Consisting of T.R.U.T.H. and Klevah Knox, this duo rising out of Chicago are a force on a mission. Mother Nature aims to inspire fearlessness through peace and love and help raise the frequencies of our collective conscious through thought provoking Hip Hop lyricism. Lending a powerful voice for Black Women, not only in music but politically as they raise awareness on social issues. With their attitude and style they got just enough flare to direct their message effectively.
The two pop into Chicago a few years back with their self titled debut album around 2015. Tracks like SAY HER NAME from that album screams out the oppressive nature toward women of color. Even tracks like MOTHER NATURE and TAKE IT FURTHER note the urgency to help society and earth itself from destruction. T.R.U.T.H. and Klavah Knox somehow place these ideas into party anthems, attractively disguising activism.
Fresh off a more recent release, Mother Nature is riding off the energy from their PRESSURE EP. Promoting the project strong pre release with a music video for SIMPLE, they are back again with more visuals. For the cover title track PRESSURE, they personify the weight of everyday hardships in life and how they push right back in their latest music video. Placing awareness onto law of attraction, relativity, cause and effect, ego, energy and more ideas, Mother Nature continues with their revolutionary ideas and lyricism over raw beats with this project. Follow these minds and be inspired!
It is an artists duty to tests peoples perspectives, making people react negatively or positively. To either arouse, ponder or offend! In this case the Chicago duo Taking Hits Constantly hopes for the latter. Popping back in with the twelve piece album, HOPE UR OFFENDED, as if they never left but their growth is apparent. Passa Spliff and Liquid G may take their time with their craft but when they do things they do it big! Coming off of a collaboration with Probcause, JR James and a music video following their previous LP MHX, their playlist is flawless.
Every song is produced and written by THC, they keep the foundation of the LP pure bred, inviting a few features cause they do it big; like we said. Starting the album out with a party co hosted by Jaxx Stone on DO WHAT WE DO, giving an idea of the direction this LP is goin. The two experimenting with other genres but sticking to their Hip Hop roots. The funk and soul vibe continues with ROBOTS featuring Nick Ledesma, already trying to push your buttons lyrically. “When I’m on the mic zip it, you know what I like? Different. All these rappers the same. Hip Hop back from the gave? Now wouldn’t that be the day“.
Lyrics preparing you for what Spliff & G got for you with J.R. James who features on 5 tracks in this LP. Getting wild on YOU DON’T WANNA and EVERYTHING, each got the energy to get you hype before cooling down with some R&B flow on LET GO. Continuing onto KEIF BUTTER EVERGLADES, a beat that straight up bumps as the two spit raw verses, they continue the underground Hip Hop energy for remainder of the LP before they cap it off with Vasily on MEMO TO THE YOUNGER ME.
Included in HOPE UR OFFENDED are their previously released tracks THIS IS FOR ME, for which they made a Music Video for, and their release with Probcause and J.R. James CARPET RIDE. Again noting how they take their time with their work. You can hear in their lyrics their wisdom, composure and adaptability to different genres how they have evolved from MHX and their previous work. Style and determination as such keeps them going, offering them opportunities like opening up for Method Man and Redman in August at Joes in Rosemont, Chicago. If you know what is good for you, grab some Taking Hits Constantly for your playlist on Apple Music or their links below.
Digging deeper into the diversity of Chicago artists we find people from different genres, mediums, ethnicity’s and more. This week we highlight Pauna for Women Crush Wednesday following a music video release. Introduced to Pauna at an Ever Evolved Midnight Marauders Open Mic event, she signed up to present her music among other artists. With a very calm demeanor she steps onto the stage and explodes into hip hop verses, impressing the crowd with her speed and word choice.
Residing in Chicago Pauna frequents local shows to support her fellow music artists in her circle of creatives. Getting the chance to perform here and there she recently had events at Ate Music House and HVAC Pub, giving audiences a taste of her unique hip hop style. Every artist personalizes their music to be representation of themselves, differentiating from others. Pauna blends her hip hop with wordplay through languages.
Being from a Serbian background you can hear her mixing English with some Serbian dialect. Most notably in her music video for her single IDIOTI, her native language plays a big role in the track. In the music video you can see how she places her hip hop lyricism and production in a more gothic setting and fashion more attributed to European culture than hip hop. Her most recent music video release for THE WAY YOU TREATED ME AWOKE ME takes on a more natural setting as the beat is more slowed down. Taking on a more soulful R&B vibe, you can see how she can carry into different styles with ease adding to her potential to experiment with different sounds. Keep extra eyes and ears out for Pauna she just might surprise you!
As a part of a recent revamp here on the Ever Evolved, we will be doing an Artist Of The Week segment every Friday, shedding light on a Chicago artist doing big things on the local scene. Surely enough, being tasked with writing the first installment of this segment, the second this occurred a certain artist immediately popped into mind: Musa Reems.
A native of the Austin Neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, Reems comes from humble beginnings. He began rapping at the ripe age of 15 as a part of the Children of I.L.L.I.O.S. artists collective. Reems is also a fan of underground and conscious hip-hop from an early age. He cites spitters such as Black Thought and MF Doom as being among his biggest influences.
Over these last few years, Musa Reems has blossomed into one of the crown jewels of Chicago’s underground hip-hop scene. With his music being featured on numerous blogs, most notably Fake Shore Drive, Lyrical Lemonade and ELEVATOR Magazine among many others. Reems has been steadily building a buzz for himself that extends well beyond the city of Chicago.
Taking directly from his influences, Reems packs his verses with razor-sharp wordplay, colorful personality and vivid imagery covering the harsh realities of Chicago’s inner city. Reems also has a wide array of flows at his disposal and frequently delivers his verses with a poignant sense of passion that makes you believe every word he is saying. Especially lately, all of the technical skill that he possesses has really started to pay off.
During the month of May Musa Reems gifted his fans with his Musa Mondays series, where he dropped a new single every Monday for the entire month. These five cuts showed a staggering amount of diversity when it came to sounds, lyricism and flows. Reems capped off the series by dropping a compilation EP, entitled Musa Mondays, which included the original five cuts plus an additional bonus track for listening pleasure. This 6-song, 14-minute offering just might be Musa Reems’ best release yet as there are some serious highlights on here.
There are some gritty street rap cuts on tracks such as Quarter Juice where Musa does nothing but drop straight bars. The way Reems portrays the bleakness of street life is second to none and he exudes a sense of easy-going confidence on the mic that is contagious. In contrast, there are more stripped back tracks on here such as Not Know, which are far more somber and self-reflective in tone. Lyrically Musa Reems shows an incredible amount of honesty and introspection showing the complexity of being human.
Having recently been published in publications such as 4th Shore Hip Hop, Insomniac Magazine and even the Chicago Reader, it is clear that the world is starting to take notice of this talented Chicago wordsmith. If he keeps grinding the sae way he has been, it should only be a matter of time before he blows up beyond measure.
“Why a rapper gotta die to be famous?” chants Marko Stat$ from Uptown, Chicago ready to spit raw bars in his latest single, capable of changing paradigms! Following up after his single Never Be A Robot, he is keeping true to that ideology. Coming back with Pedal To The Medal and Dead Famous with none other than Aced Spade. Between the two tracks the lyrical versatility is as seasoned as a young veteran would be.
Marko Stat$ takes all his free-styling and storytelling experience into Pedal To The Medal. Starting with a literal story about a police encounter as a teen just learning how to ride a bike. He then blows up on the mic with intent and passion; “Its pedal to the medal for any person who’s bonafide… cycling through the cycles, recyclin’ traditions of bein crooked, had the chance and I took it… I can travel through any gravel and handle...”. So lyrically adept you cannot comprehend every word but the message is clear in bars like, “my propositiong to speak on the proper vision I stand by my composition, I pedal to be consistent“.
The introduction story can be a literal metaphor for the title or, looking deeper, the challenges POC may face reaching their medals, or potential. Unnecessary incidents towards a minors like that can influence you negatively, Marko Stat$ on the other hand is headstrong. “I don’t need me a gold medal to say Im a champ, angels watching my every move, they keepin me in check.” Referring to his late family members, his roots and his identity keeps him in focus.
Continuing with his concept of being true to himself, paving his own path rather than follow anothers image. Going over how hip hop communities are misled in Dead Famous. “Peep the cycle that they suck us in, what the fuck is up, they got us stuck… Rap should be so beautiful, f**k you think I do this for?“. Marko Stat$ is on a mission to wake up the culture and inspire with the lyrics he recites. “I’m trying to take our culture back, its full of vultures they invaded we on full attack. I break the cycle with no rifle, I can move the pack.” With a vision that clear he will not have to wait to die to get famous.
These two releases should remind you of his Marko’s abilities on the mic. He is able to tell a story and follow up with lyrics that aim to inspire, while keeping it fresh n catchy enough to bounce your head to. He also has an impressive ability to bounce between more slower beat and verses to freestyle inspired flow with bullet fast lyricism while still maintaining melodic flow to keep you hooked.
Who could perfectly encapsulate what its like to grow up in the South Side of Chicago, ie Englewood, in the most poignant and palatable manner such as Deem Beamon aka CantBuyDeem? First of all, its lovely how this record paints pictures of poverty in a braggadocios and playful manner, not glorification and idolization but instead, a peer into the life of a young ambitious black man weathering the storm of racial politics growing up in Chicago.
Rather than break down the album song for song lets dive into the philosophy of how impactful CantBuyDeem’s story telling can be. He utilizes lines in his first song Alone like “Home alone, all the time momma got it on her own, only thing she couldn’t afford so I started moving shit, corner boy, corner stone of the city that got him enslaving a n***a, but I still do this shit!… and the grind was all I gained from the gangsters”. As well as “they had a n***a try to set me up for a couple petty hundreds…knowledge is pain, I’m a sponge I just soak up the game, so just in case it gone rain, we say be safe instead of see ya later”. A common phrase from Chicago folk implying that the city is inherently dangerous and random in its criminal activity, to take precaution when traversing the concrete jungle.
To continue on this same train of thought, here is more lines referencing the trials and tribulations of coming up in the disenfranchised neighborhoods in Chicago. In STO he quips “grandma used to send me to the store for her cigarettes, with a written note and they would go and really give me it.” In the song he references having to hide his new Jordans or else he would get in heap of trouble. In Saudi he notes “I used to sell weed to the deacon used to smoke bowls with the teacher“. Then he adds lines like “head leaning on the big booty like a beanbag say she cooking up the ramen I want 3 pack.” The way CantBuyDeem mixes punchlines with a storytelling narrative is honestly remarkable. It makes you vibe while thinking of the human experience. Its something un-quantifiable and quite reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar.
CantBuyDeem likes to pay homage to Chicago slang with track names such as Sto, Allcaps, Saudi, OT, IFU, etc. Another addition in painting the picture of Deem’s colorful upbringing. The title track of the album sits at the core of that picture. In Chili every line Deem spits is directly a reference to a Chicago homie or family member of his. If you really know CantBuyDeem then you might understand some of these phrases and similes he uses to compare those that surround him.
In Character, Deem philosophizes the idea of being steadfast to one’s beliefs as opposed to bending to another’s will. The idea of your character being in question if you were to act like, for lack of a better word, a bitch. In that song he still has an overall narrative he is keeping to except he is describing more general instances with goofy types – Or someone in Chicago that acts afraid and nervous all the time which infers that there must be a good reason why. Acting goofy or scary is a Huge indicator of how to progress forward with an individual. This type of archetype and circumstance has been normalized in Chicago.
CantBuyDeem employs a number of peers including Windy Indie, a violinist who has been making waves with her violin remixes of popular hip hop anthems. Chai Tulani, a Kenyan recording artist with a strong African fan base, unique style and rhythm. Illy Muse, Winnie Page, Sleepy Brotha, and SharmonJarmon, to name a few more! This record is as authentic as it gets to perceiving the harsh realities of Chicago living yet still sitting proud and shining through it all. CantBuyDeem makes his art and his craft come off effortlessly and with ease. Deem, Chicago’s playboy, intellectual and savant extraordinaire, following his single Tony Stark has released another record of potent homegrown intimacy and shocking memories. CantBuyDeem’s “Chili” is available everywhere.
Blood is pumping, you are jumpin’ around, actin crazy, dancin’ wildly. Many would consider music a drug and for Roy French, aka MfnYeah, that can be the truth! Anywhere you see him his natural character emits energy that cannot go unnoticed. Unafraid to grab a mic and take control of a crowd as if hip hop and rap is all but second nature. Calling it therapy in the introduction for his music video for his latest release named Hi+ produced by Illa The Illastrator.
Directed by Nish Odak the video brands bright neon colors and lights as Roy French observes some dissociative behavior. This is not unusual for him as creative minds tend to bend the idea of what it is to be expressive. “Can’t feel your down when Im gettin high” he repeats as a catchy hook that can loop in your head without being annoying. “Sometimes I’m fine sometimes I’m not, what do I have to be mad about?” he continues, acting as his own mentor when asking himself hard questions.
Aside from his lyricism his behavior in the video denotes a man on the edge. Seeking an adrenaline rush or simply a dope beat to keep feelin Hi+ and on top. “Fuck my life Lets do if for the thrill, I feel like my death gonna be so kill”. Creative minds tend to be disturbed as the world around them does not challenge them enough, so they adopt chaos to keep their minds stimulated, to keep going. Roy French continues growing and persevering, uncovering deeper layers of himself and his creative boundaries and it shows through work like this!
Young Maxwell and Unkle Slump have teamed up for their new single entitled Heart Chakra Treasure, bringing in Maxwell season with a bang. The instrumental produced by Novmber is atmospheric and laid back. The piano loop in the background is subtle and haunting; the percussion steady in its consistency.
Maxwell’s lyricism is animated and colorful. He muses on his dreams, his demons and of course his drink of choice: Bombay Sapphire. His delivery is dirty and grimy. Possessing a flow that is smooth as butter, Maxwell exudes a sense of easy-going confidence as he drops bar after insightful bar.
Unkle Slump follows up in a very similar vein. His bars are braggadocious, self-empowering and witty. He carries himself with the swagger of the seasoned veteran that he is, while also showing the hunger and creativity of an up-and-comer. With his gruff vocal inflection, Slump sounds right at home on this beat.
The gloomy, bleak feel of the instrumental compliments Slump’s dirty aesthetic nicely. Heart Chakra Treasure serves as the lead single for Young Maxwell’s upcoming EP, which is slated for a June release. Between the dark beat and witty lyricism on this track, Maxwell is showing there is reason to be excited for his upcoming project.
Heart Chakra Treasure is now available on all platforms.
These are two virtues that Chicago mainstay RhymSter has used to guide himself throughout the duration of his career in the local underground. With the release of his new single Ghost (remix) these two guiding principles appear to be serving him well. RhymSter took the original cut of this track which was done by Jaden Smith and breathed new life into it. The instrumental has a dark and creepy vibe though, it has a hazy, almost lo-fi aesthetic to it. It possesses a driving sense of energy that RhymSter uses to his advantage.
Lyrically, RhymSter murked this beat with his usual clever wordplay and easy-going sense of charisma. He exudes the confidence of the seasoned veteran that he is as he drops lyrical bomb after lyrical bomb with ease. RhymSter’s flow and delivery are crazy on this song, he shows a full arsenal of flows, switching it up in the middle of his verse repeatedly. Though he mostly delivers his bars in the lower register of his voice, RhymSter plays with his vocal inflections all throughout his verse. This shows that he is thinking about a lot more than just reciting lyrics over a microphone when he is in the booth.
RhymSter has been a lyrical heavyweight in Chicago’s scene for quite some time now. Recently releasing the Pure Noon EP with Edmur Quinn and dropping music videos for Pick It Up & Maintainin’ with award winning visual artists Neorevivalist. However, what really sets him apart from a lot of other artists is his versatility. RhymSter is just as happy to tear a trap beat apart as he is to murk a 90’s sounding boom-bap beat. Whatever the occasion calls for you can almost certainly bet on the fact that RhymSter will be doing his thing with ease.
The No Coast battle rapper and SlumpGang777 emcee of absolutely cool proportions Orlando Coolridge recently put out a project reflective of poetic growth that the filters of Chicago’s taste makers should be hanged if this record is allowed to pass through unheard. Now that the undertones of serious demeanor have been expressed lets jump into the intro track ONSOL. “Its for the soul, because what is it if it ain’t onsol?” is the first line of the hook whose ad-libs vary through a swinging and soulful rhythm. Because what exactly is it if it ain’t onsol and that is when you realize that there really is not much because onsol is light itself. Onsol has multiple meanings if you follow the SlumpGang777 philosophies and their eastern influences. The song is a great introductory to the album so expect to hear more sharp lines and swinging-ly good hooks through out the record.
INNERGY is another song that makes you question and ponder the idea of light. With production completely done by Sean Antidote, Coolridge poses this question to a listener; “If all that glitters is gold, is the light, just like, how it is in the soul?”. A piercingly relevant metaphor especially within the modern day capitalism and post contemporary era. “That shits no coincidence, its a black fist, like an activist!...Blowing up, like you least expect it now at least expect it“. More wittiness of his intellectual braggadocio.
“The message they telling us is deceptive, they don’t want us a collective or eclectic”. MAKE$ENSE encapsulates that paranoid and schizo wave length the brain goes on while trying to come to terms that it will never fully comprehend or observe this reality. Yet it will try and do a damn good job carving out lyrical descriptions. “The one’s controlling currency is 33rd degree, population walking dead but they ain’t turning me!”- A line that captures perfectly the idea of the fractional reserve banking conundrum the world finds itself in today and the idea of humans droning through their daily tasks of life.
Orlando Coolridge makes music for people who read; let me just insert that point of observation here. MAKE$ENSE is a favorite from this record with old school track references like “Cash Rules Everything Around Me, CREAM, Get tha money,dolla dolla bill y’all”, and “make money money make money money money”. Coolridge intertwines hip hop history with an elevated perspective on global economics and modern money mechanics. RYZE! is the point of the album when your blood starts to boil from the epic and emotional nature of the build up in the instrumental coupled with Coolridges spine tingling intense black power affirmations. Every line in this song smacks you with the thought that maybe you need to go read up on Paul Robeson, Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Dubois. RYZE! is for every patriot and compatriot of the black American disenfranchisement.
The next song on the record is a super clever tune called A.L.L.A.H., playing off many triple entendres involving the idea of God. This including the acronym ALLAH which in the song stands for Arm Leg Leg Arm Head. Not only is this song layered in metaphor but also narrow enough for the simple minded folk to jam to since every rhymed ends with g-o-d. Another personal favorite from the Sean Antidote produced LP.
The song THENIGHTTIMEBUMP is Coolridge’s love making lullaby of the record. Making allusions to drug usage, meditation and night time moods with the lady; writing lines such as “the third hour odd minute when the moon is the light, when the freaks come out if you’re doing it right.” Right after the love lullaby comes a song about finding love and the divine feminine with LUHMADEME. Brush strokes of metaphors posing hard questions and evoking wondrous ideas of what love is or even means. The epitome of the ultimate philosophical doubt of love is held within this one line by Coolridge; “Yo if it wasn’t for the love is there a reason to rock, is the lack thereof, any reason to not?”. Beautifully put, getting to that line almost encircles the entire rest of the song and brings you back to the starting point of the endless rabbit hole wondering if love even exists?
The last two records are GOTTALUVEMALL and FEELTHELOVE! Where the former is a sensual seduction via boom bap goodness and the latter an upbeat tune that exudes positive feelings. Orlando Coolridge hit every possible frequency, vibration and wave possible on his LP Sutato. With all instrumentals from the Sean Antidote camp, the production quality sounding stellar, paired with legendary status hip hop songwriting Sutato should find longevity, respect and love within the Chicago hip hop community and beyond.