The New Vanguard is a creative coalition that seeks to unite Black and other POC creatives who currently work as separate entities under one banner. The coalition was recently launched by Eric “Phero” Lopez, who acts as chief creative officer, and his cofounders—chief of legal counsel, Eddie Sanders; chief of strategy and operations, Pilar McQuirter; […]
Author Archives: Tara C. Mahadevan
Best career breakout by a DJ
DJ Mochi soundtracked many of our 2021 nights. At first COVID-19 meant that those parties—including the Global Currency evening he hosts with DJ Iggy at Blind Barber—were virtual, but soon most everyone returned to the dance floor. Even in the midst of a pandemic, Mochi’s nights could pack rooms, with lines outside. He helped hold […]
Wiki and Navy Blue conjure their hometown New York through hypnotic hip-hop
New York is an ever-present character on Wiki’s latest full-length, Half God. The rapper’s third studio album offers rich vignettes from his life set against the backdrop of his hometown and its narrative: snapshots of the nascent stages of a new romance, scenes from his Lower East Side neighborhood, observations of the gentrifiers who threaten […]
R&B newcomer Jaas finds strength in solitude on her debut EP
In the first scene from Jaas’s new video, “Why,” the Chicago-based R&B singer kneels in the dark, one arm held over her head by a rope tied around her wrist. As the camera zooms in on her, the shot cuts to Jaas paddling a canoe on bright, quiet waters. The video switches between these two […]
Long live Squeak
I met Squeak in Saba’s grandparent’s basement. The walls were plastered with magazine covers, the space stuffed with recording equipment and video games. A memory not easily forgotten—I’ve probably told this story a thousand times, in writing and in person. It was 2016, a year after the first time I interviewed Saba and a couple […]
Alex Banin mixes pop with R&B—and memory with fantasy
Former college fencer Alex Banin uses her debut EP, Did I Imagine, to make peace with her old relationships.
Last year would’ve been a great one for bangers in Chicago clubs
The pandemic kept us from celebrating the likes of Lil Durk and King Von the way they should’ve been—on a sweaty dance floor.
Celebrate everyday Black heroes with 28 Days of Greatness
Artist Brandon Breaux’s Instagram project highlights his peers, mentors, collectors, friends, and more throughout Black History Month.
Rapper SG Ali carries a torch for Cabrini-Green
Rapper SG Ali makes her label debut with her new single and video, “Drank on the Block.”
TheMIND reclaims his mental real estate
On his first album in four years, Chicago singer theMIND digs in against the disenfranchisement of Black voices.