Wardens Midwest presents: Professor Saunders the Beat Critique

Howdy y’all, it’s Joaquin, aka 13lacula… your friendly neighborhood 0cto5quid.


Professor Harris Saunders, the musicologist from UIC’s stellar Music Department joined us on UIC Radio, on the flagship project known as Wardens Midwest. Every month we bring in the very best of Chicago’s producers and go through the motions.

We give each artist a single track, and an hour to blend, mix, chop, remix, screw, splice, sample it into something of their own styling. This month, we chose Ut Queant Laxis for our producers. Our three producers this month are ∆ M A C H O B E A T Z ∆, The Color Army, and Hennibrown.

I asked Professor Saunders about his work on and off campus. The interview led up to an exclusive producer showcase session.



My boney butt accidentally stopped recording and did not pick up his comments on the tracks. =/


Listen to the interview here; ask the Professor what he thought of the tracks in person.


Here’s a bomb-@55 picture instead.




Wave of 2016: Hip-Hop’s Anticipated

Another year is ahead of us as we set high expectations for albums to come and artists to make it big. In 2015, there were some artists kept us on our toes in anticipation for them to release projects they never did while there were other artists such as Yung Thug, Torey Lanez, Bryson Tiller and Post Malone that seemed to make their way into the industry and gain popularity overnight. There is never a way to predict what the year will bring, but in a way, that’s the best part. While there are sure to be some great releases again in 2016, there are a few that you should look out for.


Frank Ocean


Where you at Frank?

He has been MIA for a while now and many of us are waiting patiently for his return. “Channel Orange” was his latest album which was released all the way back in 2012. A lot of us were hoping to see something by last summer, but our high hopes saw no results. This year is going to be his year, and we expect to see great things.


Kanye West – Swish


Kanye was another delayed album that we expected to see last year. This year is sure to bring another Yeezy season, not just for his shoes, but for some legendary tracks. It’s going to be hard to top a masterpiece like “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” which could have arguably been one of the top hip-hop albums of all time. Can he live up to the hype?

He’s also reviving GOOD Fridays where he releases new songs at the end of each week in anticipation for SWISH.



Chance the Rapper


Chance already had one of the best albums of the year with his collaboration with Donny Trumpet and the Social Experiment on “Surf”. This wasn’t solely his album though; it was more of a collaboration album than anything. He’s been extremely busy this year and has already stated that he’s making his follow-up mixtape to “Acid Rap” that was released in 2013. He always collaborates with great artists that are sometimes unexpected, but he never disappoints. His left-field approach is what makes him so great in a lot of ways.


Drake – Views from the 6


Rarely does Drake ever disappoint. In 2015, he had a great mixtape and released some other music that later made him a king of memes. He also “bodied” Meek Mill in a freestyle after Meek accused him of not writing his own material. Drake hasn’t given a release date for his ode to Toronto, but it’s safe to say it’s coming soon.


Pusha T


Pusha T was recently deemed GOOD Music’s president and at the end of 2015, he released one of the hardest albums of the year. This album was just the first part of a full album that is to be released later in 2016. Pusha remains to be one of the best rappers in the game right now, and is sure to showcase more of it with his upcoming album.

Artists to Watch

Isaiah Rashad

Isaiah is one of the youngest artists signed with TDE. He might not be a big name artist yet, but he’s on a come up and is supposed to release another project to follow up his “Cilvia Demo” from 2014. TDE is no place for scrubs, so it’s likely that this album is going to hit.

As a whole, we should be seeing some other releases from TDE with artists including Schoolboy Q and SZA potentially.

Nelly is his newest release


Mick Jenkins

 Mick Jenkins, another Chicago native, has been popping up more and more now. He dropped an album in 2014, another in 2015, and just released a couple new songs a couple days ago so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new project coming up soon.


Allan Kingdom

Allan caught a taste of mainstream recognition when he was featured on Kanye’s single “All Day”. He’s still pretty underground but he has a unique vocal approach and style to his music that I think people will catch on to.


Anderson Paak

Anderson is a drummer boy turned singer, with his early career starting in the church choir. He gains a lot of influence from soulful and R&B music, but he’s also incorporates rhythmic lyrics which in some ways makes people think of him as a rapper. There is no genre he specifically falls under, he’s just kind of doing what he wants.


Majid Jordan

One of the newest additions to the OVO crew is Majid Jordan, a producing and performing duo from Canada. We have yet to receive an official album, but have gotten blessed with some songs here and there. With an album in the works, we’re waiting to see what they come up with.


CHICAGO, IL – On December 27th the third annual OreoFest stormed into Portage Theatre for what was to be the best OreoFest to come. For those who may not know OreoFest is musical showcase curated by DJ Oreo most notable for his work with Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa of Save Money. The Redbull and BreadnButter sponsored event was primed for battle as Metro Boomin and DJ Oreo faced off.

While attending OreoFest it became easy to conclude that without a doubt this event is becoming that must-see event in Chicago. If you were present you were able to rub shoulders with your favorite fashion designers, tastemakers, and reality tv stars. Its just a great place to be if you love the young and vibrant musical culture of Chicago. Although, they didn’t hit the stage you could see artists such as YP, Dreezy, members of The SOX Experiment, Treated Crew, and Save Money sprinkled through the building. Goes without saying but if you weren’t at OreoFest you likely missed out on one of the best and most diverse hip-hop lineups of the past year. From established artists like Rockie Fresh, Katie Got Bandz, and Lil Durk to rising talent like Martin $ky, Towkio, Sicko Mobb, Z-Money, and a slew of others. The who’s who of the Chicago hip-hop scene blessed the stage that night.

Now for those not familiar with the Chicago music scene grabbing Lil Durk for a performance in his hometown may not appear to be much of a feat or accomplishment and that is understandable. Because it’s not rare to see a Migos performance in ATL, or catch a Joey Badass show while in NY. Whereas, in Chicago a Durk performance is a rare event mainly due to the early tension between club venues, CPD (who flanked the stage upon Durk’s arrival) and the initial flag bearers of “the drill movement.” Yet and still, Durk’s performance went off without a hitch as he performed “Bang Bros” and capped off the night with Metro and Oreo as Chief Keef’s “Faneto” vibrated throughout the building.

The only question I was left with after this event was…how the hell you gonna top this Oreo?!?   

Photo credit: Omar773

Shouts to Briahna Gatlin and the staff Swank PR!

Mid-Day Cruise: 2015 Top 10 Albums

2015 has been an amazing year for music across all genres. Whether you’re into rock, pop, R&B, or hip-hop, there had to be an album that met or exceeded your expectations. With the slew of great music this year, it was extremely difficult to choose albums that I wanted to put in my top 10 list. There have been a few albums that I left out only because I made this list based on albums that I found myself listening to more so than the other releases this year.

10. The Weeknd – “Beaty Behind the Madness”


Beauty Behind the Madness marks the Weeknd’s entrance into mainstream stardom with singles like “Can’t Feel my Face”, “The Hills”, and “Often”. When he released “Can’t Feel my Face”, he was delivering a new Weeknd ‘pop’ sound that gave a Michael Jackson feel, but still a sound that many of his fans weren’t used to hearing. This song, as well as many others off of the album, quickly topped the charts. Although this was mostly a solo album like many other Weeknd albums, he brought in other great artists such as Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey, and Labrinth. This album proved that the Weeknd has come a long way from his first album, “House of Balloons”, and is going to continue to be a major player in the game.


9. Goldlink – “After That We Didn’t Talk”


This is Goldlink’s debut album, and although not a lot of people know who Goldlink is, it was an album that I was able to listen to again and again. He’s not your average hip-hip artist, as he rhymes over up-tempo house music with hip-hop influence, as he calls it “future bounce”. He’s been on tour with artists such as Mac Miller, SBTRKT, and Kaytranada. When legendary music visionary Rick Rubin heard Goldlink was working on this album, he decided to help guide him through the release of his first album in an attempt to mentor him. This isn’t a radio album, and Goldlink didn’t have any hit singles, but all in all, I liked the vibe on this album as a whole and am eager to see what else Goldlink comes up with in the future.


8. Jamie xx – “In Colour”


Jamie Smith, aka. Jamie xx released “In Colour” earlier this year. This album consists of a lot of catchy and up-tempo house music. There are a lot of DJ’s out there and a lot of house music to choose from. What sets Jamie xx apart from the rest is his unique use of vocal samples from the past decades, the choppiness within songs that change the mood and direction, and interesting instrumentals. Unlike a lot of other DJ’s, not all of his music sounds the same. This album didn’t have too many features, but had Yung Thug on his track “I Know There’s Gonna be (Good Times)”, which was a risky move, but a great choice. Jamie is not a hip-hop producer and even with this rap feature, this was not a rap-sounding song. He seems to have a vision for his sound, and doesn’t let anything get in the way of it. It’s worth a listen if you haven’t heard it already.


7. Vince Staples – “Summertime ’06”


If your favorite rapper had a favorite rapper, it’d probably be Vince Staples. This Long Beach, California native has a good sense of humor and knows his sports, which he expresses immensely on his Twitter page and various interviews. You could ask him his opinion on any subject, and he will give you his very blunt and straightforward opinion. Vince gives his listeners a look at the world through his own eyes. This debut album talks about Long Beach’s gang violence, police brutality, and drug presence. Vince has a lot to say, which is probably why “Summertime ‘06” was a 2-part album that consisted a total of 20 songs. With Vince’s powerful use of words and untouchable flow, I would easily consider him one of my top rappers. Because of Vince’s lack of sugar-coating anything, he’s also an artist that may not be for everybody.


6. Earl Sweatshirt – “I Don’t Like Sh*t, I Don’t Go Outside”


I actually discovered Vince Staples through an interview with Earl Sweatshirt, as he claimed that Vince was the best rapper out there (in his opinion). Vince has been featured in a few of Earl’s songs including “Hive” off of Earl’s first album, “Doris”. Earl has been known for being somewhat of a dark and murky artist, and this album stays pretty consistent with that description. This album is a snapshot of Earl’s state of mind after a serious breakup in his life. Through his seclusion and depression, he made “I don’t Like Sh*t, I Don’t Go Outside”. The production on the album was done entirely by Earl, and all of the features were done in house and by close friends. What puts Earl at the top is his intricacy and poetic delivery. As dark as this album is, if you can understand where he’s coming from and actually listen to what he’s saying, it’s hard not to appreciate his skill.


5. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – “Surf”


Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and the Social Experiment come together to make the music they love. They are all friends from Chicago that play the music that they enjoy playing without trying to copy anyone else’s sound or conform to what’s popular in the industry. The best way that I can describe the overall sound of this album is that it reminds me of the background music to a Broadway play or musical. It’s heavy in brass and raw instrumentals but also carries the weight of some huge features such as J. Cole, Busta Rhymes, Eryka Badu, Big Sean, Janelle Monae, and a ton of others. If you love music and want to listen to some upbeat music that’s easy on the ears, I would definitely recommend this album.


4. Tame Impala – “Currents”


I admit that before this album, I had no idea who Tame Impala was, but after listening to this album, I was immediately a fan. Kevin Parker delivers his version of psychedelic pop with a heavy use of synths. “The Less I Know the Better”, one of my favorite songs off of the album offers a disco vibe, which is cool since it’s not a sound that a lot of people have. The album itself is an array of different sounds and moods, making it fun to listen to.


3. A$AP Rocky – “At.Long.Last.A$AP.”


This is probably some of his best work to date. A$AP started off as a Tumblr rapper and has come a long way since. He is very open and proud of the lifestyle that he lives whether it be expressed through his good fashion sense, or his drug use. He’s very open and doesn’t really care what people think. He’s become a major artist in the hip-hop world with his consistency of dropping good music to suit various moods for a variety of listeners. He recently went on tour with Tyler, the Creator, which has shown his evolution in his performance and style. Hopefully his next projects continue to progress.


2. Drake – “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late”


Drake has stated that this project was a mixtape and not an actual album release, but the general public continues to think otherwise. Drake insists that his fourth album is still on its’ way. Either way, he continues to kill the rap game with songs that you can’t help but sing along to. I personally wouldn’t consider this project an album simply because there is no real theme and each song seems to have its’ own purpose. Theme or not, this album has received a bunch of positive reviews and reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 list, selling over 495,000 copies in the first 3 days.


1. Kendrick Lamar – “To Pimp a Butterfly”


“To Pimp a Butterfly” is an album that’s going to force you to think. Kendrick doesn’t rap over beats; he raps over carefully constructed instrumentals whether they be sampled from old jazz songs or curated right in the studio. On top of these instrumentals, he delivers his message that inspires civil rights, or expresses the struggles of fame and depression. Kendrick draws a lot of his inspiration from 2Pac and the album itself is actually addressing 2Pac directly as all of these stories seem to be told to 2Pac himself. Kendrick is critical to hip-hop as not only having respectable and powerful music, but also having such a diverse use of musical choice that helps the listener live through and experience each song as he addresses a lot of relevant issues in America and the world as a whole. This is a legendary album.

That concludes this post from Mid-day cruise and maybe the last on for the year. Thank you for reading, and if you want to stay updated on more posts from me, like my page on.

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”



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.


13lack 4riday

Every year we celebrate our blessings with gluttony. More than anything I am grateful for the people I surround myself with. You are all amazing……. I won’t attack the festive feast because that would just make me a hypocritical beast. Symbolically, the eats represent my feats from the past year. I ate moderately =)


Instead, I’m here to dig into 13lack 4riday shopping…

I have not once marched with the madness. When I had both a car and care for the shopping season it meant no difference. I was working the gulag that is Menards. I was 18 years old at the time, working insane amount of hours; close to forty during the 13lack 4riday season.

There were ‘door-busters’ at Menards which could include anything from television sets, dog treats, paint, children’s toys and even holiday candy. Doors open at 6AM every 13lack 4riday, and they stay open till 10pm. Working 13lack 4riday is mandatory for Menards Team Members. No one is exempt from working on this hellish nightmare.

I’m out the retail game. I was at Menards for three years and two 13lack 4ridays. From the time I was 18 to 20 I didn’t get a chance to participate in the outrageous assault of employees and goods. Having this experience, I have still not gone through with shopping on 13lack 4riday.

An important woman in my life -aka grandmother aka matriarchal goddess of fortitude and perseverance- is one of those poor employees.  She is a Menards “Team Member” getting up at 4am this 13lack 4riday to make sure her “Guests” get whatever items they need.

I am not going to cite my copy of the Communist Manifesto, but I will tell you that my grandmother has been working since she was 13. Working long hours at that labor camp is taking its toll on her. I can’t even spend as much time as I want with her because she has to wake up so damn early!

With all that said I want to ask all of you to stop giving in to our corporate overlords and quit shopping for stupid ISH you don’t even need. Spend 13lack 4riday playing a board game, or maybe even re-capping Game of Thrones.

Anyways; I made a mix for 13lack 4riday. Whether you’re working, shopping, or having a fun outside of the monetary system this mix is meant to motivate you to keep on the good fight.

Joaquin Vasquez-Duran

Production Director  @ UICRadio

Wardens Midwest




Chance the Rapper: Stays Winning and Continues to Inspire

Chance the Rapper’s “Family Matters Tour” is coming to a close after a stream of 30 shows (so far) with sellout crowds reaching over 3,000 people. These crowds are not only including your every day fans, but fans ranging from Jay Z and Beyoncé, to Usher. Chance has gained a following of big name artists as he continues to shake up the hip hop industry.  With only a few shows left, the tour has proved its’ success.

Other than being a successful rapper, Chance has done a lot for Chicago, his native city. As Chance’s influence in the industry and social media continues to grow, he has committed to using it for the good of his home town. As Chicago has become infamous for the violence between those that live there, Chance has been doing his best in order to curb this violence and keep Chicago’s youth out of trouble.


What has Chance the Rapper done?

Open Mike was an opportunity for kids to get inspired and showcase their talent. As long as you are in high school, have a valid ID, and have something to say, you’d be welcomed to come. Chance hosted and founded Open Mike in collaboration with the Harold Washington Library Center.

He helped initiate a free music festival this past June that was oriented primarily for teens, which brought a crowd of over 3,300. Not very many  big name rappers offer free shows. The only one that I can think of off the top of my head is J. Cole, but he charged a dollar for his “Dollar and a Dream” shows.

This past summer, in order to provide a more educational opportunity for kids, Chance offered his time to be a tour guide for the Chicago Park District day campers at the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Aldler Planetarium.

A few weeks ago, he was featured on a segment with Stephen Colbert to debut his song “Angels”, along with Saba, another Chicago rapper.

It’s also been announced that he will be preforming on Saturday Night Live next month on December 12th.

All of these accomplishments were from this year alone and because of this, at the age of 22, Chance has been named “Chicagoan of the Year”, a title well-deserved.

This is a huge accomplishment, and not one that too many names in hip-hop can say that they’ve accomplished. Chance isn’t signed to any record labels, and has been able to get to where he’s at with the help of family and a team of close friends that have worked hard to make their dream of making the music they love a reality.

As busy as Chance is with touring, he is still able to make music. A few days ago, he actually released a song with his brother, Taylor Bennett, called “Broad Shoulders”. Being brothers, this is actually the first song that they’ve done together. It’s a good song with great vibes. Check it out:

Like my page if you want to stay updated on future posts.


When some of your friend are in a music group, and you write blog posts for UIC radio, it’s kind of expected that you write a blog post about them. And I know what you’re probably thinking, that I’m probably just a biased source promoting my own friends. And you’re right, but you should also know that I wouldn’t write about Oracle if I didn’t honestly believe they were great. Oracle’s genre would float around the hip hop area, but their sound is  very unique. The group consists of six members, Ibraheem, Zack, Nick G, Nick W, Rachel, and Dwayne.

Oracle is a great music group for multiple reasons, but one of them is their ability to grow. The growth they’ve shown since they first got together as a band is amazing, because though they were pretty good when they first started, I think it is amazing how their music has improved over time. The first song they put up on their SoundCloud is called Reverie, which the band rapper Ibrah describes as a daydream about someone you care for, but someone who also isn’t around any longer.

Oracle is a great group to see perform too. Last year Oracle performed at UIC Radio’s event Battle of the Bands, and overall and were amazing. But though I thought they deserved to win, they did end up losing. If you want to ever see them perform, they also sometimes perform at the Young Chicago Authors, located at 1180 North Milwaukee.

Here is their newest released song Like Love.

You can also check out their website