REVIEW+PHOTOS: BJ The Chicago Kid | “Generations of Soul” | Mack Sennett Studios | 4/2/15

E&J Brandy is America’s most awarded brandy. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, they’ve embarked on a “Generations of Soul” campaign featuring the musical talents of Raphael Saadiq, BJ the Chicago Kid and Lee Fields. We were able to attend their private concert at Mack Sennett Studios on 4/2/15 and BJ The Chicago Kid gave a performance that surely won over many a new fans. Continue reading

Adidas Original ZXFLUX Experience and Cashmere Agency Present “Respect The West” Artist Showcase | The Well | 11/22/14 [Photos, Review and Video]

Words by Kate M. | Photos by @Methodman13

For the past several years, Adidas Originals and Cashmere Agency has hosted an annual, private artist showcase titled “Respect The West”. This year it was held at The Well in downtown Los Angeles on 11/22/14, and featured the performances of YG, Hit-Boy, Audio Push, Nipsey Hussle, BJ The Chicago Kid, Thurz, R.J., and Raven Felix. The evening was hosted by Fuzzy Fantab and Rikki Martinez and was one of the better hip-hop shows I have seen in a while because it had a veritable vibe compared to most shows.  It was a fantastically organized and designed event!   It was authentic hip-hop in an unaffected setting, a tight designer sneakers exhibition and a chill crowd past the ropes.

The Respect The West showcase was held in conjunction with Adidas Originals’ pop-up store, at the same location, giving shoe hawks the opportunity to check out adidas new line of ZXFLUX shoes with the aptly titled exhibit “The ZXFLUX Experience”. Our favorite shoe? The LA ZXFLUX Clippers design (editors note: The founder of MusicOfMyMind14 is a longtime, diehard Cippers fan…).

On this Downtown LA night, guests were lined up down the block to walk through the double glass doors with the Adidas logo at The Well.  On other side of the glass doors you entered into a mahogany paneled exhibition room with white benches accenting the concrete floor and the ZX Flux line on display on the walls – dope sneakers!   From the exhibition, down a short hallway, it changed from mahogany and white to an intimate warehouse music venue.

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I arrived during sound check to see a complete, but refreshingly unpretentious stage, white brick walls that looked like they had stories to tell, a concrete floor and double white steel doors to the outside.

My favorite spot was right in the front, stage right. From that vantage point, I could see each of the artists getting ready to take the stage.  There were only about 5 minute breaks between sets which made the vibe even better because the artists were just being artists, flowing over with natural energy – no over-the-top production, no problem – guests were all in and responsive to the vibe.  The bass was loud, the vocals were clear and the rap, and some R&B, was on!

Raven Felix | Facebook | Twitter 

The night’s first performance was Raven Felix, a female MC from The Valley.  Raven Felix has clear, rapid rhymes and her beats and vocals range from an ingénue tenor to commanding M.I.A. tones.  Her lyrics, “I’m 16 and my sh*t’s clean. . . ” and it’s kind of true.  I don’t know what her future holds but I liked her voice, awesome beats and confident performance.  Her debut mixed tape is called “Valifornia,” how dope is that?  I don’t know what sets her apart from other MCs, but she certainly has personality, a voice and talent and her delivery is clean.

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Raven Felix was followed by RJ. I don’t know too much about him, other than he is an artist signed to YG and DJ Mustard’s record label, Pu$haz Ink. Rj definitely brought serious energy to the stage, jumping on top of the speaker system, getting the crowd hyped.

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Thurz |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Next up was Thurz. Thurz is so unique right now. This rapper throws down lyrics over beats that are funk and disco sounds.   I think when his set started, people stopped a beat and turned to see what was going on and then got into the dance vibe.   He also reminds me of The Roots, circa, “The Seed,” and his “Right Now” lyrics remind me of growing up in LA, “like the alley near Rosewood and Fairfax.”   It’s really cool how he can rap clear, modern, relatable lyrics on an unexpected style of beats – dare I say there is a poet’s attitude in that?

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Bj The Chicago Kid | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Wow, ya, Bj The Chicago Kid.   I love this artist’s clean, muscular vocals and his classic R&B sound is commanding.   When I listen to him do his thing, I don’t even feel time passing.   The son of choir directors from Chicago, this kid has collaborated with artist such as Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul.  His style is full of Motown sounds with a modern perspective and modern collaborative beats.   His voice is big and I don’t think he needed a microphone for this venue.  I just wrote this and I’m going to listen to him again right now.  “Good Luv’n,” “Real Love Never Dies,” “Go Girl, “Can’t Hold My Liquor.”  Are you kidding me!?  He’s soooooooo freakin’ goooood!

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Audio Push | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Audio Push’s energy in all of their performances is unmatched.  I have seen this rap duo twice and this performance was even better than the last one.  Oktane and Price are Audio Push and I think style, rap and rhythms are the words I think when I want to describe these artists.  They are in the studio now working on their next album and they performed tracks from their up-coming album, including a new track with Wale.

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Nipsey Hussle | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

This is the first time I saw Nipsey Hussle perform- I had even bought tickets once and had to miss the show, so I was looking forward to this one.   Nispey is, after all, a prolific, successful and consistent rapper who embodies everything you would expect from the Southern California West Coast hip hop sound, so I had some expectations.   He played a short, 3 song set, which was fine but it’s hard for me to really guage his performance based on such a short set.  I expected him to want to own the stage, but this being my first time seeing him perform, I really couldn’t get any sense of his personality.

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Hit Boy | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Hit-Boy brings hits!  Polished beats and rap sounds is what this man is about. He’s a sharp producer and he knows what he’s doing. You can tell by his laid back but powerful performance.   This night he brought his HS87 crew up on stage to perform, as well, a showcase within a showcase of talent.  He has produced for some of the biggest and most successful artists in hip hop and I love that he can perform, too.  His performance was smooth and oozed laid back confidence.  If you haven’t heard his tracks, listen, he’s so great if you can’t vibe to his sounds, I don’t know what to say.

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YG | Facebook | Twitter 

YG!  Everyone who knows me, knows I love YG, and his performance had the hype I feel for him.  He was authentic and he was in the moment with the crowd . . . . or maybe that was me thinking he was talking to me when he asked, “B*tch, who do you love?” Um, you, YG!  Seriously, he was in the moment because I was there to witness him bringing the crowd into his rhythm, lyrics and energy.   It was so easy to get lost in his performance in this unaffected setting.  At times he rapped without beats behind him and that was mad awesome to hear!   He performed his hits “My N*gga,” and, “Who Do You Love,“ and more.   The YG and DJ Mustard  collaboration (My Krazy Life) is about West Coast rap a with mainstream turnt up beats and you could really hear them this night.   YG released his debut studio album this year, My Krazy Life, and followed it up with his first movie, a 30 minute short film and soundtrack, Blame it on the Streets, which recently screened at L.A.’s Chinese Theatre.   

I knew nothing about RJ of Pushaz Ink when he took the stage, but I am glad he took the stage twice.  Why?  Because I was fascinated by him and because his deep, clear, articulated vocal quality is easy to listen to and I think this quality is good for rap and I think it sets him apart.   Even though he can hold his own, I wasn’t sure where he was coming from when he performed.  I am going to keep my eye on him so I know better for next time, I would see him again, but would like to know more about him.

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