Smino – Menu (prod. Monte Booker)

St. Louis’ transplant Smino returned yesterday with a one off tracks produced by main collaborator Monte Booker, with additional production from THEMpeople. “Menu” or “me•n•u” is a bouncy, dance infused track that was dropped in celebration of Smino & Monte’s track “Kolors” reaching 1,000,000 plays on Soundcloud. Any reason is a good reason for new music from Chicago’s hottest rapper/producer duo. Enjoy “Menu” above and peep “Kolors” below if you’re not knowing.

Mick Jenkins – The Artful Dodger (prod. by Kaytranada & THEMpeople)

Chicago’s son Mick Jenkins regularly delivers us from a wave of mediocrity with releases that distance him from about 98% of music makers today. He seems to be so profoundly in tune with the blend of his voice, message, and production that you could put all of his tracks into a novel and it would read as an unwavering anthem for the betterment of your mind, spirit, and health. With the help of Montreal’s Kaytranada and Chicago’s THEMpeople, whom Mick Jenkins regularly collaborates with, we are lead through a masterful presentation of sound and rhythm that is full of life. Jenkins also nods at Kanye West with lines like “Mercy, Mercy me that Murcielago” and “I’m really just a southside nigga with a Nas flow” paying tribute to one of the greatest to come from this city. Mick Jenkins rarely upsets and with the help of Kaytranada and THEMpeople, he shows us once more why Chicago’s rap scene is nothing to take lightly.


Mick Jenkins – The Artful Dodger

The Mind – Mercury Rising (Prod. by THEMpeople, Dir. by Kid Super)

“Whoever said the sky was the limit wasn’t living where I was living”

The Mind’s “Mercury Rising” now has a visual that embodies the magical track’s message of aspiration and hope, still grounded firmly in reality. This is the Mind’s first video, created by Kid Super, and it is an exact replica in claymation of the block that the artist grew up on in uptown Philadelphia – 77th & Ogontz to be specific. The Fader premiered the video with The Mind’s statement, “The little girl in the video represents all of my sisters and the little boy represents me. We came from the impossible. Regardless of how high the odds are stacked against us in life, we can build makeshift spaceships to escape our circumstances. We build our spaceships with our hopes and dreams. Just like the spaceship in the video, sometimes in life things fall apart. In these moments its our human relationships that will save us. When things come crashing down we have to remember: we are magic, and together, we can fly.”

“Mercury Rising” is a remarkable piece. The uplifting song, which features Donny Trumpet and Sylvie Grace, has the ability to make the listener feel as though they’ve already transcended without being sweet or syrupy. From the track’s cover art, to the video, The Mind has created a detailed and beautiful world of possibility.

theMIND – Mercury Rising Feat. Donnie Trumpet x Sylvie Grace ( THEMpeople)

“Whoever said the sky was the limit
Wasn’t living where I was living”

“Mercury Rising” by theMIND is the first single from his highly anticipated solo project. The exploratory track was produced by longtime collaborators THEMpeople and features Donnie Trumpet and Sylvie Grace with atmospheric and affective cello playing. The song is real, pensive, yet aspirational – it paints a vivid picture of possibility. TheMIND is a significant artist and one to watch closely in 2016. I’ve followed him mostly through his collaborations with artists such as Mick Jenkins, Vic Mensa and Kirk Knight, it is fascinating to hear him make this textured statement as a soloist on “Mercury Rising,” I can’t wait to hear more. Listen to his lead single and then let his soundcloud keep playing, it’s nothing but gems. :balloon:

Noname Gypsy – All I Need (feat. SPZRKT)

Are we finally getting the Noname Gypsy project every head has been waiting to fall in love with? Apparently “All I Need” is the first single off of a project called Telefone which the Chicago MC went to Twitter to announce yesterday. I think I’ve been introduced to Noname Gypsy for the past 2 to 3 years as the next “Artist to Blow” by every major rap publication with essentially no music to show for it. Which to me is a testament to how powerful this artist is and how much her voice carries weight though the headphones. From features with Mick Jenkins, Chance the Rapper, Saba, Noname has already solidified herself as one of the best MCs in Chicago and she hasn’t even dropped a project. Her lyricism is playful, tasteful, imaginative and powerful and her words are like spears to the soul. She knows how to make you feel for her while masterfully connecting rhymes and alliteration completely in a league of its own. On this single she is joined by Georgian lyricist SPZRKT (Spazzy Rocket) as well as a production team of Saba, THEMpeople and Phoelix. Noname Gypsy is set to be one of the staples of Chicago rap music and everyone that I know is rooting for her. I can’t wait to see what she does with the highly anticipated Telefone.  

Noname Gypsy – All I Need (feat. SPZRKT)

Jean Deaux Ft. Smino – Don’t Kall My Name (Prod. by THEMpeople)

Grandmama think that I’m heaven sent
Bars is angelic so it ain’t no settling
Suing the fakes
Poppin’ the jakes
Emmanuel givin’ out settlements
– Jean Deaux

Two of Chi’s most exciting & distinct voices, Jean Deaux and Smino, link for the THEMpeople produced single, “Don’t Kall My Name.” Jean Deaux’s artistry is formidable – the Medicine Woman draws you in with her ethereal, captivating voice while singing “bitch don’t call my name.” Deaux flows from singing to rapping so naturally that you don’t even know she switched it up on you. I’m a fan. Last month she released her striking Outer Body EP. Pay attention, Soular System Vol. 2 is coming soon. Zero Fatigue and ClassickFam rep Smino continues his winning streak with this one. He dropped the excellent Blk Juptr EP a few days ago, and throughout 2015 he’s released stellar music that has brought him well deserved light. Do not miss their show at Schubas on Dec. 20, they are sharing the stage with Jay2, Monte Booker and Bryant Stewart. You can cop tickets, eat free pizza and meet Smino today at Dimo’s Pizza in Wicker Park between 6-8.


Via Rosa Feat. Mathien x theMIND – Spin Cycle (Prod. by THEMpeople)

Via Rosa has the coolest friends and collaborators, for “Spin Cycle” she linked with Mathien and theMind creating a piece that speaks to my soul. It was produced by THEMpeople, and the stirring, soulful guitar playing is by Mathien and Ben Hixon. Via Rosa consistently releases captivating music that draws me in, and “Spin Cycle” is a personal favorite of mine from amongst her recent work. She told me that she was messing around with Ben & Zigg and they freestyled the verses, later she had a session with Mathien and it all fit together making the track transform into something bigger. It was originally slated for her next project, Metempsychosis, but she decided to release as a loosie instead. Via Rosa is multitalented, you can hit her up to acquire a piece of art and maybe even a vegan cooking lesson, I plan to do both in the near future. For now, enjoy the beautiful “Spin Cycle.”

Mick Jenkins – Wave(s)

Buy now from iTunes.

The EP starts off ominously , what only feels like voices talking in my head about thirst and hunger and society, leads to one of Mick Jenkins’ (can I just call him MJ?!) most potent, energetic, and visceral tracks to date; “Alchemy”. Picking up right where he left off on “The Water(s)”, with thought provoking similes and the delivery of a pastor preaching a fiery sermon.

“Don’t greet me as God, my nigga I ain’t no deity”

The album really starts to seperate itself from his prior work by the 3rd track with Mick trying new flows and more en vogue production styles than the more old schoolish underground sound fans are familiar hearing him over. Kaytranada does such a great job of taking rappers out of their comfort zones while still keeping the music quality; such is the case on “P’s & Q’s” & “Your Love”. The latter of which is a club influenced joint that seems somewhat satirical.
I swear he’s pronouncing Chicago like “She-cago” because of how well it suits the atmosphere. Subtleties like this have always been what made him so special, the little things in the end usual amount to the difference between the greats and the “good enough”‘s.

“As long as you feeling’ the vibes Imma keep dealin’ the vibes

Thempeople handle most of the production otherwise with an assortment of mid to upper mid tempo beats that really stretch the limits of the Mick Jenkins we’ve gotten used to from the last few drops. “Quantum leaps ahead of my peers”, the emcee is clearly quite conscious of his existence in an already quite crowded rap scene but he also sees that he does what others don’t, he is self aware, thoughtful; his punch lines often come in the form of extended metaphors because there is so much depth to even the most seemingly simple things in life.

“Saw the world In different colors”

Mick has a little crossover appeal on this tape! With some singing and infectious bridges, he has really taken his songwriting ability to the next level, he’s not just a rapper, he’s not just a poet, he has reached the status of full fledged “artist” who’s music should be interpreted on varying levels. He is growing exponentially as a musician and as a conscious human as well. The tide is turning in this rap game and the “Wave(s)” will help bring you ashore.

“40 Below”, “Alchemy”, “Slumber”, & “Perception” are personal favorites.

Via Rosa – Stranded (Prod. by THEMpeople)

“You’re in my home now.”

“Stranded” is another beautiful piece by Via Rosa. The personal and warm visual invites you into the home of the multi-talented musical and visual artist who is also a professionally trained chef and shows some of those skills in this video. The dreamy track is a single from her upcoming project, Metempsychosis, and was produced by THEMpeople. The video was directed by Via Rosa and Jude Appleby of 119 Productions. If you had to get stranded, you’d be lucky to find yourself at Via Rosa’s place.

Kahrion – Aura Tape

“The Aura Tape is an audio book full of distinct vibes and feelings for one to live by and relate to. It was created to feed your mind and spirit through a powerful, refreshing, and relatable musical atmosphere in one solid body of work. Let yourself indulge in these compositions on this 35 minute journey. Enjoy!” – Kahrion

Kahrion dropped his debut project Aura Tape and he’s off to a great start. Production is handled by Von Vuai, Bitoy Beatz with one collab from THEMpeople. Kahrion’s Aura Tape resonates with sincerity and heart and I urge you to give it a listen.

Via Rosa – Outraged (Prod. by Sani)

Via Rosa speaks the truth and continues making honest and soulful music with “Outraged” produced by Sani. These two THEMpeople artists have a collaborative project coming, if “Outraged” is any indication. it’s going to be a treat for our ears.
Do you crave me
Like I crave you
Oh I need you to save me
You know if you need it
If you were bleeding
I would save you

Via Rosa feat. The Mind – Picture Perfect

On April Fools Day Via Rosa announced she’d be dropping a tape at 11:59, alas, she was fooling. It was a bit cruel, but then she made up for it by releasing “Picture Perfect.” The sultry feeling beat anchored by a slow shuffle was produced by THEMpeople and provides the perfect setting for Via Rosa and The Mind to engage lyrically. She sings “What a beautiful mess I’ve made, just a simple mistake.” Enjoy the soulful song.