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!


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"


48. Rooga - Blickathon

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

46. Chief Keef & Zaytoven "Spy Kid"


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


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.


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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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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 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:


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.


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.


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



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,


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.


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



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”


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.


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


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


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.


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”.


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


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


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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


“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,


“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.


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@bellacraze 🙌🏽💪🏽🙌🏽

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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.


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.



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.

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.



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.


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!


Women's History Month: Donnie Nicole Smith

In honor of the last day of Women’s History Month, I would like to give a special shout out to Mrs. Donnie Nicole Smith.

I had the pleasure of working with Donnie while I was a member of her and her husband, Che Rhymefest Smith’s nonprofit organization Donda’s House in 2014. The organization, which now goes by the name of Art of Culture, Inc. allows creative youth a chance to explore their talents, giving them access to various opportunities and exposure.

Those who were unfamiliar with the organization may recognize the name Donda’s House after an internet beef between Kim Kardashian and Rhymefest broke out on Twitter. The back and forth caused the name change, after it was said that fellow co-founder Kanye West didn’t give back to the organization as much as he should.

Now with a fresh name, a rebranding, and a new website Art of Culture Inc. is pushing its mission of cultivating creative potential.   

I am proud to say that I had the chance to work under Donnie’s guidance as a teen. Donnie has so much experience and wisdom under her belt. From being a Chicago Public Schools teacher, the executive director of a nonprofit, and most recently the CEO of her own company.

Donnie has been selected by Ebony Magazine as one of their Ebony Power 100 Award Recipients in the “Woman Up” category for her work with Art of Culture, Inc in 2016. She has also received the “Courage” Award from New York University’s Hip Hop Education Center in 2015. These are only a couple examples of the acknowledgement that she has received for being an amazing individual. For the entire list click here.

Donnie is the definition of Black Girl Magic because she flawlessly and unapologetically executes her dream. She works with the youth and inspires them to go after what they want. She has built her own legacy and continues to put the work in for herself as well as others.

We honor women like Donnie Nicole Smith today and everyday. For more on the latest on Donnie and her work visit her website.  

The Rise In Women Media

In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to shed light on a group of women who are on the rise in the media industry. These women are unique in their own way and determined to be successful.



Media personality and entrepreneur Bree Specific, is definitely one to look out for! From hosting events to being a radio personality on Power 92.3, to even having her own youtube channel, she’s got her hands on a little bit of everything. All that she has accomplished, and will accomplish, justifies that Bree is on her path to success! Bree is all about positive energy and bringing joy to others. Her most recent endeavor is the launch of her own candle line Specific Sense, so make sure to check out that. 


Project management and brand consultant Shei is the girl to go to if you need stuff done. She’s more behind the scenes but she still carries a very important role in the media industry. Being a creative director, event planner, and project manager gives shei the ability to share and speak her wonderful knowledge. Shei is outspoken, fearless, and a perfectionist. But that’s what makes her such a great person to have in your corner.


“What you put in is what you get out of it;” meaning you have all the control. 


Pretty Riot

Blog writer and media personality Pretty Riot is out here working! Being the only female host on Illanoise radio allows her to speak out for our ladies and be heard.


Blogging taught me how to understand being in the media. But radio taught me how to have the courage to voice my opinion.”

She also has a small instagram segment called “TwoPrettyPennies” where she speaks nothing but the truth.

Even though her journey is nowhere being over, She feels that all her accomplishments have been rewarding and she is eager to keep going.Pretty Riot has a lot of things in store for the world but most importantly make sure to look out for her new book “Note To Self” you don’t wanna miss out.

Am I The Only One


Living in two different states definitely did not stop the grind of Am I The Only One. Sorority sisters Tamika & Iesha created a blog that jump started their journey and lead to the launch of their podcast. Judging by their success distance is an obstacle that you can overcome when you are determined. Tamika & Iesha are a dynamic duo you definitely should look out for.



Anything involving content creation, Portia King has her hands on it all. She’s involved in production, hosting events, panel discussions & is the creator of Maven Muse, a series highlighting important artist and influencers. Portia is currently working on her media training course for up and coming artist, entertainers and influencers. Portia will be providing knowledge on personal branding & media etiquette. Portia is a boss in so many ways.




Event host & Content creator shaneika is out here killing the game! Randomly landing an interview with Drew Sidora lead her to who she is today.

“My first interview ever was with Drew Sidora and that interview changed my life.“- shaneika 

You may know her from the radio segment “Tuesday’s takeover show”. But now, shaneika is the CEO of shaneikaspeaks. She provides a segment called “speaks pick of the week” where she performs a platform for the underdogs in the music industry. And Let me not forget,  shaneika is the creator of the annual event “Issa vibe”. Issa vibe highlights the top 5 underdogs that is chosen from “speaks pick of the week”. ISSA VIBE is one of the hottest events in the Midwest! Be on the lookout for ISSA VIBE 2019!


Cocoloso! And we aren’t talking about the drink! We’re talking about the blogger who highlights Chicago talent as well as features news, business, art, and more. Currently Cocoloso is working on her 7th installment of the Blueprint Artist Showcase series, where artists can submit their music and perform in front of their peers. Cocoloso will also be dropping new interviews and documentaries that you want to keep an eye out for.


Nitty Knockers




Nitty is a creative strategist. She gives identity to brands. In other words she creates the graphics, websites, and content for her clients . Nitty also optimizes brands with marketing and things of that nature. So if you want take the beginning steps towards business development, she’s ya girl! Right now Nitty is collaborating with brands to do giveaways to help promote their businesses.

“Wanting to be there for the voices unheard. It's so much good news, music and small business out here and I'm dedicated to exposing it all!”- nitty 

Nitty is on the grind! Watch out!




kiasmithwrites is all about blogging and being a journalist. She’s been blogging for about 7 years and her craft for writing continues to grow. Kia also is a host on a podcast called Soule Sista. Not only is she a blogger but she also has written short stories, poems, and even songs. Writing for fun, turned into her writing for passion. When Kia writes she makes sure that it’s relatable to the reader. And she has a way of keeping the reader's attention. Kia is definitely out here making the right moves to fulfilling her passion. Be on the lookout for Kia.


Broadcasting journalist Bria fachon is another one to look out for. Not only is she featured as a radio personality on power 92.3 radio station, she also is a real estate agent and the founder of BF Cares a community organization dedicated to serving the community. Bria is currently working on her YouTube channel, which is a segment highlighting the positive things that come out of Chicago called “On the Go”.  Bria says networking played a big role in where she is today! At the end of each show she says 


“Make it a good day or not, the choice is yours.”
Meaning, life is what you make it , it’s all on you.


Bomb And Bossy


Covania Washington also known as Bomb and Bossy is a social media marketing agency who lead brands to success. They focus on market trends and opportunities to help spread the word on social media. Just imagine someone being dedicated to getting your work to go viral. Bomb & bossy is definitely one to be on your team.


All these women have 4 things in common. They used their resources and networked, by not being afraid to put themselves out there. They believed in themselves, and didn’t take no for an answer. They didn’t give up. And lastly, they all are strong African American women from the city of Chicago who knew they could make a positive impact on the world.


The young goat in the making happybirthdaycalvin (HBC) released the visual for his single titled No Friends. The 17 year old Chicago kid, is ready to make noise. In 2019 along he has dropped 2 fire EPs. HBC is signed to LA Reid’s new label Hitco and At The Studio Records. With that type of machine behind him, expect nothing but great things from this kid. Oh did I  mention he made our 2019 Chicago Artists Watchlist, press play to hear why.

Music Legend LA REID Is Locked in with Chicago’s New Record Label

After leaving Epic Records, L.A. Reid has been hard at work establishing his newest endeavor, Hitco Entertainment. The independent label, founded alongside entrepreneur Charles Goldstuck.  

This week in Chicago a major announcement was made. An announcement that might change the dynamics of the Chicago music industry. Tuesday music legend LA REID came into town to meet with the key music influencers (Radio, DJs & Blogs), he played them music from artists signed to his new label. The Hitco roster includes artists such as Yella Beezy, Big Boi, Saint Jhn, Light skinned Keisha, etc. The real attention was on his announcement  that he has a joint venture with a Chicago Record Label by the name of At The Studio Records (ATS) 

 ATS is a well known exclusive recording studio, that artists such as Gherbo, Chance The Rapper, Gunna, Zmoney, and many others record here. ATS is ran by Chicago native LPeezy. LPEEZY A producer who’s been on the scene for a while. He is the former producer to MMG Artist Rockie Fresh. I had the pleasure of sitting down with LPeezy to get the scoop on this new joint venture with LA REID.


CM: How did you and L.A. Reid come together?

LPEEZY: I was in LA for meetings. I met with a few other labels and I don’t think they were quite grasping the vision for At The Studio.

A friend, John Monopoly, set up a meeting with Hitco. It was my last meeting of the day, and we first met with Jaha Johnson (Senior VP, AR at Hitco). We played him music from our artists - starting with Bjrnck, and then Logan and Happy Birthday Calvin.

LA was in his office and popped in after over hearing some of the music in Jaha’s office. He was excited! Then sat down listened to more music and right away, he gravitated to it. He asked about what I was looking for and it was clear he understood the vision. He told me not to leave the room and that he wanted to get the deal done right then and there.

He ultimately flew our entire team out - all 14 of us - from Chicago. I could tell everyone from their team didn’t know what to expect but we went to the studio, the energy we had was amazing as we played them the music and we got to know each other. LA was excited! Everyone vibed right away, we all went out to dinner, and our lawyers were in touch from there.

What’s The goal?

LPEEZY: I want ATS  brand to be synonymous with great business, quality music, relevance and consistency.

We want to be home to a diverse roster of influential artists - taking them from emerging up-and-comers to multi-platinum, award-winning superstars.

What does this mean for Chicago? 

LPEEZY: For Chicago this is big ATS is an independent creative label. i plan on helping to create better chicago music,business,culture so that artist will want to stay in chicago. we’ve never had it like that. Im excited to be in position.

The ATS Roster








 More from ATS


Historic hiphop record label Def Jam, celebrated the release of Undisputed—a compilation album that highlights its newest signees in Chicago. The event was held at the new black owned restaurant Drink Haus and sponsored by Courvoisier. One of Chicago Goal Keepers Dough Frm Da Go curator the vibes and brought some of the Chicago’s top influencers out to celebrate.

Undisputed is The fifteen-track album includes original tracks from developing artists like Ashton Travis, Landstrip Chip, Nimic Revenue, Lil Brook, YK OsirisFetty Luciano, Bernard Jabs, and more. Rich The Kid, Tyga, and YG also make contributions.

 “During the course of the past year […] we have worked diligently to define the label we strive to become,” Def Jam CEO Paul Rosenberg said. “One of the most important aspects of our efforts has centered around building a new roster. Together with these incredible new artists we have developed urgent, cutting-edge and truly great new music and content.”

 Undisputed‘s release includes the roll-out of Def Jam’s eight-part documentary series of the same name, being presented through WorldStarHipHop. The doc follows the seventeen artists through the label’s weeklong “Rap Camp.”

You can stream Undisputed on Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal.

Meek Mill: Motivation Tour Chicago


Meek Mill brung the heat to Chicago at his Motivation Tour Friday evening (3/8/19), at the Aragon Theater. The night was definitely full of surprises. Brooklyns very on Meli started the show off right by hitting the stage. Meli brung out Chicagos very own 600 breezy. And that was just a warm up. 


Shortly after Kash doll had the ladies going wild. From her very remarking stage appearance to Bringing out special guest Ari who created the “Ice me out” remix

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Eat me out and ice me out. @kashdoll 👅💎😻 #CHICAGO

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and Drezzy performing their song “Chanel slide”.

That’s not it , Meek hit the stage and the whole room lit up. Meek mentioned that Chicago had the best crowd thus far on his tour. And he wasn’t lying, the energy was definitely out of the roof.

“Chicago was crazyyyyyyyy they took the crown for best crowd”.


Meeks biggest surprise of the night was when he brought out Fabulous and Jacquees  the stage. Everyone was in shock.


Chicagos’ very own Lil Durk was also apart of the motivation tour but unfortunately couldn’t hit the stage due to legal issues so meek played a special tribute to him and had the crowd going crazy as if durk was there.


The motivation tour was lit lit . Chicago loves you meek.