“I played some underground rave s**t, like some straight e-pill popping type s**t,” Danny Brown tells us about his last
Photo by Virgil Solis
Words by Alexander “RTC” Fruchter
It’s Friday, November 19th. We’re at SoundScape Studios in Chicago, IL. The city is buzzing with activity, as Kanye West’s new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is set to hit stores in just a matter of days and the newest addition to his G.O.O.D. Music family is in Chicago set to make his debut at our Digital Freshness party on Saturday night. But we’re not talking about the impending performance, or Kanye’s album for that matter. Nope, not right now. In fact, nobody is doing much talking at all. A soulful and breezy instrumental has been playing on loop for the last couple hours, a full helping of Harold’s has been consumed, and CyHi is busy writing.
He is in his own zone, constructing rhymes, forming them into couplets, and rapping them to himself as the instrumental continues to loop. From time to time he breaks his silence to double check a reference, show his partner, Mike, a new text message from “someone out in Calgary,” or say something crazy like, “this is one of the best verses I’ve ever written.” It was statements like the latter that continued to give me the chills. I’ve been in the studio with a lot of artists, but none really like CyHi Da Prynce, and no other Closed Session felt like this one. I knew we captured lightning in a bottle, and however this song shaped up, it was going to be something special.
“An artist is someone who constantly creates without having to be told when and where,” says Chicago’s Hebru Brantley. “They
Chicago has a lot of things going on right now, and quite frankly, it’s a crazy place to be in at the moment. There is so much developing in this city, as well as established things exploding and finally getting the attention or recognition that they deserve. Celebs are being spotted in Leaders gear, and some up and coming artists are no longer considered up and coming. One man that’s been able to see the movement of it all is Dave Jeff, owner and founder of PHLI Worldwide, recognized as one of Chicago’s first sneaker boutiques, and the first to carry its only line exclusively.
In our continuing coverage of Chicago’s fashion scene, we linked up with Dave Jeff to discuss street wear’s past, current, and future. The PHLI guy lets us in on Chicago’s streetwear history, friends and enemies, and bursts some preconceived bubbles…Check it out below.
The path to greatness is different for every artist. Influence, inspiration, and circumstance play a heavy role in one’s passion for and pursuit of the creative arts. Steve Cedre Jr. aka Sole Junkie is no exception, and has perhaps one of the more freakish stories behind his entry into the world of sneaker customization. The story goes that SOLE got into customizing kicks after a freak accident where his son landed on his head, causing him to go to the emergency room with two bulging discs in his neck. Having to stay at home to recuperate from the accident, one of Sole’s brothers made him aware of a new art style of sneaker customization coming out of Harlem. So Sole took his brush to his kicks and Sole Junkie the custom sneaker aficionado was born. While the accident itself doesn’t play a big role in his current and future designs, it does stay on his mind as a reminder,
“that life is a trip! It can steer you wrong or it can set you on a course you never dreamed of before. It will start it for you, but your hard work will continue it. It is also a reminder of not taking anything for granted or having too big of an ego. You can get it all taken away in a blink of an eye! I try to stay humble…I’m not perfect at it…but it’s a work in progress.”
Sole has reason not to be too humble. As some years, and many dope sneakers later, Sole is recognized as a top member of the sneaker community and has recently released his first book showcasing his art. The book is in stores now, and we caught up with Sole to talk about his art, both on sneakers and canvas, the importance or lack thereof of formal art education, Obama’s streetwear presence, and much more.
Russell Simmons has always been a catalyst for change. Along with Rick Rubin, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and the Beastie