The Manifestation of Sir The Baptist

If you live in Chicago and you haven’t heard of Sir the Baptist, you must be living under a rock. Announcing his signage to Atlantic Records, performing for the GRAMMYS, opening up for Travis Scott and King Louie, and working with Tony Bennett as well as Lee Musiker – he is no foreign music artist. I’m not just saying this because I have become a part of the team. We are more so because he is playing all the top festivals this summer including but not limited to Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, Afropunk, Thrival, Made in America, and more. His single, “Raise Hell”, premiered on BET and has been streamed almost 2 million times on Spotify.

And let me not just stop there, Sir the Baptist just played Columbia College Chicago’s urban arts and graduation festival, Manifest. You may be wondering what it was like – well fasten your seat belts and get ready for a literary journey as I describe one of the most electrifying performances I have seen to date.

Five minutes before taking the stage, Sir is humbled enough to be in the stage to join the stage of student performers. Seconds before the stage, jumping up and down, sparking a fire within the team, and a prayer to seal it all. The first step onto the stage begins and the transformation starts. He’s in the zone. As he screams, “Whatsup Manifest”, the crowd goes crazy as they roar back with cheers and screams. From song to song, he tells his story as he takes you through the journey of a Preacher’s Kid. It becomes an audible movie but yet visually stimulating with a dynamic gospel choir, a tuba, a full band, and a dancer. On top of that, a choir member flipping into the crowd. At one point the entire performance crew jumped down into the audience to share a connection of dancing and singing while the confetti cannons are going off. Additionally, he gave away his hat that was given to him by Jay Z in New York at TIDAL. If you don’t believe me, just check out this video:



Find more of Sir the Baptist below and catch him on tour below:

Love Tunes For You And Yours

Here are 3 tunes from me to you and yours for this lovely “holiday.”

1) From Chicago’s very own, Monte Booker and Ravyn Lenae have been making a storm with their collective, “Zero Fatigue.” Monte Booker’s production that blends hip-hop, soul, r&b with melodic electronic twists that are crisp is truly a taste of its own. You’ll know what I mean once you take a listen to it. Ravyn Lenae’s soft touch of vocals compliment the track hand in hand.


2) Another Chicago’s favorite and frequenter, SPZRKT has been making headlines with a melody truly catered to a singing that produces a vibing experience. A voice, smoother than butter, with a sound that continues to challenge how music “should” sound will be a treat to your ears. Love cannot be seen but it can be felt. “You’re so beautiful, a blind man can love you.”

Photo by @johnnyfan 


3) From the Bay Area, Anderson .Paak is making waves with his new album, Malibu. Although, I can’t exactly categorize this as a love tune – the mellow vibe and soothing production will probably make you fall in love. Not sure. But, I guarantee that you’ll be digging this hit.


Thank you ALL for reading. The photography post will come soon, I just had to drop some tunes for this lovely day that was manufactured by corporations, haha. This is Johnny Fan, signing out.

Connect with me: Instagram | 500px | Facebook | Twitter

Or write me at with an questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc.



Day In The Life Of Chicago’s Very Own Sir The Baptist

If not now, when? 24 hours is all we have in any given day. Time is free and doesn’t cost us a single dime but time is also the most valuable currency we can spend. Mind boggling, isn’t it? How you choose to spend those 24 hours is truly something precious. Do you ever wonder how a music artist spends their 24 hours? Between interviews, photoshoots, studio sessions, performances, legal agreements, and more – the life of an artist is definitely not an easy task.

Photo by Johnny Fan (yours truly)

Chicago’s very own, rapper-singer, Sir The Baptist, shares with us a video showcasing the behind the scenes of what a day in the life of a music artist looks like. Sir The Baptist calls himself the Urban Monk with a unique genre of his own, the Ghetto Gospel sound. A truly vivid yet complex sound captures the cadence of church. (I dropped a bar right there, yay for alliteration.) Sir’s collaboration with music artists include Chance The Rapper on Surf, Twista, and Logic, among others. With features on Jay Z’s TIDALFakeShoreDrive, Apple Store EventChicago TribuneOkayPlayerWGN RadioSway In The Morning and more, Sir The Baptist is definitely making waves Kanye will hear.

Among other news, Sir The Baptist will be the sole performer at the Chicago’s 58th Grammy Viewing Party at Thalia Hall! RSVP is available! Following the announcement of the Grammy Performance, Sir The Baptist’s “Raise Hell” hits #2 on Spotify’s U.S. Viral Top 50!

Without further ado, here is the Day In The Life of Sir The Baptist below!

Continue reading “Day In The Life Of Chicago’s Very Own Sir The Baptist”

Are You Interested In Photography?

As we are in an ever-evolving world in the digital era, social media and online platforms have opened new ways to share. With platforms such as Instagram, Flickr, 500px, Twitter, and more – the presence of photography and images are growing exponentially. Not to mention how much the smart phone industry has grown, it seems these days everyone can take up photography whether it be from their cellphone or from a DSLR. And to be quite frank, that is true. Everyone can do it. The accessibility to a “good camera” is available in your pocket! The quality of a cellphone camera has grown tremendously over the course of the last decade.

In fact, here is a picture from an iPhone 3GS which was released in 2009, basically 7 years ago!

iPhone 3GS Photo courtesy of Google Search.

What do we have now? Here is a photo from an iPhone from the most recent generation.

iPhone 6 Photo courtesy of the amazingly talented @cocu_liu.

It is safe to say – the scope of photography has exploded since the inception of mobile photography, quality camera phones, and social media. Samsung, LG, Apple, etc. have all developed amazing cameras in a device you carry every single day!

As a photographer and student myself, I first fell in love with photography through mobile photography. Why? Well, I couldn’t afford a DSLR camera. For a lack of better words, I was broke. The only thing I could take pictures with was my smart phone to which I used as my tool to capture. This leads me to my next point in photography. A lot of questions arise about what is the best camera to buy, which brand and etc.

Here is the thing:

The best camera is the one you have with you. (There is a book on this that I would highly suggest too.) It truly is and it is a concept or term that I believe in whole-heartedly. A tool does not make an artist, it only accentuates the craft. Whoa, whoa slow down. Let me explain why I believe in this and how it can tie into any other craft.

Tony Hawk is a skateboarding legend. Does it really matter what skateboard Tony Hawk is using? He is a legend at his craft not because of his skateboard but because of his dedication, hard work, time devotion, passion and the list goes on. The skateboard does not perform the tricks. He does.

Does the microphone of a music artist make them better? Technically speaking, they sound better but it doesn’t boost their vocal range for a singer nor does it help them develop poetry and wordplay for a rapper.

Same applies to photography. The camera is only an accessory and tool to your craft. It does not make your craft. Don’t worry about what camera is the best to get because if you want the brutally honest answer, I would tell you to get the 5 figure camera to which is more or less unattainable for most. So, what now?

Continue reading “Are You Interested In Photography?”

Is Kanye West Dissing Nike In SWISH?

Okay, maybe that theory is out of line. Maybe not. Who knows? SWISH could be very well an entire diss to Nike. Why? The Nike logo is a swoosh. You’ll see what I mean in a minute. As you may already know, Kanye and Nike have been on uneven terms as of late due to a “controlling” relationship in their collaboration sneaker deal a few years back. Kanye tried to continue pushing the creativity of his shoe but Nike would only allow him to do so much. This has been something to which Kanye has constantly spoken out in many interviews against the company such as this one below:

He feels that the company tried to “box him in” as a creative and constructed a platform in which Kanye felt “suffocated” from the lack of creativity and ideas being oppressed by Nike. In the case of the oppression felt by Kanye, maybe Kanye feels he has outdone Nike representing the SWISH as almost a way of his describing how he has surpassed them with his new deal with Adidas. SWISH, like he just beat them at their own game. Call me crazy, I would understand, haha.

Maybe I’m reaching with this theory, haha – so heres another one.

Kanye West

Kanye West has released a few songs prior the release of his 8th studio album, S.W.I.S.H. I really believe S.W.I.S.H. is an acronym as Kanye is meticulous in his craft to give reason that relate to his actions. Releasing the album name SWISH via Twitter, after previously having it called SHMG (So Help Me God), Everything he creates is constructed from purpose. I don’t know what it stands for but a shot in the dark goes something like She’s Why I’m So Happy. This could reference any 1 of the 3 woman who have been so pivotal and influential to his career thus far. Donda West, Kim Kardashian and North West.

Either way, I am definitely interested in seeing what SWISH stands for or the reasoning behind the naming of this album.

What do you guys think?

Stay up to date and connect with me! Or write me at with an questions, comments, concerns, or complaints.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

10 Songs You May Have Missed in 2015 (Stream)

2015 has been a huge year for hip-hop and music overall. The releases of many sophomore albums, debuts, mixtapes, etc. becomes very hard to highlight songs in a lane where everyone deserves their own spotlight. I truly think hip-hop has evolved into a form where each music artist has created their own sound while still instilling the principles and values of hip-hop.

It is very easy to drop a 10 song list off Drake’s discography this year alone. but heres some songs I enjoyed who may or may not have hit the Billboard charts. Some of these are smaller artists you have probably never heard of, some of these are growing, and some of these are already onto their sophomore album. Got a New Years Party today? Maybe these suggestions will help!

Without further ado and in absolutely NO particular order, here we go.

10. Gettin Throwed – Two Fresh ft. Towkio & Joey Purp

The SAVEMONEY collective members hop on the Two Fresh melodic beat with faints of a light piano on top of the touches of snares. The chill vibe tossed onto the chorus will keep you bumping this song. SAVEMONEY is on the rise with these two as they are next up following their fellow members Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa.

9. Heir to the Throne (Freestyle) – Vic Mensa

What? You put a freestyle in this list?! Yes, I did. Vic proves his emcee capabilities by going absolutely bananas on the vocals. With the 2014 XXL Freshman class and signing to the Roc, Vic Mensa’s rise with collaborations like Kanye West are no coincidence. With an inaugural sound, Vic is not only a wordsmith but can sing his own chorus. A true embodiment of talent – I’m excited for the debut album from Vic in 2016 titled Traffic.

8. PEACE – Kami Kurisu ft. Vee Miyagi

An extremely promising up and coming local Chicago artist I found off a fellow friend at Waffles and Vibes has the sound of an invigorating artist with punching vocals over the mellow beat to make a well mixed song. The production is definitely fresh and a good rhyme over it is not foul either. It is worth a listen.

7. Want it All – CALEBORATE ft. G. Eazy

An artist rising from the Berkeley area with a newly released album, Hella Good, creates a vibing sound over the piano powering through an insane production filled with snares and high hats. An cohesive production and rhythm featuring G. Eazy who adds a sick cadence to bring together a well-versed collaboration between the two. I’ve been bumping this and the rest of his album for the end of 2015.

6. I Know You – Towkio

If you peeped my last post, you know I’m a huge fan of Towkio. The eccentric rap star’s sound is propelling forth with a full steam of energy. With one of the best mixtape projects out this year, Towkio’s uptempo rap is kept up with a vibrant sound that is only righteous to the form we know best from Towkio. Yes, this song is not from 2015 but it was tagged along with his mixtape .WAV Theory that dropped this year. Oh well, sue me.

5. Fade Away – Logic

Following the release of his debut album Under Pressure, Logic releases an extremely cohesive sophomore album titled The Incredible True Story. Now, theres a lot of albums that have singles that are topping off the charts while some of the other singles are just subpar and sometimes not well mixed into the album. Not a lot of albums I can truly listen to all the way through, but this is one of them. This is highly regarded in my ranks as I can only push a few through that list as a fully conceptual album and consistent musicality and score throughout every song. Please please please – give this a run. You’ll punch yourself for not listening to this and the album.

4. The Force – SuperDuperKyle

Through a recommendation of a friend, I found SuperDuperKyle and he is ripping this track with a sonically pleasing sound featuring futuristic sounds off the Star Wars Blaster and uniting that with a vibing flow. A unique force of his own – he definitely got “The Force” with this one off his new album Smyle.

3. Black Friday – Kendrick Lamar

Yes, K Dot dropped a full album in 2015 which is absolutely phenomenal for the concept and message it conveys. I strayed away from a pick off the album only because this was a super dope collaboration between himself and J.Cole! The backstory behind this is that both K Dot and J. Cole exchanged beats off each others songs. In Kendrick’s case, he received “A Tale Of 2 Citiez” off of Jermaine’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive (which is a freaking masterpiece without a single feature and all in house production by Jermaine himself) while J. Cole received Kendrick’s “Alright” to which both absolutely go HAM! It was a surprise drop on Black Friday between both parties and its safe to say that they are both bangers for sure. Go take a listen if you have not already.

2. Jazz – Mick Jenkins

An artist whose mixtape is one of the most accomplished I have ever seen. The concept and theme surrounding The Water[s] is truly one that embodies a universal human message. With a baritone voice and crushing rhymes over sonically pleasing production, Mick is on his way to an amazing 2016 year as he releases his debut album The Healing Component aiming for summer 2016. The album is set to provide an in-depth into the idea of The Water[s] and bring a full circle to the concept stretching from within. Mick is going to blow up – trust me. He is going to hit the industry like Kendrick did with Section 80 and his potential with the first album is going to be unmatched.

1. Untouchable – Pusha T

Pusha T. One of my favorite rappers and a force to be reckoned with, he has been in the game longer than Kanye. Coming off one of the best albums in 2014, MNIMN, Pusha T built a wave for the next album King Push. Many expecting King Push that was slated for 2015 release instead received his latest project, Darkest before Dawn. The latest project features the likes of Kanye, A$AP Rocky, J. Cole and more and follows suit to the a truly dark and gritty album of its kind – darker than MNIMN. With the sampling of BIG and a Timberland production, Push shows why he is the King.

Thank you all for reading! I am back from my holiday hiatus so I’m very excited to share more things with you all. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Stay up to date and connect with me! Or write to me at

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Towkio + Lucki Ecks + SAVEMONEY Thanksgiving Show Recap

Chicago Only.

Towkio, headlining his own show, is part of the SAVEMONEY collective (front lined by Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa.) He has joined Chance The Rapper on his Family Matters tour along with Metro Boomin performing around the United States at different cities and venues.


Towkio’s show took place last Saturday on November 28th, 2015 for the Thanksgiving Weekend at the Metro. Towkio recruits Lucki Ecks and the SAVEMONEY Collective to join him for the evening. These talented Chicago natives continue to push through the music scene as they emerge into the ranks of hip-hop in their own lane.

Lucki Ecks opened up the show with “Lowlife” by coming out with his signature style with a slow energy and “xanax-flow” tied into the trap hip-hop instrumentals to which he calls Alternative Trap. The crowd is feeling the music as they sway and bump to the Lucki Ecks flow.

SAVEMONEY Collective members Brian Fresco, Caleb James, and Leather Cordoruys (Joey Purp and Kami de Chukwu duo) follow up soon after with songs like

Continue reading “Towkio + Lucki Ecks + SAVEMONEY Thanksgiving Show Recap”

Introduction To Johnny Fan

Hey Everyone,

My name is Johnny Fan. I wanted to introduce myself to the UIC Radio audience and community as I’ll be a new writer to UIC Radio. My post days are on Sundays so why not start your Sunday right by relaxing and reading a blog post! =)

Photo of me by my friend Thomas.

To tell you a little bit about myself –  I am 19 year old sophomore studying and majoring in Business Marketing. I love coffee, dancing, traveling, writing, photography, and filmmaking. I think these 6 things pretty much sum up my life because they are all extremely time consuming – yes, even coffee.

I don’t have a lot of images of myself mainly because I am more used to being behind the camera rather than in front of it. With that being said, I have been spending a lot of time behind the camera recently. I’ve been taking photos on my phone for fun as soon as I got my first iPhone which was about 2 or 3 years ago. It was a hand me down iPhone 4, the one without Siri sadly. Nonetheless, I would just take random pictures wherever I could snap a photo and just keep tapping away at the capture button. You miss the 100% of the shots you never take, haha – am I right? Safe to say, I took 100 photos and still missed the shot…

It was not until a year and a half later where I really dived into taking photos for a purpose – to tell a story and share my vision with the world on my iPhone. This year, near the end of June/early July I wanted to take it more seriously so I picked up my first DSLR camera and started teaching myself and sharing my work on Instagram.

Here’s a few photos that I have taken since then. Continue reading “Introduction To Johnny Fan”