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Undiscovered or under appreciated, either way these are vocalists, artists, & musicians
worth getting to know.

 

 

Monday
Jan152018

[MUSIC] Maxx the Muffin Man - "Every Summer Since"


There are many who flock to music as a release, and for that 
same reason you will find that true of the overwhelming majority
who create music. Some pick up on that knack early, and act on
it in steady movements. This group has a substantial amount of those
who claim rap as their life blood and joining those ranks is Maxx 
the Muffin Man. Maxx hails from the Pacific Northwest - Portland,
Oregon to be precise. The rap bug bit him from early on, and he 
made the decision to capitalize on his skills from the environs of his
college dorm room. But Maxx's ultimate aims are more expansive,
because he sees rap as a way to connect to others with a more positive
vibe and to undercut repetitive tropes often found in the contemporary
rap game. With that in mind, he began to work on music along with
a few trusted friends which resulted in a couple of singles being 
produced and released on streaming platforms such as Spotify.


Every Summer Since is a ten-track mixtape that was released this
past December. On it, Maxx displays a style that's a mix of the laconic
and the upbeat, with parts of the flow more along the lines of early
stuff by Wiz Khalifa. The production throughout is set up to evoke 
a kind of audio surrealism, at times taking on the kitsch found in
psychedelic rock. Maxx's flow is a consistent one, best emphasized
on "Puff Is Enough" where the production by Old Ben matches it
with a bounce that embraces the listener's ears. "Wavy Gravy" is 
like a Grateful Dead mashup through the speakers. The title track
is an evenly-paced song, and Maxx stands out for some clever bars
that highlight the joys of just being chill no matter what. Every Summer 
Since
is available to listen to now at the artist's webpage and "Better
Than This" is available as a single now on iTunes.

 

https://www.facebook.com/maxxthemuffinman/
Spotify
https://maxxthemuffin.bandcamp.com

Monday
Jan152018

[ART] Tess Armstrong

"Chill Girl", Tess Armstrong (Photo: Artist)

Tess Armstrong is an artist with a definitive style that embraces
and adds a vibrant touch to the celebration of the magic of women
of all hues. A student at the Art Institute of San Diego in graphic
design, Armstrong's work employs a mythic surrealism that's coupled
with contemporary thoughts and culture points that captivate the 
eye. Check out her work at these links and look at her store for 
purchasing some of her artwork here

Wednesday
Dec202017

[INTERVIEW] Seven Pillars - Dylan Dili

Photo Credit: Artist

It's said that true warriors not only endure and rise above
whatever has been handed to them in terms of strife, but
they extend their wisdom to those willing to hear so that 
they can do the same. Some do it through certain sciences
and business professions. Others do it through the arts, in
particular through their music. Joining the legion of those 
with a potent message through their music is Dylan Dili. You
may know him through his stint on the MTV series "Making
The Band" that led to some infamous moments. But in this
interview and with his new album, Dylan demonstrates how
much more you and the world don't know about him - but
should. Sit back and read on about the talented musician who's
a son of Grenada and Brooklyn and learn about what went
into the making of his recent album, Pain 2 Power.

Manifesto: So, Pain 2 Power - a strong title for a strong project.
What compelled you to name your album that way?

Dylan: Man..I think a lot of people feel that because you're on
          television, the radio or have a business - any kind of business   
          at that, they think you're successful and that you're doing
          great. If they don't see the blood and the sweat, they don't
          believe it and they don't care. So there's been a lot of pain
          that's been built up with the beginning of my career and life
          in general. I have a lot of pain that I was built up with. And
          at times, the pain drowned me. I was literally dying and drowning
          from that pain. I realized that you could really take every ounce
          of the pain and flip it and turn it into something good. 

          Even something as simple as the jokes by Dave Chappelle, for 
          example. It went so viral, made top five lists, and so forth. That
          joke in the beginning was the cause of every single label saying
          no to me. Every single DJ not playing my record. But everyone
          knew me from that - it got so that something that painful, where
          you stopped checking for me as a result of it I had to look at in a
          different way. Like, "Hold on - he may be known by about 50 million
          people." That's powerful. You're going to know who I am for the 
          rest of your life. That's power that I had to learn to appreciate, and
          I had to appreciate the pain that was in that lesson. So this album 
          is not just for me y'know, It's for everyone, everybody who will feel
          that. That pain to power is transformational.

Manifesto: You've mentioned in other interviews about the business side of
                things being overwhelming from the Making The Band Days. What's
                the difference in your perspective now?

Dylan:      The difference was, at the time I didn't realize it was just business.       
                I remember carrying my emotions on my sleeve. I wore my emotions,
                which was good for TV at the time. (laughs) It was great for TV but 
                I came from a street mentality, or a roadside mentality, when ya 
                out there 'pon de road, you know? Out there on the road, you have 
                your crew, and certain values that we go by. Street laws that we go
                by, certain values that we go by. Loyalty is a big issue on the street
                so if you're rolling with me, we go to the club together, we came in
                together we leave together. You got beef with somebody? I've got               
                beef with somebody. Those are just simple laws that we go by on the
                road. Now when you go into the music industry with that mentality
                and you realize that they don't really care about you, (laughs) not 
                realizing that it's not personal then you start to get mad, you go like
                "eff that person", you're flipping out!! Not realizing that you're on 
                contract, relax. This has nothing to do with emotions, this is a business
                relationship. So that illustrates my view of the difference between
                now and then, then I didn't know it was business.

Manifesto: So, going back to an earlier point you made about loyalty, that leads
                me to the next question. Being a son of Brooklyn and of Grenada, how
                do those experiences hone not only your persona but your music? How        
                is that the fuel?

Dylan:     Being a son of Brooklyn and a son of Grenada is what really made me.
               Because I lived in both places. I went to high school in Grenada, grew up
               in Grenada as well as doing my thing being in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It's
               the best of both worlds. To know the country life of taking care of cattle,
               sheep and goats...I remember living with my grandmother and to bathe at
               the time (laughs), we had a cistern that caught the water when the rain fell.
               And we had to carry the bucket and catch the water - it was best to do it at
               noon when the sun was high because the water would be cold but at that time
               the sun warmed it up. So that would be the best time to bathe. Now knowing
               that, and living in Flatbush...you already know how Flatbush gets down.

Manifesto: Yes sir! (laughs)

Dylan:     In Flatbush, you'll never be cocky, you'll always be humble. I don't care how
               far you go, if you get a Grammy - "man you bathed in a bucket." (laughs) You
               are aways going to be one with the people, to show love to the people.


Dylan Dili - "It's OK"


Manifesto: With the album, there's a constant vibe that's all about rising above. What
                was your reasoning for gettting producers to help you create that vibe? 

Dylan:      With the producers it was a matter of being picky as hell. (laughs) The man            
                dem would send me about 10 riddims at a time and I'm like, "naaaah." But
                I was recording a lot, however. I was recording to a lot of different riddims
                but when it came down to choosing it was deep and I didn't know what to         
                do. We already had done about 100 songs, and I told my brethren 3MP - he's
                our master engineer - I told him, "You know what? You're going to have to 
                take the job of cutting it down and making this a Pain 2 Power. You're going
                to have to take these last 30 songs and make it 12. 'Cause I don't know what  
                to do." And he did that man, he did the arrangement and it helped due to 
                preparation. Before we would have sessions, we would listen to a lot of  
                classical albums like Ray Charles, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke.
                And in other sessions we would listen to Tenor Saw, (Mighty) Sparrow, we 
                would listen to Bob Marley so that before we even got to recording we would 
                have a good time just listening to the greats. And knowing that we would be
                the next one up to be in that pantheon.

Manifesto: That's what's up. How did you link up with VPAL Music?

Dylan:      Well, a friend of mine was one of the heads of VPAL for years and I didn't know
                that that's what she did. (laughs) I knew she (Jeannie Seranno) had some job
                but I wasn't aware of what she did. After I came back from Grenada and doing
                the album, I got a notice from Instagram that said "your friend Jeannie is now
                under the account of VPAL Records" and I went "wait, how is that?" And so I hit
                her up like, "Jeannie what's good?" And she let me know she was involved, her
                and Donovan. So I went "ah, well mi have somethin' for you." (laughs) And we 
                went forward from there.

Manifesto:  After Pain 2 Power, what do you plan on doing next musically?

Dylan:       After this, the power! (laughs) We are gonna toast up!

Manifesto: I'm with that. (laughs) So my last question is, for anyone who is aiming to
                  succeed from a similar road like you have, what would be your advice?

Dylan:       Prepare to go crazy. (laughter) Prepare to go crazy, absolutely. Because you have 
                 to understand, you're sacrificing your whole f---king life. You're sacrificing 24/8 and 
                 and that's the only way you're going to be great. Just giving your all. You have to  
                 have faith, you have to have full faith. You have faith and action, and it's a huge 
                 sacrifice. Just know that it's huge, it's not regular. I'll finish off with this - it wasn't
                 about how much work you put in and how much studio time you could do, it was 
                 more about mentally how much can you take from all of these different souls and 
                 energies and different people. If you can take that mentally, you're all right. It's a
                 lot people you have to meet, it's a lot of people you have to talk to. It's a lot of vultures
                 out there you know. It's a lot of snakes. And some are dressed as sheep are. But 
                 it takes having a strong mentality.

Pain 2 Power is out now through VPAL Records on iTunes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Nov272017

[MUSIC] Dima Kash - "All Night"

If there's anything to be said about persistence, it's that having
it instilled in you early sets you further apart from the pack. When
it comes to rising rapper Dima Kash, that persistence is propulsion
for a career that's already gotten some notable events. Hailing from
Minnesota, Kash was originally born in Russia and came to the U.S.
with his parents at a young age. From that time onward, he took
it upon himself to be more independent. It wasn't until the birth of
his son that he made the choice to turn his love of music into what
he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He went into music full time,
creating a professional studio and going on to release his first album
in 2013 called Vibe With Me. Since that decision, Dima Kash has 
slowly built up a solid rep by opening up for and going on tour with
various established artists on their tour dates through the Midwest
such as Wiz Khalifa, Twista, Travis Porter and many more. He's even
performed at SXSW and has done shows in Japan.


All of that serves as a springboard for more possibilities with his music,
which he's keen to seize on with the release of a new single, "All Night."
This track is a decent entry point for those who may be new to Dima Kash's
sound. It's one of crisp production that doesn't concern itself with extra 
effects that would distract from the bars that Kash and King Wayz drop.
Kash has a style that fits with the more clever of those rapping today but
there's also a seasoned tone one gets when he rhymes. Listening to the
single makes it highly apparent that for Dima Kash, persistence is the 
tool that expresses his insistence on being around in the rap game for
years to come. 

http://dimakashmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/dkashmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/dkashmusic/
https://twitter.com/dkashmusic
https://soundcloud.com/dima-kash
https://www.youtube.com/user/MrKashMusic

 

 

Tuesday
Nov072017

[MUSIC] The Peanut Gallery - "Tales From The Basement" 

With any pre-existing genre of music, there tends to be changes
that take place within the outreach of music artists and groups. 
Whether you choose to use the term "reboot" or "evolution", it 
all becomes a necessary point for those looking to leave a lasting
impression on fans. With The Peanut Gallery, this is also true - the
duo that composes the group is a testament to that. MC's Orlando
and Flee Jones come from different environments - the former being
a former Army soldier with a prep school background and the other
being an orator from the streets he came up in. These two bonded
over their shared love of hip-hop and a desire to help restore some
authenticity that they felt rap had been lacking in after Flee wound
up dating Orlando's sister leading to the two linking up. They would
go on to be part of 5ive, a group that consisted of five members that
fizzled due to internal conflict leaving Orlando and Flee to team up.
Tales From The Basement is their project that they look towards in
making that message clear, right down to the comic-based art that 
the duo is known for - it beckons to fans with an aura of being highly
down to earth.

The Peanut Gallery - "Deep Thoughts"

Tales From The Basement starts out with a montage of clips in 
the intro, before jumping into the bounciness of "Deep Thoughts"
Both MC's employ a flow that is plaintative, but punctuated with
snappy bars that do take influences from both old-school East 
Coast rap artists as well as those who've made names for themselves
from the South. You get a strong sense of this on "Choppers", 
with a distinct 808 thump that gets your neck to snapping. Each
rapper does employ unique characteristics with their flow - Orlando
tends to have more of a whimsy to his bars, coupled with an
aesthetic that's inspired by the kid's show character and popular
meme Arthur. Flee Jones's bars bring up influences from the days
of the Ruff Ryders. This is brought forth with his solo joint "Go"
where you can hear the tautness of his lyrics weave and bob like
a middleweight in the ring. As the album continues, their back and forth
shines in the hilarious track "Made Me Feel Good Today" which 
details the two's escapades at a chicken joint and "Blessings", a
song that speaks to finding the positive on hard roads that may 
lay ahead. The Peanut Gallery are out to make listeners be more
engaged not just in their music but in the world around them, and
this album is a step towards that mission going further. Tales From
The Basement
is available now on iTunes.

 

Instagram: @_thepeanutgallery1

 

 

Tuesday
Nov072017

[MUSIC] Danny Severance & DSCS Live Set at Rockwood Hall

One of the artists we've featured here in our "Seven Pillars"
interview series, Danny Severance, has been building up a 
strong and soulful discography. Check out the latest live set
he and his fellow bandmates put on last month in New York 
City. Find out more about his music right here

Monday
Oct302017

[ART] Barbara Kruger's New NYC Art 

Photo Credit: Performa Biennial

Highly respected artist Barbara Kruger is set to unveil new artwork in
New York City this coming November - along with a pointed 
message to one of the world's popular fashion brands.

Kruger has teamed up with the MTA to release limited edition
Metrocards that bear her signature style this week at four 
locations around the city. This is in conjunction with her displaying
new work at the LES Skatepark, as well as on buses and one 
billboard in the West Village. Kruger's style, which utilizes 
pointed questions about issues like consumerism and women's
rights in society, has been renowned for years and has to some
degree been integrated into Supreme's own brand design that has
made people fiend for their gear. Kruger's work is part of the 
Performa17 festival taking place in New York City. 

Friday
Sep152017

[ART] Single Fare: A MetroCard Exhibition

Photo Credit: Juxtapoz

This weekend marks the 4th year of Single Fare, an art 
exhibitition that showcases grand art on that tiny transit
card that New Yorkers know all too well. Find out more 
details here about the show at the Highline Stages. 

Thursday
Aug312017

[MUSIC] Jay Hunna - "Good Ol' Music"

Nostalgia can be effective fuel as well as a prime tool
to connect. With Jay Hunna, hailing from the Midwest
metropolis of Chicago, Illinois, both of those directives
apply in the best way. The MC has been grinding for 
quite some time, and his music represents a robust 
blend of rap influences that he heard while coming of
age in his South Side neighborhood. All of this has been
in preparation for his debut album, Better Days. New
and old listeners can tap into the spirit of his musical
stylings through his recent single and video, "Good Ol'
Music".

"Good Ol' Music" is an airy, light track that bounces on 
the eardrums. Jay spits bars in a rhythm that easily
allows you to envision what he's talking about, and 
match that same feeling depending on your mood. 
The video dives into that even more, with the MC just
rolling through the Chi to hit up a record store and 
check out the vinyl of 2PAC, The Notorious B.I.G. and
other greats before hitting the lakeside. This is a neat
and simply nostalgic intro to an artist who is all about
celebrating the spirit of those who paved the way - which
includes his cousin, the late Sandra Bland who lost her
life as a result of police brutality and misconduct two
years ago and is the motivation behind his debut album.
Look out for Better Days on September 8th and get a
chance to hear the single again at his website.

http://www.facebook.com/hunnalife87/
http://twitter.com/Hunnalife87
http://www.instagram.com/hunnalife87/
http://hunnalife.com

 

 

Thursday
Aug312017

[ARTIST] Fay Ku

"Bitch Is Golden", 2013. (Photo Credit:Beautiful Decay)

Fay Ku has been weaving a majestic narrative through her
art since 2004. The Taipei, Taiwan-born artists employs the
gongbi (meticulous brush) as the tool of her expression,
mainly on paper. Her work captures moments of those who
are presented as being outside of society redefining themselves
in various moments. Her work has been displayed across 
the nation at various galleries and museum exhibits. Find
out more at her website.