Better – [Family Reunion]

It should come as no secret by now that we here at Lyrical Lemonade are avid fans of Chicago artist Family Renuion. Her music has a naturally lovely, refreshing wave of personality to it, and further, the sheer familiarity that she seems to share with fans in each and every song is second to none. With this in mind, Family Reunion is back on our pages today with an incredible new song, “Better.” In a similar fashion to past releases from Family Reunion, this song exudes a sense of artistic integrity that you can’t help but fall in love with throughout the duration of the song. Her lively, deeply personal vocals swim without flaw against the animated strum of the instrumental, and further, the vocals here seamlessly adapt to the melodies, one note at a time. Needless to say, the symbiotic relationship between these vocals and the instrumentation is absolutely fantastic, and per usual, Family Reunion has hit the nail on the head with her latest. Listen to “Better” below and let us know what you think in the comments!

Okay – [Family Reunion]

After what has been a breakout year for Jackie Carlson of Family Reunion, it’s natural to wonder where the indie-pop songwriter might be going next in terms of music. Judging by how quickly she’s supplanted herself deep in Chicago’s indie scene, the answer to that question seems to be just about anywhere she wants to go. Family Reunion’s latest single, “Okay”, offers up even more concrete evidence that Carlson is not stagnating any time soon. In fact, it’s one of her strongest tracks to date. It’s also one of her saddest. While heartbreak has played a big role in her previous releases, Carlson approaches it differently this time around, writing from the perspective of someone who’s desperately apologetic instead of just hurt. She wraps up feelings of confusion, regret, and miscommunication into a cohesive story that unfolds in the song’s verses. What she conveys lyrically gets mimicked melodically, and there’s genuine candor in the way she cries out “baby, I’m sorry. I know I was bad too”. The track then dissolves into guitar plucks and a steady lo-fi beat, giving just enough cushion for the vocals to make a soft landing. Listen to Family Reunion’s latest offering for yourself below:


While Chicago has been known as a reputable city in hip-hop for numerous years now, this revered position has not arrived without the constant innovation and hard work of the artists that so faithfully represent the prowess of their home city. It is these artists that we have to credit for this respected reputation, and we here at Lyrical Lemonade try to honor this in every way possible by constantly bringing new Chicago acts into our headlines here on our website. That said, 2018 has been yet another fantastic year for Chicago music, so we went ahead and compiled a list of our “Top 50 Chicago Projects” of the year. This now marks the third year that we have been putting out this list, and we believe that it’s safe to say this year’s list might just be the most solid one from top to bottom that we’ve seen yet. Thank you to our terrific writing staff for all of the hard work they have put in this year, I will be linking their socials below so be sure to contact them about getting featured on the website in the future. Seamus Fay • Mike Del Ro • Sam Morrison • …

Blood – [Pivot Gang]

Pivot Gang’s story up to this point has already been a long one, yet the Chicago collective spearheaded by Saba is only starting to garner the attention they deserve. Their new crew cut, “Blood”, serves as a reminder of the range of talent in Pivot’s ranks and a family reunion just in time for Thanksgiving. ‘Chicago’s Most Charming Rapper’ Joseph Chilliams kicks off the track with his signature sense of humor, followed by MfnMelo’s laidback flow that switches up the pace of the song at just the right time. Frsh Waters, who’s emerged this year with a few promising tracks of his own, closes the song out and finishes his last verse with finesse. Saba holds things down on the hook, tying the gang together by proclaiming his loyalty to his family. It’s been a minute since Pivot dropped a group track, and hopefully “Blood” is a sign of more to come. Listen to “Blood” below, and if you’re in Chicago this weekend, see Pivot Gang in action at the 2nd annual John Walt Day this Saturday. produced by @daedaePIVOT & @squeakPIVOT

Honest -[Victor!] x [Family Reunion]

Chicago native Victor! has been making a name for himself within the city and beyond, so I was more than excited when I saw that he released a brand new song titled “Honest” featuring Family Reunion. This record is off of his this year’s CD exclusive titled “Glitter98”, and it just might be my favorite record from him to date, the way that Victor and Family Reunion complimented each other on this track was admirable. Check out this new offering below and if you like it be sure t follow Victor! on Soundcloud here.

Different – [Family Reunion]

Watching Family Reunion’s Jackie Carlson carve out her own niche in Chicago’s music scene over the past year has been nothing short of a spectacle. She dropped ‘J’ back in February, a debut EP that tied together the alternative/indie and electro pop sweetener that made her early singles slap. Her output hasn’t slowed down since, and with a second project set to drop Oct. 26, Family Reunion’s come through with a new single titled “Different”. Leaning more heavily on synths to drive the track, “Different” sits on the more poppy side of Family Reunion’s discography so far. Guitars still pang back and forth, putting a serrated edge to the rest of the lush, clean production. Not to get overshadowed by the production, Jackie’s songwriting stands as the main attraction. Fed up with the negativity surrounding her and hearing people talking shit, she refracts her bitter heart into melodies that you can’t help but bop along with. Listen to “Different” below, and look out for her EP dropping next week.

Reboot – [KAMI] [Smoko Ono] ft. [Chance the Rapper] & [Joey Purp]

KAMI’s been a consistent favorite in Chicago since the Savemoney affiliate emerged onto the scene as part of Leather Corduroys, and the release of his “Just Like The Movies” and “Superstar” projects has KAMI picking up the larger acclaim his talent demands. Now, he’s teamed up with go-to producer Smoko Ono for a new single that proves they’re going for the kill. On “Reboot”, the rapper-producer tag team recruits a lineup of their closest collaborators and some of Chicago’s heaviest hitters. They call in Chance to do what he does best, and Channo delivers with a flow completely out of left field delivered in a way only he could pull off. Right after that, Joey Purp makes his appearance, recalling the same explosive energy that he channeled with KAMI when they honed their craft as Leather Corduroys. Soundtracking the Savemoney reunion is a barrage of punchy drums and breezy synths courtesy of Smoko, laying the blueprint for a hit to be made. Smoko and KAMI no doubt have a formula for success that they’ve concocted through countless collaborations in the past. With “Reboot”, they cook up a club banger while keeping it all in the family, leaving us anticipating their forthcoming …

League – [Family Reunion]

Over just one year, Family Reunion’s Jackie Carlson has become one of Chicago’s most promising acts out of the alternative/indie scene and one of my personal favorite artists out of the city. On her latest, Carlson pens a dreamy track fit for the official start of summer titled “League”. Her songwriting, as always, is the focal point of this record as Carlson crushes on someone who she’s afraid won’t feel the same way. Writing candidly about the nerves and emotions this person has brought out of her, she expresses them through sticky melodies with undeniable clarity. Producer Tombo supplies Jackie with the sonic backdrop that gives weight to her words, letting a fuzzy guitar riff make up the bulk of the beat. Listen to “League” below and be sure to check out Family Reunion’s debut “J” EP here.

LL Presents: The Ric Wilson Q&A

Ric Wilson has been a frequently featured artist on our platform for quite some time now, so it was a matter of time before we brought him in for a Q&A! About a week ago Ric blessed his growing fan base with an impressive new EP titled “BANBA”, and it has been in rotation in my headphones nonstop since the drop & for good reason too. He has been putting out some good music for quite some time now but this new tape was on another level, and I picture Ric continuing to prosper & becoming one of the new faces of Chicago in the years to come. Learn a thing a two about Ric below & if you’re in the city be sure to come out to his show at Lincoln Hall this Saturday by copping a ticket here!     — EM: Before we dive into the questions, give our readers who may not be familiar with you a brief introduction of yourself.   RW: I’m Ric Wilson, I make rap music & I fake sing. — EM: What is your earliest memory of music? RW: One of my earliest memories is seeing Alicia Key’s Fallen video on MTV where …

Fling – [Juto] ft. [Family Reunion]

A soulful singer-songwriter by the name of Juto is making his first appearance on our platform today with a new single titled “Fling”. The Missouri-born artist, who records and produces all of his music using his phone, has linked up with Family Reunion, who’s quickly become one of my favorite genre-bending artists out of the Chicago scene. Together, the two trade lyrics about the frustrations of wanting a serious relationship while your significant other may not see things the same way. They package their longing for love in silky harmonies that float above Juto’s mellow production, letting their vocals melt into each guitar strum. Juto previously released a solo version of “Fling”, and while that version of the track is already strong, bringing Family Reunion into the mix feels like a natural, finishing touch. If you like what you hear, Juto has a ton of other music up on his Soundcloud already (be sure to check out his rendition of Daniel Caesar’s “Best Part” while you’re at it), and he’s also been teasing new material over his Instagram. With a forthcoming project titled “Velvet” in the works, this is definitely not an artist you should be sleeping on.