Premiere: Quest II – [Alex Wiley]

Alex Wiley takes you on a psychedelic walk down memory lane with his new video for “Quest II.” The song’s dream-like production and Wiley’s seamless story-telling ability are brought to life with a series of visuals that captures fates peculiar timing. The video begins like the start of a home movie, capturing an elderly Wiley sitting amongst friends sipping wine and chatting. It isn’t until the song’s production kicks in that the video is sent through a series of flashbacks that chronicles Wiley’s first encounter with the women of his dreams and their eventual life together. The camcorder style presentation of these intimate moments helps to fully convey the genuine nature of the scenes that we have or will experience as well. Wiley seems to have found the perfect balance between out-of-the-box psychedelia and heart-warming charm. We dare you to try to forget the infectious laid-back chorus, “A vibe got caught but my flight got missed.” “The lyric came from an experience I had in New York a couple years ago where I lost track of time having a very meaningful conversation with some new friends and missed my flight home. In a weird way it was a turning point …

Producer Spotlight-[YOG$]

When you hear a great song, there are so many key pieces that contribute to its success. Everyone experiences music differently, but when it comes down to it, I think it’s extremely important to give credit to the stellar aspects that make a song what it is.  As a music connoisseur, the first thing I pay attention to when listening to a song is the production. Behind every dope track and catchy hook is a producer who makes it all come together in a concise manor. That said, for todays’ fresh find, I want to shine the spotlight on a producer who has all of the talent to be a star in this industry. When Grant Yarber was a college student at the highly esteemed University of Michigan, he knew that the only thing he wanted to do was music. During lectures, instead of taking notes, Grant would be in the back of the class refining his beats and sending a myriad of emails to industry professionals under the name of YOG$. After some time, the young producer started receiving responses from artists who liked his work and from there, the rest is history. I stumbled upon YOG$ after one …

Tangerine Dream II – [Alex Wiley]

Today, Alex Wiley returns to our pages with the long-awaited follow up to his stellar 2016 project, Tangerine Dream. The second installation of the series, Tangerine Dream II, finds Wiley better than ever. After a recent move to Los Angeles from his hometown of Chicago, Wiley capitalizes on his silent hiatus by reestablishing his hazy brand of lyrical dissection. His new EP remains true to the theme of the Tangerine Dream series, utilizing a majority of lo-fi production while Wiley delves into his introspective bag to deliver a thoughtful project around the life-altering changes made to his lifestyle as of late. That said, not only is Tangerine Dream II incredibly well done, but there’s also a good chance that Wiley has a few visuals up his sleeve that will bring to life the encompassing sonics of his latest offering. Make sure to put your friends on by sharing Alex Wiley’s new EP and show the emcee some love by following him on Twitter and Instagram!

Very Close – [Alex Wiley]

Alex Wiley has simply outdone himself this time. After taking a nearly two-year hiatus, the Chicago-bred artist is back in the spotlights once again, this time offering up a new single entitled “Very Close” that I’m truly struggling to put words around. My initial reaction to this one was just how gorgeous and illustrative the instrumental is, but when you add Wiley’s heartfelt, soul-searching vocals as well as the context that this song is the first that we’ve heard from him in years, it all becomes too much. Wiley has grown, both as an individual and as an artist, and “Very Close” brings listeners front and center as we experience this growth in such an inimitably smooth sonic setting. He lost weight, he found himself after a long journey of self-discovery, and now, Wily is ready to let the world know how he’s feeling and how it all went down. Between the beyond-beautiful orchestration, the soulful drum patterns, and the unrivaled authenticity that ooze out of this song, I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorite new releases in recent memory. Alex Wiley is back and he’s better than ever; keep a lookout for his new project Tangerine Dream 2, …

Poppa – [Calez]

You may have seen Calez on our Top 50 Chicago projects list back in 2016 with his Baby record, and late last night, he came through with his first tape of the present year titled Poppa. Coming in at 5 tracks, the stellar production came from the likes of Drake Connor, Thelonius Martin, Calev, Cartin Lang & Calez himself with the lone features coming from Mick Jenkins and Alex Wiley on Cool. I’ve been keeping tabs on the Chicago talent since that Baby album and immediately after pressing play on this one, the overall growth in the sound & style were both at the forefront right away. Let’s hope that Calez has more plans for releases like this one as the year carries on, but until then let loose the Poppa EP below!

LL Presents: The Ajani Jones Q&A + Cocoons EP

Ajani Jones is one of the most talented artists in Chicago, you just may not know of him yet. I first discovered Ajani’s music late last year when the homie Kiraly put me on to his project “Eternal Bliss”, and after running through the EP dozens of times I became a huge fan of what he was doing. He made an appearance on our “Top 50 Chicago Projects Of 2017” list a couple months back and for good reason too, as he possess an insane amount of potential & unmatched rapping abilities. A couple days back Ajani dropped a stellar new EP titled Cocoons, and mark my words when I say that when we look back on the year of 2018 of Chicago rap, this project will stand out in the bunch. I predict that he will become one of the faces of Chicago rap in a couple years and with his new team Closed Sessions backing him, the sky is truly the limit for Ajani. I am excited to see where he takes it from here but for now stream this brand new tape below, take a few minutes of your time learn a thing or two about him & …

Like MacGyver – [Alex Wiley] Ft. [Mick Jenkins] & [Azizi Gibson]

You may or may not be familiar with the classic TV-show from 1985 in MacGyver, but lucky for you Alex Wiley, Mick Jenkins, and Azizi Gibson are here to help you out with that. Just yesterday, the 24-year-old Wiley who is fresh off his Synthia, Pt. 1: Dial Tone project came through with a Mike Gao-produced jam titled Like MacGyver featuring Chicago-bred Mick Jenkins and L.A.-based Azizi Gibson who’s coming off a project of his own in I’m Good On People. Right as the chorus kicks in, the smooth vocals of Wiley & Gibson set the tone immediately as you go into a trance of cloudy synths before the trio switches-off with their ear-pleasing verses. Gibson’s infectious vocals alongside Wiley’s bars and Mick Jenkins story-telling style was the ultimate connection for anyone looking for their next track to roll-up too. Nonetheless, be sure to let this one loose from a couple of Chicago’s finest and let us know if you’re digging it in the comments below!

Silent Party Music Presents: Say Less at Emporium Wicker Park-8/3

Silent Party Music has announced a FREE party on August 3rd to take place in Wicker Park’s Emporium Arcade Bar and it is sure to be far from silent considering the talent they have lined up to perform. SPM have provided incredible instrumentation for artists like Dreamville’s Omen and Chicago heavyweights such as Eryn Allen Kane, Smino, Noname, Saba, Alex Wiley and more so we can only imagine what special guests they have in store for the evening. The vibes will be handled by DJ Dam Dam and DJ MightDoSumn, while the dope artists we know for a fact will be performing include IsaiahG, Luke Titus, and Elton Aura. This is definitely a Chicago show you will not want to regret missing and considering it is free you have no excuse not to make it- unless you will be at Lollapalooza which in that case we expect to see you at Emporium after the music fest ends at 10pm!

.22SUMMERS – [Mulatto]

This man Mulatto dropped arguably the hottest Chicago project of the year so far a couple days back with “.22SUMMERS”. I understand that this is a bold statement considering the undeniable amount of great music that has came from the city this year, however I assure you that it doesn’t take more than one listen through to come to the same conclusion as me. This project is extremely special in my opinion, it seemed as if I said to myself “this shit is hot” about each and every of the ten tracks provided. Mulatto truly brought out the best in all of these artists, some of the hottest verses I have heard from some of these guys in recent memory where included on this tape. This was an all around good listen that more than exceeded my already high expectations, don’t take my word for it though, check it out for yourself below!     TRACKLISTING: 1) Lucki – Self Destruct 2) THOUXANBANFAUNI – Shuttle 3) King L – Long Live The Kings 4) – Plottin 5) Alex Wiley – No Reason 6) Trapo – Ranting Stuff 7) Lucki – Summertime Horrors 8) Qari – Good To Lose 9) …

The Freako Interview – [93′ Til]

Chicago rapper, Freako, has been putting work into his craft for a while now, building up a unique sound especially with his most recent project, Oasis. He has pieced together an elaborate soundscape for the listener to indulge in, drawing lines between everyday reality and living completely in your head. Freako frequently reflects on using vices as a form of escapism from the world and overall there is a nice range of energies from track to track, showcasing the versatility the rapper possesses. I was able to chat with him about his musical background, some of his frequent collaborators, the creative process for Oasis, and big plans he has for the future. You can read some excerpts and check out the full 93′ Til interview below! Name: Freako Hometown: Chicago, Illinois (Southeast side) Music listening to growing up: My uncle used to have a big cassette case and it used to have all this old music on there so I used to listen to NWA, Eazy E, and Tupac. Then growing up I listened to Kanye, 50 Cent, and The Game. As time went on I started listening to artists like Rocky, Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt. How did you get into making music? My homie Bunch used …