“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
Originally Appeared on TheseDays in September 2016
By now, SaveMoney has emerged as a force not only on the local scene, but the country and world at large. With a year that has seen the likes of Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa take marked steps towards the throne while the rest of the contingent has made their respective steps forward, the collective as a whole has established itself as the pre-eminent music organization on the come up today. While known mostly for the rap side of things that have taken over the city in the wake of the Drill movement, SaveMoney has never been solely one thing, a sentiment that has been echoed since interviews with the likes of Chano and Mensa back to 2012. It’s a loose contingent that counts creatives of all types in it’s ranks and one man in particular has been tapped to make sure it all comes together appropriately. That man is Nikko Washington. Continue reading Talking To Nikko Washington, SaveMoney’s Creative Force
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
In its tenth year, Pitchfork Festival looked to its hometown of Chicago for support. The city that birthed indie-music celebration was this year’s theme, as it helped honor P4K’s ten-year anniversary. While rain was the fest’s biggest news—it forced several Saturday artists to cancel last minute—hometown talent was Pitchfork’s most salient aspect. Chicago claimed seven of the festival’s total acts, including three of the headliners: Wilco, Vic Mensa, who was elevated to headliner last minute, and, of course, Chance The Rapper, who closed out P4K with a rousing rendition of “Sunday Candy” with none other than gospel legend Kirk Franklin.
Through the course of the three days we learned a handful of new truths. These are just eight of them. Continue reading All Of The Important Things I Learned At Pitchfork Festival 2015
Photos by Bryan Lamb
Two years ago I stood on the floor of The Metro in the shadow of Chicago’s Wrigley Field and watched as Chance The Rapper turned a crowd of teenagers and kids in their early 20s into a frenzy. It’s crazy to think it’s been two years since Acid Rap Live. The movement continued Saturday (May 16) as the latest member to emerge from the local SaveMoney contingent took his place alongside Chancelor Bennett and Vic Mensa, proving himself a formidable act on the strength of his recent release,.Wav Theory. Continue reading Towkio and Kehlani Pack Out The Metro in Chicago
The ripples of Kanye West were abundant at the Chop Shop in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood Friday night for 21-year-old Vic Mensa’s homecoming. That the show sold out in under 20 minutes was no surprise given the hometown hero’s recent ascendance via Yeezy. Fresh off unveiling “Wolves” alongside ‘Ye at Saturday Night Live and then again the following week in London, the show was the city’s first glimpse of Vic as a bonafide star that many watched grow from day one. Continue reading Vic Mensa Rocks Secret Show in Chicago
If you’re at all familiar with the burgeoning Chicago hip-hop scene, then the name SaveMoney should carry some weight; the multi-faceted collective has been at the forefront of the local scene for some time. Championed by Vic Mensa, the crew of longtime friends is comprised of 20-something creatives, students, artists, activists and entrepreneurs counting the likes of Chance The Rapper, Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment band in its auxiliary ranks. While not exclusively a hip-hop group, SaveMoney has become a force in the rap world with a packed lineup that is both based in the nuances of classic hip-hop and pushing the envelope for what the genre entails.
It’s a patchwork of styles, aesthetics and sounds that make up the whole, much like the city they’re from. Hailing from a place billed as one of the “most segregated cities in the world,” children are gunned down for walking on the wrong block in their own neighborhoods. SaveMoney, with members that come from all sides and corners of the city, operates as a uniting force that is representative of the future while staying rooted in the facets that have paced Chicago for generations.
While many may know of Vic and Chance, both of whom were XXL Freshmen in 2014, the group boasts a wide-ranging variety of hip-hop intonations that run the gamut of what listeners have come to expect from the Midwest and has allowed the roster to develop into a “next-up” type of situation that has seen each artist release critically-acclaimed projects, sell out local venues and find fans both in and out of their city in the process. Unlike New York City or Los Angeles, Chicago isn’t particularly known for its forward-thinking fashion, it’s artistic intonations or eye for aesthetics. However, this band of kids, raised in the Internet age, is representative of the contemporary, progressive thinking of a new generation that has not only pushed the envelope, but found eyes and ears across the country in the process. While the north, south and west sides of the city may be geographically close, they can often feel like completely different places with separate sub-cultures and influences throughout. SaveMoney, however, has relied on an interplay of every side and corner of the city to create a truly layered representation of their hometown that defies any set boundaries in the process.
Last year, Vic Mensa performed for the second time at Lollapalooza, a festival he almost died sneaking into, and joined Chance on the final night as a headliner. With as much diversified talent as SaveMoney has as a whole, it’s not out of the question to think that might become a regular thing for years to come. The collective has grown, matured and seems ready to take on anything in it’s path, while still remaining close friends in the process. XXL spoke to Vic Mensa, Joey Purp, Towkio, Caleb James, Brian Fresco, KAMI, Dally Auston and Sterling Hayes to find out what makes them tick. —Jake Krzeczowski Continue reading [Feature] Meet Vic Mensa’s Chicago Hip-Hop Collective SaveMoney
If you want some good music out of Chicago, the SaveMoney clique is a good place to look. If you’re looking for something unique that will get your feet moving? Look no further than Towkio (formerly Tokyo Shawn). From head to toe, note to lyric Towkio is a unique talent that has been brewing on Chicago’s underground for some time now. As Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper have ascended to the stratosphere, Towkio may well be one of the city’s best kept secrets. Continue reading |MIXTAPE| Towkio: “Hotchips N’ Chopsticks”
If you don’t know Donnie Trumpet by now, you will very soon. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re unknowingly already a fan of his work. The artist sometimes known as Nico Segal has been working incessantly since the break up of Kids These Days, the band that spawned Vic Mensa and Marrow, and today delivers an artistic visual in the form of “Pasadena,” which you can watch below. Continue reading |VIDEO|Donnie Trumpet: ‘Pasadena’ & Vic Mensa: ‘Down On My Luck’
Chicago natives and SAVEMONEY brethren Joey Purp and Kami de Chukwu–better known as Leather Corduroys–dropped a project bursting with heat last night in their single volume Porno Music Volume 2: TSFR EP. Fans can thank a Chance The Rapper post deep in the annals of Reddit for the download. Continue reading Leather Corduroys: “Porno Music Volume 2: TSFR EP