KREW$ Nothing To Talk About

On April 3rd of last week artist KREW$ released some “left over work from his “lo-fi” sessions.” Ever since I’ve spent almost every possible moment with it in my headphones. From going to class, studying, and just relaxing, I’ve found this collection of sounds to be a great surprise. For being just “left overs” (quoting the artist) they provide a high expectation for what’s to come next in “lo-fi”.

Take a listen for yourself:

He introduces the collection with “These Are Scary Days”, a song with a mellow beat placed behind strong lyrics. Throughout the piece KREW$ seems to be comparing himself and his work ethic to what he’s observed of others’.  He makes claims such as “You got some swag but you lackin’ substance” and “This is me just having fun, yall should be afraid” perhaps hinting at the title. It seems to me this is a warning for the artists making music for the money and attention, he’s coming for them with realness.

He moves on to some more upbeat tracks, such as “New Plug” and “OTS + Tweakin'” all featuring  his unique sound. KREW$ mixes his lyrical skills with captivating beats, creating almost a mixed feeling when listening to his music. While the tempo of some of the songs in this collection relax you, his lyrics do the opposite. Sparking memories, activating your imagination, and influencing feelings of determination, lust, and enthusiasm.

Here are some of my personal favorites:





Last Friday I was lucky enough to see Gravez perform for an event hosted by Too Future at Canvas. Along with his amazing music, the event was complete with live painting, dope lighting and visual art on the walls along with body painters.

I am almost ashamed to admit I didn’t know Gravez would even be performing before I got there. But as soon as I heard Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” in the background of one of his mixes he caught my attention. By the middle of the night my voice was gone, needless to say I had fun.

I wasn’t not much of an EDM fan, but I may be now. Gravez, being associated with Soulection, has a unique style. He stuck to mostly hip hop, and being that we were in Chicago he knew he had to play some Ye. And not just his new stuff, I’m talking Kanye classics, which definitely made my night. Artists like Gravez have made it possible for hip hop fans to appreciate EDM.

Here’s some of what I’m talking about.

Check out more of his music below, or visit his Soundcloud!

My favorites!




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Last month Distortedd, or Zahira Santana, hosted an art party at Irdium Clothing Co. in Wicker Park. As she used the event to showcase her work as well as give local Chicago artists a chance to show theirs. This included musicians, other visual artists, pastry bakers, and even reptile tamers (there were people walking around with snacks and lizards like it was nothing).

Distortedd’s pieces depict an urban/street wear style with her own unique animations.  Most of the work she showed consisted of trippy twists of her favorite movies and cartoons including Menace 2 Society, Rugratz, and Dragon Ball Z.




When asked how she started animating she told VanGirls, “I’m a cartoon maniac. I started animating a year ago because I was curious as to how my art would be if it were to come alive. Like a mad scientist, I started making my art make small movements, then I moved along to making mini 15 second videos out of them, now I’m making full length videos.”

Shop her art here

If her art isn’t cool enough for you, try spending just two hours in the same room as her. At only about 5 foot, Distortedd might be one of the sweetest, most down to earth girls I’ve ever been around. She spent the whole night dancing, laughing, and talking with all of the people who came to support her. Not only that, but she was sure to show her support to the other artists there. Her and her art are truly one of a kind.







Experiencing this young woman’s voice in person was captivating. She stood on stage with her eyes closed, singing in a soft raspy voice, swaying to the soulful tunes of her guitarist in the background.  Her entire persona was illuminated when she held that mic. Even after following some high energy rappers, she was able to capture the crowds interest through her passionate lyrics.

Her most recent song and her first solo single, Father Time, has reached more than 25k plays on SoundCloud.

Available on iTunes and Apple Music

My personal favorite song of her’s, Open Letter, depicts the hearts of youth in Chicago as well as her personal life challenges. She quotes in the description,

“1 year ago today I failed at a suicide attempt. Im still here. This is my open letter, Im only getting better…”

This young woman isn’t only a singer, she’s a visual artist and has done work directing music videos. Her first piece of work was a year ago for her song Motel 6. 

On her blog, when asked if music was her deepest passion she simply responded, “Creating is.”

I think that is the best way to define an artist like Jean. Not a singer, not a musician, not a music video directer, but a creator.

At 20 years old, Jean Deaux is an inspiration to female artists everywhere. Not only does she express herself fearlessly, within a music scene she claims “is a liiiiittle mysogynistic,”  she also uses her social media platforms, as well as her art, to speak out against injustice and inequality. She is proud of herself and her roots, which is very admirable. Women everywhere can look to her story for guidance.


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The weekend before last I was lucky enough to experience Cousin Stizz live in Wicker Park.

Although he came all the way from Boston, when he stepped onto the the stage you would’ve thought he was at home. The crowd knew every song and never stood still.  Surrounded by colliding bodies and lyrics screamed on both sides of you, you couldn’t help but vibe with him. His name will definitely “ring some bells” next time he’s in Chicago.

Checkout his latest music video for No Bells


Even though the crowd was wild, Stizz’s music has a slightly slowed tone to it. This is relevant in his most recent mixtape Suffolk County (a must listen to for any hip hop fan). Popular tracks like Fresh Prince and Shoutout (cosigned by Drake) illustrate his hypnotic sound.  And while he incorporates beats from various different producers, his sound is consistent throughout the tape.

Specific songs like Real Life and Fed Up stick out to me. Lyrics like, “They dont understand what we be rappin’ about, real life.” and “Meanwhile on the block n***** dropping like flies / Streets always at war man ain’t nowhere you can hide” show that his music is his story book. Be sure to not only enjoy the music when you listen (which isn’t hard) but to really listen to his words. He’s telling you something.




Last weekend at Sub-T I stood front row to see Mic Terror, Roy French, Brian Fresco, Gzus Piece, and DJ EarnMoney for their last show in Chicago before they head out for #THELATEPASS tour.

The entire night was filled with dope vibes from performance to performance. But I must say, the most impressive had to be the DJ behind it all, DJ Earn Money.

Captured by visual/photo artist, as well as owner of Mindset MusicTimmy No Toes

His song selections kept the vibes flowing before, between, and after performances. As a frequent concert attendee, I can say from experience there’s nothing more important than keeping the crowd up when a singer/rapper isn’t on stage.

Captured by writer and owner of Mindset Music, DJay

Captured by Evol.Co / (clothing/merch)

From parties to just chilling with friends, being the assigned DJ for the night is a lot of pressure. But DJ Earn Money knows what he’s doing and you can tell that he loves it. Through his energy on the stage and his own tracks you can tell that he puts unsolicited time into his work, and it’s paying off.

Twitter: @DJEarnMoney
SoundCloud: @DJEarnMoney



BBHM – Surreal.ak

A good mix for when you’re in a good mood. It’s hard for me not to dance when this mix comes on. It’s also one of my favorite things to listen to when I’m working out. Featuring well known artists such as Future, Drake and Fetty Wap as well as up and coming artists like Playboi Carti and Robb Bank$. This compilation is a perfect mix of trap and upbeat moods.


Scholarships- Drake & Future
Brackin- Johnny Drama
Flu Games- Cashmerely
Can’t Lie- Ralo Feat. Future
Don’t Tell Nobody- Playboi Carti
Gold House- Reese
Oh My Dis Side- Travis Scott
Sensational- Robb Bank$
Jersey- Future
Dui- Jose Guapo Feat. Quavo
Bet It- Key! & ManMan Savage
48- Shy Glizzy
Time- Fetty Wap
Jumpman- Drake & Future

Sippin & Simpin Pt2- DJAmberAlert

A more laid back mix. This compilation gives off a slow and down to earth vibe. I can’t help but sing a long to each song. Featuring smooth transitions between chill tracks and cute lyrics, just about anybody can enjoy it.


Chill – Trey Songz (Prod. By Saaj x DrewsThatDude)
Cruzin’ – Th3Rea$on (Prod. Xander J)
Go Without Her – Key Wane ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Take Me As I Am – Diggy Simmons ft. Mishon
Still – Trumaine Lamar
Late Night Drive – Yo Trane
Uber – Makio
Frank – Jodran Bratton
Better – Ezra
Over – Vann
Can I (Ekali Remix) – Alina Baraz & Galimatias
All That Matters – Elhae
Say It (Ed Sheeran Cover) – Tory Lanez
Sweeterman (Clowd Remix) – Drake
Throwback Love – Nieman
My Love – Villette
Til the Morning (JASE Remix) – JASE.
1738 – e s t a.
DSYLM – Rubee Rayne
Not Around – NOVA & VNSN
Gibberi$h ft. Anthony Funcheon – JoeeBilli
Flickering ft. Common Souls – Smoaj
Sunshine – Joonie
Drive Me Crazy (Rasmix) – RA$CAL
Love Again ft. JMSN & Sango – Ta-ku
Smokers Room – candiceRNB

Vol. 1- Marty Khan

A mix of all of his own tracks. Something you can lay around and vibe to, but also carries the innovative elements of rap and soul that make you want to get up and sing along.


Dopimem- Marty Khan
Charlie Masnon- Marty Khan
Change Yo Life (Do Dat) – Marty Khan
Apollo Apollo- Marty Khan

IS THIS LOVE? (it wasn’t)- Yazmine

Another laid back mix by the talented 17 year old Yazmine. This compilation is complete with soulful beats from artists such as SPZRT & Sango, paired with Aaliyah lyrics to top it off. Yazmine puts a twist on the relaxed mood by adding her own techno/pop sound over and between tracks.

Note from the artist: “I decided to make this mix at a very weird place in my life, my life is still very weird and I don’t know exactly where my mind is. I feel very wandered off and in another world when it comes to my thinking. So I just put it all into this mix, as well with a lot others.”


Unknown – 347 EST SDE
The Code – Natural
Skai Chai – Say You Will Remix
SPZRKT & Sango – JMK
Fortune – Sooner Than Later
Partynextdoor – Her Way Remix
Fortune – Rotation


Years ago, female Hip Hop and R&B artists were rare. Women such as Aaliyah, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, etc. paved the way for women in the Hip Hop industry. Today women are still often forgotten in conversations about these genres. These women have worked hard, and made a great impact in the music industry, breaking through barriers, and showing all young women to chase their dreams with confidence.


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With her first European tour and a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album, all under 20 years of age, this Oakland native dominated 2015. With another album in progress this girl is definitely one to watch.


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Her name may be new for some, but it won’t be for long. In 2015 Layla Hendryx put on for her city of Toronto. With tracks like… she shows off her untouchable flow, and she’s not stopping now. With her hard and intuitive style Layla will no doubt be making moves in 2016.


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Our very Chicago native, Tink, made her own moves in 2015. From rapping to singing, she can do it all. But she doesn’t just “do it”, Tink’s diversity within her work is something few can achieve. Make sure to keep an eye out for her this year.




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The Vine sensation, Toni Romiti, switched up and spent 2015 shocking her fans repeatedly with her impressive musical talent. Along with a great sense of humor and dance moves, this girl has a lot going for her music career in 2016.


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Daughter of Jada and Will Smith, Willow, made her own name for herself in 2015. Although her music doesn’t exactly fit into one specific genre, her artsy vibe and free spirit shined through in her music, and there’s nothing stopping her this year.



Recently I’ve stumbled on another rising Chicago artist. A 19 year old student at the Art Institute of Chicago, Maryiah Winding, who goes by the stage name Awkh.

Although she may be tiny the girl radiates with talent and skill. Her music showcases her mindset- confident and driven. Theres no sense of self-doubt, this girl knows what she’s doing and where she’s going. And she’s chasing it with no fear.


In September Awkh dropped her latest project, “This Summer I…”

The artist shared the following words about her work prior to the release, “Hella love, hella shade, hella hope, ambition, passion, good times, cutting up, everything I did and went through this Summer is there. The important stuff at least, like the stuff important enough to make me feel some type of way. 
It’s a fun project no chill project in contrast to my last project Politically Correct, but I’ll let yall judge on your own.”

Each track reveals the young artist’s complex style. Featuring a smooth and rare flow, she’s changing the game for female rappers everywhere.

Be sure to check out the rest of her music on her SoundCloud

And keep up with whatever moves she’s making next by liking her Facebook page.



This past weekend I attended an event at the IRIDIUM clothing store in Wicker Park, 1330 N Milwaukee Ave (they also have another location: 108 N State St)

The event featured 8 Chicago artists including Alp Seyrekbasan, Awkh, Mikey Joyce, Taylor Effin Cleveland, Young Mogul, Chi, Spade Gucci, and Torrence Lamont.

Although the night ended early due to sound issues the crowd still got time to see almost half of the performances that were supposed to go on that night.

One artist in particular stood out from the rest, Jinx The Natural.  

Sound Cloud: @jinxthenatural
Twitter: @jinxthenatural
Instagram: @Jinxthenatural
Youtube: @Jinx The Natural

The images above were taken during his performance of his current most played song Holy Water, from his mixtape GMBC (Gods Must Be Crazy) shared below.

Jinx has an original sound and style that can’t be copied. His personality on stage gives off an incomparable energy that shows just how passionate he is. Hanging from the ceiling, legs kicking in the air, there’s really no one like him.

His latest mixtape, You’re A Natural, showcases more of Jinx’s unmatched authenticity with songs like So Long, All Eyes on Me, and Better Know.

If I were you I’d make sure to listen and follow before he takes off. As well as to keep an eye out for any future projects or performances.

Sound Cloud: @jinxthenatural
Twitter: @jinxthenatural
Instagram: @Jinxthenatural
Youtube: @Jinx The Natural