Since Wavefront folded a couple years ago, I’ve been itching for another event to be held on the city’s greatest asset – the waterfront. Cue Mamby on the Beach, Chicago’s newest music festival, which hit Chicago’s South Shore over the weekend. Water was centrally located and easy to find, police on site were friendly and helpful, and the people at Mamby were laid back and friendly – a refreshing change from the reckless neon kids of similar events.
Empire of the Sun and Passion Pit headlined the fest, but it was The ‘Go’s own Holt who stole the show. When he took the stage there couldn’t have been more than 100 people there. But the law of attraction would prove strong for the G.O.O.D. MUSIC signee, as Holt brought something to Mamby no one else would – real trap music. It was a much needed change of pace from the dominantly electronic lineup, a breath of fresh air for hip hop heads like myself. Fellow Treated Crew leaders Mano and Mic Terror kept the energy up as people flocked to the stage, and when it was all said and done an intimate crowd had become a high octane mob.
With Chicago’s skyline glistening across the lake and forgiving sand beneath your feet, Oakwood Beach served as an ideal location for the festival. I’m proud to live in a city accommodating a growing taste for live music and peaceful gatherings, and stoked to see Mamby on the Beach possibly become a staple of what we like to call Summertime Chi.
After watching the show it was clear that Mike Posner is in the midst of a personal transformation both internally and musically — One that you can date back from before he even started making music.
He openly talked about struggling with depression throughout his life, and revealed that “Save Your Goodbye” off the first album was about depression, and not a girl like most thought. He explains that even after making it as an artist, having his songs on the radio, and making lots of money — there were still feelings of un-fulfillment left lurking within him. Therefore save your goodbye to depression, because something from the unconscious keeps bringing it back.
Mike Posner “Save Your Goodbye”
Mike’s early career had a strong focus on making it as an artist, and his early songs channeled a more dorm room college party vibe. There was a clear vision of ‘I can make my dreams a reality’, especially after his Detroit homie Big Sean got signed to G.O.O.D. Music.
Before he started singing as late as age 20, there were plenty of obstacles Mike had to overcome until solidifying the conviction within himself that he can achieve his dreams. In this interview Mike talks about how no one believed in him, no one wanted to buy his beats, and all doors he actively sought to open were closed in his face. This kind of external rejection can stop you dead in your tracks, unless your inner vision is strong enough to keep the dream alive.
Mike Posner “Started From The Bottom” (Remix) ft. Asher Roth, T Mills, Chuck Inglish, King Chip
So with no one to depend on but himself, he started from the bottom and overcame the challenges that took him to the top — by creating out of love. He was in a creative G Spot while making that music in college, because he was doing it out of the love of self expression. There was no where to go but up, and there was no pressure to make a certain kind of music. He was making music that sounded good to him, over his own beats that no one wanted. He had nothing to lose, no one to help him, and a clear creative focus on achieving his dreams a.k.a. turning the pages from his notebook into real life.
But after achieving all his dreams, and now living them — it seemed that the depression he saved his goodbye for had come back. ’31 Minutes To Takeoff’ definitely had that vibe where Mike was working through new inhibitions that his unconscious was ready to confront him with. Now that there were no more burning accomplishments left to drive him, it was much easier to see what was left to be transformed within. Mike is already such a positive ray of sunshine that it may not seem like he has any demons, but if your happiness is dependent on your goals, your accomplishments, and your material possessions — then what are you going to do if all that is taken away or forgotten? Where will your happiness and stability come from?
These are the new types of challenges Mike seemed to be facing in order to reinvent himself as the more authentic Self he was discovering himself to be. He was no longer college Mike trying to make it big, and at the same time not totally sure what he was becoming nor where to take it. His debut album seemed to express some of these feelings, and was part of the process of his reinvention into the artist I believe we will see on his upcoming sophomore album ‘Pages’ – due this Fall of 2014.
After watching the Unplugged Tour at Schubas Tavern in Chicago, and hearing a few of the potential new records from ‘Pages’, I feel that Mike has begun to answer that question of where his inner stability and happiness comes from, with the record “My Light”.
Mike Posner “My Light”
“My Light” talks about happiness coming from within yourself, and not anything outside of you. I believe that we give meaning to our circumstances, and it’s through the meaning we give that’ll determine the outcome we’ll get back. Stability comes from knowing that the power is always in your hands — even if the circumstances look very negative, you always have the power to give them a positive meaning. That way you can always be at peace inside yourself regardless of what is happening in your outer world. That is the power of you, your light, and my light!
‘Pages’ is exciting to me because it will echo many of Mike’s newly discovered truths from his life’s notebook, and share them with the world in an unfiltered and poetic kind of way expressing his reinvented self.
Some themes that I’ve noticed at the show of this newly defined self I speak of is: a stronger desire to help others, gratitude for all of life’s experiences, an honest look at his own fears, and most importantly his inspirational motto of Love, Relate, and Inspire.
To further elaborate, Mike has teamed up with the Food Bank for New York City, and vowed to donate a meal to a child in need for every album sold. He wants his music to help people not only feed their souls, but their stomachs as well.
Throughout the tour he talks about how grateful he is to each individual city and his fans there, even writing a personal letter expressing that gratitude on twitter. During the unplugged set, he also talked about gratitude for his family, his friends, and even his challenging disbelievers.
There was even an elegant 3-verse spoken word poem called “Gratitude” that he performed dedicated to his teacher Mr. Z for telling him he ain’t shit, to his Uncle Fred who believed in him, and to his Dad who inspired him. He said he was grateful for every experience that shaped him to be the person he is today.
Mike Posner “Gratitude Poem for Mom”
And while being grateful, he also performed songs that revealed some of his own fears that he’s still working on overcoming and letting go like in the records “Sad Songs” and “It’s Not That Simple” below.
Mike Posner “Sad Songs”
Mike Posner “It’s Not That Simple”
But throughout the whole performance he most highlighted his new motto, and most likely the motto for this new album and reinvented self: Love, Relate, Inspire. That was the general theme of the night, which was emphasized by his incredible talent to perform with dynamic vocal ranges, comedic commentary with the audience, real ass moments of truth, and a hype party sendoff to close the night.
So in the end Mike may not have everything all figured out, but being a longtime fan since the beginning of his music career, I know I’m excited to see how he’ll end up expressing and reinventing himself next on the upcoming album ‘Pages’ and beyond!
Mike himself said it best that night though “I still haven’t found where I belong, but I can write one hell of a song!”
Launched August 2013, Donda’s House “Got Bars” program is slowly making its mark as the creative hub of our generation. Founded by the legendary Kanye West and led by Che “Rhymefest” Smith. Rhymefest, childhood friend and West’s cowriter, started the “Got Bars” program with the focus on music/lyric composition and performance. This unique program aimed towards 15-24 year olds, prides itself on the “90’s artist environment” where all artists are pushed to become creative mentally and physically.
Backed by the largest names in hip hop, Kanye West and Rhymefest, applicants from different corners of the city wrestled the cold Chicago weather to be part of the Donda Family. As the air grew thicker inside the Ark of St. Sabina, tensions ran high as applicants proved why they earned their title as an artist.
This statement could not be truer than the moment one walks in. Decked in the freshest gear and applications at hand, crowds of candidates huddled in rooms. Nervously waiting, practicing, and watching as judges, volunteers, and renowned entertainment figures moved from room to room. As candidates scanned the rooms, a mixture of excitement, fear, and raw passion filled the air.
From the blurbs of sound coming from the gymnasium, emerging artists battling on the staircases, or the young vocalists humming a tune in the hallway, creative energy spilled from all corners of the building. “You can feel the energy. Every inch of this building is buzzing,” said Donnie Smith, Executive Director of Donda’s House.
With the boom of artists hungry to showcase their talent, Donda’s House prides itself in harboring this type of energy. However, with limited resources diminishing the edge for creative expression, Donda’s House aims to nurture and give a home to the city’s growing creatives.
“We want to give artists an environment where they can collaborate and really nurture their artistry. In reality to be a great artist, it takes time, dedication, and money. But here we take away the financial hardship and provide our members with premium access to the best in the business,” Che “Rhymefest” Smith noted.
Beyond the high-profile names backing this program, “Got Bars” is more than perfecting your craft as an artist, “it’s about being a better you and letting your experiences shine through your work,” “Got Bars” alumni Diamond Pugh said. Take it from her, she was one of the first to earn her spot in this program.
Born and raised in the Southside of Chicago, Pugh, 21 a veteran at Donda’s House fell in love with music at a young age. After answering an ad for Donda’s House in hopes to pursue music, Pugh not only got accepted but now leads many endeavors for the organization. However, her journey to Donda’s House wasn’t easy, as she too, had to endure the same rigorous audition process.
“It was nerve wrecking being in front of Rhymefest. Not because he is so well known in the industry but the fact that what he has to say won’t always be what you want to hear,” Pugh said, “But he cares and it shows. Being in this program I don’t think I would have pushed myself as hard as I did if it wasn’t for him telling me I could do better.”
The love from Donda’s House is apparent whether candidates are accepted or not. “We care about you and your dreams deeply. This whole process has a purpose, a deep purpose. It’s beyond the concept of making music, it’s about one living up to their potential,” Rhymefest said closing the event. “All of you are talented beyond means and we welcome you all to come back. Regardless if you have been here for a day, a month, or a year, you are all family.”
As the audition comes to a close for its second consecutive semester and the organization continues to grow their programs, it is without a doubt that Donda’s House will soon be at the forefront in the creative community. For more information about Donda’s House, please visit dondashouseinc.org.
Every year SXSW gets bigger and bigger, but did this year get too big and crazy? There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I hope that made sense.
As expected, there was music everywhere. People lined the streets hoping to get a glimpse a celebrity or catch a free show. Everything from Lady Gaga showing up at the Doritos Stage, Ludacris at the Dickies, Rick Ross bringing Erykah Badu to help him close down the Fader Fort Saturday night, SXSW was very sure to please.
Video by Lerin Lockwood
And of course… there were the parties. Nothing like coming up to the Illmore to see Steve Aoki and capping the evening off with G-Eazy. The parties went on till 6 in the morning, even when the liquor ran out closer to three. Moving from the previous year’s mansions, this year was at a youth center. It was a little bit of a throwback vibe. I almost felt like I was at my high school’s homecoming. The line up was still sick though and of course, Steve Aoki caked some concert goers.
Some of the hottest house parties were Soundcloud who introduced the public to some great hip-hop acts that will really make some big waves this year. Soundcloud hosted a laid back but really solid set Thursday night with Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, Chuck Inglish, and the perfect ending with Schoolboy Q. During the daytime, the Spotify House was solid. Filled with interactive demo walls of their upgrades to Spotify, trivia games, free food and drinks, and brand new sounds from up and coming artist Vancejoy. I love coming back from Austin with a filled playlist that I will be sharing later this week.
Schoolboy Q performs “Man of the Year”
Live at the Fader Fort (Video via Fader Fort)
Always a go to spot, with the 3 block line to prove it, the Fader Fort opened and closed hard bringing in unthinkable lines everyday. From old school smash hits like Jeremih’s Birthday Sex and Jojo’s Leave Get Out, to new songs by Chromeo, Vic Mensa, and lastly Rick Ross shutting down the fort, Fader has become an institution and definitely a festival within itself. //instagram.com/p/ljKjD5CnwF/embed/ Then there was’s Ludacris’s Friday night show. He came out so hard the soundstage basically imploded forcing a 10 minutes intermission at Dickies. He made sure to come even harder, playing throwbacks like Stand Up and Whats your Fantasy, I think this my favorite show. Thanks BMFMedia for hosting.
Childish Gambino seemed to have OWNED SXSW. Everyday he had something. From his appearance at the MTVU Woodies, his Hackathon, and his Saturday night free show in Butler Park, Gambino owned it all. I didn’t get to check out all of his shows (I know, I’m kind of bummed), but I will be seeing him in concert on Wednesday in Chicago. Though Wednesday night’s tragedy had a looming presence on Thursday’s shows and with Tyler the Creator inciting a riot and later being arrested at the airport proves how out of hand anything goes at SXSW. Would I do it all over again? Yes, absolutely, because seriously I wouldn’t know where else I could experience anything like this. Every year is a wild card. As always, follow us on Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.
On Thursday December 12th, 2013, Hip-Hop superstar Drake took Chicago, his self-proclaimed favorite city to perform in, by storm. Proving that he is no competition to his peers whatsoever, Drake’s “Would You Like A Tour?” was a glorious and triumphant moment for Hip-Hop, representing the pinnacle and peak of success and acclaim.
The show was extremely timely and punctual, something I applaud. The doors opened at 7 and immediately after, the show began with PARTYNEXTDOOR as the opening act. I arrived to the United Center at around 7:35 amidst a massive turn up session led by the turn-up king himself, Future. Future gave the crowd the hype and energy needed to fully enjoy what was to come later. Among his many urban hits from “UOENO” to “Tapout” Future was an extremely fitting and enjoyable opening act. It was like the perfect pre-game to an unforgettable night that was to come.
Next, the soulful Miguel came out and crooned the audience with his Prince-inspired stage presence and set list. Electrifying the stage with crowd favorites from “Adorn” to the platinum selling Mariah Carey collaboration “#Beautiful” Miguel was everything an R&B performer should be; heartfelt and talented. He charmed the ladies with his smile, related with the fellas with his music, and impressed us all with his unique display of talent. It was almost as if the show was about Miguel.. As if we all came to see him. That is, until Miguel left the stage and Drake entered..
It was like watching something that you only see in your dreams or on some crazy movie about success that you never attain right in front of you. Aubrey Graham took the stage by storm performing all of his hits from the beginning of his already iconic career to his recent release “Nothing Was the Same.” Even though Drake, himself, didn’t perform much music from his old catalogue, he made sure to have the DJ play the old songs we all love for the nostalgia. With such a catalogue so early on in his life and career, it was astounding to put into retrospect the amount of hits this man has. At one point, Drake brought an elderly woman from the suburbs of Chicago named Pam to the stage. Drake crooned her with “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and had us all laughing as he humored her with the nickname “Pam… from the Suburbs.” Drake was relatable, likable, wild, entertaining, and most of all, game changing. The stage set, reminiscent of something form outer space, brought to life the content matter of “Nothing Was the Same” giving it even more of an ethereal and tangible feel. The beautiful Miss Jhene Aiko accompanied Drake on stage for fan favorites “Come Thru” and “From Time” both of which were obvious highlights from the show. From being on his “Worst Behavior” to the shout outs given to the fans in “305 to my City” the show truly erupted with explosive energy for the finale “Started from the Bottom.”
“Now we here”.. Days later still caught up in the rapture of the stage presence and energy displayed by Drake. An unforgettable night indeed from Hip-Hop’s finest.
I must of strolled through this slideshow about 4 or 5 different times just now. The deliciousness level of this post is the truth, and now my hunger is only increasing with every word I type. You just be sure to make room, because I’m about to hit y’all with some of my favorite foods to eat and establishments to eat at. Foods that I think everyone has to try when coming on a visit to the city of Chicago. Those of you living in the city should pay up and pay attention as well. You might just see something you haven’t tried yet or even heard about. So do your appetite right and satisfy it. Now if you will…please follow me as I trip you through some of my favorite spots where I love to go and grub.
Chicago Cheesesteak Company
My first stop brings us to the southside corner of 78th and Cicero. The home of one of the best cheesesteak’s in the entire city of Chicago, The Chicago Cheesesteak Company. Actually, make that one of the best cheesesteak’s in the world. At least that’s how I feel about it. Here you’ll find a vast variety of different cheeseteak’s as well as mixture of other savory foods, like their shrimp sandwich or super steak taco. The cheesesteak menu is what garners most of my attention however. You just can’t go wrong with whatever sandwhich you get. I myself have tried five of the seven different cheesesteak’s off the menu. Got to say I loved all of them. The chicken teriyaki cheesesteak being my least favorite. Only because the chicken teriyaki sauce got my bread a bit soggy and broke it down. The taste and hunger satisfaction remained on point though. Like I said, you can’t go wrong with any cheesesteak sandwich you choose. I recommend stopping in, saying hello to the owner Sal (really really good people), and getting yourself a steak sandwich. Be sure to add some of their hot or mild sauce to whatever sandwich you get. That really sets it off. I promise you that your appetite will be more than satisfied.
Stopping in and eating at Portillo’s is a definite must. One of the better known Chicago food establishments which to me has never failed on food preparation. Every time I go and get myself a dog, I make sure to double up. A regular hot dog with everything and one covered in chili and cheese. Their Italian Beef’s are among one of the best in the city as well, soft and savory. Go ahead and ask any real Chicagoan about Portillo’s. I’m sure most will have nothing but good things to say about this food establishment. I’m also sure 99% of Chicago has tried Portillo’s by now. Hopefully anyway.
If you live on the southside and love food as much as I do, then you know about Falco’s pizza. One of the better Pizzeria’s in the city of Chicago. I’ve actually been eating from here since I was a toddler, and after all these years the pizza taste remains the same. Some might say it’s one of the best, and some would say otherwise. But I know anyone who’s ordered the chili cheese fries will agree with me that those are some of the best chili cheese fries you will ever encounter. Their homemade chili just sits so well with the cheese over fluffy potato wedge fries. Stop in and get yourself a large order. There’s no way you’ll be disappointed with the taste, amount, or price for that matter. You’ll get hooked up and you’ll hook your hunger up. California and Archer. That’s the place to be.
All I got to do is walk two blocks south and two blocks east. There I’ll find myself standing in front of Durbins Pub. One of the better Pub’s to eat at in the Chicagoland area. Their pizza I’d have to say is a definite top 5ver for me. But their basket of hot wings takes the cake. Durbins is known more for their pizza of course. But lowkey it stands above any other wing establishment I know. Hooters, Wing Stop, Buffalo….It don’t matter. Durbins wings not only have more meat, but more flavor as well. Don’t try and tell me otherwise either because I’ve eaten at all those places. They just don’t compare. Durbins service can be a bit sketchy at times but their deals will keep you coming back. Half off Pizza’s and $1.50 domestic half pints on Monday’s. I’m talking a medium pizza, a basket of wings, and six half pints for under $25. Yup! You might as well start calling this place your second home.
Giordano’s Restaurant & Pizzeria
Let’s not forget about one of the most famous food establishments in Chicago, Giordano’s Restaurant and Pizzeria. Known for their famous stuffed pizza, the Giordano’s franchise stands as one of the faces for good food in the the city of Chicago. Anyone swinging into the city for a visit needs to stop in and eat here at least once. Their stuffed pizza is nice, but what really gets me is their thin crust with the green peppers. Absolute fire! Make sure you order yourself that garlic bread appetizer too. It’s by far some of the best garlic bread I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Mind you I’ve done my fair share of traveling and have eaten different foods throughout the country.
From one famous stuffed pizza place to the next. Gino’s East is where we’ll find ourselves eating some of the most legendary deep dish pizza known to Chicago or even man kind for that matter. This pizza establishment is one you’re going to want to make sure you get checked off your list of pizzeria’s to eat from. Trust me. It’s Godly.
“In a city known as the “Pizza Capital of the World”, The Original Gino’s East is still the number one pizza restaurant where customers from near and far return year after year to scribble their names into the wood and stucco walls of our flagship restaurant in downtown Chicago.” – Gino’s East
Illinois Bar & Grill
Massive burgers! That’s what you’ll get when you take a trip on down to Illinois Bar & Grill. Home to one of the biggest burgers in the entire city of Chicago. Just be ready to have your appetite over powered when you stop in and order yourself this delicious creation of a food. You’ll have no room for more as you continue to tell yourself…just one more bite. Til this day I have yet to find a more satisfying burger in the entire city of Chicago, true story. So if you got what it takes to take on this beastly burger than I say 47th street just west of Pulaski is where you want to be. Seriously.
Mario’s Italian Lemonade
Hopefully you still got some room because we’re off to Taylor street for what’s probably Chicago’s best tasting and most famous Italian lemonade stand. That’s Mario’s. The spot to be at throughout any summer in Chicago. That small shack stand you see in the image above gets some serious business. I’m talking lines down the block and around the corner at times. It really is that good. The perfect compliment to a tasty Italian beef from Al’s, which stands directly across the street. I can’t help but think that both Al and Mario are probably the best of friends. This image of both them sitting in comfy chairs side by side, smoking cigars, and drinking a cold one constantly replays in my head.
Waldo Cooney’s Pizzeria
We now reach my favorite spot to get pizza from in the entire city of Chicago. That’s Waldo Cooney’s located on 85th and Pulaski, on the southside of Chicago. To me no other pizza tastes better. These guys definitely know what they’re doing and have managed to keep the same great taste for many years now. I’ve always found their customer service to be excellent as well. Waldo Cooney’s is the real deal, and will remain as my go to guys when it comes to satisfying my hunger for pie. I suggest giving it a try if you haven’t yet. Don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
El Molino Taqueria
Last but not least we finally arrive at El Molino. One of Chicago’s more lowkey Mexican food joints located just east of 31st and Pulaski. Next time you’re looking for some good Mexican grub I suggest stopping in at El Molino. One can’t go wrong in ordering their carnitas, which remains as this establishment’s most popular item off the menu. I personally am in love with their steak torta. It comes jam packed with some of the most soft and savory meat you’ll probably ever eat (pause). Adding their green in home salsa to anything you order is key. Kind of like the cherry on top, you feel me. Quality food and service from a quality family. Can’t really ask for much more.
Hopefully I’ve been able to spread food knowledge upon you, expanding your “what to eat?” options. Please by all means, drops me some comments. Let me know if you’ve eaten at any of these establishments before and how you feel about them. If you haven’t then drop me a comment anyway and let me know if you’re looking forward to trying any of these spots and what you’re looking to try. I wish your appetite satisfaction.#GowhereYouLove
Can’t believe a whole week has gone by since Rhymesayers Entertainment held it down in Minnesota with their annual Soundset festival. A festival which in my opinion is one of the more entertaining festivals to go to each year. That mainly due to the amount of activity taking place inside Canturbery Park. It’s literally the Hip Hop culture down to the tee. You got some of the biggest names in Hip Hop holding it down on several stages mixed with an array of beautiful cars lined up for the car show, and a live view of some of the more respected (street)artists in the game throwing down on an Ironlak sponsored P wall. You can bet that you’ll be instore for a great time if the climate works in your favor.
Unfortunately for me…the weather didn’t play nice this year. 2013 forced out the jackets and hoodies as a cold and gloomy atmosphere took over pretty much the entire day. Still that wasn’t going to slow down or stop anyone from having a good time. So I made my rounds from end to end exploring, observing, and listening. This year I was fortunate enough to have caught a bit of every artist I was most looking forward to seeing take the stage. A hand full of them putting on a great set. Artists like Juicy J and Joey Bada$$ were among the few talents who kept a hype crowd. Other acts like Schoolboy Q and Mac Miller lost a few of us throughout their set.
Juicy J pretty much lived up to the performance I expected out of him. He kept his character and really got the crowd turned up performing hit records such as “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” and Three 6 Mafia classics like “Stay Fly.” Artists Joey Bada$$, Dizzy Wright, and A$AP Ferg were among some of the more impressive acts, who much like Juicy J kept me in tune throughout their entire sets. It’s too bad I can’t say the same about Mac Miller or Schoolboy Q who both lost me and a crowd of others throughout each of their sets. In my opinion Mac is just a terrible performer and Schoolboy Q just had his tracking all out of wack. I don’t know about y’all….but I expect every performer to come with the hype and keep every fan engaged at an event as big as Soundset.
Overall I’d give the Rhymesayers crew a thumb and a half up for putting on yet another well executed fest. Their issues with press check in keeps the other half of the thumb however. Seemed as if they had quite a handful of issues in that department. Next year is another year though. I look forward to returning each May for several years to come. I only see this festival getting bigger and bigger as each year goes by.