside a portrait with traditional frames, giving the hip hop track a timeless energy. Following up on music video releases of BLOODSPORT, UNDERRATED and an AZTHATIX ANTHEM with MOECYRUS, Novatore is looking to be imbedded in music history!