Tag Archives: cover story

Knox Fortune Emerges From Behind The Scenes

It’s Mid-February In Beverly Hills And Already The Night Is Getting Long.

Taking a long sip from a glass of champagne, Kevin Rhomberg lifted his head from his glass, haphazardly brushing his mess of shoulder-length hair from his face and looked out across the scene before him. Stepping back from the surreal reality he now enjoyed, he began to try and make sense of the last few hours between congratulatory hugs and an endless stream of photos. Earlier that day, Rhomberg had earned his first Grammy award for his work on Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book that picked up the nod for ‘Best New Rap Album’ under the assumed alias of Knox Fortune. While many saw the win that weekend as the conclusion to a long story, Knox stood watching his friends, colleagues and heroes mingling with ease at the GQ-hosted event at the gilded Chateau Marmont. Understanding in that moment just how far he’d come in music, the night instead felt like the beginning of a story with a lengthy prologue, even the loftiest of dreams now within reach. Continue reading Knox Fortune Emerges From Behind The Scenes

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From Understudy To Leading Man After A Journey Of Self-Discovery, KAMI Steps Into The Spotlight

“He’s wearing that jacket again,” was all I could think as I approached Kene Ekwunife at the marble-lined bar top. Coolly sipping a cocktail, a messenger bag slung across his shoulders, Kene, better known as SaveMoney artist KAMI, was impossible to miss in the half-full club. What the casual observer didn’t know is that he’d been rocking the thick-lined bomber since mid-summer. Far from the casual observer, I immediately recalled seeing him at East Room in July, myself sweating through a t-shirt as he stood draped in the neon-orange outerwear, seemingly unfazed as he explained the perseverance of style to me. While it may seem innocuous, that jacket operates as a perfect metaphor for KAMI as a person and an artist: unmistakable yet tempered, patient and consistent. In many ways, he’s evolved in the public eye without having to catch it’s full glare, not yet at least. Continue reading From Understudy To Leading Man After A Journey Of Self-Discovery, KAMI Steps Into The Spotlight

Saba’s Westside Tales: Chicago Artist Offers Relatable Voice On ‘Bucket List Project’

As the first snow of December laid its foundation outside my window, I found myself seated across my kitchen table from Chicago rapper Saba. As the TheseDays team settled into chairs and couches around the floor, we gave the man a few minutes to warm up from the photoshoot outside in the newfound winter. It’s been three years since last sitting down like this with Saba for a story and in the time since the young man from the Austin neighborhood on the west side of Chicago has come a long way. From performing alongside Chance The Rapper on ‘The Late Show’ to touring across the country and Europe, his horizons have certainly expanded from his Grandma’s basement out west. That three year journey manifested itself in September in the thirteen song collection, The Bucket List Project, a thoughtful, charged glance at life’s experiences juxtaposed with early success. While the stages may have gotten larger, the lights a bit brighter and the stakes ever higher, life isn’t all that different for the kid I first saw spitting raps on a Tuesday night at Young Chicago Author’s Wordplay open mic.  Continue reading Saba’s Westside Tales: Chicago Artist Offers Relatable Voice On ‘Bucket List Project’

The Trapo Story: Madison’s Finest Gears Up For His Next Chapter with ‘Shade Trees’

It’s 3:30 in the afternoon on a sunny Fall Tuesday in Madison, Wisconsin and I’m about three feet deep in a decades-old tweed couch. To my left is 18-year-old Davon Prather, better known to the world as Trapo; the only artist that’s pried us from the bustle of Chicago since our foray to Milwaukee a year ago.

Ahead of me, one of our crew, Westley, sits perched on the edge of the adjacent couch leaning aggressively into a Nintendo 64 controller, squaring off against Tray, who’s apartment we find ourselves in. Set amongst the high-pitched hum of the Super Smash Bros. backing track, Trapo tells us of making a name for himself from humble beginnings while carefully rolling a blunt on the table before him. Continue reading The Trapo Story: Madison’s Finest Gears Up For His Next Chapter with ‘Shade Trees’

Beyond The Theory: Towkio Rides A .Wav Of His Own

Originally Appeared on TheseDays in July 2016

It’s the Fourth of July and I’m sitting across a couch from Preston Oshita as he decides between a hot dog or lobster roll. Studying the menu before him he weighs his options, the waiter just let him know the oysters weren’t available. Taking a moment and decides on the lobster. His food on its way, the artist better known as Towkio quickly reflected on his choice: “I’m not huge on fish but lobster just seems appropriate”. Such is a small indication of the kind of leap in lifestyle the 24-year-old crossover act has achieved since stepping out to the world four years ago as Tokyo Shawn. In the time since, he’s gone from sleeping on my couch to some of the biggest names in music, continuing a winning streak with his July release, Community Service 2, which continued building his distinct sound and mentality. Sitting on the couch with the fireworks crackling in the background, he settled into yet another sofa to explain the ride that has positioned him as one of the most exciting breakout stars of the last year. Continue reading Beyond The Theory: Towkio Rides A .Wav Of His Own

‘Wave Don’t Die’: Chicago’s Activist Music Scene How a New Generation of Artists & Activists Are Affecting the World

Originally Appeared on TheseDays.News (August 2016)It’s a scene that’s becoming all too familiar in these turbulent times: a large group of protesters clogging downtown streets, disrupting corporate commerce and planting themselves on the ground with their hands up. Once again our city’s voice stand up for a fallen friend, brother, son as thousands poured onto Michigan Ave this past Sunday to stand up against the latest brutal police shooting, this one that left 18-year-old Paul O’Neil dead. Once again the Chicago Police Department trotted out a list of reasons to try and explain. Once again Rahm Emanuel pursed his lips, gripped the podium and dipped his head to the floor in a gesture that has come to embody the greater mentality on the subject. And once again, another young man didn’t come home because of the itchy trigger finger of one of those lives in blue. With hearts heavy and spirits waning, the pain is once again palpable.

October Cover Story • The Endless Tour: How DJ Oreo Played The Support Role To Center Stage

It’s nearing ten o’clock and DJ Oreo is tucking a pink towel into the neck of his shirt as he settles into a big orange chair at a barbershop on the west side of Chicago. Home for a brief spell from tour with Atlanta-based sensation Lil Yachty, he’s been quickly summoned back to tour, so a visit to the barber is a necessity longed for on the road.

As the stylist goes about pulling at his locks, Oreo similarly pulls on a strand, peering at it in the mirror. “It’s about a foot now,” he says questioningly, looking over his shoulder. The barber, nodding in agreement, “yeah, about a foot now, maybe more.” Tossing back the strand and resettling himself in the chair, adjusting the yellow towel across his shoulders, he thinks back on his last haircut.

Continue reading October Cover Story • The Endless Tour: How DJ Oreo Played The Support Role To Center Stage

The Evolution Of Jamila Woods

It’s not all that difficult to read what Jamila Woods is thinking or feeling.

To do that, you just have to look to her expressions, which tell a story that has been evolving for some time.

The 25-year-old native Chicagoan has been plying her trade around her hometown for some time now. Having entered the creative world as a poet, she has since made welcome forays into music, teaching and writing. Pulling from a multitude of experiences, Jamila speaks with a sort of frank realness that allows any listener an immediate understanding of her comfortability within her own thoughts and feelings.
Continue reading The Evolution Of Jamila Woods

Hurt Everybody: Hip-Hop’s Magical Realism

Continue reading Hurt Everybody: Hip-Hop’s Magical Realism