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! 


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.


Chicago Hip-Hop All-Stars (NBA All Star Game Influenced )

Chicago Artists got the streets buzzing RIGHT NOW, it’s only right to end NBA AllStar Weekend off with a bang! Dj Commando from Power 92 and DJ Mile High;Two of the hottest DJs in the city go head to head to see who will have your party rocking with only heat from Chicago Artists, Which DJ you rocking with?!?



"One good thing about music, when it hits youyou feel no pain." - Bob Marley

We decided to compile a list of songs, that have buzz from our local Chicago artist. This BUZZ CHART, is similar to the Billboard chart, but instead of weighing in album sales and radio spins, our formula is based on streams. We use Youtube, Spotify, and Soundcloud as our base, the formula also factor in the songs release date.

Example Gherbo "Swervo" record has been released for 2 months and FBG Duck “Slide” has been out for 7 months. Both are buzzing tracks but the streams are almost identical. However, based on our formula Swervo is ahead of Slide because it grew faster and is more relevant.  

We are releasing an updated chart every month, this will give the nation an insight into what songs/artists that are buzzing in our market. Using only streams from free platforms provides independent artist like Polo G and El Hitla to compete with seasoned industry artists like Dreezy, Lil Durk, etc. 

Music is subjective, so no one man can say which record is better than the next. After consulting with DJs, A+Rs, bloggers and our youth studying group,  in conjunction with our formula the BUZZ CHARTS serves as the voice for the people, the listeners, the true Goal Keepers.


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Follow Your Dreams: Toni Romiti

Toni Romiti a 23-year-old girl from Chicago il with a dream of playing basketball & becoming a singer/songwriter. In high school, Romiti was one of her school's star basketball players whose passion was to sing. Romiti started her fan base from Vine by creating comedy skits. You guys might know her as being the creator of “bish whet” or even her hit song “NOTHIN’ ON ME” back in the year of 2013. NOTHIN’ ON ME reached over 45 million plays on YouTube. Which also landed her a remix feature with Chicago’s superstar Tink.

“ I cried when I put this song out once I started to see the reaction. I thought I was going to be rich and famous shortly after this. But that’s not how things work”.

Toni shortly after went away to college to continue her education & play college basketball. Romiti later discovered that she wanted to Pursue her career in the music industry so she ended her education & moved to L.A to do so.

With dropping songs in between time. Romiti worked on perfecting her craft. Romiti later collab with worlds well-known comedian DC young fly making a new hit song “NEVER THOUGHT”. Romiti also landed an opportunity to write a song for Chris Brown ft. dej loaf & Lil Yatchy “HANDLE IT”. Romiti is back on her grind and just dropped her new album Tomboy.

“The slow grind has been the best. The amount of success I’ve had thus far has been truly a blessing because so many people want the same dream”.



OZ Addresses Hate and Racism in America with His New "Lion" Video, Very Powerful..

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OZ is at it again, with another powerful visual, but this time his mission is more than just to showcase Ill rhymes. Oz addresses the racism and hate that some Americans might have against "brown" people (those who may be from the middle east). Oz is a first generation "immigrant"; his parents are not from America, but moved here like many others to start a better life in the land of the free. Like for most "immigrants", the American dream comes with a cost.

Oz new visual directed by Vikram Bhaduri, illustrates what life was like for a young "Brown" kid moving to America after the September 11 terrorist attack. This was a time period in our country were middle eastern Americans faced a lot of hatred and racism. Many ignorantly viewed them as a terrorist based upon their appearance. Oz uses his poetic rhymes to help paint the emotions of those who were dealing with this type of hatred.

In a day and age were our 45th president is trying to enforce laws that will deport those who he deems that are not "true Americans"; the lion song/visual provides our country with a different perspective. Maybe if number 45 hears this song and watch this video his perspective will change as well....


Written by: Oz Syed Produced by: Oz Syed and Nathan Wagner Engineered by: OzOnTheTrack Directed by: Vikram Bhaduri Director of photography: Ryan Croft Video produced/edited by: Marcus Aubin 1st AD: Fransisco Casanova 1st AC: Aaron Johnson SPECIAL THANKS: Brother Rice High School FOLLOW ON TWITTER/INSTAGRAM: @therealozsyed SoundCloud:

Project Review: Valee's GOOD Job, You Found Me (EP)

2018 has been a great year for Chicago music, it seems as if the wave we once had back in 2012 is beginning to resurface. As the one of the lead journalist covering the movement, it's only right to continue to highlight Chicago musicians. So the first to get a review is non-other than new G.O.O.D Music signee Valee.

Valee's GOOD job, you found me EP, was executive produced by Kanye West. The 6 song project introduces 3 new tracks, with 3 already buzzing singles; the fan favorite "Shell" and "Miami" ft Pusha T. The project sound quality was A1, he had beats from Rio Mac, ChaseTheMoney, and Oh yea produced things himself. The “Shell record was produced is a Valee self-produced track. This project is a great introduction EP, for the world to get a sample of what Valee has to offer.


Sonically: 5- How this EP was mastered was great for the ears, the beat selections were perfect.

Lyrically: 3- His delivery is so different and weird, but yet good. With that said the bars on this EP wasn’t the best even Pusha T verse on Miami wasn’t that hard. His unique delivery helped his rating. 

Artistry: 4- The creativity of Valee is undeniable, he has a unique malolactic sound. He is like Prince if he made Trap Music.

Cody’s Favorite Track: VLone

Overall Score: 🎧 🎧 🎧 🎧

4/5 Headphones (Rated as an  EP not as an Album or Mixtape)


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