Tag Archives: new music

Catching Up With Lil Uzi Vert at The Metro

Originally Appeared in FLAUNT Magazine August 2016

With forty-five minutes left to go before the ten o’clock curfew for the sold-out show at Chicago’s Metro Lil Uzi Vert is nowhere to be seen. A surprise performance from Lil Bibby and subsequent set from DJ Oreo keeps the crowd moving with a consistent offering of turn up songs that has the room moving in frenetic dance circles, albeit without the name on the marquee. With just under forty minutes to go and organizers looking around nervously, the small ball of energy that is Lil Uzi rockets onto the stage. Reacting immediately, the temperature in the venue seems to rise exponentially. As Uzi works his way through the first single joined by none other than Famous Dex, I prop myself up on a folding chair to get a better view. Reaching to the ceiling for support my hand slips on the condensation from the pure energy in the room. Looking around one can see the future of hip-hop. While everyone in the venue seems to know all the words to every song and dance move to boot, all seem to do so without ever looking at the stage. Instead, a sea of cell phones light up the room, most screens flipped inward, the fans watching themselves enjoy the music for their followers. Continue reading Catching Up With Lil Uzi Vert at The Metro

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

Kweku Collins Continues Impressive 2016 With Peter Rosenberg

It’s no secret at this point in the year who one of the most exciting break out stars to emerge from Chicago is. Kweku Collins, our May cover artist, has taken the year by storm and cashed in a big win with the release of his debut full-length project, Nat Love, which has gone on to stake his name as one to watch for sometime, gaining some big-time co-signs from the likes of Pitchfork, Stereogum and what seems like a huge cross-section of blogs and websites that make up critical review in 2016. Continuing to progress through a year that has seen him rise by leaps and bounds, Collins stopped by Peter Rosenberg’s studio between a pair of trips out to New York City over the past week.

Continue reading Kweku Collins Continues Impressive 2016 With Peter Rosenberg

Brandon Breaux: The Man Behind The Cover Art Of Acid Rap, 10 Day & Chance 3

(Originally Appeared for TheseDays)

At this point, it’s a sort of foregone conclusion that Chance The Rapper will only continue to assert his control over the music world at-large with the impending release of his #Chance3 project. That got a further teasing this week with the unveiling of theartwork for the project. Three years since Acid Rapand nearly five since 10 Day, Chance’s new project will be the third installment in what he’s calling his mixtape trilogy, As Chance has grown and evolved both as a musician and a person, the covers of his projects have seemed to reflect each; the music itself following suit. One prevailing aesthetic of each project though has been the cover art, which seems to be artistic takes on distinct points in young Chano’s growth. The reason for that consistency is easy to figure as well, there has been a singular force behind the imagery that finds itself to the front page of Chance’s work and that force is none other than Chicago artist Brandon Breaux.  Continue reading Brandon Breaux: The Man Behind The Cover Art Of Acid Rap, 10 Day & Chance 3

Artistic Empathy: Kweku Collins Moves To The Front Of The Class

(Originally Appeared for TheseDays News)

At a time when most of his peers are hunting down summer jobs, jonesing for internships or cramming for finals, 19-year-old Evanston native Kweku Collins is lounging idly on a couch. An electronic vaporizer in one hand, the other rubbing his loose collection of curious locks, each with it’s own plan and direction that dictate his wily look, Collins looks very much the part of a college student nearing the end of his freshman year and in a way, he is.

Instead of picking a school and signing up for classes though, the ever-sleepy-eyed Collins sent a mixtape to Alex Fruchter and Mike Kolar, owners of the local imprint Closed Sessions. He hit send on the email at the beginning of February 2015, by the time the Chicago River was dyed green, he was a signed artist with a team to boot.

Continue reading Artistic Empathy: Kweku Collins Moves To The Front Of The Class

WHAT CHANCE THE RAPPER’S ‘COLORING BOOK’ MEANS FOR CHICAGO AND THE FUTURE OF MUSIC

By Jake Krez (Originally Appeared for Pigeons & Planes)

It’s nearing ten o’clock on May 12 and I’m sitting in a line of bumper cars to the right of Chancelor Bennett as he tugs down on his cell phone screen again and again. Continue reading WHAT CHANCE THE RAPPER’S ‘COLORING BOOK’ MEANS FOR CHICAGO AND THE FUTURE OF MUSIC

Op/Ed • Kanye West Passes The Torch to Chance The Rapper With ‘SNL’ Performance

Here in Chicago, there are two distinct movements when discussing the local hip-hop scene. For most, there are two important eras that pace the scene: the Kanye wave and the ‘New Age’ wave. The former took place from roughly 2002 to about the time ‘Ye became a household name capable of upsetting even the President of the United States. The second is still going. Having developed over the last five years or so, it has grown out of a combination of separate movements in the city that culminated this past week in the crossover of Chance The Rapper as West appeared to pass the torch in a way on the stage of Saturday Night Live. It’s a collaboration that has been dreamed of by those locally for years and comes at a time when each is at the most influential points of their respective careers. It’s a collaboration that essentially sees ‘Ye interacting with the embodiment of his own influence. More than anything though, it’s a closing of the gap between the pair of movements that have positioned Chicago as the next great center of music and hip-hop.

Continue reading Op/Ed • Kanye West Passes The Torch to Chance The Rapper With ‘SNL’ Performance

Kaina Castillo Steps to the Front of the Stage

Age: 20  Neighborhood: Irving Park • Follow: Twitter // Soundcloud


The beautiful thing about Chicago as a creative outlet has always been the affordability it allows while interacting in a locale on par with Los Angeles or New York City. Lower rent and less people means a bit more room to move around, be creative and grow into one’s destined medium. There’s room to move around and explore and no one knows that better than 20-year-old singer/do-everything Kaina Castillo who has been making a name for herself around the city through a series of hustles that have only begun to find their way to the public.  Continue reading Kaina Castillo Steps to the Front of the Stage

Hurt Everybody: Hip-Hop’s Magical Realism

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

THE STATE OF CHICAGO HIP-HOP: NO END IN SIGHT

Three years ago things were just getting exciting around Chicago. Chief Keef had just made the country take a collective gulp as he shoved guns into the lens of a Handicam protected by his thick mop of locks, Kids These Days had just dropped Hard Times and were preparing their proper full-length and a kid named Chance was beginning to get some attention for his recent 10 Day mixtape. The spotlights were on their way, quickly tearing themselves from Atlanta long enough to get entranced by the almost creepy sound of drill, packed full of real-life assertions that played on America’s penchant for struggle behind glass. Fresh off of journalism school I arrived in Chicago, the local scene seemed set for big things and I was at the center of it, reporting at the time for the Chicago Sun-Times. Continue reading THE STATE OF CHICAGO HIP-HOP: NO END IN SIGHT