So Many Shrimp Radio Episode 14 – Lulu Be. and Jayaire Woods

For episode 14 of So Many Shrimp Radio, rather than interviewing a DJ or producer, we interviewed two up-and-coming rappers from Chicago whose work excited us & suggested they have a promising future. After a quick Q&A, they played us mini-mixes of the music that inspires them. It’s easy to hear how both artists arrived at their distinctive sounds from the songs they selected here.

This episode was recorded July 22, 2017, at David’s place.

Lulu Be. is from the North Side of Chicago and found some mini-viral success with her single “Rude Ting.” Her sound is a diasporic blend that touches on dancehall, afrobeats, and hip-hop with a Chicago bent. She followed it up at the end of last year with the Lululand EP, which you can find at your local streaming site.

 

Jayaire Woods is from Bellwood, IL, and his 2017 release Big Wood was one of So Many Shrimp’s favorite albums last year. With a distinctive flow, considerable compositional gifts, and a tendency to write heartfelt lyrics, the QC Records (Migos, Lil Yachty) signee is one of Chicago’s most promising young talents.

So Many Shrimp Radio Episode 13 – Chanté

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Episode 13 features an interview and exclusive DJ mix with Chanté, Chicago DJ, actor, mother, and the founder and executive director of Cliché Collective, a by- and for-women organization which aims to “support and acknowledge women” within a male-dominated industry. She’s also hosted an ongoing series with female DJs and artists, Pussy Control.

[FYI: Since this was recorded, Chanté reached out & told us she no longer plays R. Kelly, and wanted to apologize “for not being more cognizant and sensitive to his ongoing allegations and his overall predatory actions toward women” in her conversation on the show.]

This episode was recorded the afternoon of 6/25/2017 at David’s place, with Chanté’s children in tow.

Part 1 is a meditative mix by David Drake and Charne Graham, and a celebration of the life of Prodigy of Mobb Deep, who’d passed on earlier that month.

Part 1: David Drake and Charne Graham’s mix

Part 2: Chanté Linwood

So Many Shrimp Radio Episode 12 – DJ Amaris

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Put simply, Chicago’s rap scene as we know it now would not exist if it wasn’t for DJ Amaris. David first met a 22-year-old Amaris Hewett in January 2012 at the home of Chief Keef; he later interviewed him for this piece in Spin Magazine. Amaris was the first DJ to spin Keef, as well as several other now-prominent Chicago rappers, in clubs all across the South Side, high school and college parties, proms, sweet 16s, and concerts, helping break the rapper before anyone outside the city even knew his name.

Today, Amaris is Chief Keef’s official DJ, and still spins throughout Chicago. He’s also the founder of the Golden Knights Drill Team, a non-profit that takes on kids from throughout Chicago, and who’ve won first prize in the Bud Billiken parade several times in recent years.

David and Charne spoke with Amaris about his work with Keef, and the Golden Knights, and Amaris offered a DJ mix split in two parts–half of Chief Keef classics and exclusives, and another focusing on the kinds of music he spins throughout Chicagoland. He also told us about his experience DJing Kenwood’s prom at the Shed Aquarium.

This was recorded June 4, 2017, at David’s place. It was very hot, so excuse the fan noise in the background. Part one is a mix from David and Charne.

Part 1: David and Charne’s mix

Part 2: DJ Amaris Interview & Mix

Best Music 2017

I’ll probably write something about all this in the future.

10 of Charne’s 2017 fav’s:
Lil Bibby feat. Blac Youngsta – Sumn
Lulu Be. – Rain Dance
Ella Mai – Boo’d Up
Sunny & Gabe – Vacay
ICYTWAT feat. INDIGOCHILDRICK – PASTEL TALK
Smino feat. Via Rosa – Long Run
neonpajamas feat. Leslie Marie – On Baby
Opal feat. Sunny Moonshine – Coco Miyaki
Birocratic – Kabuki Inlet
Valee – Window Seat

10 old songs i listened to a lot this year (no order)
Vicious – Freaks
Suga – What’s Up Star?
Ahmad Jamal – Poinciana
Steve Hillage – Palm Trees (Love Guitar)
Nesta – Blending
Al Usher – Lullaby for Robert
Mars Today feat. Masego – 73 Degrees Outside
Funky DL and Nujabes – Don’t Even Try It
Prodigy – Anita
Evelyn Champagne King – Stop That

25 albums i cared about
25. ZMoney & ChasetheMoney ZTM
24. Panamera P Flyraq 2
23. Rico Nasty Sugar Trap 2
22. Gunna Drip Or Drown
21. Mick Jenkins or more; the anxious
20. Jacquees Since You Playin
19. Lil Peep Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1
18. G Herbo Humble Beast
17. Jayaire Woods Big Wood
16. Kur 180
15. NBA YoungBoy AI YoungBoy
14. Kendrick Lamar DAMN
13. Deem Spencer We Think We Alone
12. Cyhi the Prynce No Dope on Sundays
11. Iconika Indecent Exposure
10. Tay-K SantanaWorld
9. Kehlani SweetSexySavage
8. Smino BlkSwn
7. Playboi Carti Playboi Carti
6. 03 Greedo Purple Summer 03: Purple Hearted Soldier
5. Valee and ChasetheMoney VTM
4. Jay Critch, Rich the Kid and Famous Dex Rich Forever 3
3. Chief Keef Dedication
2. Distruction Boyz Gqom is the Future
1. Ty Dolla $ign Beach House 3

 

50 songs
50. Lil Tracy – This Year
49. Keydo Foolfunk – EIDAWGfunkz
48. Jdola – Gelato
47. SOB X RBE – Bust Down
46. Lady Donli – Ice Cream
45. YB – Flights Over Feelings
44. JmoefrmdaBAM feat. King Bone – You See What’s Going On
43. Baka Not Nice – Live Up To My Name
42. Ty Money – Sibley Flow
41. Sahbabii – Chit Chat
40. XXXTentacion feat. Trippie Redd – Fuck Love
39. Knox Fortune – Lil Thing
38. Miguel – Sky Walker
37. Lil Durk and Lil Reese – Distance

36. Babyface Ray feat. 42Dugg and Roleygangblue – Fell In Love
35. Koran Streets – Switch It Up
34. Henry Church feat. DinnerWithJohn – Charlie Murphy
33. Asian Doll – Nice to Meet Yah
32. Zaybõ – Pardon Me
31. Quelle Chris – Buddies
30. Heavy K – Inde
29. Kodak Black feat. XXXTentacion – Roll In Peace
28. BlocBoy JB – Shoot

27. Wande Coal and DJ Tunez – ISKABA
26. Drakeo – Big Banc Uchies
25. Jhene Aiko feat. Swae Lee – Sativa
24. Mozzy – Sleep Walkin
23. Olamide – Wo!
22. Rico Nasty – Poppin
21. Smino – Netflix & Dusse
20. J Hus – Did You See
19. ZMoney feat. Valee – Two 16s
18. Queen Key – Kung Fu
17. Lil Peep – Problems
16. Bump J – Want It All

15. Kendrick Lamar feat. Rihanna – Loyalty
14. Playboi Carti feat. Uzi Vert – wokeuplikethis
13. PoloGang Kentae – Backstreet Baby
12. 24Hrs feat. Ty Dolla Sign – What You Like
11. Jayaire Woods – Wood
10. SZA – Love Galore
9. Ty Dolla $ign feat. MadeInTyo – Lil Favorite
8. NBA YoungBoy – Untouchable
7. Tay K – I ❤ My Choppa/The Race/Murder She Wrote
6. Chief Keef – Text/Reload/Told Y’all/Empty/How Ya Like Me Now/Bust/Go Live
5. 03 Greedo – Rude/Never Bend/Run for Yo Life/Mei Mei
4. Distruction Boyz feat. Benny Maverick & Dladla Mshunqisi – Omunye
3. Valee – Seen Her Before

2. WizKid feat. Drake – Come Closer
1. Jacquees feat. Dej Loaf – At the Club

So Many Shrimp Radio Episode 11 – SqueakPIVOT

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So Many Shrimp Radio welcomes the prodigally talented DJ and producer SqueakPIVOT, who preferred to let the music do this talking. This was one of my personal favorite episodes.

A member of Chicago’s “West Side Boy Band” Pivot Gang, Squeak’s crafted beats for Saba, MFN Melo, and John Walt (Rest in Peace). He truly shines as a DJ, comfortably shifting between hip-hop and R&B, past and present, in a way that feels contemporary. There’s a sense of unpredictability in his selections, as he finds common sonic ground in seemingly divergent sounds: Erykah Badu and Lucki Ecks blend together as if it were always meant to be that way.

Recorded live at David Drake’s, Sunday, May 21.

Part 1: David Drake and Charne Graham’s Mix

 

Part 2: SqueakPIVOT’s mix

So Many Shrimp Radio Episode 10 – Joe Freshgoods

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Joe Freshgoods has become one of the most visible cultural figures in Chicago as a streetwear designer. A co-owner of Fat Tiger Workshop alongside other Chicago streetwear luminaries, Joe went from West Sider with the idea to sell an “I Wanna Fuck Rihanna” beanie to the entrepreneur behind Chance’s tie dye hoodies, the Obama-approved “Thank You Obama” collection, and a wide range of frequently ripped-off style innovations. He spent time managing rapper Lucki Ecks, has been profiled by Fader & covered in GQ, and in his own words, “kicked it at Vogue with a durag on.” He’s also been–against his protestations to the contrary–a DJ, whose legendary parties at East Room often ended with audiences lined up down the block and spilled out into the streets.

Part 1 is a mix by David and Charne.

Find Joe Freshgoods at Twitter, at JoeFreshgoods.com, and Fat Tiger Workshop.

Part 1: David and Charne’s Mix

 

Part 2: Joe Freshgoods Interview & Mix

So Many Shrimp Radio Episode 9 – Brent Rambo

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Vine auteur (UKNOHOWIMROCKIN), meme artist, troll, producer, and aux cord DJ for the ninth episode of So Many Shrimp Radio, Brent Rambo is known for his work with Chicago rappers like Warhol.ss and Famous Dex, and for being himself.

Charne was out of town for this episode, taped April 2, 2017, so David & BrentRambo discussed his background and mainly listened to music as Brent took us on a musical adventure with tracks off the smartphone, careening through an unpredictable selection that reflects his off-the-wall sensibilities.

You can find Brent Rambo on SoundCloud or Twitter.

Part 1: David’s mix

Part 2: Brent Rambo interview & mix

 

So Many Shrimp Radio Episode 8 – DJ Victoriouz

DJ Victoriouz

Season 2 of So Many Shrimp Radio begins with episode eight. We’ll be dropping subsequent episodes every Monday until Season 2 is complete!

The first part is a mix from David and Charne. The second stream is an interview and live DJ mix from the legendary DJ Victoriouz. DJ Victoriouz is a Chicago-based mixtape DJ known for hosting tapes like 2012’s Back From the Dead for Chief Keef, I’m Still a Hitta by Lil Durk, and scores of other street classics reflecting the aesthetic perspectives of the Chicago area, a city which shows a Southern orientation but retains its own particular cross-regional identity.

This is the sound of souls working under the orange glow of sodium lights, the music of strip clubs far from the city’s architectural feats downtown. This is music that reflects a world well past the 95th Street termination of the CTA Red Line, an American cross-roads of musical influences which sounds as contemporary and urgent as any in the United States. Victoriouz offered one of the best DJ sets in this show’s short history, a selection of records (at the time, many unreleased) mainly unknown to his audience.

Around 25 people piled into David’s living room for this episode, and Victoriouz was an unusually careful listener, gauging the room’s reaction with every selection and adjusting in the moment. If you’ve wondered what, exactly, a DJ host *does* co-signing a mixtape of another person’s original material, it’s clear how Victoriouz earned his reputation when you see him in a live setting. With a sensitive ear for music, DJ Victoriouz offered one of the best sets we’ve heard to date.

Part 1: David and Charne’s mix

Part 2: DJ Victoriouz interview & mix

So Many Shrimp Radio Special Live: Lululand Release Party

In anticipation of the immanent release of So Many Shrimp Radio Season 2 (Coming in November), Charne & I are releasing a special episode we did live from the release party for Lulu Be.’s Lululand EP (Apple/Spotify) earlier this month. We spoke with Lulu Be. and her producer Lanre during the party at Classick Studios on October 13th, and you can listen in below. (Recorded by Chill.) If you stick around til the end, you’ll also hear a brief interview with Lulu Be.’s DJ, DJ KO.

Stay tuned, though: the long-awaited Season 2 of So Many Shrimp Radio is incoming, sooner than you think, including episodes with: MC Tree G, Joe Freshgoods, DJ Victoriouz, SqueakPIVOT, DJ King Marie, and many more.

We’ll also be starting recording for Season 3 soon after it launches; invitations will go out in the coming weeks.

David & Charne

peep show

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Lil Peep performed at Subterranean in Chicago last night, the first date on his first headlining tour. It was sold out well in advance, though Subterranean is not a huge venue; it wouldn’t surprise me if this were a strategic booking to get him concert legs for bigger stages in the future, and to foment hype. There was no opening act. It was also an all-ages show, and the vast majority of fans in the building had black x’s drawn on their hands. The bartenders looked bored.

The crowd, though, was very not bored. He descended to the stage from the second floor wearing a patterned shirt matching his skin tone, making him look shirtless before he was shirtless. The crowd knew the words to almost every song, and when the DJ killed the sound, filled the space with his words. Songs like “Girls” and “Beamer Boy” were rapturously received. In adopting rock’s textures, many of his songs pull back from hip-hop’s typically dynamic production, but the crowd enthusiastically bounced along regardless.

The bouncers, sternly overseeing the show like overworked parents, perpetually shined flashlights into the audience, occasionally kicking out teenagers for shoving. Peep ended the show singing along to Blink-182’s “Dammit.” I bought a tour t-shirt, which smelled kind of funky, as if it had been stored in the trunk of someone’s car alongside packages of uncooked sausage.

I don’t want to spend too much time in concert recap mode, because concert recaps are boring. But it’s worth mentioning that the show did draw something out of songs like “Crybaby,” which I’d never really appreciated until I could hear how it connected in a live setting, where wistful teen fans fall respectfully silent to let the stoned sad SoundCloud John Frusciante vibes linger.

My real purpose here is to say: Lil Peep is good. Not only do I like him, I think he’s making music that is genuine, refreshing, well-executed and emotionally real.

A good sign an artist is taking off is that everyone tells me who I should be listening to instead, and all of them recommend different people—none of whom really do what he does, or fill his niche. The smartest thing Peep figured out—which so few of the SoundCloud brethren with whom he’s often compared have—was to drop the Lord Infamous-derived flows that long ago lost their utility to convey menace, and instead embrace post-Sosa melodic stylings.* Peep just made the connection to pop-punk pioneered on records like “Love No Thotties” (& picked up by Uzi Vert) more explicit.

And he did so with a fully-felt appreciation for emo as the raw material to flesh out his world. This isn’t a genre I’m super familiar with, although I gather that some of the backlash to his Pitchfork feature was emo fans mad he’d been decreed “the future of emo.” I don’t know enough to say whether he qualifies as emo, although he’s obviously a fan of it, but I think he does qualify as rap music. Not only is his most frequent collaborator Lil Tracy the literal son of Ish of Digable Planets/Shabazz Palaces and Coko of SWV (do you get more of-the-culture than that? Here they are posing with Tommy Hilfiger, unearthed via Reddit). Not only was he brought into the game as a member of Schema Posse, a group formed by Three 6 Mafia producer J Green (see: DJ Paul “Cocky”). But its formal framework is hip-hop’s, and any attempt to remove him from that lineage only serves to marginalize the genre that made him.

Aside from arguing he doesn’t make rap music, critics have argued his appeal is “ironic.” Even people who seem interested in his work take this tack; Drew Millard called it “stupid” in a piece for Vice that otherwise feels like an endorsement. I still don’t understand what is meant by “stupid” or why music should be “smart”; that Peep’s aesthetic touchpoints aren’t critically feted & instead reach to derided mall punk / emo / “trash culture” forms suggests an inner artistic confidence, rather than a lack of intelligence. Resisting or ignoring inculcated, insular notions of “good taste” is a good way to make your work distinctive…and is artistically smart.

Irreverence towards “good taste” does not need to signify an ironic attitude towards art, and unlike the fake-enthusiastic Yung Lean fandom of a few years back, I don’t think his fans—again, mainly teenagers and two age-ed music writers (thanks to the Chicago Reader’s Leor Galil for the plus one)—are remotely interested in indulging in his music for the comical juxtaposition of a white person making rap music.** If anything, his music strikes me as quite sincere anyway: the lyrics have a straightforward earnestness that is decidedly populist. It is Cool music, but in a way which could translate as easily to a trailer park in flyover country as Brooklyn (if not moreso, judging by the handwringing I’ve seen in allegedly hipper corners).

When I expressed confusion to a friend about the kneejerk backlash after Pitchfork deigned to take him seriously, he suggested “the well is poisoned”—it has felt quite like that. A “Problematic”-stigma has overtaken any mention of Peep, as if his experience of hip-hop was somehow less authentic or more appropriative than, say, Mac Miller’s. If anything, I find his incorporation of rock music’s textures and emo samples and lyrical themes creates a more original—and more universally appealing—energy than Mac’s Lord Finesse remake or Odd Future-esque solo release. Or for that matter, G-Eazy’s Drake-lite, or Yung Lean’s thin Lil B emulation.

At the show, there was no fake-enthusiastic ironic meme action. Instead, teenagers sang his lyrics like they were their own emotions made real, or as if they were coming from the sensitive boyfriend they wished they knew. I’m not trying to deflect criticism of his work in the real sense; glorifying cocaine use is not a net societal positive, nor is romanticizing depression, and understanding what it is that appeals about his work is deserving of a measured analysis. But good lord—how is this different from the entire history of popular music? Has the conversation really become this basic?

* “To me, Chief Keef is totally punk rock. Like, the melodies he uses on his album– it’s like he’s not even rapping no more, he’s just singing. You could swap those synths and keyboards with guitars and fucking crazy drums and he’ll be a rock star.” —Danny Brown to Pitchfork, 2013.

**On a personal level I’m lightweight offended anyone would get that from my appreciation of rap music—I’ve been dismissive of Post Malone, Spooky Black, Yung Lean, et al from jump, whose appeal I’ve felt was relatively one-dimensional. Anything that attempts to connect through simple irony—that veil of “knowingness” that suffocates all other emotions in an effort to telegraph smug superiority—is anathema to me. Irony is a useful artistic tool but terribly one-dimensional as a worldview.