Tuesday night Swank Publishing held their Media Day/Holiday Party downtown at Fleetwood. It was fun time with good vibes & good people.
Swank PR brought out some great artists & some cozy looking onesies as everybody chatted, ate, drank, & were merry. The DJ was there spinning records & some very talented folks were in attendance. We got to meet & sit down with Str8 Up, who was there doing their podcast. We got to participate & it was a great time. Go to @Str8Up_vnr on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook to check them out.
We also got to sit down with some great artists & learn about what they did this year & what they’re planning for 2016. Check out those conversations below:
Our first interview was with Z Verse. After previously working close with Z Verse ourselves, we had a lot of catching up to do as far as a few things Z Verse has coming up in 2016. During our interview, Z Verse told us about his upcoming visual that’s expected to be released soon for his single, World So Bad – we got a sneak peek of it & you can definitely expect to see it featured on here once released. Z Verse also managed to talk about the upcoming tour he’s apart of with Lupe Fiasco.
CITMI: Tell us about Z Verse in 2015 & what can the people expect from Z Verse in 2016?
Z Verse: Same n*gga (laughs). Naw, I think for me it feels like a dream fulfilled. That’s kind of how I view my 2016. This is my approach regardless of what happens or regardless of how things come off. I’m at a point where I feel accomplished because I’m so like in my mode – comfortably where I’m able to create music, able to put the visions out that I see. I’m not wondering anymore. I’m kind of like seeing it & able to execute.
CITMI: We seen all over social media, blogs, magazines & etc. that you’re joining a major Chicago artist on tour. Talk about that.
Z Verse: Yeah…2016 Lupe Fiasco Tour. For the fans – it’s going to be a great tour. [Its] something that me & Lupe sat down & talked about. I’ve been watching [shows] a lot of the times with Lupe & on stage with him when he’s just like shouting me out like, “yo I’m with my boy Verse”. But now being able to perform on tour with him – it’s going to be great just because we have that history coming up together & being in the business together.
Our second interview was with Kevin Lavell. It’s been a while since we last seen Kevin but we managed to talk about his latest mixtape Sorry 4 Nothing, how he transition from being a fan of Young Dro to working with him, some of his collaborations, his 2106 plans & what we predict in 2016 for him.
CITMI: Since your latest mixtape is called Sorry 4 Nothing, tell us why you aren’t sorry for nothing (laughs).
Kevin Lavell: The tape really about perspectives. And it’s like how you see that sentence – am I not sorry for nothing? Like I ain’t sorry for sh*t or I’m sorry for literally nothing – for like giving nothing. I’m sorry for nothing – for happening to be ass out.
CITMI: Your latest single & visual, Muscle featuring Young Dro has been played everywhere. All over the radio stations. Talk about that collaboration.
Kevin Lavell: Man, that’s crazy. I remember in High School, Freshmen year in Oak Park River Forest – I got kicked out at the end of the year, I wish I didn’t but – I use to listen to Dro in the hallway. Like I would have the tablet in my cargo Polo pants – you know Dro use to always wear Polo, & I would just be in the hallway listening to Dro vocabulary, “we be counting money like a machine…I can spend a hundred when I daydream…”. So when I met the mans, I’m like you rock with my sh*t – it ain’t hit me til afterwards cause I’m still looking at it like I rap, you rap at the end of the day. But afterwards I looked at it like you rock with my sh*t you know what I’m saying. I been rocking with you so for me to meet you & for you to be rocking with me – like when we’re performing together, when I’m walking out, when we conversating & all that, when I’m leaving, if I see the mans & he’s sitting there, he gone stand up shake my hand & I’ma do the same with him – respect.
DJ Earn Money
Our third interview was with DJ Earn Money. DJ Earn Money told us a little history about how he got his name & how others tend to mistake his name for Armani. DJ Earn Money also shared with us the type of music that’s featured on his latest album, artists he has worked with & more.
CITMI: Tell us how you came up with the name DJ Earn Money.
DJ Earn Money: So the name DJ Earn Money stems from a childhood nickname that I had back in the hood that I’m from, like from all the older dudes calling me Earn Money because my real name is Earnest. So it just like carried over – that nickname carried over into my music.
CITMI: Tell us about a few familiar names you’ve worked with.
DJ Earn Money: Most familiar with, top people I worked with…The Cool Kids, Wiz Khalifa – it’s a list. DJ Neil Armstrong, Steve Aoki, The Boy Illinois & many more. A lot of people.
CITMI: You currently have an album out. Tell us about it.
DJ Earn Money: Yeah I do have an album right now on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, & like 30 other different digital stores. It’s called Where The Good Vibes Are. Basically what genre it falls under is Chill Out. Chill Out is an electronic genre that’s made for like when you’re chilling in the backroom of like really, really high end & big room clubs – the area in VIP where they play more laid back & electronic music is the type of music that I made for the album which is what I like to call futuristic lounge music.
Our fourth interview was with Landon Battles. We recently featured Landon’s single, visual & mixtape Black Gold & wanted to know more about the single & visual. We even asked Landon about his experience on Sway In The Morning.
CITMI: Tell us about Black Gold.
Landon Battles: So Black Gold was pretty much about your melody. I just wanted to give everybody some real conscious music but to dope beats. Somebody described it as slipping the medicine in the candy. I just wanted to do me – without worrying about just tryna make a hit, but really just put myself out there & Black Gold came about. It’s worth a lot of money, they selling it in Europe for like $300 for like a gram of that stuff & it’s valuable.
CITMI: In 2015, a lot of artists & music came out. Who were three artist you listened to the most in 2015?
Landon Battles: Drake…I listened to a lot of Kendrick & sort of kind of Future (laughs). Ain’t that what 2015 been about tho? For real. Drake, Future & Kendrick. It’s balanced – it’s well balanced.
Our fifth interview was with Lord Haiti. Lord Haiti talked with us about several types of music that we weren’t even aware of, artists that he worked with & his 2016 plans.
CITMI: Introduce yourself to us.
Lord Haiti: Right off back, I’m Lord Haiti as you may know. I’m a music producer. I do various genres such as Hip Hop, R&B, EDM, House, Reggae – I do the whole nine. So with that being said I been influenced to develop my own genre called Vibe. So it’s composed of like Soul & Funk which is what Hip Hop was made off of. With those influences I take my music to another level like I send vibrations through my tracks. I feel that music is very spiritual so I send vibrations through my tracks as well as put people in a certain a mood to actually just have a vision of what I create.
Our sixth interview was with Ray iLLa. It was a surprise to see Ray iLLa make an appearance with Dough From Da Go but we had to sit down with him to talk about his upcoming project, music & 2016 plans.
CITMI: Introduce yourself to those who don’t know.
Ray iLLa: My name is Ray iLLa. I’m from the East Side of Chicago – from the city. As in stance, I’m prepping for the release of my new project, Situations.
CITMI: Tell us about Situations.
Ray iLLa: It originally started out as an EP – it kind of turned into a LP. Ended up having a couple of extra songs. But it’s pretty much me taking myself out of my normal Chicago hustle based philosophy raps & turn into more completely relatable subject matters from no matter where you’re from or what you about. If you’re an adult, you should be able to feel just about all of these songs in one way or another.
The Boy Illinois
Our seventh interview was with The Boy Illinois. We’ve been huge fans of The Boy Illinois’ music so of course we wanted to know about his latest project DuSable, the upcoming tour he’s apart of, performing live on Sway In The Morning, working with DGainz & more.
CITMI: We recently seen all over social media that you’ll be going on tour soon. Tell us about that.
The Boy Illinois: Yeah, my big bro Lupe Fiasco – I went on my first national tour 2 years ago with him. I popped that cherry so now I feel like I’m really, really in a nice space right now. To take advantage & to get both feet in the door of the industry right now. So that’s gone be big for me. I’m excited.
CITMI: We also seen the segment with you on Sway In The Morning when you performed a few songs & talked about your latest album, DuSable.
The Boy Illinois: Oh yeah man, I actually just talked to him too. Big Unc chilling right now. Our relationship goes back to like 4 years ago. I did Get In The Game on MTV RapFix. And from there, our relationship just been 100 – he sees a lot of potential in me, so he always look out & I’m a genuine good dude. I always check up on him. So he say whenever I’m in the city, I go straight up to Sway & holla at them. It’s a blessing. And when I did the In The Studio performance, that was real good for me because he had never seen me perform before. So that was kind of like his first [time] seeing what I had going on. But yeah Sway the dude!
Our eighth & final interview was with Elite Society. We learned so much from Dom & Don D that we never really thought about or even was aware of such as Elite Society. Not only did we learn a lot about Elite Society but Dom & Don D learned a lot about us as well. We talked music & a lot of things that Elite Society has going on.
CITMI: Introduce yourself to the world & explain exactly what Elite Society is.
Dom: I go by the name Dom (Dominic).
Don D:: And I go by Dale – Don Dale & Don D.
Dom: And we’re basically a small little portion of Elite Society. As a musical group, we call ourself Elite Society because we’re about putting the family on the forefront.
Don D: So it’s more than just music – is what you’re going to find out.
Dom: As a conglomerate, we’re a group of solidified dudes that met & joined together because we have similar goals. We’re sound minded & we have similar aspirations in life. We not only have musicians in the group – as you can see, we’re apart of Elite Society, The Boy Illinois is a part of Elite Society, we also have engineers. We have CEOs, we have people who work in different fields that are apart of Elite Society. Like Str8 Up! they’re a part of Elite Society. We basically have a lot of individuals that are trying to do something similar which is uplift the community – our community. That’s what Elite Society is about, we’re bigger than artists – well in a sense, life is art. So we are all artists in our own ways. But we diversify when it comes to a specific skill – music, media engineering & everything else.
Don D: We’re the same but we’re still different at the same time. We think the same, we carry ourselves similar but we’re also very different with the things we do, our balance. We got a lot of balance so we try to keep that very key in what we do – balance. We try to understand everybody & everything & give it out [which is] info.
We truly enjoyed getting to know these artists & we look forward to what 2016 has in store for them. We would like to that Briahna Gatlin for always showing love & the staff of Swank PR for having us. Shout out to everyone who was in the building. Can’t wait to keep working together in the new year!
Go to @Swank PR to see more about the event & everybody involved. Below are some pictures taken at the event: