Chad Lewine – 35 [Review]

Home ownership is not just (or at least widely considered) the ‘right’ financial move. It is something far more important, at least for many people. A home is where one can take refuge, feel secure and comfortable. But when was the last time that home ownership was the central idea of a song? Hailing from Lansdale, Pennsylvania Chad Lewine is back with another record for the summer titled 35. The lyrics from the artist focus on how he needs to buy a house by the age of 35. On the production side, the backing track contains a powerful trap/future bass beat with commercial elements and vivid pop influences. Overall a really fun and lively track that can be characterised by its playfulness while at the same time it manages to communicate messages which are not directly expressed. Listen below!

Follow Chad Lewine

Lupe Dragon – I Know What You Did [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Moody, inspiring, collective

‘I Know What You Did’ captures the energy of someone that got betrayed but is ready to move on. Tell us a few things about your new song. What is the main idea behind it?

The main idea was showing the ugly part of anger. The part we hate seeing in ourselves. The person we become when we really get destroyed by someone. The version of ourselves they made us out to be.

Does your music in general reflect real life experiences?

Most of the time yes. It comes from my personal experience and my perspective.

Favourite album of the past decade?

Oh man.. tough question. Hopeless Fountain Kingdom by Halsey still gives me chills… As well as Under Pressure by Logic.

What would be your dream performance venue?

Madison Square Garden.. I’m from Jersey but I live so close to New York that I’ve walked by it so many times. My goal is to make it on that stage one day.

Your music has a pop sensibility. In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

When they’re looking to either cry, feel their feelings, or have a good time. I’m looking to make more upbeat music cause life isn’t all bad. My better songs just happen to be focused on love and breakups !

One last thing we should know about you?

I love a good cappuccino!

Thank you!

Follow Lupe Dragon

Chicago Ray Ray – Vultures [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words


“Loyalty is everything in life and in the streets.” Tell us a few things about your new song Vultures.

Vultures exposes the people around you who have no loyalty or those that do. The ones who are only around to take from you and have no loyalty are vultures

How do you relate to the Chicago music scene?

Growing up I have witnessed the music transition and Im apart of the diverse talented artist here in Chicago, I thrive on all of the music made here and support them with the good music that comes from here. I want to be apart of the tradition of setting a trend in Chicago with good music.

Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer?

My Favorite Rapper is Black Thought, My Favorite Lyricist is Scarface, My Favorite Producer is SUPERHOOD (My cousin)

Dream performance venue?

Performing at Lollapalooza Here in Chicago, Its one of the biggest Concerts in the world

Best film you watched the last 12 months?

Power with Jamie Foxx

Any future plans

Im working on my album and hoping to release it summer of 2021!

Thank you!

Follow Chicago Ray Ray

Thriftworks – TUPUXUARA [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

cretaceous, spacey, knockville

“I can’t dance but I can’t sit still”. In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

it’s open to interpretation, this is undoubtedly up to the individual listener

Platforms offering sound recordings in a netflix style subscription-for-access model changed the art of sampling in a drastic way. Do you think that having such an easy access to samples affects the quality of instrumental music today?

I recently began using Splice, I think it’s important to stay true to yourself as a producer and not overindulge in premade loopps. Tweaking and repurposing is essential, otherwise things can get lazy and stagnant real quick.

Is realistically your type of music a genre that can be performed live?

Throughout the years i’ve learned that my live shows definitely have a different vibe than a lot of my more upbeat contemporaries. The vibe is much more cerebral and that’s ok.

You are a lover of chess. Which is the best album we should listen to while playing a chess game?

Hydromancy came from an era where I first began playing a lot of backyard chess with the homies. That’s gotta be it.

What would you change in the music industry?

Streaming royalties for sure. Artists are getting low-balled around the world by big streaming services like spotify and apple mucic, etc. etc

One last thing we should know about you?

I eat canned fish more than most people can handle. A can of baby clams has almost 20g of protein.

Thank you!


Hunnid – Lonely At The Top (Feat Streetz) [Interview]

  • Describe your sound in three words

I would say passionate, honest and with some of my new stuff vulnerable.

  • “Lonely at the top” is an emotional song indeed. Tell us a few things about it.

“Lonely at the Top” is a mantra for the determined.  This song comes from a vulnerable place for me.  The song was written and recorded with the featured artist Streetz years ago.  Along with many many other songs, this track was left unfinished when Streetz was murdered in 2018.  The song was then posthumously produced and released by myself at the end of 2019 in his memory.  Although the tone of the song is sad, it is still powerful, uplifting and motivational.  The point is to carry on the legacy for him.  Even when you’re by yourself, it’s not always lonely at the top.  

  • You sampled an iconic song by the Beatles. Which are your major musical influences?

I take influence from all types of music.  I grew up listening to every kind of music you can think of – from Jazz to MoTown to 90’s hip hop/rap, to Pop Music to Rock and everything in between and think this has all influenced me, even if just for my deep love and respect for music.  If I were to pinpoint a specific artist that has had the most influence on me musically and as a person in general, I would say TuPac.  The last few years, I can say I don’t listen to alot of other people’s music.  I really focus on my personal creativity and my craft.  I will listen to beats and instrumentals and just create.  I want my music to be authentic and not have too much influence from others in order to maintain my artistry.  

  • Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer?

Honestly, I would say myself.  As an artist, if you’re not your own biggest fan, you cannot expect anyone else to be and maybe you shouldn’t be doing this.  I love what I create and am proud of every track I release.  I have my hand on every piece of the process of creating my music.  

  • Do you have an artist that you would describe as a hidden gem that we should know about?

Not to be redundant, but I think myself.  I believe my artistry and music is a hidden gem and the new stuff I’m creating is going to set the world on fire.

  • What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

 I recently watched The Banker and thought that was a great movie.  It had a very real and raw storyline and the acting was great.  I think it’s very inspirational and reminded me that even when you’re faced against the odds you have to rise to the occasion.   

  • Any future plans?

There’s too many future plans right now to try to list.  I would suggest the world be on the look out for what’s next from me.  The future is going to be epic for my brand.  

  • Thank you!

Follow Hunnid

KIA – MADAM$ (OST “The Madam$”) [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Soulful, deep but an edgy touch

“MADAM$” started as a title track for “The Madam$” series on the Cideshow platform. In what ways platforms like this change the music industry?

Platforms like these give creative people a voice. It connects people to work together in different disciplines. You can submit a show/series and/ or movie ideas for streaming. As a musician that is involved in one of those shows it’s a golden opportunity because your music gets to a different audience that you might never reach yourself.

What is the main topic of your lyrics? Tell us a few things about your creative process.

MADAM$ is all about feeling like you are wearing that crown on your head.
In this particular case the topic of the song was already there, so it was up to my co-writer Lars Hempel and I how we were going to translate that. Pretty fast Lars came up with a grungy bass synth line and a badass beat, and then I came up with the hook. I have a thing for spoken word so this turned quickly into a rap. Put it all together and you have MADAM$.

Why sexism, and even outright misogyny, is so pervasive in Hip Hop culture?

I wish it were different and I hope it’ll change more. The concept of image, authenticity, lifestyle-oriented aliases of artists, has been distorted so much to a point that people start to believe it is a standard to hold onto. It’s marketed that way in mass production. I think it’s wrong and I believe that dignity and respect is worth everything. I hope that people will do some soul searching.

What is your favorite album of the past decade?

NAO – Saturn

What is your dream collaboration?

Anderson Paak would be the dream.

Any future plans?

I’m releasing a whole live album in the beginning of next year, so stay tuned!

Follow KIA

Uknomewel – Magik [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Authentic, Real, Raw

What is the story behind your name?

I’m Lilkev where I’m from, im the Keyholder that’s why im Loksmif, with this rapper shit! got keys and I unlock doors, knomewel (you know my well) speaks to my inner Man been the same as your inner man, you understand? You know me well because we are in essence one and the same just at different places and circumstances you understand?

What is the main topic of your lyrics? Tell us a few things about your creative process

Life and everything in between, my creative process normally starts with finding or hearing a beat and the beat speaks its truth to me and I reply and we produce the song together as two instruments in cohesion

For which lyric you are most proud of?

Them all they are Truly mine and they speak to peoples conditions.

Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer?

Tupac, ion that’s hard bc I like older artist so it kinda hard to choose, right now its Cormill, Datklien Beat, Jo3 beats and the Beat Grabberz but overall Kayne West

What does the future hold for Hip-Hop?

Hopefully it holds some ability to redirect the miseducated and misdirected listners that it has influenced over the last couple of years.

One last thing we should know about you?

I am a voice for the unheard the unspoken.. it’s more than rap I speak to the condition of a group of people that seek advancement, that seek liberation and financial security. Please lock in and check for my up coming album titled *How Can I Rest* streaming every some

Thank you!

Follow Uknomewel

CHASE STEPHEN – leaf szn [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Lush / Dark / Melodic

You mix guitars with lofi beats. Tell us a few things about your creative process?

So far I still feel pretty new to production and mixing which takes away from my guitar playing but for my recent releases they tend to start off with a guitar rhythm that ultimately sparks a theme or color that I use to develop the song. Usually I add textural elements next and some cliché vinyl crackling to give the music more character. After that I just start riffing around with some guitar leads and use them as a voice for the story that I’m trying to tell. To breakup any creative constraints I like to solo other instruments that I’ve been experimenting with such as keys or bass depending on the mood. Then I kinda sit on my mixes (like most producers do) for a while and debate whether I think the song is good or garbage. The more time I spend on a track the less creative I start to feel and that’s when poor judgement in the mix can start affecting the overall sound. Next thing you know you start bashing yourself for ruining a mix that was good like 5 iterations ago (haha).

Many people consider lofi beats as music to study or relax. For us it is something far more exciting. What are your thoughts?

Considering I came across chillhop and lofi beats while working at my first full-time job after college I’d say it can be great as background music for focusing on tasks but I think I was digging it more as music that I actually paid attention to thanks to artists like L’indecis, Saib and Idealism. Over the years I feel like this genre has become super saturated with beatmakers and not necessarily songwriters considering that most just sample beats and repeat. While I don’t think this genre is intended to be “exciting” like you mentioned, I think lofi beats can be a great foundation for building upon creativity and not having any strict guidelines.

Would you consider performing your music live? What would be your dream performance venue?

The instrumental music I currently write and produce doesn’t strike me as something I’d really perform especially because I feel like it’s kind of cinematic and more suited for sync licensing. Honestly I don’t feel like I fit into the beat scene that much because it’s not my forte and a beatmaker isn’t really what I aspire to be. This lofi stuff was just supposed to be a side project for me so I could get better at mixing and producing for my lyrical projects but I think I underestimated the learning curve of what it truly means to be “good” in these areas (haha). It’s funny because the whole concept of “lofi beats” is to intentionally have low quality sound within your mixes but since this genre isn’t the end goal for me I guess I see it as more of a learning experience for my music that’s yet to come.
As for my dream performance venue I think the Red Rocks or any amphitheater of the likes would be sick to play; maybe some heavy acoustic or rock (haha Red Rocks) since I also write music in those genres but I don’t see lofi beats being a great headliner for one
of these venues.

Favorite producer?

You’re stumping me with some hard questions (haha) I don’t think I can name a fav producer because I don’t really know whether or not some of my favorite artists produce their own music, plus naming a favorite producer would severely limit me in terms of the many different genres that I like. I’d say most recently since I’ve been trying to brush up on my guitar playing that Tom Misch might be one of my favs cuz he’s pretty low-key and he puts out bangers (haha).

Are Spotify playlist curators the new gatekeepers of the music industry?

It seems that way doesn’t it? Maybe some genres more so than others but I feel like the music industry has changed so fast over the past decade (even as I’m still learning) that some musicians are stuck with a label mentality and others are stuck with a starving artist mentality. Even though I’m so new to it all I really enjoy the learning process and not having to answer to anybody when it comes to business or creativity. I know and have worked with people on both sides of the spectrum and it can be detrimental to the artist to have no middle ground understanding. One thing that’s interesting is the global pandemic we’ve been experiencing in 2020 because I’ve seen big labels drop artists like flies and I’ve seen indie artists take some big steps in their careers. I feel like many struggle to see the potential that they could have just by creating good music, branding themselves and learning new skills to better themselves in terms of music as a business and a creator. Back to playlists I actually founded my own label (Le Steez) this summer and a big part of my mission behind it is to have artists supporting other artists. One of the ways I’ve been able to promote this is by creating playlists and running social media ads to target certain audiences which allows me to connect with many artists and helps them to get organic followers, streams and exposure.

One last thing we should know about you?

Umm, big coffee guy over here (haha).

Thank you!


Samad Savage – Don’t [Interview]

  • Please Introduce yourself

SKOODWIDIT, I’m Samad Savage, repping Montclair, Jersey.

  • Describe your sound in 3 words

Impactful, thought-provoking and energetic

  • Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer

Lupe Fiasco, Big Pun and Chuck Sutton

  • Best Hip Hop album ever

The Cool

  • Top Hidden Gem Artist


  • Future plans

I plan on changing the world or sparking the mind that does

Follow Samad Savage

Essense – Novocaine [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Vibey, swaggy, & soulful

Does love make you wanna run in real life too? What advice would you give to your younger self?

It did at one point but I’ve learned that love is unavoidable. It always seems to find me. I’d tell my younger self to stop running. “Be who you are, learn how to feel”

Which track in the “The(Essense)tial” EP represents you the most?

My song La Da Di literally describes me in my element. Just in my house bumpin to some music, in my own zone. I’m an introvert. I like to be by myself. I can have my own private party.

What makes NYC one of the most influential places in the world? What do you love and what do you hate in the city?

We set trends. We create waves. It’s just a vibe. I love everything about my city. I hate when people try to act like it’s not the best city in the world!

How do you relate to the NYC music scene?

I’m a fan of this new NYC music scene. Especially the NY drill scene. Definitely a vibe.

What is your favorite album of the past decade?

It’s a tie between H.E.R’s first album and DVSN Sept. 5

What would be your dream performance venue?

The 106 & Park stage. RIP 106…

One last thing we should know about you?

I’m from Brooklyn. YKTV

Thank you!

Follow Essense