Nique – 25 To Life (New Track)

The burbs of Chicago rarely get love. One artist that might change that is Aurora’s Nique. He’s starting things off right with his debut SoundCloud single, 25 To Life. It dropped on his 25th birthday, and in just over 3 minutes he’s caught us up on his entire life.

The song speaks on his vices, specific struggles, and passion for music. A standout line sits in the beginning, giving us an honest portrayal of a man making art out of personal weaknesses : “I ain’t always living right/ I’m just tryin’ to feel the high.”

The sleek production comes from John Savage, providing a nice backdrop for Nique to wax poetics. I hope to see more collaborations between the two.

It’s only up from here.

ANXT – Watching Paint Dry (New EP)

ANXT is a hidden gem in the Chicago music scene. Who in their right mind would create a 17 minute project inspired by watching paint dry ? WPD is one of the most significant releases the lo fi hip hop world has ever seen, and I say that with no hyperbole.

Stream of conscious bars seem to ooze out of him; and these are no simple lyrics. Complexity is the name of the game, and ANXT does it beautifully. Just peep a segment from opening track Alchemy:

Mortal loud mouths making minimal sound/ too dense for vibration to bounce.
I found myself, building on foreign borders/ searching for common ground. The combat is close quarters.

It would be easy to compare the album to Madvillany (Madlib + MF Doom) in it’s theme and character, but ANTX’s performance sounds more genuine and from the heart. The production is mind boggling, with contributions from E.N.C., Donn $oulo and Save Allen. So much ground is covered in just 6 tracks, including (but not limited to) suicidal thoughts, the savagery of PETA, Pakistan, prostitution, racial divides, and temptation.

I was stunned to see the low stream count of WPD, and hope this write up draws more attention to this classic piece of work.

 

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.

Mpulse – Untitled Bars (New Track)

The most skillful rapper out of Chicago has come through with another boom bap classic in Untitled Bars. He ditches the hooks for straight up bars, showing off his rhyming abilities. The musical chemistry between Mpulse and producers Keef & Lyle becomes more and more apparent each time they collaborate. You’ll hear it again in track Can’t Be Scared, released over half a year ago.

In Untitled Bars, Pulse wonders why “all these dudes sound the same,” as he continues to rep for classic hip hop brought to the forefront in the early 90’s. This marks week 38 out of 52 for Mpulse’s “52 Weeks” music campaign, where he plans to release new music every week for a year straight. You can check the previous 37 releases below. Don’t forget each one is available for free download.

 

Law Tha Dragon drops his best visual yet in ‘Free Spirit’ (New Video + Artist Spotlight)

Taking time off from a buzzing music career is few and far between. East side of Chicago rapper Law Tha Dragon knows this first hand. He’s been pursuing music since 2011, and dropped his first mixtape in 2012.

Fresh Start wasn’t a drop in the pan release, as he teamed up with Chicago legend DJ Honorz via LiveMixtapes. Law wasn’t satisfied with his sound, so he took a break to re-brand it. It all came together with the release of his independent album Sleepless Nights, which hit all major streaming sites in June of 2015.

The development paid off, as his aggressive approach to hip hop sounded more polished and passionate. It is best shown with the title track off his recent project, Free Spirit. Today we’ve been blessed with the visual treatment shot by Rickee Arts. Every bar is fueled with a confident camera presence, as we find Law on top of buildings, speaking on his soon to be takeover of the Chicago hip hop world.

Stream Free Spirit below.

Yomi – #THATHARPIST (New Mixtape)

After listening to just a few songs off Yomi’s new mixtape #THATHARPIST and I was lost. This wasn’t a negative experience – but a completely positive one. Yomi is a producer, harpist, and vocalist out of Chicago who is talented across the board. In her newest project she continues to hone in on her skills both with the strings and behind the boards.

This isn’t a solo affair, as vocal features come from Blake Davis (on four songs) and Pivot Gang member MFn Melo (on three songs), The rest is all Yomi, who will draw you in thanks to her ambient production and incorporation of live harp instrumentation. It is not an album, it is not an EP. It’s a mixtape from a harpist who has something to say. As the opening track encourages, “I hope everything goes your way today.

Additional Credits:

Engineered by Jasper MacRae (@jasper-macrae)

Album Art by Matt Wotjan (IG: digitalpaintfumes)

 

 

Nuworld Flood – Juiced Up (New Track + Review)

Southside of Chicago rapper Nuworld Flood has been proving his worth since 2014 when he first started recording. His first post on SoundCloud was a venting session, with similarity to J. Cole’s prowess as a story teller.

He’s not just a bar for bar rapper. 8 tracks and 1 project later, he’s shown his versatility ten fold. He can make melodic singles, flow over high energy production, and create summer anthems. His newest release, Juiced Up, is the latter.

It’s his most ambitious track yet, and a perfect way to start off the summer season. It brings together all the elements he has perfected in his 3 year long career…great lyrics, confident wordplay, and a choice of smooth production which has become his bread and butter.

The summer anthem part comes in with the liveliness of the production, trap influence and catchiness of the chorus. Play this loud, and get in tune to one of the hardest working rappers out of Chicago.

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!

Ajani Jones – Eternal Bliss (New Project + Review)

Our love for Ajani Jones is endless. Just read our write ups. He’s released an EP, a few loosies, and performed at shows around Chicago. His work has all been leading up to this: his debut project titled Eternal Bliss.

To get a full length from Ajani is more than a blessing, but essential to the year 2017. He is one of the most talked about new talents out of the Windy City, and this LP has proven his worth. It was premiered by arguably the most influential hip hop blog of all time, FakeShoreDrive, and has hit a total of 8K total streams in just 3 days. His success isn’t lucky, it’s well deserved.

Eternal Bliss is his most ambitious project yet, starting with the production. Guitar licks, ambient soundscapes, classic hip hop samples, and gospel influence laces the 10 tracks. 3 producers contribute to the project, with Blooka on 6 songs, Quickly, Quickly on 3 and The Kount on 1. Ajani approaches each song with a different mindset. Some contain off kilter rhyming, others with a classic hip hop flow. One thing stays consistent – his ability to rhyme efficiently on every topic imaginable such as hope, pain, the past, and the future.

The featured artist’s are not all rhyme slingers, but songstresses and back up vocalists. With one full listen you’ll hear the depth and amount of work that went into just under a dozen records. Give this thing a listen, as it will undoubtedly make year end lists around Chicago hip hop blogs (at the very minimum.)

 

Mpulse – Broadcaster (New Track)

You know the drill – Mpulse drops a song – we post it. It’s never a favor to him, just a tribute to the amazing music he makes. This one is called Broadcaster, and is Pulse at his most confident. He demands respect for his capacities as an emcee, and it’s hard to not give him props. Although I enjoy his collaborations with his go to producers, it’s great to see a fresh face in the line up.

estrykerSPEAK provides a gritty, boom bap instrumental, helping Mpulse evoke a 90’s NY type flow. Broadcaster marks week 36 out of his 52 week campaign, and the series is only getting better. You can catch all of the drops here.

Plug Migo – Gracias (Video)

Westsider Plug Migo may be the busiest rapper in Chicago. He’s worked with KD Yung Cocky, G- Herbo, Mikey Dollaz, co-directed a host of music videos, and has been mixing for King Louie’s highly anticipated mixtape Jeep Music 2. On top of that, he raps and produces.

He’s been putting the finishing touches on his second mixtape migoGOD, (almost entirely self produced) and continues to push his campaign with the release of 6 visuals in just 2 months. Today marks the 7th in Gracias. This is one of the highest quality videos we’ve ever come across, from the crystal clear resolution to the film like sequences. It’s shot by frequent collaborator DADAcreative, who is up to 126K subscribers on YouTube.

Gracias has all the elements of a hit single, with a trap infused beat and addictive chorus from Plug himself. Stay tuned for migoGod by following Plug on Twitter

MZJQ – Nothing To Prove (New EP)

Artistic individuals are rarely selfish. They (usually) create to inspire, and share their views with the world. It’s a beautiful thing to see their story told through personal expression…whether they are painters, rappers, or dancers.

Although they find enjoyment in making others happy, their work benefits them as well. Many describe their process as therapeutic. The wonderful artist’s I’ve come to know have their own struggles; whether with money, relationships, emotions, or all of the above. Whatever they create helps them in their daily life, and gives them hope that they may not find in daily life.

A perfect example of this is MZJQ’s debut project Nothing To Prove. The recordings started off as music therapy, and turned into a series of EP’s. This is the very first.

It’s a fun r&b inspired EP, full of poetic musings and a classic hip hop vibe. A personal quote below will give you a better understanding of the body of work.

I’ve always created but due to many reasons never put out a project. When it came to music and poetry I used to look for others approval but this time around I have NOTHING TO PROVE.

Stream above and watch out for more from the budding Chicago artist.

Zip Dot – Next Up (New Track)

We all need a pick me up. While hip hop fans may have a sub genre they gravitate towards more, it’s always nice to pump up the adrenaline. This feeling is Zip Dot‘s bread and butter. While he may not be the most technical rapper, he makes up for it in enthusiasm and unique personality.

His newest release, Next Up, is ferocious, with killer punchlines and a dominant flow. Producer MiiiKXYH composed an intense beat that fit perfectly with Zip’s approach to music. Zip’s is fan base continues to build off his consistency. We certainly feel that way as we’ve featured him countless times and even premiered some of his music. Stream above.

theinjuredparty. – the injuredparty. EP

It kills me that I’m so late on posting this EP, as I enjoy I’ve enjoyed listening to it so much. Our main dude Musa Reems has made huge strides in the last year, tearing up the Chicago scene with his witty wordplay and constant grind. That being said, I could barely contain my excitement when he announced his new group theinjuredparty. It consists of him and Amare Symoné, an amazing vocalist out of New York. The duo make progressive neo soul and hip hop music, heavily influenced by The Fugees, The Soulquarians, and Outkast (to name a few.)

While hip hop has become a bit predictable, especially this year, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear such a forward thinking project. It’s 4 tracks of pure bliss, with verse and vocal call and answers from both talented artists. They are soulful, and aren’t afraid to be different.

Almost every song is produced by flowsfordays frequent JXHN SCXTT who keeps the EP flowing and never stagnant.

PLEASE do yourself a favor and check out their debut. Accompanying the drop they released a dope documentary, giving us an inside look into their music. Big things are coming for these guys – and I can’t wait to see their rise.

Announcement from Wil Akogu + flowsfordays

Hey Wil! How are you?

What’s going on Julie! I’m doing well! I hope all is well with you. 

You just found out some big news. Tell us about it!

Yes I did! Well a couple days ago, I found out I’d be opening for Marsha Ambrosius & Eric Benet on May 14th (Mothers day) in Chicago as they kick off their tour. 

What was your reaction when you found out?

I’m definitely humbled by the opportunity. Most importantly for me, I’m excited to exercise my musical & performance abilities. It’s always a great time whenever you can get on stage, not to mention being able to bless the same stage as two artists of this stature. Especially because they chose me & not the other way around. They really enjoy my music. So to be hand picked is very humbling, and it definitely shows I’m doing the right things.

What is your mindset going into the performance? What type of effect do you want it to have on the people that come out and see you?

Well first this is a great opportunity to showcase my musical finesse. To show my skill & ability as well as precision. I’m very excited. This is right up my alley. Second, I’m just gonna be myself, put on the best show i can & hope everyone there can appreciate my light.

Will you be performing more that one song? What can we expect from the set?

Yes. My set is 20 minutes so expect a decent amount of music. I’ll be performing a lot of unreleased music so it should be a good time. I definitely wanna keep the crowd on their toes.

How do you think this will help your movement and music? What are you hoping to achieve?

I think being exposed to a different audience especially on such a big platform will be greatly beneficial to my movement. I’m hoping to capture as many eyes, ears & souls as possible.

How do you feel about the other artists on the bill?

To my knowledge, I am the only other artist on the bill outside of the headliners. But if any other artist are on the bill, I’m sure they are very talented & I wish them the best.

Where can we find more information about the performance/how to get in touch, etc?

I should have a ticket link available very soon as well as physical copies. Once I get those I’ll be sure to post the info on all my social medias.

We’re rocking with you and know you’ll kill it. Good luck to you!

Connect with Wil:

www.wilakogu.com

https://soundcloud.com/wilakogu

https://www.instagram.com/wilakogu/

https://twitter.com/WilAkogu

https://www.facebook.com/wilakog

 

Josi Green (feat. Aaron Deux) – OH MY GAWD (New Track)

Josi Green never disappoints. Want proof? Just check out his SoundCloud. I’ve supported him since the inception of my first blog, circa 2011. I’ve seen him progress exponentially, utilizing social media and developing key realtionships.

He knocked his newest song out of the park. OH MY GAWD is an apt title, as Josi spits with a rapid fire flow, showcasing his lyrical abilities. Wordplay is abundant, and the feature/production from Aaron Deux brings everything together nicely. Don’t sleep on this guy, and if you’d like to read our other write ups (and premiere) with him just click here.

Cassius Tae – When I Need U Most (New Track)

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Cassius Tae. He’s been active in the Chicago scene, performing quite a bit and always pushing his movement. Today we have his newest release titled When I Need U Most. He’s always been a versatile emcee, able to speak on different topics with ease, and this cut is no different.

He bares his soul on this record, speaking directly to the woman in his life. The relationship has ended in a heartbreaking way, as she is no longer present in Cassius’ time of need. Vulnerability is at the heart of the track, and r&b vocals come from Deja Marie. They speak back and forth on their romance, ultimately leading to finding new love in their lives.

The switch up near the end is the highlight as the story progresses. Cassius raps about his former fling finding a new partner, and how it ultimately didn’t work out. When I Need U The Most is Cassius at his most heartfelt, with a beautiful narrative that we can all relate to at some point in our lives.

Rebel Legato – Wa$teLand (New Track + Video)

I’m a big fan of double drops. It’s a rare occurrence, but when it happens it’s amazing. Today we’ve got another talent out of Chicago named Rebel Legato. The 24 year old emcee has been hard at work on his upcoming project Rebel $eason, and to build buzz he’s dropped the first single Wa$teLand.

His description of the song and visual is insightful, so I’ll let him take it from here:

This track is about my opinion on what I believe is a “waste” from questioning why the sky is black at night, but the clouds remain grey, to simply stating “if you don’t smoke, that’s a waste.” The visual has a grimey vintage look to the video to convey decay.

Fairplay – I Got The City (Video)

Chicago emcee Fairplay impressed me with his newest music video I Got The City. It was submitted to me from one of his supporters, and from the jump I could see why he’s gaining clout throughout the city.

Just a few months ago he dropped a compilation tape with his crew, titled Family and Money. It was pretty rough, but Fairplay shined and was the obvious star of the show. There’s no surprise he released a follow up, up to par with his music.

It’s a simple message, but not braggadocios. Although it was almost 5 minutes, I never got tired of his wordplay and slow rollin flow. The song was produced by Law Beatz, and self directed. It’s a strong message of his determination to make 2017 his best year yet.

 

Ajani Jones feat. Anna Agosta and Shao Doja (Produced by Blookah) (New Track + Review)

Hip hop music in Chicago is in a great spot. No longer are our ears subject to violent imagery, guns, and negativity. Chance The Rapper brought lush instrumentation, powerful subject matter, and quality rapping to the mainstream around the time of Acid Rap. People slowly caught on, but once it hit, the weight of Chicago shifted. We embraced Saba, Vic Mensa, and soul samples from Thelonious Martin. This is all I’ve ever wanted for the city, and the positivity has pushed onwards.

Ajani Jones has encompassed the spirit of the city, and made it his own. We featured his excellent debut EP Astrals on our list of favorite projects of 2016. We’ve all been waiting for a follow up; something to whet our appetite until his second project Eternal Bliss drops on May 12th.

We’ve finally got it with his newest cut titled Bliss. It’s the first single off of the project, released through Columbia College Chicago’s label AEMMP Record. It was premiered on 2 Dope Boyz just a week ago, and the response has been incredible.

It’s energized and autobiographical, with smooth production by Blookah. Harmonious background vocals come from Anna Agosta and Shao Doja, adding soulful optimism. I can’t wait for Eternal Bliss, and suggest you follow him on SoundCloud for updates on his music.