flowsfordays Premiere: Juan Don – The Storm (New Track)

Juan Don has been gone for a minute, and today we are happy to host his official return. After the almost universal praise of his 2016 LP, BELIEVE, the output ceased. We’ve been itching for something new from the Chicago emcee, and we’ve finally gotten it in The Storm. He speaks on his journey throughout life’s ups and downs, and the importance of rising above it all. Don’t be fooled, this is no mellow record. Juan hits the ground running as soon as Cavalier’s unique instrumental kicks in.

Throughout Juan’s career he’s stayed true to lyricism, delivering passionate bars and high caliber wordplay. The Storm is no different. The title is a metaphor to how he’s coming this 2017, which looks to be his best yet. He promises more music is to come, so keep it locked here.

flowsfordays Premiere: The Belief Cycle – The One (New Track)

Drew Mantia, a transplant from STL, has been in Chicago making music for over the last 5 years, and in the process has grabbed collabs with Probcause, Chance The Rapper, Saba and many more. In 2015, he dropped a very talented collection of music – his first as a standalone artist, titled Feel Good Music.

Last year was just as fruitful as he dropped a single titled Down with Saba. He’s lately struck out on his own, doing performances on a beat machine live alongside Ryan Marquez, who together make up The Belief Cycle. The duo has been releasing a new single weekly on Tuesdays and returns next week with a really nice R&B jam, The One.

On this record Drew is on vocals, finger drums and guitar & KC native Ryan Marquez is on keyboards and bass. This is a feel good summer hit full of breezy vocals, relaxed instrumentation, and lots of passion. Stream above, check out the rest of the releases, and look out for the next single on Tuesday!

flowsfordays Premiere: Wil Akogu – Operation X (Remix) (New Track)

Without exaggeration, Wil Akogu is the hardest working emcee that I know. I am blessed to know him personally – but before we became friends I noticed his constant grind. From high energy shows to flawless projects to gorgeous videos, he has proven his dedication to his craft.

Wil and I have collaborated on an interview before, but a premiere is something I’ve always wanted to do with him. Today I present to you his newest track – Operation X. He gave me a call a week or so before, bubbling with excitement over recording this. The song is a remix to Femdot’s, Ali of New Kingz, Stark of Huey & Brittney Carters original version which dropped early last month. Wil’s approach to the record along with the minor adjustments to the instrumental made by producer Dougy, allow for this record to create a world of its own. And in this world, Wil Akogu is king.

Stream this track above, and get ready for Wil’s best year to come.

Wellium – BEL1EVE (Exclusive Premiere + Interview)

Prior to this interview, I wasn’t familiar with Wellium or his music It was really too bad as he’s not only a unique artist – but a creative soul. He reached out to me in early March giving me a full synopsis of his upcoming project titled BEL1EVE. It wasn’t your typical email – with very organized information on the concept behind it, when it was going to be released, and even a narrative bio about his life.

Along with the email came some mp3 attachments containing the 3 songs of the EP. It matched with his attention to detail and obvious love of music. You’ll hear it above – but we wanted to do something special with this premiere as there is a lot more to it than you think.

An interview is below to introduce you to John, and for you to learn more about what went into BEL1EVE. Even further below is some insight on a few of the songs on the project. Remember – this is just Phase 1 of 3.

Hey John, thanks for sitting down with us! How are you?

Hey Julie – Thanks for having me! I’ve been doing well and staying busy so time has been flying for me these last few months. Just trying to keep growing every day.

So, you’ve just dropped your new EP BEL1EVE. First – tell us about the title. 

So, me and my two homies back in Philadelphia started our own collective called The Lucky 1’s aka L1. We were texting in our group chat one day and we came up with some words we thought represented my passion for music and their support throughout this journey that also incorporated L1. They’re a huge part of my success and we all got our own little niche within the group. Shout out to Evan & Rich. As for the project itself, BEL1EVE will be a collection of 9 songs with 3 phases that each consist of 3 songs. This is Phase I.

You sent over a few tracks before the drop. It sounded like a very personal project to me. Why did you approach it this way?

Phase I touches on a variety of topics but ultimately it is about overcoming adversity. I started some of these songs almost 2 years ago and have just been fine tuning each one along the way. Previously, I had released about 20 songs and I thought I needed to sit back and really start stocking up my catalogue of songs. So, I waited until I had enough songs done so I could choose which ones would be in BEL1EVE.

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You told me you are “re-branding your sound.” What did you mean by that, and do you think you have achieved this with the project?

 There were a couple of months where I was putting so much time and resources into my craft on top of my 7-5 job that I got burnt out which ended up giving me writers block for a little while. So, since I wasn’t writing that much anymore I dove into recording more melodies and harmonies on tracks. I try to always keep progressing and being more experimental every track I do. I think these first three tracks in BEL1EVE show my growth as an artist these last few years in Chicago.

Why have you decided to drop it now? Is there a specific reason?

Honestly, I didn’t pick a date until this month. I was trying to focus on the progression of the tracks and waited for it all to come together.

Talk about the producers that are on here. Did you reach out to them? How did it all come together? 

The first track was produced by Monte Booker. Met him thru some mutual friends and I saw him at the studio one day so I reached out to him. EP1DMC produced the second track and I met him at the studio as well. The third track was produced by my homie TyKnoxx. Shout out to all of them for blessing me with those instrumentals.

You have an interesting story about your stage name. Talk about how that came together. 

The name Wellium stemmed from my full name, Francis John Cantwell II. I stumbled upon an element called Francium on the periodic table which is very combustible with water. I thought it was ironic seeing that humans need water to survive so I started with Cantwellium. Then decided to remove the negative connotation with “cant” and have it be Wellium.

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The artwork is very important to you. Who painted it, and what does it mean to you? 

Yes, this is a huge part of the project! My buddy Michael Steinheiser aka Adventure Skull reached out to me one day seeing if I needed any help because he had some downtime. After he heard the songs we ended up thinking of dope concept that could be portrayed through a tryptic. He hand drew, painted and edited this piece for me which really made it come to life! You’ll definitely be seeing more of his artwork with the next phases to come.

You worked with Classick Studios on this. Was it a good experience? How long were you working on it? 

I record at Classick a pretty decent amount and it is always good vibes there. They have so much talent coming in and out every day so it’s made me more musically conscious and fueled me to get better. Plus…Bryan Schwaller makes my shit sound so fire, shout out to him!

What do you hope to achieve with BEL1EVE. What type of reception would you like? 

I just want all the listeners to vibe with it and be ready for new music the rest of 2017.

Any last thoughts?

Just wanted to say thanks again for having me on Flowsfordays. Find me @ www.whereswellium.com. Shout out to the Lucky 1’s.

Insight on the 3 songs: 

Farewell (prod by Monte Booker) — This track is about leaving the old you and old things behind and embarking on your journey, even if it may be alone.
Drinking Too Much (prod by EP1DMC) — This track is about how people can get caught up during the Journey in minuscule things that lead them down the wrong path.
OMW (prod by Ty Knoxx) — This track is about conquering the next chapter/phase and not worrying about everything that’s behind you because you see what is ahead of you.

flowsfordays Premiere: Tawobi – Matrix (New Track)

We’ve become fond of Highest Basement Collective’s Tawobi since his song Too Short dropped just a few weeks ago. He went totally left on this new cut, Matrix, and it’s an honor to premiere it. His voice has always been deep – reminiscent of Ol’ Dirty Bastard in cadence, but keeping his dark vocals totally his own.

This is some really abstract hip hop, full of ear bending elements that may sound shocking at first. Get really into it, and you’ll see the chemistry between himself and producer Black Tokyo. Also – peep the dope ass cover art.

flowsfordays Premiere: Jack Vance – Drunk Dante (New Track)

In mid May, emcee Jack Vance dropped out of school with barely 3 dollars to his name. Just a few months later, he left for LA, now with $30 and many sleepless nights.

This didn’t stop his grind, and in September he met Wale and became friends with him, due to his genuine personality and in-measurable talent. Today we are dropping his newest track, Drunk Dante, that Jack made “to show the world that no matter who doesn’t believe in us, we will believe in ourselves.”

I am so happy to premiere this – as Jack gave up everything just to chase his dreams. The song is excellent, full of soul, groove, eerie synths, and hard drums, thanks to producer Potillo. I admire Jack’s never give up mentality – and with his work ethic, it’s only up from here.

flowsfordays Premiere: Zip Dot – Back Up (New Track + Video)

Zip Dot has been featured on our pages so frequently that it actually might be a record. Peep all our posts here. The obvious next step was to premiere some of his new content. This isn’t a typical premiere…as Zip is giving us a double drop. He sent me the mp3 to Back Up (produced by White Shinobi) a few weeks ago, and as usual I loved it. Along with the stream, we’ve also got the incredible animated video by VFX. Watching it will give you a rush, and the 1 minute and 37 seconds will fly by.

Zip is dropping music at a very consistent rate. Join the movement by following him on SoundCloud.

 

 

flowsfordays Premiere: A U S T E N – Club: Tokyo (New Instrumental EP)

As soon as I heard A U S T E N ‘s upcoming EP Club: Tokyo, I knew had to get first dibs on it’s release. We have premiered his work before, but it came in a solo package. We wrote about his love for dark and moody beats, and his excellent use of autotune.

A U S T E N has switched things up completely with this new instrumental project. He describes it as “a sonic trip to Toyko, Japan,” and he hit the nail right on the head. As further shown in the album art, we are transported to the city’s busy nightlife with blinding lights, fast cars, and breathtaking views.

It’s only 5 cuts deep, but I have no doubt you will get lost in A U S T E N’s offering. It is available for free download, so hop on that real quick.

JXHNSCXTT – WTRCLRS (Exclusive Premiere + Interview)

Before you listen to JXHNSCXTT’s new instrumental tape, take a long look at the cover art. Acknowledge the title. Before pressing play on my early listen to WTRCLRS, I did both, and it made the experience even more special.

JXHN has a number of EPs and albums under his belt, but before this release JXHN began to sample popular songs and gave them an ambient/electronic flip. He does this quiet often in WTRCLRS, but there is completely original production too. Listen to all 12 tracks at once, and you will take a journey into JXHN’s creative mind. He experimented on this one, and the result is a sonic wonderland, with pure and tranquil vibes. This is beautiful music, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

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Hey John. You just released your #WTRCLRS  via our site. How long have you been waiting for this moment?

Honestly I was nervous, still am kind of nervous because my last project WTCSS was one of my best in my opinion and I didn’t think I’d be able to top it. I’ve been working on it for about 3 months, not too long, but for a producer a lot of improvement comes in 3 months.

You’ve been promoting it via Twitter…what has the response been like to your tweets?

I can see the real supporters who have been with me since my first tape in 2013 always looking forward to my releases, it really helps keep me motivated! I’m not as big as I’d like to be but the people who have held me down the most have been from Chicago and Minnesota and  I love both places for that

You actually just dropped a highly successful single with Supa Bwe. SoundCloud’s Twitter account even tweeted the link along with a comment to him. They should have included you…How did that collab come together?

I didn’t think he would actually use the beats I sent compared to the other Producer’s he has access to in his city so when it happened me and my friends were really excited. I’ve been a fan since the first Hurt Everybody tape and even met him at SXSW 2 years ago so it was a really awesome achievement. ui think we have at least 2 more songs coming but i don’t want to say too much yet. 

We’ve had you up on the site often since we learned about your music, and spoke on your talent for flipping popular records. When did you decide you wanted to approach your instrumentals like this? What was the inspiration behind it?

My favorite Producer ever is Sango and he came to Austin right before I left for college in Minnesota 3 years ago and I saw him live. That moment was really critical because I wasn’t confident in my production and he showed me that with time you could be great. Since then I’ve been drawing inspiration from him and incorporating it into my own style and sound.

You gave me a listen to the project before the drop. The title and the cover art were a perfect of #WTRCLRS sound. Did you always know you wanted to incorporate this theme?

I saw some paintings from Satsuki Shibuya before I had any direction on the project that really inspired me to make music that looked like watercolor paintings, if that makes sense. Plus I felt like some of my older music was really dark so I tried to go for something a little more vibrant.

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When did you record these instrumentals? How did it all come together?

At first, it was just me making beats in my room every day like usual, I didn’t really have a concept I just knew I wanted to release a project for 2017 kind of early. Most of the songs were just ideas sitting on my desktop that i finally felt like I needed to finish, it just so happens they all really fit each other for a project.

You only have two featured artists on this. Why did you choose them?

I’ve been a fan of Kahrion since I heard “Nimbus’. he was his own artist and had a unique way of approaching beats and lyrics, I like artist who don’t just rap but help me visualize a scene in my head and provide imagery so I knew he’d be perfect for the tape. I learned about PLAY through a Wisconsin group called “3rd Dimension’ and I listened to a few songs and I see he has more potential than most and is basically the rapper every producer is looking for, I sent him some beats for an EP we have in the works and he fits really well over my production so both of them will never have to worry about running out of beats while I’m alive.

Any last thoughts?

Just a thank you to everyone who retweets, reposts, and shares my music, every little bit helps and I appreciate it all! be on the lookout for some stuff I have coming with Sunny Woodz, Supa Bwe, and Taylor Bennett! I

I’m also starting a production group with my friend called coming later this year so be on the lookout for that!

Zay Woodz – Idols (Exclusive Premiere + Interview)

Saint Louis native Zay Woodz has a crazy work ethic. When he’s not in school, (in Chicago) he’s working on beats or networking to further his budding career. The grind is always appreciated, and necessary in this artist centric city. We were interested in his music since he sent a submission a few weeks ago, and are now honored to premiere his debut project, Idols. He was so humble and appreciative of us in his email, that we decided to sit down with him and get to know him further.

As his first project, Idols is incredibly impressive. You’ll hear his concentration and dedication to each instrumental piece. Stream the project above and give our interview a read below.

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Hey Zay! Thanks for speaking with us. Give us a little intro on you!

My name is Zay Woodz and I’m a Hip-Hop based music producer. I’m from St. Louis, but I’m currently in Chicago for college. I’m real serious with my producing and I’m eager to make something big from it.

Your new project just dropped via our site. How does it feel?

It feels good. I’ve been busy reaching out to every blog I can find in order to get my name out there more. I’m glad I’m able to start my first project with you all.

You told me you hope this beat tape will help spread your name in Chicago. Why is that important to you?

As we all know, Chicago is its own music industry. There’s so many musicians solely based in Chicago that I had never even heard before moving here. Most of the musicians based here have been here for most of their lives, so I feel its easier for them to get a fundamental fan base just through connections and knowing who to talk to. But since I’m starting my career here, I’ve been trying to make it a priority to meet people and introduce who I am.

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What does Chicago mean to you – as a city and as a music hub?

Chicago’s always meant something to me cause I got family here, but since I’ve moved here experiencing the entire dynamic of the city has definitely changed my perspective a bit. Seeing how faithful and dedicated people from Chicago are to Chicago has definitely made me love it more. Seeing Chance throw a free public concert to encourage young adults to go vote and hosting a festival for the city inspires me to want to do the same stuff for mine. I want to be able to put St. Louis on the map like Chicago is. I want there to be an art scene and for people to not have to get out the city to get big. I feel that’s one of the biggest things about St. Louis. You see people like Smino or Metro Boomin who were born and raised in St. Louis, but are hardly even around anymore. Once I start to gain clout, I want to go back home and introduce art to StL and form a art dynamic like there is in Chicago.

Who are some of your favorite artists and producers out of the city?

I don’t have favorites. I listen to a lot of Saba, Monte Booker, and Lucki though.

Going into the music – what do you think sets you apart from other producers?

My friends tell me my work ethic is one of the best. Depending on how busy I am with school. I might crank 3 or 4 beats in a day. But for the most part I would say what sets me apart the most is that there is no specific sub-genre of hip-hop that I produce. My influences come from everywhere whether its gospel, Neo-soul, reggae, trap, edm, pop, or whatever. I think thats what’s best about music: the fact its so flexible. I want to be able to make a cold beat for anyone whether their an alternative hip-hop artists or a dirty south Atlanta rapper. Whatever you want I got it… and if I don’t, hit me up. I’ll make it.

What makes this project special?

Actually the theme of the project is that I have so many influences or Idols as the tape’s called and that all the beats are drawn from these influences. What makes it special is that I didn’t just center it around a main sub-genre of hip hop. I tried to open it to the trappers, Xan rappers, old heads, alternative artists, and even the sample freaks. No matter what, I wanted there to be a beat on the tape you could vibe and write to as an artist.

Do you have a favorite record off it?

Like I said, I don’t really do favorites. I like listening to Untold and Run Up/Morning though.

You’ve released a promo video to build your buzz. How has that done?

Ehh not bad. They’ll do better though. I’m about to shoot it to all forums and more blogs. My roommate Sean Delahunt did em. He’s good and has great potential; there will definitely be more in the future.

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What’s coming next for you? 

I’m in the work with a project with some homies back from home and I’m starting to work with some artists on the come up here from Chicago. Also I’m about to send all beats to some mid level mid-west artists I fuck with. Definitely big things though.

Is there any way artists can reach you if they’d like to work with you?

All social media @zaywoodz: Insta or twitter. Or hit my inbox zaywoodz@gmail.com. Anything business related or even critiques are all acceptable. I’ve been busy lately, but I try to make an effort to respond back to everyone that hits me up.

Thanks for your time!

flowsfordays Premiere: Plainro (feat. Christian Jalon) (co-produced by 25th Hour) – Affirmation

Jack of all trades Plainro has been involved in countless projects around the city of Chicago. He dropped one of our favorite EP’s of last year, and has done incredible production for a number of amazing artists. His love for music is quiet clear, as he pours his heart into everything he creates. He’s also an incredible rapper with a unique voice.

Today I am blessed to be able to premiere the first song from Plainro’s Random Music Series. It’s amazing that Plainro AND co-producer 25th Hour linked up for Affirmation, as both have become very close friends of mine. I’ve admire their work from the jump, and am so happy they decided to work together.

I’ve also been following featured songstress Christian Jalon’s music for quiet some time. Her voice is angelic, and her music comes from the heart. Affirmation is a great way to kick of what’s sure to be more great music to come. 

 

flowsfordays Premiere: ØHENRY – All Night (feat. Bakary Burner)

Our newest premiere from Cali’s ØHENRY is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Tomorrow will be full of love, reminiscing, and (at least for me) happiness that I’m not in a relationship at the moment.

In all seriousness, All Night is a provocative nighttime ballad about going – well – all night long. Producer Bakary Burner also gives us a tail-end feature with a different perspective on love making. The record stood out to me with it’s memorable hook and soft vocals.

Whether you’re excited for the “holiday” or not, I think we can all relate to getting in the mood. Stream above.

flowsfordays Premiere: D2X + JT – Chi State Of Mind (New Track)

Chicago’s D2X and I had a lot of back and forth on when we were going to drop this. Equally busy – but equally excited and eager to premiere this track. It is no exaggeration that this will go down in history as one of the best remixes to NY State of Mind on SoundCloud.

He linked up with friend JT as they effortlessly throw bars back and forth. We knew he had the skills on our last post, but didn’t know he’d take it this far. You can’t ask for much more from this re-work of Nas’ legendary song. Give this guy a pat on the back by following him on SoundCloud.

flowsfordays Premiere: Jimi X – Famine (New Track)

I am so honored to premiere this new cut from Jimi X. The Texas native is an incredible talent – and Famine will solidify this…no questions asked.

Producer Purist Potillo (who happens to be his manager) outdoes himself on the aggressive beat bringing everything together. I thought I’d do this premiere a little differently and let Jimi explain more about the song which is below. You can also purchase this on iTunes and stream on Spotify

I wrote Famine as a statement to myself and my brothers. This statement is that I’m never going to allow situations around me to affect the path that I’m on; even though, around me was crazy and things didn’t seem to be progressing. I know in my mind, body, and soul that me and my people were good by any means. That’s what Famine really is. Famine is a declaration that we will go to battle for what we believe we’re here to do. We not going to starve and will eat by any means. It came at a time when people were starving and people were hungry; yet, there was no work to be found besides the work that we created for ourselves. It’s a celebration of success to come. It’s conveying that rather than getting stuck on the fact that nothing is out here, we are going to focus on the fact that we have the ability to create opportunities for ourselves.

flowsfordays Premiere: Sober Kami – TGP (New Track)

Unique Chicago emcee Sober Kami has been on my radar since he sent me his impressive song Call Out Doom. He’s a fan of the classics…lyrical workouts, abstract production, and confident cadence.

Today we have the world premiere of another excellent track TGP. The soul sample by producer iman omari hits just right to compliment Sober’s incredible bars and flow. This is that 90’s shit…the music you’ll play if you want to get lost in true hip hop.

Stream above and follow him on Soundcloud.

flowsfordays Premiere: eGo Jaleel feat. Murph Watkins – Tesla (New Track)

eGo Jaleel has been on fire in 2017. He’s been tearing up the Chicago scene for quiet some time now. If you haven’t heard his recent drop Who Is He, get on that now. It’s one of my favorite songs of this year, and thankfully I got a listen weeks before it hit SoundCloud.

His whole team is amazing and are very supportive and appreciative of the press I’ve given them so far. With that being said, it’s my complete honor to give you the world premiere of his new song Tesla. It’s another banger; and I think most will agree. With production from flowsfordays favorite The 25th Hour and a dope feature from Chicagoian Murph Watkins, I have no doubt in my mind this will do numbers.

flowsfordays Premiere: AWillThaGreat – On My Own (New Track)

We’ve been following AWillThaGreat for quite some time. Back in October we were so inspired by his song Goin’ Up that we hit him up about participating in our dissection interview series. He happily obliged and we conducted one of my favorite interviews to date.

He dropped another celebrated track, Temporary, which at the time was my favorite to date. That title has now been switched to On My Own. Today is our exclusive premiere of the track, and we couldn’t be happier to showcase it. It’s a feel good song with a positive message. The soulful chorus is executed very well from Camb and the classy beat from Hits By Jude ties it all together. Let’s not forget that Will’s flow is effortless and he shines in his wordplay and cadence. Peep the track above and watch out for him in 2017.

flowsfordays Premiere: A U S T E N – Wayside (New Track)

When Chicago artist A U S T E N hit me up about premiering his newest (and most intriguing) track Wayside I was overjoyed. I’ve been noticing him gain more and more respect throughout each new release, whether it be a music video or full project. I absolutely love his sound, and if you want to truly understand his range just give his Nobility Compilation a listen (below)

It’s been a month since his last drop, and today we have the world premiere of Wayside. It has his signature take on a love song…a trap and R&B influence with a little autotune and dark undertones for good measure. It’s a bit on the experimental side upon first listen, but after a few plays you’ll start to hear how accessible it is.

Press play above…this is only the beginning for A U S T E N.

📷: @versaceoveralls

flowsfordays Premiere: Musa Reems – ‘Not With Gang’ (Official Music Video + Exclusive Interview)

It would be very hard to find an artist more patient, appreciative and strategic about his music than Musa Reems. The 19 year old artist (notice I said artist, not rapper) is currently a sophomore at my alma matter, Columbia College in Chicago. He is knowledgeably using the resources and contacts of the school to his advantage. Musa dropped a short EP, Another Dos(e) that made huge waves across the Chicago blogosphere. It is a quality project; each track giving an excellent example of his artistry and what’s to come.

Musa has a strategy in mind with his output, so today is a special day for him and for us. It is our complete honor to premiere his FIRST solo music video Not With Gang. It’s such an artistic visual with impeccable execution by Musa and talented videographer Nick Visuals. You can watch the video above and learn not only about the creation of it, but more about Musa in our interview with him below. Enjoy!

Musa! You just dropped Not With Gang on our site. Thanks for rocking with us! This is the first solo music video you’ve ever released. How does it feel to finally get this out to the public?

Thanks for rocking with me! It feels great to have the video out! It’s been a long time coming and it’s very exciting to release my first solo video. It’s so surreal honestly. This one is for “gang”! I wanted to introduce myself to the world in this way. This wouldn’t be possible without an incredible support system.

Before we start our convo, tell us a little about yourself. 

My name is Malik Muhammad, but most people know me as “Musa Reems”. I was born and raised on the west side of Chicago. I’m 19 years old and I’m a sophomore studying music business at Columbia College Chicago.

Nick Visuals did his thing on this one. He is definitely an established videographer in Chicago…how did you initially link with him?

I originally met Nick about 4 years ago through my homie, Jabari Rayford. During this time Nick was a part of the video production duo, Visual Mecca.  We linked for a few of Children of I.L.L.I.O.S. videos (“Paragon”, “Icarus”, and “Elysian”) and we’ve been collaborating ever since. He is one of the best, not only in Chicago, but period. I trust him with my work and we have a lot of fun creating these visuals. It’s really laid back and free flowing while working with Nick. We bounce ideas off of each other and come up with themes. For “Not With Gang”, we wanted to show how flee we can get.

What about his previous work made you decide to collaborate with him?

I record at Soundscape Studios and I began to discuss video ideas with my engineer, Jabari and I.L.L.I.O.S. The things that we wanted to do fit Nick’s visual style perfectly. When Nick was with Visual Mecca, they were shooting impressive videos for Alex Wiley, Kemble X, and Adot. Once Jabari recommended that Children of I.L.L.I.O.S. work with them and we saw the quality of material they created, we knew it was the best decision for us.

I remember watching Alex Wiley’s “Vibration”, video and it was mind blowing. The videos that Nick and Visual Mecca produced were always top tier.  I created plenty of memories working with Visual Mecca. They helped me grow artistically outside of music also. I got into short films and various forms of culture because of them. Shout out to Nick for helping me move forward and elevate while producing my music videos!

The opening shot of Not With Gang shows a graffitied quote “Don’t let society take hold of you.” Whose idea was it to start the video off that way?  

That was Nick’s idea to include that, and I loved it off the bat.  The quote means a lot to me and it has a lot to do with the video. I don’t think you should ever let someone box you in. At times, I feel like people say you’re not enough or too much of something. In my opinion, you are you and you should feel free and beautiful.  People tell us what we should be and what we shouldn’t be. As long as you are happy and you’re not harming anybody or yourself, I think you should choose your own destiny. It’s so easy to focus on the negative, but I think it’s very important to remain as positive and optimistic as possible.

With the Not With Gang, video I didn’t want society to take hold of me. I’m showing how much I love family, how I am stepping outside of my comfort zone, taking risks, and supporting the part of the city that I feel is overlooked, the west side. Growing up I didn’t feel like I had somebody to represent where I’m from. I wanted to have a role model that I felt was like me. With this video I want to give the youth the belief that they can do it and be unique while doing it. “Not With Gang” is for everybody and especially the ones you love. Let them know you love them for being the amazing individuals they are, no matter what.

Shots of really dope graffiti are shown throughout the video. Where did you guys film this? 

We filmed the video in a Columbia College Chicago graffiti room in Downtown Chicago, The McCormick Place, Pilsen, and on the west side at Uncle Remus. I really wanted to show how “Chicago” I am. Showing different parts of my city was essential. Everything from the clothes I wore to the lyrics I wrote were dedicated to The City of Broad Shoulders. I feel like Chicago gets stepped over a lot and that our pride gets mistaken for arrogance or overcompensation from an inferiority complex.

So many things happen here and it’s overwhelming at times and I feel like I need to escape, but I’m representing Chicago through it all and I’m proud to be from here. I’m here forever and always. I want a lot of people that’s from here to feel that it is okay to rep this city as much they want and to create the image that we want our home to be perceived as. This town is beautiful no matter how hard they try to push negativity in your face. There is no place like The Windy City, from it’s food, to it’s lingo, music, and culture. It is one of a kind. It helped me grow into the person I am today. I made this video specifically for my people out west and in Woodside. Gang!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but your Twitter profile picture shows a similar background to a few shots in the visual. With that said, when was this filmed? 

Yes, some of my press shots are from the video. The video was recently finished this month but I started shooting around the beginning of summer. I wanted to be particular about what shots I wanted to use for my vision, so we went around Chicago and studied various art.  During that time I released my first solo EP, Another Dos(e). I wanted to tie this material together and have deeply conceptual and intricate ideas that were introspective.  That’s something that helped me gain ideas with this video.

As I grow with music, I find myself trying to describe what is going on in my life to help others feel better and show that I can relate. We all have a story. “Not With Gang” and my recent releases are examples of me telling mine. I’m not a very vocal person and can be pretty quiet at times. I’m just letting it be known with my music that I have a voice and that I won’t be silenced. I hope to show others that they do too. All of these photos, videos, and albums are connected.  It’s one long story about what goes through my mind on a daily basis.

Not With Gang is the first single off your upcoming project “Where The Sun Never Rises,” but you released the actual audio in April of this year. Why wait so long to get a video out?

In April I recorded, “Not With Gang”, and wanted to hit the ground running. I really don’t take breaks in terms of making music. It’s been my life since I was 15 years old, so I was extremely eager to release my first solo track. With that being said, I started working on the video about a month or two later, but wanted to show what else I could do, so I released two more songs (“Eclipse” and “Colt 45”). My goal with these songs were to show how versatile I am. I didn’t want any song to sound alike, but instead I wanted them to be cohesive simultaneously.

It was important to me to show how much I’ve grown musically and as a person, while creating a fresh sound that was different from Children of I.L.L.I.O.S.  I want every album to have added elements and to build from each other, whether it’s an I.L.L.I.O.S. album or my own. There should be improvement each and every time. That extra time between the actual audio release and the video has paid dividends for me and I’m excited to show you all what I have in store.

Is there a release date for WTSNR?

There isn’t an official release date for “Where The Sun Never Rises” just yet. However, be on the lookout for new material from the project very very soon. I have a lot of things that I can’t wait to drop and so many surprises. Stay tuned y’all!

You dropped an incredibly impactful short EP Another Dos(e) this August. It was featured on a host of influential music blogs. What was that experience like?

Thank you, that means a lot! It was extremely cool to see my art being recognized by so many people and it’s inspiring. It made me hungrier and really eager to continue creating. I’m forever grateful for the support. Another Dos(e) was a big stepping stone for me and it’s just the beginning.  The funny story about Another Dos(e) is that I didn’t plan on releasing it. With the support of close ones, specifically, uber – talented songbird, Amare Symoné, who laid vocals on the project, telling to me let the music out, I decided to drop the EP. It was a huge step in me getting my feet wet and stepping onto the scene.

The songs on Another Dos(e) are very close to my heart. “Eclipse” talked about a lot of things that happened in my life over the past year, whether it be friendships, feeling overwhelmed and alone at times, love, and hope. “Colt 45” is one of the first solo tracks I wrote. SWM, also known as Bryan “Space” Snow Jr., a friend of mine that I collaborated with, recently passed away. He produced “Colt 45”, and I’m proud of what we created. His legacy lives on eternally and he affected so many people, not only with his music, but with his charismatic personality. While moving forward into the future, I’m going to make sure that Where The Sun Never Rises shows that it’s going to “Snow” forever. Peace and love to my bro and condolences to his family. .

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You are a part of the Children of I.L.L.I.O.S. collective. Why did you decide to pursue a solo career?

It’s something I always wanted to do. I like to challenge myself and the first thing that helped me step outside of being comfortable was rapping in a group. I was just a teenager who fell in love with hip hop culture. It was an explosion of pure creativity all around me. During my freshman year of high school, I took a chance and told my closest friends, Kairo Jones and LUMO, that I wanted to rap and we joined each other to form our collective, I.L.L.I.O.S. I’m doing the same thing that happened to me freshman year, falling in love with the culture and studying it. If you want to be great, you have to be a student of what you’re pursuing. I grow more and more appreciative towards the legends that paved the way for me and that pushed me to make this album. Researching and learning things within my art form is my favorite hobby. I enjoy it exponentially. I’m keeping an open mind and being progressive.

I like trying to develop different things within myself and I wanted to release a solo album. Looking back over the years, I wouldn’t have imagined myself doing some of the things I have accomplished. It’s really humbling to see it happen and it’s exciting. Making an album takes times and I’m putting my all into this art. I’m spitting every bar like it’s my last. I worked on solo stuff while working on Children of I.L.L.I.O.S. albums and it finally came together this year. While working on my solo material, I feel like I have so much more to say. This is also the first time I haven’t written all of my songs in Chicago. A handful of the songs from my project were written in Brooklyn and Las Vegas. Brooklyn played a huge role in my progress specifically. I love it out there. Everybody out there is so supportive.

Experiencing journeys outside of Chicago was beyond helpful. It opened my eyes to new things and made me love in new ways. It made me think about things I never thought about before. With my solo career I look to connect with as many people as I possibly can and I look forward to proving myself and growing limitlessly.

What can we expect from the upcoming project?

You can expect happiness, pain, vulnerability, love, stories, fun, and a look into my life. It’s going to be bussin. We going crazy and turning up. We doing the whole nine. I want people to have an open mind and have fun while listening to Where The Sun Never Rises.  You can also expect a conceptual album with lyricism and a sonic landscape that is vast, ambient, heavy, and colorful.  Where The Sun Never Rises is a narrative for an abundance of voices and I hope it relates to you. I had so much fun creating this project. It’s Where The Sun Never Rises Season!

Any last thoughts?

I would like to thank flowsfordays.com for always supporting me. I would also like to thank everyone who shows me love.  It means the world to me. There is so much more to come!  You can stay updated with me on my website : musareems.com. Follow me on Soundcloud at : soundcloud.com/musareems, and Twitter/Instagram at : @musareems. You can like me on Facebook at Musa Reems. Thank you for your time and much love!

Cassius Tae – No Heart Freestyle (Premiere + Interview)

Cassius Tae has been a big supporter of the site since it’s humble beginnings. He has continued to submit dope tracks, and we have posted every one of them. This time the roles have been reversed and we reached out to him to give us the honor of premiering his newest freestyle and accompanying it with an interview. This isn’t a dissection, but a full on interview covering everything having to do with Cassius.

Side note: Cassius leaked No Heart on his SoundCloud last night, but it was since taken down.

Hey Cassius! Thanks for talking with us. How are you?

Yo whats good! I’m actually doing really good. Just got done writing a new verse, playing this Frank Ocean album, (Endless + Blonde), so yea it’s a good day.

So you released your debut tape, New Beginnings over a year ago. How long did it take to create that?

My debut tape took about a year and a half to write. Although I ended up with 11 songs and 2 bonus tracks. I went through about 20+ songs and it was the most intense writing process ever. I found my singers by attending an open choir practice and closed my eyes and listened for the voices that I envisioned for the tape. The recording process took about 5 months. I went through a lot of ideas to make the tape better and better and give the most of me that I could.

I’m a big fan of the project. It was a very narrative piece. Why did you decide to go in that direction?

Man thanks for real! It means a lot! But I decided to go with a narrative because of “Big Brother.” I wrote it my sophomore year of high school through the perspective of my older brother from the block. My tape was written during my freshman year/sophomore year in college and so many people still asked about that song. And I was wondering how could I make it fit. So I based the skits around this climax of someone that I looked up to losing themselves when they lost the person they looked up to. That’s why Bad Mood and This What God Wanted sound the same because when I wrote the tape I watched a lot of films during the time. Bad Mood was like a prequel. Tae’s Monologue was like scene setter footage as the movie starts with opening credits. Can I Live was the beginning of the movie and the fact I was watching movies during the time inspired the idea for skits as well.

 The production is amazing. Which producers were involved?

Man I had production from Oddisee to Insightful to Seven to man just so many people including Sango

What is your favorite song off of the album?

MAN! This is always the hardest question and I get it so much its crazy. Because every song means a lot to my life at that time it would be like picking the most pivotal point in my life. It’s like a game of Jenga, if you move one block everything falls. But the way I answer this question is based on what songs the tape could not survive without. Bad Mood, Can I Live, 3:45A.M., Blue, and From Time. And My Story His Story because the bars so crazy. But I had to pick ONE??? It’s From Time because it represents my feeling of relief. Which is all I wanted.

Do you still struggle with the things touched upon on the project?

Yes, I do. Like it’s hard for me to go to parties and not be paranoid and on the lookout because they all used to get shot up or big fights would break out. I still struggle with watching people being overly drunk because of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” Struggling with feeling hurting those close to me like in “Blue” is still happening. I mean it be small stuff but I guess it just means more to people you mess wit heavy.

Going back, when did you first start writing and recording? How old are you now?

I started rapping at the age of 8 but didn’t write my first song till 10. The following year me and all the guys on the block started a group called the “HeadBangaz” and it was 4 of us. We recorded our first tape that summer. When had a mp3 player, and sat in the yard every night from like 7 till whenever. We just freestyled on topics to random beats while they played from my mom’s little radio. We would burn beats to CDs and go through them. I came up with all the hooks to beats that complimented all our flows and yea we went from and had the time of our lives man.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Man I knew I wanted to be an “artist” at the age of like 5 or 6 because I started drawing. But the two things that pushed me was when I was 8 my pops let me watch “Tupac Resurrection” and then when I was 11 my mom wouldn’t let me play AAU basketball because of the traveling so I pursued music instead

What was the first hip hop album you listened to?

My mom kept Straight Out of Compton, All Eyes On Me, and a couple others during my years of being like 3. I remember that vividly. And then once I started listening on my own my favorites were College Dropout, The Blueprint and anything with that soul sound.

You currently live in Chicago; have you always lived here?

Yes, but now I spend most of my time at school at Central Michigan University.

Do you listen and follow any Chicago artists? If so who are some of your favorites?

I listen to Chance, Vic, Herb, Bibby, Durk, and Mick mostly. And Dreezy and Tink when they drop new heat. But as far as those who are coming up with me as well..nah. It’s nothing against them. Only person I really mess with is Femdot because I know him personally and he a good dude with bars.

 As I’ve stated in almost every post you’ve been featured on for flowsfordays, you continue to work. You’ve released a ton of content since your debut. What is your reasoning for doing that?

Man to just remain relevant. We’re in the day and age where it is so easily to be forgotten unless you’re established in the city. And also as long as I keep producing heat we’re going to keep pushing heat to the masses.

You recently released a music video of a track off the album. Will you drop any more videos? 

I have more videos outside of the tape but as far as the tape I have a My Story, His Story video. It’s very, very nostalgic in a way where it’s like “dang that’s really me”

Ja-Wan directed the video and killed it. How did you link up with him?

Man crazy thing..we’re blood brothers. We don’t publicize it but yea idk our mom just got lucky lol. He was the first person I heard want to be rapper at the age of 7 lol he always had bars and still do. Him and my big brother from the block Tay started the HeadBangaz and then me and my brother from the block Brandon started rapping too. Ja-Wan got a mini camera for Christmas when I was like 12 or 13 from my gramma and then yea he made a short film starring himself and the rest in history.

Who are some of the major players in your music career? Who has really supported you along the way?

My mom, she really introduced me to hip hop music and the culture. My pops as well he used to DJ heavy growing up and is still Djing till this day. And he taught me the business of it because it used to manage local acts in the city before I came along. But I would also say my biggest supporters are my block, those I’ve known in high school and damn near everyone I’ve met in college.

What are some of your goals for the second half of 2016?

Since we talking goals…I gotta be on somebody’s “Artist to Watch in 2017” list.  Blogs/people can’t be sleep man I really love this music thing and really gonna do this. Some other goals I got about 10 songs and 4 or 5 videos to give yal before the year’s over. I’m hoping to get an email or someone to reach out to me to be on a bill in Chicago. I love to perform. And hopefully more interviews from people who want to know more about the kid.

You’ve definitely gotten a good amount of blog love for your content. When did you start getting on blogs? Has that pushed you to continue working?

Man I touched my first blog when I released my first song “Maybe Maybe” and the hashtag #cassiustaetuesday and #maybemaybe had me trending locally and after that the rest was history. And that recognition it  just made me hungrier and pushed me to work harder

When can we expect a new project from you?

Shhhhhh lol man we gotta keep those things “under raps” lol. But if I had to say anything about it I would say..so far so good.

Any last words or shout outs?

Keep God First