It’s always a celebration when the Midwest’s finest drop some music. It’s been a little minute since we received some new music from Noname, Saba, and Smino, however, when the three come together on a track, it brings joy to my little Chicago heart. Though we are no stranger to the three collaborating on tracks, the trio make their debut as Ghetto Sage and release their new song “Häagen Dazs.”
The track begins with St. Louis native Smino doing what he does best; floating on the bass-heavy production with the chorus bringing a familiar sound reminiscent of Dorrough’s “Ice Cream Paint Job.” Smino delivers a solid, playful verse with Saba following up that energy right after and Noname closing off the song with her verse. The chemistry between them was unmatched and I can see why fans love hearing them.
Towards the end of July, ComplexCon left it’s home of Long Beach and took over the city of Chicago. For those who don’t know, ComplexCon is a major hypebeast paradise that in my opinion, is somewhat like an expo. It’s a place where you can pick up and shop for the latest streetwear fashion, sit in on panel conversations featuring many major people in the industry, and rock out to some musical performances from the hottest artists out right now. As being a Chicago native and a huge music head, it was only right for me to find a way to attend the first ever ComplexCon invading the city. I was fortunate enough to attend the event on behalf of Glosse Magazine and wanted to share my experience with you all.
When the day arrived for the event, words could not show how excited I was. ComplexCon is originally taken place in Long Beach, California, As a music lover, I have always wanted to go and experience what I would see on social media. When they made that announcement of bringing it to Chicago, I couldn’t hesitate on making sure I was in attendance. The festival was approximately two days long and I was ready to take it on. The check-in process of getting into ComplexCon was very smooth and I had no hassle. However, the thing that was pretty entertaining yet kind of weird was the reaction of the people that were finally being let into the event. Adults of all ages were literally running in due to the excitement of being at ComplexCon. It was a wild sight to see but it was the first day so I can’t really knock them for it.
A lot was going on. Other than visiting the different booths and speaking to the amazing, creative individuals that were in charge of putting these clothing lines together, there was so much more happening. There was a point where the artistic director Takashi Murakami was on the floor and was welcoming the fans with a meet and greet in honor of it being the first day. It was pretty cool to see. I personally believe other than the musical performances and shopping, the panels that are taken place is also something that many other people look forward to.
Hot Ones is one of my favorite interview shows ever. Sean Evans is one of the best interviewers of this generation and the fact that he was in Chicago to do a live taping of the show brought out the giddy child in me. The show featured Chicago native Juice WRLD and they covered a lot. Juice WRLD was definitely taking those wings like a champ until the last two (which I completely understand because I tried them and they are indeed very very HOT.)
I would have to say, the hottest spot to be at that festival was the PUMA booth. There was so much going on over there. Puma debuted a new collection with Alonzo Jackson and it was very colorful and original. Also, Dreamville Records gave fans at ComplexCon an opportunity to listen to 3 additional tracks that is supposed to be on the deluxe version of Revenge of the Dreamers 3. I will tell you those songs were hard and I can’t wait for everyone to hear them. Dreamville artist Omen stopped by during the time, as well as fellow Chicago artist Dreezy and rapper G-Eazy.
Over at the Hennessy booth, A$AP Mob member A$AP Ferg was in the building and stopped by to promote his new collaboration with Felipe Pantone and Hennessy. There was a drink that he crafted that was served on the menu and it was DELICIOUS.
The night ended with Grammy award winning singer Ella Mai performing some of her hit singles “Boo’d Up”and “Trip.”
It was the final day of ComplexCon and it was the day I was looking forward to the most. The day consisted of people shopping and checking out the booths and just having a good time.
The first thing I attended that day was attending the panel the hip hop panel that featured The Root’s Black Thought and Questlove where they talked about their upcoming show Hip-Hop: Songs That Shook America which focuses on hip hop music and its influence on the major things going on in our community. It had to be one of my favorite panels to sit in on and listen to. They were dropping so many gems.
Throughout the day was pretty much the same energy as the first until it was time the headliners of the night. DJ Miss Milan got the crowd pumped and ready for Saweetie’s set and Saweetie came and dominated. She definitely represented for the ladies and performed her hit singles “My Type” and “ICY GIRL.” The energy was still very on the high end when it was time for Rick Ross to come out and perform. The MMG Teflon Don took me back down memory lane performing many of the songs he has released throughout the years such as “MC Hammer”, “Hustle Hard”, ” and “Bugatti”. Closing out night two, Top Dawg Ent’s ScHoolboy Q hit the stage with a high energy performance that literally set the room on fire. Many of the fans were singing along to every lyric of his most popular songs such as “That Part”, “Studio”, and “Collard Greens.”
Overall, ComplexCon was surely a weekend to remember. For it being the first one held in a new city, everything was very well organized and I did not run into any issues while there. I am hoping there will be more events like this in the future to bring the city together again.
Music can hold a very special place in the hearts of many around the world. Sometimes I feel like what we hear in these songs can be a way to express an emotion we aren’t able to put into words or even understand ourselves. That’s the beautiful thing about it. No matter what you go through, it is always there to hold you down. This was the case for Ye Ali.
Ye Aliis a prominent person in the music industry and continues to prove why people should pay attention to what he’s doing. Though he has been behind the scenes working with many of our faves such as Chris Brown, Saweetie, Eric Bellinger and more, Ye has more to offer than just writing and producing. The Midwest native dabbles in creating his own music that reveals more of his softer side.
Over the years, Ye Ali has showcased a couple projects and singles that continue to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with.
Following up from the 2016 release of Private Suite, The Traphouse Jodeci has returned with Private Suite 2. I was able to talk to Ye Ali to get more insight on the project and more.
It’s been a good 3 years since you released the first Private Suite project. Now that we have the follow up, tell me about the process was like putting it together.
The process of creating Private Suite 2 was simple. I just wanted to get back to having fun with music again.I wasn’t having fun with it so I just produced and wrote for other artists over that 3 year span. I made Private Suite 2 in about a month and a half from just feeling inspired again randomly.
What was the inspiration?
The inspiration behind the project was and always will be the fans. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t do this for me necessarily. I do this for them.
This time around, what elements did you take from Private Suite 1 for the Private Suite 2 project?
For Private Suite 1, the structure was….no structure. I wanted it to ride how a playlist or a mixed CD from a friend would. I took the rapping elements from the first project and incorporated it into the first two songs on Private Suite 2. Many of the fans missed the rapping so I had to handle that out the gate.
Let’s talk features. You have some guest features from Rainy Milo, Kirko Bangz, and more. How do you choose who you want on these tracks? Do you go off the feel you receive from hearing it or is it something that is planned ahead?
I usually just call into the studio and have them listen to it either word for word or allow them to write their own sections. Kirko [Bangz] sent me “Inside” in 2016 but that was when I took a break from releasing music. So that one sat for 3 years until now.
Even though this is considered an R&B project, you had some tracks where you were rapping as well. Throughout listening to your music, the track that stood out in particular was “Bigger the Dreams.” While writing the song, what was going through your head? What were you feeling?
I was just in a dark place and I wanted to tell people where I was. I’m not always happy and confident. I lose…and I have lost just like you. So it was more about being human rather than an artist during that moment.
Along with the release of Private Suite 2, you also dropped a collaborative project not too long ago with TYuS. How did that connection come about?
A mutual friend of ours connected us. We’ve only met once! We were able to put the project together through mostly email and Facetime.
How was the reception from both sides when it came to the fans?
The fans loved it. They were definitely surprised from both sides that we even worked together but overall, it was good. It was something I’ve always wanted to do. My goal is to create a collaborative project with every popping R&B artist that I like.
You are no stranger to this industry because as well as being a musician, you have worked with many top artists and names in the game. Since you have been in this business for some years, if you could change anything about this industry, what would it be?
I would change the degree of transparency or lack thereof between writers and publishers/labels. We do all the work so should be compensated fairly and on time.
Even though you are a prominent person in music, you’re still human at the end of the day and everyone goes through something. If you could have one do over in your life, what would you do differently? (Whether music related or personal.)
I would have taken this record deal I was offered in 2016. They only wanted me to rap. I should have signed the deal and then turned in my R&B music and told them to SMD. LOL
Any upcoming work that you can share?
My project TraphouseJodeci 2 is on the way. Eric Bellinger album and Saweetie’s new album is on the way. I got work on all of them.
Make sure you stream Private Suite 2. Available on all streaming platforms!
In today’s age, the internet has made it possible for individuals to do many things. Social media and other platforms has changed the way in which the world is able to do things. Along with this being a digital age, it is much easier for many people who want to put themselves out there and showcase their talents, to chase their dreams and achieve their goals. However, the pressure that is put on an individual in this digital age can be hard for one to stay true to who they really are and may have them changing who they are just so they can feel accepted. In this case, Bri Hall was not one of them.
Bri Hall is a 25 year old artist that has received her recognition through YouTube. What started off as her just using the channel to share her love for the arts soon became something bigger that she never saw coming. As the attention she was starting to receive began to grow rapidly and people becoming curious to know more about her, she started posting herself and began creating videos that focused on beauty and fashion.
Over the years, she racked up a whopping number of over 700,000+ subscribers solely off of just staying true to herself. Even with her continued rising success, she is relatable and makes everyone feel like they too can reach their dreams.
As she continues on journey, Bri Hall went through a rebranding and is taking over the music world as La Hara. With this new chapter starting in her story, I was able to have a conversation with her about her humble beginnings to where she is heading to now.
Tell me about how you became a person that wanted to create art. What made you gravitate towards creating and doing it as a career?
I strongly believe that art is one of my biggest blessings. At birth, I feel like the man upstairs sprinkled something extra on my mind and hands. I started creating around age 2 and no one in my family could explain how I learned. I had a teacher in high school tell me when I was entering the STEM field, that she saw me for who I was. She said that creating wasn’t just a hobby it was part of me and no matter how far I ran from it I would always end up coming back. She was right.
You started off sharing your talents on YouTube through your artwork. Eventually, people were intrigued by you and wanted to know more based on your authenticity and 100% being you. Looking back at the beginning, how do you feel about the beginning of your YouTube journey to where you are now?
I would have laughed for 3 minutes and changed the subject if someone told me I would do all of this a few years ago! I was so excited when my art channel reached 200 subscribers, I mean, I remember that day. I was like wow 200 people connect with my art. I thought of it like a high school classroom, the average class had 30 kids, so in my mind, that was almost 7 classrooms!! I can barely conceptualize 700,000+ people! I’m so humbled by the process.
As a person that has been following your work for some years, music has never been a stranger to the content that you have been putting out. It has always been a major part of your life. What made you want to become a music artist? How did you get to that point?
First, thank you so much for your support! Music has been my safety, my escape, and my diary. I feel like it enhances everyday parts of life so much. Letting go of some fear of judgment. I had to get to the point where I could visualize people saying, “I hate this,” and not feeling bad about it. Letting that go gave me new courage that I didn’t know I had! I know that what’s meant for you will be for you, so my music will resonate with the right people. For example, if you’ve never been a second priority to anyone or ignored anyone important to you, then maybe Mindful isn’t the track for you. For the people that empathize that track may just mean everything to them ❤️
Along with the music you were creating, you made another change, your name. Why did you decide to go with the name La Hara? Can you explain the meaning behind it?
La Hara is an ode to one of my favorite paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat. I remember an old comment on one of my drawing videos that said, “Art creating Art.” What more appropriate of a stage name than one of my favorite pieces?
How did your audience take it when you made a switch on your name? Was the support the same or did it take a while for them to gravitate and embrace it?
I was thinking it would take at least a year, but wow people are really embracing the La Hara name! I love seeing Instagram comments that are uplifting where supporters use my stage name.
In the beginning of the year, you released your debut single “Mindful.” What does that song mean to you?
The song ‘Mindful’ by La Hara is a heavy track for me. It means being there for the people that mean the most to your world and knowing the impact your action or inaction can have on your loved ones.
Following up from the debut, you then released another track called “Unlawful.” Tell me about the process of putting the song together.
Unlawful is my BABY! I literally had so much fun recording this song! It came from the inspiration of watching a Netflix series where these two characters fought for their love. I originally wrote Unlawful as a poem.
You have always been a person that focuses on visual art/content. What was the inspiration behind the video for “Unlawful?”
The Inspiration behind unlawful was one of the opening scenes with Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale. Though I wrote the song with external factors being what a couple fought against, I thought it would be a nice spin to see a couple where what was being fought was within.
With keeping up with uploading on your channel and hitting the studio to put these songs together, it seems like it can be a lot. How do you balance out everything to the point you don’t overwork yourself/find time for yourself?
I started reading a lot of audiobooks and something that stuck with me was the importance of prioritizing playtime and rewards. I used to work and think that brakes were procrastinating. Now I divvy up my workload and the heart of the task, I think to myself, what is something that would really put you in a great mental health space? And I let that thing be my reward. Another thing that has helped is honesty. Sometimes being the perfectionist that I’ve been I thought telling people that I wasn’t feeling well or perhaps even saying no I can’t go to that meant weakness. I realized that people respect you more when you advocate for yourself and you’re transparent. Imagine showing up somewhere with a terrible migraine and a tummy ache, but not telling anyone. When you don’t speak to people in full transparency they may take it as you having an attitude or being low energy. In this country when you trust people with your truth they can work with you to come up with mutually beneficial solutions. But when you’re feeling good still go hard! It makes those pause moments so earned.
Something I can say about you is that you have a gift of uplifting and empowering others so that they can see the best in themselves. Just the way you carry yourself and allow people to see sides of you that can be hard can inspire others to do the same. With having a big platform and many looking up to you, why do you feel it is important for you to not be afraid to be yourself and help who you can with your messages?
I think this is important because frankly, most people can see right through you when you’re faking it. Being authentic can really help people feel like you’re not a robot and that you do a live a similar life with similar moods and struggles. Like, look y’all I stub my toe on the edge of the couch and jump up and down cursing too okay? But guess what? We bounce back after that too.
What is something you wished you knew before pursuing your music career?
I wished I knew how political it could be. Being an artist visually and hanging around a lot of photographers and engineers I am very laid-back. Music from stories I’m told can be like high school, the popular kids, the anime crew and all that! I never quite fit anywhere in high school so I’m prepping for that too in music.
Do you have any upcoming projects we can expect soon?
I’m working on an EP, but definitely taking my time with it because I want to make sure everything feels complete. I am also performing at the Bungalow Music Festival in D.C. which I’m so excited about because it’s my first performance. It’s on August 10 so make sure y’all get your tickets. I can’t wait!
The season of summer has returned and is shining upon us warmth that has been anticipated on for the last couple of months. When you think of summer, many things may come to mind such as swimming, ice cream, picnics, BBQ and so much more. However, summer is officially the season where music festivals all over the world come into play and can leave a mark on many individuals lives. Being able to see some of your favorite artists in a huge musically line up can bring a sense of clarity, happiness, and of course fun. That is what I discovered from coming across a new festival taking place in the DMV on June 8th.
CultureFest is said to be one of the biggest cultural movements to hit the DMV. The fest includes live performances from many reggae icons like Aidonia, Romain Virgo & The Unit Band, Tanto Metro and Devonte, Soca Superstars Patrice Roberts and Skinny Fabulous, Afrobeats legend Timaya.
With afrobeats and reggae making waves and pushing towards the mainstream front in the United States, it is only right that this festival is meant to help build bridges and bring other cultures together.
There were still some things that I wanted to know about the makings of CultureFest and was able to have a brief discussion with one of the brand ambassadors on what makes CultureFest what it is.
How was CultureFest started? What inspired the creation of this event?
The DMV has some truly incredible festivals but CultureFest is the first cultural fusion of its kind to hit the area. The event was started to bring a high-end festival experience to people from all walks of life across our diverse communities. Founders Lawrence Cox and Freka Scott are both in the small business sector so they were able to see it fro two vantage points as a business as well as a patron.
Why was the decision made to make this festival solely for Reggae, Soca, and Afrobeats music?
Who doesn’t love Reggae, Soca, and Afrobeats music? Plus there is always such a mixture of ethnicities and cultures at Caribbean-Afro festivals which only adds to their appeal. Our first festival we wanted to focus on Caribbean-African community but this is just the beginning! We plan on highlighting a new region each year! Latin America, Asia, the possibilities are endless.
What’s the process of choosing who performs at the fest? How is the lineup put together?
The team selected some of the hottest international heavyweights to perform this year’s festival. All of the artists are so different and have their own style and energy. This year’s lineup is topped by Aidonia, Timaya, Romain Virgo & The Unity Band, Skinny Fabulous, Patrice Roberts, Tanto Metro & Devonte and Image Band! Plus, some of the areas top global djs!
Would this event be a way to educate people about Caribbean/African culture?
You know it! International experiences are essential to any form of education so why not use entertainment as a vehicle to inform!
Do you feel that this festival will help build a bridge and help bring communities together? Why or why not?
Absolutely! CultureFest is infusing the Caribbena-African community together for a day of unity and cross-learning. At the end of the day, we ALL come from Africa.
What can attendees look forward to?
Expect a day filled with amazing vibes and great energy! From top international artists, delicious food, amazing drinks to fashion and beautiful people! CultureFest has literaly something for everyone!
What do you hope for in regards to the future of CultureFest?
I would like to see CultureFest expand to a global movement across various cities around the world! Music is so powerful and brings people together no matter our differences!
CultureFest is surely to be an experience and filled with nothing but high and great energy.