Archives for posts with tag: Chance The Rapper

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The most recent quote on Jhene Aiko’s Tumblr reads, “Sunshine all the time makes a desert.” This arab proverb is perfect for Aiko’s attitude towards life and music. To paraphrase from a past interview she’s said, “I just believe in progressing through life..I really take things that most people would see as negative as motivation..tradegy etc., those are the things that make me even more motivated and inspired.” It can be easy for some to hear her music, her voice and instantly be drifting away in a kind of bliss. But there is darkness, and complexity within the beauty.

Jhene is about a year older than me, a Pisces, born March 16th 1988 (raised in LA). While I was trading Pokemon cards and playing video games in 2002 (Jhene was probably doing that too:)), she was getting her music career started, contributing vocals to past R&B group B2K. It was fun to realize I had heard her voice way back then and not noticed. You can spot Aiko in their video for “Uh Huh” (my favorite of theirs).

 

She toured with them for a bit, and took a break from the music industry for several years. During this time, she had a daughter and had a record label meeting that would influence the future creation of the Sailing Souls Mixtape, Sail Out EP and upcoming debut album Souled Out. She was told the classic tale, that you need to sell yourself if you want to get somewhere in the business. A play on words would change “sell” to “sail”, and that attitude of freedom and artistic integrity would fuel her future work.

 

I admire her energy and perspective on the world within and around her. She doesn’t believe in setbacks and takes each moment good or bad, as energy for her music. It’s that roll with the punches feel that’s helped give her this angelic, as well as raw presentation as an artist and person. In her Sailing Souls mixtape (Prod. by K. Roosevelt, Fistcuffs, J.LBS, Bei Maejor and Tae Beast), the relationship songs are all about one particular, unnamed person. The audience has a window into her life, and that vulnerability and honesty has connected with a massive and diverse group of individuals. That mixtape’s had over a quarter of a million downloads, and features Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Gucci Mane, Lite, H.O.P.E., Roosevelt and Kanye West.

Her productions on that mixtape were smooth demonstrations of R&B, soul and pop, some of my favorites being “Stranger”, “Hoe Feat. Miguel & Gucci Mane”, “Real Now”, “Higher” and “Space Jam.”

 

 

Jhene lost her brother Miyagi to cancer in July 2012. She wrote “For My Brother” solely for her dying sibling, and he passed away shortly after hearing it. That fall, “3:16 AM” was released as a single from Sail Out.

In 2013 she was featured on Drake’s “From Time” off his marvelous Nothing Was The Same album, was involved in a car crash with her daughter (who was thankfully unharmed) and released her Sail Out EP (Prod. by Fistcuffs and No I.D., via Def Jam and Artium) in November. With each release, from the mixtape to this EP I hear a mighty evolution that further puts Aiko in her own creative space. It’s refreshing, organic music, that doesn’t sound anything like current mainstream cheese. The same labels that brought Sail Out are now prepping Jhene’s debut album, Souled Out (out May 2014). I’m itchin’ to hear where she takes us next.

* You can catch Jhene Aiko at Coachella 2014 *

 

Jhene Aiko – Facebook Twitter Tumblr Soundcloud

– Jimi Jaxon

References: Jhene Aiko Interview – The Truth With Elliott Wilson, Wikipedia, Jhene Aiko Interview With Manny Norte

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I hope to see you at The Crocodile this coming Sunday ($10 Advance TIX, FB event page). This is a part of Chance The Rapper’s ‘Social Experiment Tour’. That show at Showbox Sodo in Seattle, is sold out. Now, my feature on DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn and the prolific Teklife crew.

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As I read this recent interview with DJ Rashad aka Rashad Harden on Pitchfork, I connected deeply with his friendly energy. For someone of such influence and authority to be so kind shows me somethin’..nice guys can finish first.

 

It’s the same feeling I’ve gotten from my interactions with Machinedrum. After playing alongside him last year, sweatin’ it up at his Leisure System After Hours (w/ Jimmy Edgar, Jets) at Decibel Festival 2013, witnessing his Vapor City live show + the whole package around that album AND hearing his Essential Mix, I’ve developed such a strong connection with the man behind the music, Travis Stewart. Behind all this innovation and energy is a thoughtful and deep person that’s just very passionate about music.

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In that same vein, Rashad matches a bright personality with ferocious and diverse productions, that have vastly fostered new sounds and styles into the world. Search on Google for “DJ Rashad Interviews 2013” and you’ll easily find out, this man is a big deal. Tiny Mixtapes eloquently said, “He might not be the most veteran footwork DJ (that would have to be RP Boo) or the most batshit (there are lots of people in the running for that title), but it’s become increasingly clear since TEKLIFE Vol. 1: Welcome To The Chi changed the game that, flanked by his longtime partner-in-crime DJ Spinn, Rashad is among the kings of footwork and juke — as both hometown bastion and ambassador abroad. Welcome To The Chi was a huge landmark for what was until then a more or less underground scene, in one bold stroke defining footwork for a new international audience and pushing it to its breaking point.”

 

Rashad has recently teamed up with Kode9’s Hyperdub label, and the results have been huuuuge. I can’t say enough positive things about this label. The pairing has encouraged Rashad’s evolution as an artist; showcasing a broad range of sounds, textures and moods. There’s the I Don’t Give A Fuck EP, with energy so high I want to move until I pass out from sheer excitement. His previous Rollin EP, with my personal favorite track, the emotional and freeing “Let It Go”. His newly released 2nd album, Double Cup further demonstrates his variety as a producer. It’s got plenty of soul, with an ultra smooth flow. Equally relaxing and gangsta’ in the best way.

 

I can’t talk about all this music without mentioning the Teklife crew. DJ Rashad is the chief member of this Chicago based unit, and you’ll notice many of the others in production collaborations. The releases I mentioned above also showcase DJ Spinn, Freshmoon (Tony Mundaca Jr. and Lacey Mundaca), DJ Manny, Taso, DJ Phil and DJ Earl (+ Addison Groove from across the water). There are others such as Traxman (see Teklife Vol.3 The Architek). Click over to their Soundcloud’s and take in this massive collection of vibrant tunes.

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It’s such an honor to not only be opening for DJ Spinn for a second time in just a few months, but to be joined by DJ Rashad, who was unable to perform at dB Fest 2013’s Hyperdub Showcase. This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often; it seems the universe demands these two come to Seattle and wake the city up. It’s exciting to note that DJ Spinn is working on his album for Hyperdub as well..

 

DJ Rashad – Soundcloud Facebook Twitter

DJ Spinn – Facebook Twitter

– Jimi Jaxon