Chicago

WHATS THE BUZZ? (MUSIC YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO WEEK OF 8.11.19 )

Had the pleasure of sitting on a panel to help give feedback on music from students who attend SAE. I heard a lot dope music from some inspiring artists. I liked the music so much I wanted to share a few with you. I hope you enjoy the entire selection for the week.

JOHNNY - JOHNN IN LOVE

WHO PUT YOU ON: THIS KID PLAYED THIS TRACK AT THE SAE PANEL, HE HAD A PROBLEM WITH AUDIO. THE TRACK HE PRESENTED TO GET PLAYED SOUNDED DISTORTED, WHICH MADE IT HARD FOR US JUDGES TO REALLY HEAR IT CORRECTLY TO GIVE THE APPROPRIATE FEEDBACK. BUT ON A ROUGH LISTEN I KNEW THE SONG WAS NICE.

TXJ - WITH ME

WHO PUT YOU ON: SITTING ON THE SAE PANEL I HAD THE PLEASURE TO HEAR THIS TRACK, THIS. THIS ARTISTS PEN GAME IS NICE I WOULD LOVE TO GET HER IN THE STUDIO WITH SOME RISING FEMALE ARTISTS IN THE CITY. FOLLOW TXJ

ELIJAH LOVE - ASHLEE

WHO PUT YOU ON: LOVED THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF THE ASHLEE SONG. ELIJAH LOVE IS REALLY ON TO SOMETHING, HE HAD ONE OF THE BEST SONGS THAT WAS PRESENTED AT THE SAE.

TRIGGA - ART OF POVERTY

WHO PUT YOU ON: I BEEN WAITING ON NEW MUSIC FROM TRIGGA, AND HE DELIVERED.

OG Stevo - Blu Cheese

WHO PUT YOU ON: I WAS VIBING TO THIS RECORD FOR WEEKS, FINALLY HAD THE TIME TO SHARE IT WITH YOU. OG STEVO DID HIS THING WITH THIS ONE.

Lil Mouse x D Money - Playtime

WHO PUT YOU ON: GLAD TO HEAR LIL MOUSE RAPPING AGAIN THIS JOINT KNOCKS.

Rubi Rose - Big Mouth

WHO PUT YOU ON: JAY LU LU SENT ME A BUNCH OF RECORDS TO CHECK OUT TO PUT ON THE LIST. ON THE FIRST EAR I KNEW THIS WAS A RECORD YALL NEEDED TO HEAR.

Ann Marie - My Body

WHO PUT YOU ON: N/A

Back Alley Jazz: “It’s More Than A Block Party!”

Attending Back Alley Jazz in the South Shore neighborhood this Saturday was truly a pleasure. Being able to interact with the attendees and be welcomed into their community was absolutely worth withstanding the 80 degree weather. The premise behind this block party was to highlight the historic DJ jam sessions that were the original Jazz in the Alley events of the 1960s and 1970s. Instead of holding the day’s events in neighbor’s garages, allies, and backyards, like last year and during the original series, the creators of this year’s rendition of Jazz in the Alley decided to hold the celebration in the street, block party style. Those historic jam sessions and gatherings from the 60’s allowed musicians to engage with the community while doing what they loved, performing. And that tradition is certainly one worth remembering.

Back Alley Jazz is the community organized event that seamlessly combines history, jazz, and community. The second annual back alley jazz was revived to shed light on the original jazz in the alley events that took place nearly 60 years ago. The original events took place in Hyde Park and other areas throughout the city and gave individuals the opportunity to gather and enjoy music. They gathered with the community and other musicians and artists alike to perform, DJ, battle, and simply connect with their peers. Thus the event this weekend allowed guests and participants to do just that. The schedule for the day allowed attendees to start the day off with a parade possession featuring Grand Marshall Jimmy Ellis who is the co-founder of Jazz in the Alley. The parade featured multiple musicians and also encouraged everyone to bring an instrument and join! Throughout the rest of the day various talents performed like Ladies and Gentlemen of Jazz, The Godfather, Ice-Tank and more. Along with an abundance of timeless music, the event also featured tables for art activities and multiple vendors to shop with like The Slab BBQ.

When speaking with the project manager, Olivia Junell, she mentioned several aspects that differed this year compared to last year, and simply put the biggest difference was the scale of which it was held. Last year’s event was organized by directly by the jazz festival, advertised on a larger scale and showcased talent from outside of the area. This year the event was brought back to the city. Not only was Chicago talent showcased, the entire day was envisioned and executed by community members and neighbors! The South Shore community successfully organized music, art, food, and history into a day of fun for all ages. It’s no question that this year’s celebration embodied the tradition and goals of Jazz in the Ally. The energy and emotions that flowed through the streets resembled those of passion, positivity, and love.

While the event did a wonderful job gathering an engaging crowd, there was a lack of youth present. Despite the performance by Urban Aspirations, there wasn’t a vast connection to the city’s youth prevalent in Saturday’s celebration. While speaking with Olivia, she mentioned that the organization noticed this decline and plans to find ways to incorporate the youth more in next year’s celebration! Although Jazz in the Alley is a concept that’s familiar to the Chicago community, this revival of the tradition is one to watch for and participate in every year. As long as the events continue to remain community and history oriented, the tradition of Jazz in the Alley will remain alive, and the continuation of Back Alley Jazz will only get better!

Next Showcase Chicago Hosts Listening Party for Syleena Johnson

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Woman is the name of Syleena Johnson’s sixth studio album. This passed July she previewed the unreleased album with a small audience at the Alpha Space on 2014 South Michigan. 

The event was intimate, with food served, a flat screen TV placed in front  for visuals, and a DJ to preview the tracks of the album. Johnson sat in front of her audience to give an in depth synopsis for each song that she shared. Some of the producers and writers on the album joined her in speaking on certain tracks. 

Syleena Johnson and her team showcased behind the scenes footage of the making of the Woman album and the music video for the song of the same title.

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Fans were able to take pictures with Syleena after the listening portion of the party was finished.

What’s The Word got a chance to speak with Syleena to ask her about her thoughts on some of the issues going on today as well as her new book, The Weight is Over.

Listen to the interview and check out more photos from the night below.



ComplexCon Chicago - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Last week I got the chance to attend the inaugural ComplexCon that took place at Chicago’s McCormick Place on July 20-21st. 

The music conference/festival/fashion convention usually takes place in Long Beach California but decided to switch things up by bringing the exhibit to Chicago this year (There will still be a ComplexCon happening in Long Beach this November).  

ComplexCon brought lots of excitement for the city, for more reasons than one. First, this would be the first time hypebeasts in Chi City would be able to participate in the large convention that is specifically targeted at them. Secondly, local streetwear brands would be able to showcase their clothing and have it available for purchase during the event.

ComplexCon was full of excitement with panels that included Questlove and Black Thought to Juice Wrld, Killer Mike, and T.I. The attendees were full of excitement to hear people spit game and to enjoy performances from artists like Rick Ross, ScHoolboy Q, Ella Mai, and Saweetie just to name a few.

Juice WRLD joined Sean Evans LIVE at ComplexCon Chicago this past weekend, just hours before shutting down the Pigeons & Planes stage. The Chicago superstar is a platinum-selling artist whose latest album, Death Race For Love, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, and he has a new single with Ellie Goulding called "Hate Me" out now. But how is he with spicy food? Find out as the hometown hero takes on the wings of death in front of a live audience. Along the way, he talks about his dirt-bike obsession, the appeal of Percy Jackson novels, and the reason you shouldn't pigeonhole SoundCloud rappers. via Complex

There were lots of things to gaze upon at the exhibit like special appearances from Allen Iverson, exclusive sneaker drops from Puma and Reebok, and even a dunk contest. The most exciting thing for me was the panels and getting to hear artists like Smino drop gems about not taking advice from too many people.

It was also dope to see Chicagoan fashion designers like Joe Freshgoods get representation. Other Chicagoans in the fashion world that were represented included were Sheila Rashid and Kristopher Kites. 

Sadly, this is where some of the criticism comes about ComplexCon. Lots of locals feel like the convention misrepresented the true essence of the city. The biggest mistake, not inviting Leaders 1354 to be there. They had a collaboration with the Hundreds, but the iconic Chicago brand deserved to be highlighted more.

If you know Chicago fashion then you know how much of influence Leaders 1354 has had on the culture. Starting in 2002, the clothing store got its start in Hyde Park. Founder Corey Gilkey says, even though they felt cheated out of the experience, it has pushed clothing brands to want to work together even more. 

I’m also not too sure that I saw any of the brands represented in our article for Chicago brands to watch out for.

While ComplexCon was one of the main events that took place last weekend, it wasn’t the only one, which could have hurt the success of the event. Pitchfork Music Festival and the Silver Room Block party were also on the agenda for many Chicagoans. 

I attended both days of ComplexCon, the only thing I regret missing out on is Silver Room Block Party. Especially after news that Pitchfork got rained out on Saturday. Critics of ComplexCon Chicago have also stated that the floor also seemed a bit empty, compared to the one in Long Beach.  

One thing for sure, ComplexCon racked up bank with this two day event. I just hope local brands were able to make a good profit off of the business it brought. The most memorable moment from ComplexCON was the Hype Beast Stampede. People literally ran out of the room during a Q&A with Allen Iverson to try and cop the Nike Air Fear of God 1 “Yellow” on the SNKRS Stash.

Did you attend? 

Let us know your favorite or least favorite part of ComplexCon in the comments! 

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Xtreme Kustom's Car & Bike Fest 2019 was lit!!!

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This past weekend was the Car and bike fest in south holland at South Suburban College. Hosted by XTreme Kustoms Wheels, Dtlr, Power 92.3 & yours truly Whats The Word. Hundreds of people came out to see some of the rawest rides, that cruises the streets. There was lots of food venders and plenty of good music. The event also hosted a contest with many different categories. Categories such as Loudest sound systems, Fastest engines & etc. 

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🌟 inna makin

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From the fancy and exotic cars to the spicy and loud bikes. We had some of the dopest people hit the stage. From Spardo , Nia Kay, Lyric, Cheaneall truu the list just goes on. Overall the event was very dope & peaceful. Other then the heat everyone enjoyed themselves!

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WHATS THE BUZZ? CHICAGO EDITION (MUSIC YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO WEEK OF 7.21.19 )

With all the Chicago Artists going crazy right now I decided to highlight some dope artists that BUZZIN and some of their latest heat! listen below and don’t forget to download the playlist.

Cosha TG - No Friends

S7eaze - Panic

BJ The Chicago Kid - Worryin' Bout Me ft. Offset

Chanelle Truvillion - Day Ones

Stunt Taylor- "PHB"

Tes X - danceee

SONTA - FAVORITE GIRL

YOUNG TEETEE

DOWNLOAD OUR PLAYLIST

Chicago Celebrates Honorees at Independent Music Seminar

On Monday July 1st, The Rainbow Push Coalition hosted the Independent Music Seminar in collaboration with SuperGrindR. The night was full of special guests such as Waka Flaka, his mother Debra Antney, Chicago’s own Bo Deal, and many others.

Queen of Chicago Hip Hop Radio,  Barbara “Bam’’ McDowell moderated the first half of the seminar, the power of women in entertainment panel. The panelists included Mizay Entertainment CEO, Debra Antney; Philanthropist, Angela Stanton-King; and Entertainment Attorney, Brenda Robinson. 

This panel was highly informational and interesting. The main takeaway points were how to protect yourself in the entertainment industry, validating yourself, and speaking things into existence. 

National best-selling author, Angela Stanton-King, spoke about her life in prison. Giving words of encouragement to everyone in the audience, I learned of the prison reform work she has done. 

Brenda Robinson, who is a Chicago native from Roseland gave advice of giving back to the community you’re from. She also talked about how Chicagoans don’t have to leave the city to become successful.

Debra Antney spoke on how unity in the Black community is needed now more than ever. “There is strength in numbers” she shouts to the audience. She also spoke about her work in artist management and her Hip Hop roots.

The Masters Class seminar was moderated by Rolling Out author, Christal Jordan. The panelists for this included recording artists, Waka Flaka and RTS Management founder Bo Deal; his artist El Hitta made an appearance. The highlights from their talk included using your gift to get away from the hood life, saving money, and putting your city first.

The cucumber challenge was also brought up. Waka and Bo were asked to give their thoughts, they spoke on the importance of daughters having fathers in their lives.  

Waka gave Chicago major love when he talked about the city being one of the first to rock with him during his mixtape days.

The night was jammed pack with knowledgeable people who used their experience to drop gems. Jesse Jackson even made an appearance and gave words of wisdom.

Check out more photos from the night below!


TOP 50 SONGS FROM CHICAGO ARTISTS IN 2019 ( THIS FAR )

2019 hasn’t delivered as much music as 2018, but we were blessed with some dope tracks. With the Chicago music scene constantly blossoming, its only right to highlight some of our favorite tracks through this halfway point of the year. No need for an explanation just press Play and Enjoy.

(Some tracks were released December of 2018)

50. DJ Pharris Feat. Young Dolph & G Herbo "Boss"

49. JUSTaimHIGH x RUN IT UP

48. Rooga - Blickathon

47. G Mac - Lit (Huh) G Tino & Jay Breezy

46. Chief Keef & Zaytoven "Spy Kid"

45. COSHA TG -MOVING ON

44. Polo G x Tay 600 - Growing Pains

43. 8MatikLogan - "House of Pain"

42. ASA 2Times - Church

41. King Louie - Tesla

40. memo 600 - Steppers

39. 147 Bubz & Calboy "Ghetto Lullabies"

38. Lil Chris x Matti Baybee -Ovadose

37. Cosha TG x Lil Zay Osama - War

36. Ty Money Feat. Calboy "Never Fair"

35. MVP Nasa - "Peak"

34. Queen Key Ratchet

33. Dreezy ft Kash Doll - Chanel Slides

32. Memo 600 x King Von - "Exposing ME

31. KD Young Cocky - Animal

30. Queen Key - Hey

29. MVP NASA - Vlive

28. SPRADO - PARTY

27. Lil Zay Osama - Survive

26. G Herbo - Wilt Chamberlin

25. Pivot Gang - Mortal Kombat feat. Kari Faux

24. Tink - Different

23. G Herbo - Hood Cycle

22. Calboy - Chariot ft. Meek Mill, Lil Durk, Young Thug

21. HappyBirthdayCalvin "No Friends" Remix Ft. G Herbo

20. Young Tee Tee - Mob Ties

19. Polo G - Battle Cry

18. Calboy "Tell The Truth"

17. Lil Durk - Neighborhood Hero

16. Lud Foe feat. Lil Uzi Vert “Show U Off"

15. Calboy - Unjudge Me ft. Moneybagg Yo

14. Fbg Duck x Rooga Exposing Me Remix

13. Dreezy – Love Someone ft Jacquees

12. Ann Marie ft Yung Bleu - Ride for me

11. Lil Zay Osama - "Trencherous"

10. Chance The Raper GRoCERIES (ft. TisaKorean & Murda Beatz)

9. Calboy - Adam & Eve

8. Ann Marie Feat. YK Osiris "Secret"

7. Juice WRLD - Hear me Calling

6. Juice WRLD - Armed & Dangerous

5. Lil Durk - No Label

4. Juice WRLD - Robbery

3. Lil Zay Osama - Changed Up

2. King Von - Crazy Story 

1. Polo G Feat. Lil Tjay - Pop Out

Before The 'Owbum" | Ranking CHANCE THE RAPPER'S 3 Mixtapes

This July we’ll be blessed with a Chance The Rapper “owbum”. Chance has been hyping us up with the anticipation of his debut album since February. From tweets, to instagram posts/stories, and even the fun “GRoCERIES” dance challenge. Everyone is excited to see what this project will sound like and who will be featured.

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Jooly 👀👀

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Although, he has blessed us with music over the past 8 years, this will be Chance’s first official album. As crazy as it seems, it has been 3 years since his third mixtape “Coloring Book”.


Chance’s mixtapes include 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book but he also has honorable mentions such as Surf with The Social Experiment and Merry Christmas Lil Mama with Jeremih. Let’s take a look into those solo mixtapes of Chano, and really see what they were about.

10 DAY

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The buzz around the newest Chicago rapper came after Chance’s introduction mixtape 10 Day. On 10 Day we learn that Chance got a 10 day suspension from school for having weed on school grounds. During the 10 day suspension he recorded the project which is critically acclaimed.

Tracks such as “Hey Ma” and “Prom Night” left his supporters desiring more. On the mixtape, we learn Chance is a good kid that gets caught up in a bad situation. We hear his innocence in the soulful sounds on this tape. The adventurous and gentle kid from Chicago just wants to be heard.

Chance also collabs with Chicagoans such as Vic Mensa, Alex Wiley, and Nico Segal (now known as Donnie Trumpet) on this piece. We see some of the Savemoney collectively bringing heat to these tracks, that have aged very well.

My favorite thing about this mixtape is the diversity, as we see more of during Chance’s progression. From tracks like “Fuck You Talm Bout” and “Juke Juke” Chance is able to use his creative ability to give us street tracks as well as songs we can dance to.

My favorite track from this project is “Brain Cells.” I find it intriguing because of the catchy hook and his lyrical ability.

What’s most important to digest is the fact that a 10 day suspension lead to a great body of work. Makes me wonder if we would’ve got the same result had it not happened.



ACID RAP

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Chance’s follow up to 10 Day is 2013’s Acid Rap. Acid Rap is the mixtape that many casual listeners know Chance from. Riding the success of 10 Day, Chance had many eyes on him to release this project.  

Acid Rap is more of a music based mixtape than a story-telling one, as Chance stated himself. As you can tell in the opener with “Good Ass Intro,” the jazz influence on this project is in abundance.

He also garnered many notables collabs on this mixtape, including features from Chicago’s own Twista, Noname Gypsy and BJ The Chicago Kid. Other notable features on the project are Childish Gambino, and TDE’s Ab-Soul.

One of my favorites from this mixtape is “Juice”, I love the video and the track. Chance explains how much love he’s gotten from the drop of 10 Day and even shouts out Chicago’s own Chief Keef. This track is so dope, Chance knows that he has the “juice”, the clout, he is the wave, and as he once said “Nigga, I am the culture.” The way he executes it is arrogantly humble.

Chance has also stated that he named the mixtape Acid Rap, because he did experiment with the drug around the making of this mixtape. This is also apparent in the track “Acid Rain”.


Coloring Book

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Chance 3! Chance’s highly anticipated and greatly celebrated third mixtape. Some would argue that this is his first album. Even if you hadn’t heard his two previous project, you were still excited for this.

You really can tell how much Chance progressed by listening to this mixtape compared to his others. Between the three mixtapes this is the most polished project. However, I’d say 10 Day has a bit more consistency when it comes to content. 

Coloring Book is definitely a feel good tape. It’s music that you can listen to that puts you in a feel good mood. In some ways, I actually believe that it is a gospel album. Chance is preaching!

The collabs on this are majorly huge. Chance opens it with the one and only Kanye West in “All We Got", bringing hella energy and sets the mood for the rest of the project. He also has features from Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, and even Kirk Franklin.

My favorite track from Coloring Book is “Smoke Break” this track is such a vibe. I don’t smoke but I can’t get enough of this track. I love how Chance uses smoking a bowl as an analogy to not being able to spend enough time with his now wife Kirsten Corley. “We just been smoking a bowl, we don’t got no time to roll” it’s simple, yet its meaning holds much weight.

If I had to rank Chance’s solo projects from favorite to least favorite. I would say 10 Day, Coloring Book, then Acid Rap.

I know that many may not agree, but I fell in love with 10 Day as I listened and learned Chance’s personality and story. In Coloring Book, I felt the lyricisms of a young man who spoke with so much merriment from the release of the first mixtape. Acid Rap solidified his fanbase and made us realize just how dope Chance is.

Tell us what you think in the comments below.




Looks Of The 2019 Agora Sneaker Ball

The event of the year happened and it was off the chain! The Agora Sneaker Ball invite only gala was filled with food, people and music. And the attendees did not come to play about networking and having a great time.

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The Agora Sneaker Ball is the urban Met Gala, mixed with sneakers, networking and promotion of community service. In preparation for the event I looked forward to the looks, the concept of millennials giving back and the diversity of attendees. However, the fashion stole the show. Chicago natives and others who traveled to the city all looked beautiful. Women were dressed in bright, bold colors and the men were Dapper Dan fresh.

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I think it’s safe to say the trend for the night was fluff and tule and the men went for the clean look. I myself followed the craze and I think I pulled it off very well.

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Okay enough about me, lets take a look into two very important looks. The looks of the founder of sneaker ball, Justin Johnson and the host LaRoyce Hawkins.

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Both men were looking like millionaires but let’s take a deeper look into their attires. Starting with the host of the night, LaRoyce Hawkins, who wore a purple suit with many accessories. The rosary and the bracelet were great additions to his look. Plus the splash of purple his of his Off-White x Serena Williams “QUEEN” shoes matched perfectly to his suit.

Justin Johnson, a fan of Nipsey Hussle wore a blue quite close to the hue Nipsey Blue. He ties his outfit with only a couple accessories and black Off-White shoes.

During my interview with the men I didn’t get to ask about their outfits however, I do wonder if the outfits say anything about who they are?

Here’s a few more looks at the 2019 Agora Sneaker Ball

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Getting Specific With Bree: Radio and Event Host Bree Specific Sits Down With Our Writer Cheanell

Chicago’s 290 Queen Breanna Anderson, who’s best known as Bree Specific is taking over the radio, and plans on taking over the world. The Public Relations degree holder decided that instead of managing the spread of information between someone and the public, she’ll embark on a journey to become a Media Personality. Recently, the radio personality was awarded her own show on Power 92.3 and is also now apart of the Whats The Word family. Specifics’, “Specific Sites” are now available on Whats The Word platforms showing you all the dope events going on in the Chicagoland. To get y’all familiar with our girl Bree, Whats The Word member Cheanell sat down with her to chat. The ladies talked men, colorism in this industry, education and more.

Cheanell: Who is Bree Specific?

Bree Specific: She’s the person within Breanna that never really came out. It took like 22-23 years to come out. Growing up I was shy, I didn’t have too many friends, I didn’t like to be around too many people. But I always felt like being outgoing was in me. But I didn’t know where it was. I feel like Bree Specific is the person that was inside of me that was scared to come out. “

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2018: cut my hair, learned to trust, figured out my angles with my phone out 😂, a few anxiety setbacks, embraced a team for my brand that helps me & everyone around me, lost homies 🙏🏾 to guns & the police who “sworn” to protect us, talked my ish on Chicago Radio, still had some broke days, questioned my spiritual methods, hosted some dope events, cried because I’m a cry baby 😢, broadcasted live from the Bud, understood the importance of vibranium, realized i couldn’t get this far without my supporters & homies 🤞🏾, made some selfish decisions, became an auntie, struggled with comparison, witness friends grow in their fields & take some Wins 🙌🏾, changed my circle to people i can look up to, loved a bit more, ran out of gas, started a YouTube series, obsessed over twist outs, traded the club for branding & networking events, contemplated changing who I am to get where i wanted, started my own candle business 🕯, told my granny i was good even when i wasn’t, learned to WOP 🤼‍♀️, had the BEST birthday ever, talked millennial impact with Rev. Jackson, over worked myself, apologized, revamped my spiritual journey, I’ve supported, & i’m blessed to bring in the New Year in ya ears from 10p-5a on @power92chicago 🔥😍 2019: i got it mapped out strong 💪🏾 This year was something else & I’m grateful for every part of it! Thank yal for being here to grow with me frfr!! Friends, followers, supporters i appreciate every DM, ticket bought, like, text, repost, listener, retweet, etc. Yal the bomb.com. Some people hit me when i felt the lowest & didn’t even know it. Let’s continue to love & support one another in 2019 Specifics 💜👑 #breespecific🎙

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Q: Is Bree Specific Brianna Anderson’s alter ego, do you click Bree on and off?

A: No, I don’t think I click her in and out. I think I’m okay with being who I am now. She came about in college. I think going to college made me who I am now.

Q: So was leaving SIUC while pursuing a Masters a difficult decision? Do you feel like it was a good move for your career?

A: I was terrified! I didn’t have a plan, I started doing radio my senior year and it rolled over to my first semester of grad school.  The only reason I went to grad school is because I didn’t have a plan and I knew I could keep my radio show if I stayed in school. In the meantime, I was sending my videos and audios to different people, but nobody was responding. I didn’t know how to get into radio, I didn’t go to school for it.

Q: What do you want next, what do you expect next from yourself?

A: I really want to hone into being an entrepreneur. I have a candle line called Specific Scents and it is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I feel like it explains who I am. I’m a real zen person. I want to learn more about entrepreneurship.

Q: You host events, you have a radio show and you’re an entrepreneur, what suffers in your life?

A: My candle business.  I work a lot to support my lifestyle and to invest in myself. I have to work to buy inventory and people not buying the candle and I have to figure out why they’re not buying the candle and that costs money.

Q: Does your dating life suffer too because you’re a woman in media?

A: Yes, my dm’s do not bust, well they just started bustin. As far as dating, I really believe in friendship first. A lot of people have more loyalty for their friends than they do their counterpart.

Q: Do men befriend you to better their careers?

A: I have that happen all the time and I see through it all the time. I will start talking to someone and then they’ll start sending me music or their homie music. It is an instant turn off for me.

Q: What else do you battle with in this industry that comes with you being a woman? Colorism?

A: Yeah, I’ve had someone in this industry come up and tell me “They’ll never going to pick you, you’re too dark skin.”

Q: They said this to your face?

A: Yeah, but I never took it as an insult. They weren’t saying I’m not capable or that I’m not talented. I took it as that person being someone in the industry and being around and knowing what’s going on. However, that made me work harder. I feel like colorism is definitely a real thing. 

Q: What is your motivation to stay positive and reach your goals?

A: My family and wanting better for myself. Sometimes I found myself just wondering about my future. I want my family to be okay. If I'm ever in a jam, me and my parents are going to figure it out. I just want to be at peace. Me really being at peace in trying to be specific with my self has really got me to where I am now.

Valee Releases new Runnin' Rich EP exclusively with Audio Mack | WHATS THE BUZZ?

G.O.O.D music signee and Chicago naitive, Valee drops some new music to kick off summer 2019. He links up with the music streaming platform Audio Mack to exclusively release the Runnin’ Rich [EP}. Check it out below. The project includes features G Herbo, King Louie and Vic Mensa. With production from TYMadeIt, Narcowave, ChaseTheMoney, Young God, Rio Mac and Valee himself.

This is Valee’s first full project since he dropped the GOOD Job You Found ME EP, in 2018 after the announcement of signing to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music record label. It’s dope to see Chicago artists and producers to collaborate on a project of this magnitude

Listen Below:

WHATS THE WORD Presents The 2019 BUZZ AWARDS

With major award shows approaching like the BET and NBA player awards, we felt is would be dope to handout out some awards to highlight those individuals who contribute in making Chicago hiphop culture great and unique. Awards were given out based upon each artist, producer and influencer performance in 2018-19. The award winners were selected by members of the media, DJs, PR reps and other local influencers. scroll down to view the 2019 Buzz Award Winners.

BEST ARTIST  (MVP): JUICE WRLD

Riding the wave of his smash single “Lucid  Dreams” Juice WRLD held his own, and earned the rights to be MVP.

Nominees: Gherbo, Lil Durk, Kanye West, Dreezy, Famous Dex

 

BEST SONG: Envy Me by Calboy

The envy me song was a track that took the city by storm. Released in late August as a part of the southside rapper’s Wild boy fridays rrelease, it instantly became a banger. FBG Slide was a record that came a close 2nd. 

Nominees: SLIDE by FBG DUCK, LUCID DREAMS by Juice Wrld, POPOUT Polo G & Lil Tjay, SWERVO by Gherbo, JAPAN by Famous Dex, HOMEBODY by Lil Durk.


BEST PLATFORM: WHATS THE WORD

Many may think this is bias, but we didn’t have a vote. A committee of 20+ voters decided that we were the best platform this year pushing the Chicago culture forward.

Nominees: Illanoize Radio, Power 92, WGCI, Fake Shore Drive, Lyrical Lemonade, Urban Grind TV

 

BEST MALE INFLUENCER: DJ PHARRIS & TONE KAPONE

Two of the top radio personalities in the city, it came to know surprise that these two tied. DJ Pharris the king of the south and the most know influencer that Chicago has to offer, outside of Ryan Henry. DJ Pharris illustrated his influence numerous times over the past year by winning The Midwest DJ of The year at the Global Spin Awards, hosting an Iconic Kanye West Interview and officially launching his new label This Is Chicago Music Group.

Tone Kapone on the other hand is the downtown night life King, his deal with Hennessy has made him a national influencer and a hometown favorite. Tone biggest moments in came during an Iconic interview with Nipsey Hussle, addressing the clout chaser DJ Akademics. Tone won over the fans when he announced his relationship with Real House Wives of Atlanta’s Phaedra Parks. He is a Dish Nation television representative and frequent member of the the Fox 32 news crew.

Nominees: Korporate, Ryan Henry, Hebrew Brantley, Andrew Barber, SeanDale,

BEST FEMALE INFLUENCER: KENDRA G

Kendra G is not a Chicago native, but the WGCI morning show host has made her name in the Chicago community. As a role model to African American women in media in the city Kendra G defines the colorism stigma that women with darker skin tones cannot flourish In entertainment.

Nominees: Ari Fletcher, Maha, Charmaine, Brooke Mackie, Englewood Barbie.

BEST PRODUCER - KANYE WEST

Kanye West’s fans may have mixed feeling about him because of his recent political views. If you separate the music from his political views Ye snapped. From The GOOD Music 7 song album run, creating hits with Migos, Travis Scott, Christina Augila, YNW Melly and More!

Nominees: Hitmaka, CBMix, D.Brooks Exclusive, C.Sick

 

BEST MUSIC VIDEO : JUICE WRLD “LUCID DREAMS” DIR BY COLE BENNETT

A Juice WRLD and Cole Bennett collab had no choice to win, these two creators provided a dope visual for one of the biggest records of 2018.

Nominees: Lil Zay Osama “Changed Up”, Chimeka - Champagne Showers, King Louie - Just Relax, Tobi Loui Ft Smino - Darling, Valee -“Womp Womp”

PUT ON FOR MY CITY: HOTROD

Hotrod is the Chicago radio rookie, December 2018 making a full year since he took over the full-time evening position on Power 92 Chicago radio. Once Hotrod got his seat, he never looked back, his Lit Pit and “What’s Hotrod” feature has provided a unique platform for rising musicians to obtain radio play. Outside of radio, Hotrod allow various creatives opportunities to display their talents. Creatives from photographers, videographers, bloggers and graphic designers. Hotrod is the creator of Pep Rally Take Over, a non profit organization that connects children with various entertainers resulting in a pretty amazing experience.

Nominees: DJ Pharris, Cody Mack, Nayr Creates, Andrew Barber, and Mark Hubbard.

BEST R&B PERFORMANCE: ANN MARIE

Ann Marie delivered the most trending R&B content during this time period, with singles such as Handle It & Little secret. She defiantly made her mark.

Nominees: Tink, Dreezy, Jeremih

BEST ALBUM: JUICE WRLD’S GOOD BYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE

After being sign to Interscope, Juice WRLD came out the gate swinging with his debut album that featured tracks such as Lucid Dreams, All Girls are the same, Armed and Dangerous Ft Lil Uzi Vert + More.

Nominees: Saba “Care for Me”, G Herbo “Swervo”, Lil Durk “Signed to the Streets 3” , Kanye West “Ye

BEST VIDEO DIRECTOR: COLE BENNETT

The Chicagoland area is filled with plenty dope music video directors, but Cole Bennett won this award by a land slide. His recent uploads included Juice WRLD, Kevin Gates, Cardi B, BlueFace , Wiz Khalifa, Future, Kanye West + More!

Nominees: Laka Films, Dgainez, J visuals, LakeShore HY, Royal. Media, Dog Food Media, Strip Mall productions.

BEST PROJECT NONE ALBUM: BIG DREEZ

The response Dreezy got from this project was stellar, many thought it was her album but it wasn't. She still didn’t fail to deliver.

Nominees: Valee “Good Job You Found Me”, Lil Durk “Just Cause Y’all Waited”, Tink “Pain and Pleasure EP” Queen Key “Eat My Pussy”.

TOP BREAKOUT ARTIST: JUICE WRLD

This freshman won MVP, so its without a doubt he was going to win this award. The votes were very close though, Calboy came an extremely close second.

Nominees: Calboy, Lil Zay Osama, Polo G, Ann Marie, Valee

BEST FEMALE ARTIST: DREEZY

Dreezy is the real deal and over the past year she has proven that she deserves to be mentioned with the elite in the hiphop game when it comes to female spitters.

Nominees: Tink, Queen Key, No Name, Ann Marie, Chimeka

ALL HIPHOP TEAMS

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Because of Mama: The truth behind Mother’s Day

The History of Mother’s Day is a simple one. A caring, hardworking woman who witnessed war tear down men, boys, and families decided to make a difference. Ann Jarvis was a social activist and community organizer who started a woman’s club in the 1860’s to help assist mothers and children affected by the trauma of the American Civil War. Within these clubs she assisted in serving the needs of the public. She served the community in multiple ways like education on sanitation, medical issues, and whatever she saw fit.  Ann Jarvis expanded on that activism by deciding to shed light on something deeper, the role of a mother. She chose to honor them with a day of recognition. This task was not an easy one. In fact, Mrs. Jarvis died before her dream reached a calendar. But as said, a mother’s love extends through her children. In 1905 Anna Jarvis chose to continue her mother’s work only months after her death. After years of advocating and raising awareness for the day of observance, President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation for the national holiday in 1914 and we’ve been celebrating the holiday ever since.

Although the meaning behind the holiday hasn’t changed, the way we practice has. To Anna, the observation of Mother’s Day was meant to be showed through truth, admiration, and hand made cards. She strongly advocated against the commercialization that’s overtaken the holiday. She didn’t believe in spending $10 on a card that read another person’s thoughts. She believed that a significant part of honoring your mother on this day meant speaking from the heart. Therefore, that’s the goal we aim to complete here.

I read a quote once that stated,

“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.”

Not only did I find this quote to be interesting, I found it to be true. As I reflect on my 22 years living, I realize that everything I know has come from a common source, my mother. Throughout my entire life my mother has served as my confidant, life coach, and instruction manual. If I don’t know how to do something, you can bet she’s my lifeline to figuring it out.

It’s no question that the culture recognizes the importance of a mother’s presence. We all agree and take heed to the gravely significant difference they can make in our lives. You see that idea reflected on TV everyday. Mothers like Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side and Phylicia Rashad in The Cosby Show reciprocate that idea and truth every time we watch. Just like our real mothers our TV mothers provided a support system for us and their children. Their willingness to believe in us and fight for us at every twist and turn life throws is what drives us to keep going.

The culture has always proclaimed its love for motherhood through music. Rappers like Lil Wayne, Drake, 2 Chainz and countless others have consistently referenced their mother’s impact on their lives. We praise and sing along to songs like Dear Mama by Tupac Shakur and Hey Mama by Kanye West everyday. Tracks likes Dear Mama express in numerous ways how both a mother’s negative and positive impacts help shape us. But still, throughout his lyrics we understand that a mother’s love is reliable, she’s always there.  

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“Pour out some liquor and I reminisce, cause through the drama

I can always depend on my mama

And when it seems that I'm hopeless

You say the words that can get me back in focus”

In Hey Mama Kanye West recognizes that a mother’s love is consistently given to us in an abundance. Although we sometimes take that love for granted, we never forget that it’s in arms reach. She’s our first friend and our best friend. Throughout these lyrics, Kanye West acknowledges that a mom’s love is forgiving.

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“My mama told me go to school, get your doctorate

Somethin to fall back on, you could profit with

But still supported me when I did the opposite”

Along with music, the sports industry is no stranger to acknowledging their mother’s contribution. Whether it’s thanking them throughout speeches or interviews or simply hugging them after a game, athletes steadily advocate their mother’s role in their life. Athletes like Lebron James have consistently referenced their mother as an important factor in their success. Throughout interviews he’s stated that

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“Being a mother -- it’s the toughest job in the world. It’s tougher than being a professional athlete or being the president. It’s a powerful thing…”

James, like us, learned throughout his childhood that a mother’s love is sometimes sacrificial to her own happiness. Through an interview his mother, Gloria James, spoke on her decision to send him to live with another family. She goes on to state,

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“It was the hardest decision I’d made in my life but it was also one of the best. At that time in his life he needed stability. It was hard, but I knew it was not about me. It was about him. I had to put him first.”

Just like many moms throughout the world, community, and culture, Gloria James knew and understand that motherhood involves putting your child’s needs before yourself. Herself and many others do it everyday. Whether it’s the working mothers who come home after 16 hour shifts and still helps with homework, or the mothers who drive an hour everyday so their child receives the best education, they do it with a heart full of love and their child’s future in mind. Thus, as the day unfolds, remember to take a moment to step back and truly tell your mother what she means to you. Whether it’s your biological mother, grandmother, aunt, family friend or neighbor; make sure that you speak from the heart and express your admiration for all that they do for you. To every mother near and far, we, the culture, appreciate you. Happy Mother’s Day!


Source: McMillen, M. (2019). LeBron James Talks About His Mother. [online] WebMD

F Is for funny, fourth and Fantastic, Comedy Night A Success

Whats The Word had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual comedy night presented by MiHiChi and Troy Pryor. F is for funny was an event worth attending and one created solely for the community. All of the comedians were Chicago natives who brought their life and relatable experiences center stage.

The evening started with a bang! Singer Gifted Keys serenaded the crowd with a soulful song about following your dreams, entitled “next to blow”. The song’s message laid the tone for the evening and served as the perfect soundtrack for the comics and creators. Following your dreams is something that everyone on the stage had the courage to do.

 

The event was hosted by Michael Issac and starred Joey Villagomez, Em Brown, and Calvin Evans. Although the female comedian Just Nesh, wasn’t there as advertised her presence was certainly felt. The event featured both a recorded video message from her as well as one of her video skits featuring Michael Issac. The clip was very creative and served as an interactive segment for the event.

The featured comedians were all unique. Although they were diverse their similarities like growing up in the city allowed them to seemlessly connect to each other as well as the audience. Joey Villagomez, the south Chicago native told relatable jokes like grocery shopping at Whole Foods and being Mexican in the city. Calvin Evans on the other hand vented about missing Chicago, past relationships, and his family. Finally, to close the evening, Em Brown spoke of his kids, dating women, and his job at the pawn shop.

Overall, the show was a success. The purpose of it, as stated by the creators, was to create a platform for black and brown comedians. The event also served as footsteps towards a bigger dream. The creators spoke on their aspirations to build the comedy night into a televised show.

 

Premo Shuts Down Union Station,For The Color Me Bad Fashion Show

Mostly known for their premier night life events, PREMO House shut down Chicago’s Union Station for the Color Me Bad (CMB), Season 19 Fashion show.  

CMB is Chicago's premier and most sought after fashion exhibition for millennial youth brand, models, and fashion enthusiast. CMB 5th YEAR ANNIVERSARY Spring fashion exhibition was held March 23, 2019.

The CMB team celebrated with w highly energized and  inspiring showcase of fashion and arts. The event featured Chicago’s hottest models, who slayed the runway. The models were dressed in Chicago's most promising up and coming fashion designers and stylists' latest threads.

The CMB brand was founded by Myles Grio with long time business partner Manny Treo after finding a void in Chicago for competitive fashion design that can viral the likes of the urban NY fashion week. Now serves as Co-Coordinator and Creative director. 

“CMB changes the way Chicago view fashion. Everyone thinks of New York, but Chicago got it poppin’ too”

Galore Arleeza, former runway model who is now retired is crushing behind the scenes logistics for the CMB brand. Serving as the Co-Coordinator she executes at a high level and has a niche for finding talent.

The Lead stylist for the CMB event was Amer G. She’s responsible for breaking up and coming designers in to the main stream fashion scene in Chicago. Amer challenges designers to meet tough deadlines and production requirements to make it into this gaudy show. 

The CMB's team most nationally known member is Cartlon Spencer. A certified celebrity stylist and trainer. His cliental includes Keke Palmer, Shad “Bow Wow” Moss, Love and HipHop Atlanta Lil Scrappy and more! He whips models in shape from average to “slay Bish” 

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the streets. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live , what is happening."    - CoCo Chanel

The CMB season 19 fashion was pure amazing and it no doubt that season 20 will be bigger and as much anticipate as this one. Chicago is coming to make a statement in the fashion world, and Color Me Bad will be one of the forces to make it happen.

MORE FROM THE EVENT

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Lil Durk Stars in the Hugs No Slugs Celebrity Basketball Game In Chicago

This past Saturday, in Chicago local philanthropist Aleta “Englewood Barbie” Clark hosted her first annual Hugs No Slugs celebrity Basketball game at Urban Prep HighSchool in the englewood neighborhood. Englewood Barbie is known for her work at '“Club 51”. Club 51 is a community service initiative were volunteers provide dinner for the “Friends” (homeless people) at the police station located on 51st street (right off the dan Ryan). The event featured a lot of the city’s local musicians such as Reesynem, Joey Purp, Stunt Taylor, and DLow. Added to the game’s roster was Hotrod from Power 92.3, G Baby from the movie Hardball and James Shaw. JShaw is known for disarming a gunman armed with an AR-15 style rifle during the Nashville Waffle House shooting in Antioch, Tennessee and saving lives as a result. Other influencers included PJ Rose, Kamiford, Ballanois Bri, DJ Oreos

The packed out gym was filled with great energy. The free event was great look for the community. Combining the arts with community outreach is always a great time. The event encourage economic empowerment by offering free vendor space to local small businesses.

Chance The Rapper and Black Ink Chicago’s Phor were also scheduled to play the game, no information to why they didn’t participate. The absence of those celebrities didn’t stop the show, the crowd went wild when Lil Durk entered the building and began to warm up! Durk , an englewood native really came through and showed the crowd love. He displayed great team spirit when embracing his teammates on and off the court. When asked why are events like this important Durk responded.

“Its important to show love to those who support you, especially the youth. Some people talk we actually do”



To Write Your Self A Love Letter, hosted by Kia Smith

A few weeks ago rising Chicago journalist Kia Smith hosted her “Write Your Self A Love Letter” event.
#WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge Started 3 years ago, it was inspired by a class assignment that transitioned into a blog post, then social media challenge, and now an event. It is now a tri-monthly seminar where Kia Smith will facilitate a workshop with different groups of people across all ages. The March 17th event was extra special because It was Kia Smith’s 25th birthday. 

The amazing event had both men and women In attendance from all demographics. Each person expressed their feelings in regards to self love and the obstacles it presents. Insecurities, self doubt, depression has no gender nor color. It was interesting to hear how people from various walks of life dealt with these things.

“What you think of me is none of my business” - Kizzie Bennett

We put too much emphasis on what others think. To love yourself is to have confidence in who you are, becoming comfortable in your own skin. When you are worried about others opinions, you forget about the only opinion that matters. Your own.

“Even God is a gentleman he doesn’t force himself on you” - Fekissa L. Ducker

Peer pressure is one of the major causes for self doubt and insecurities. Often we let the influences of our community force us to neglect our true identity. To love yourself Is too understand who you are, figure out that part and everything else will flow. Never force anything, love and relationships should be natural.

“Self love may be selfish sometimes and it may be lonely sometimes, and that is perfectly fine. But use those same feelings to empower you to teach yourself and others how to love you at the end of the day.” -Shionda Carlisle

Before you can assist others, you have to make sure things are in order internally. Can’t help anyone unless you're ok. At the event guests talked about lending their energy to others, and not leaving any for themselves. Which can become draining. Make time for yourself, read, exercise, live, laugh and love yourself. Protect your time and energy. Give yourself what others expect you to give them.

In conclusion, the event was amazing. The energy that was presented was something that was must needed personally. Kia’s mother deserves acknowledgement as well, it was something about her presence that enriched the environment. The way she spoke, the “game” she provided was stellar. Shoutout to kia’s mom, you’re awesome. The event concluded with audience writing a personal love letter. Didn’t have a chance to participate in writing a love letter at the event, therefore I would like to share it with you below.

Dear Cody,

I understand you work hard and want to succeed in life. Leaving a legacy is very important to you. But Cody you must take time for yourself, your family. Enjoy the love that people have for you, enjoy the love you have for yourself. You are an amazing person, well at least I think so lol. Keep spreading positivity, keep spreading information, keep empowering and don’t forget to love. You are dope.

PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT

Trae Moe - The BlackmARTket

A simple hobby turned into a forever passion when we talk about the story of Chicago’s own Martrae “Trae Moe” Godard, a writer, film director and the creator of The BlackmARTket. The BlackmARTket hosts a wide range of variety of content such as movies, commercials, documentaries, short films, and other dynamic content. Trae Moe started with documentaries, titled “The ART Of ....” highlighting individuals who have inspired Trea in someway and/or is making a good impact on the world. Its unique name originated from the actual definition of the Black Market, creating its own entities, and incorporating Traes’ whole name, Martrae.

 

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When you think about it, Nowadays all people want to do is be a videographer, not a film director. No one wants to actually take the time out and film raw footage and turn it into a documentary or even a movie.

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It all started in Trae’s early teens where he wrote for fun about all his experiences. Then shortly after it progressed into creating short films. In high school Trae was involved in radio t.v, which lead him to producing football highlights for his classmates. He then discovered that creating films is what he was made to do. When Trae went to Tennessee State for college, he took a step back from film and received a degree in Health Care & Administration. But he still knew film is where he belonged.

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Today Trae is currently still managing working in the health care field & working on his documentary series. Which leads us to March 30th, The BlackmARTket hosted a very dope event. The night was filled with meeting the team and sharing their hard work with the world. The team premiered NEW CONTENT from their documentary series, Highlighting rapper and comedian, Koporate.

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They also shared a special announcement. On April 14, 2019 The BlackmARTket team will be hosting The BlackmARTket Red Carpet Edition. Where you can walk the red carpet and get caught up on all 3 episodes in just one night. How dope is that! 

 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blackmartket-red-carpet-screening-tickets-59089251542?ref=eios

Website:  https://www.blackmartket.com/