the CHICAGO kid
Contributors: 77three Magazine Issue Number One: Winter 2012 77three.com
Jakina ado Photography Jakina Hill: Founder/Editor
Jakina is a proud Chicago born and raised, Southern Illinois University Alum, photographer, designer, writer and storyteller with dreams of quitting her day job. She considers herself to be just your average Chicago hood chick. Twitter:@JakinaAdo
Senyo Twilight: Writer
Senyo Twilight is a contributor hailing from the suburbs of Chicago via Ghana, West Africa. He spends the bulk of his free time challenging himself with zany science projects and writing poetry. Most of all he considers himself a servant, volunteering his time to several “go green” initiatives and teaching elementary school. Of all his work, he takes the most pride in grooming his son for impending greatness. Twitter: @Senyo_Twilight
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In an effort to do something different than he’d hip hop flare. In July, four and a half months done before for his Vic Greenthumbs album and over 10, 000 views after its Youtube Chicago rapper Vic release, I came across the Spencer put together culmination of his endeavor, five talented but the Five Deadly Venoms lesser known female video. In their own words, rappers that he’d three of the five deadly Interview & Photos by Jakina Hill venoms and Vic Spencer discovered through word of mouth and at different events. The talk about the song, coming together and sound is fresh with just a hint of an old school what’s next.
Five Deadly Venoms
started to really, really pursue it. Influences as far as other rappers? As far as me writing like poetry and rapping, that was my older cousin, my main influence at that time. I really wanted to be just like her. She was like 5/6 years older than me, she used to write poems and stories, that was pretty much my early inspiration and then my family. All my family is into some type of music, whether it’s an instrument they playing, my dad sings really well, and I sing too. That’s another thing people probably don’t really know but I sing too. How would you describe your look/image? I would probably let other people describe it. I’m just me, I have all different type of influences, I like African music, I like Jamaican music, I like Haitian music, Soca I like all of it, its like a mixture. My look is a combination of whatever I’m feeling. When I wake up if I’m feeling like flats today, I’m in flats. If I’m feeling like gym shoes… Honestly I would say it’s just a mixture, urban mixture. I’ve always been into fashion, people used to call me weird like why you pick them shoes or why you got all them colors on it was always something like that, that’s why I’m like other people describe my look better than I do.
How long you been rapping? “I been rapping for a long time but actually pursuing my music career, 5 years.” Is music a hobby or career goal? I wouldn’t even really consider it a hobby because a hobby is something that you pick up and put down sometimes. I been doing it since I was about 12/13 years old, consistently. It was just like a form of therapy for me. So when I get really, really upset that’s when I write the most. So I was always writing something and it was like that was my form of therapy to get out words or things I wanted to say but don’t necessarily feel comfortable with actually saying. So that was just pretty much what I’d been doing and then I moved to Georgia for like year and when I was in Georgia I was writing a lot and I decided to record one of the songs that I wrote and I got a lot of good feedback from it and that’s pretty much how I 4 Sep 2012
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Lady Pharroh A lot of people ask me why I call myself Pharroh, the reason why I got my name is because being a female rapper people do not expect as much from me. Lets say if Remy Ma spit something they think is hot but if Jay-z was to spit that same thing its not hot anymore because they expect more from him because he’s a man. I’ve always been told you a good rapper to be a girl and I never wanted to hear that. I just want to be good, So that’s why man name is Pharroh, cause I don’t want people to give me a handicap. Pharroh is the King, I don’t want to be the princess, I don’t want to be the queen, I want to be the best. How long you been rapping? 8 years, since I was 17. How would you describe your sound? I think I’m very aggressive, and crunk. Something people would never guess about you? I sing. My management doesn’t want me to sing especially because my rap is so aggressive. I really want to do music like Ke$ha, and like Jewel, I look up to people like Jewel, nobody would ever think anything like that but that’s the type of stuff I really want to do. Favorite thing to do in the city? Get drunk and shop, shop and get drunk. I shop online and the thrift store, I fuck with Unique, I fuck with St. Vincent, even when I got money I be up in there. How did the five deadly venoms come together? Vic hit me up on Facebook and left the most disrespectful message ever, I was like you know what, I really hope that message was worth your ass getting deleted! He was like ‘man I was just playing, no disrespect’ then we went out for breakfast and while we were at the table he bought his computer, and while I’m trying too eat and shit he kept showing me videos then I showed him my stuff and he really liked me and he told me about the other female artist and said I’m going to do a song and we just all got together. I came and recorded and we actually shot the video here [at her South Side apartment]
*Silken never responded to various interview requests and Henny B. declined the interview for personal reasons. 6 Winter 2012
How long you been rapping? I’ve been rapping for about a year, seriously, I’ve been doing it probably 3 months. I’d dabbled in it before cause all my homies are in it and being around it makes you want to do it. I went to California, I’d been doing slam poetry heavily for 6/7 years now and I love that but its not very lyrical and I like the lyrical challenges that come along with rap. Not everyone can rap, everyone can be a rapper but not everyone can do it well. And I realized once I started putting some effort into it that I could actually do it. I was like you know what I need to stop playing around and just take that next step and just start actually writing. How would you describe your sound? I wouldn’t say mainstream, but I wouldn’t say underground either. My sound, it’s a general sound like anyone can relate to it, anyone can listen to it, and it be stimulating. One thing I try very hard to obtain is kind of like connecting devices. Someone told me once, your music is great but its not for everybody, and I was like you know what your right. Nobody cares about [that] we’re poor people, nobody cares about money or cars, how many girls you have, we don’t care about that, what do real people care about and that’s the sound I go for. Like how do I connect with people. Is the goal to be a mainstream rapper, to make this your career? I want to be a
phenomenon, that’s such a big word and I use it loosely but I do, I want to be a phenomenon for women because there are many, there are tons of women out here right now who have so much talent, who are so skilled but their not driven and there are so many men out there who are like oh well we’re doing this, we can do it we’re guys and their always doing it. But then when you see that and you get that I think we get intimidated when you get into the business aspect of it. You don’t want anyone to screw you over, you don’t want anyone to fuck your money up and a lot of girls get around men and start using their sex appeal to get shit, and then that’s all people see them as, like oh your just another sexy chick, using her looks to get where she wants to go and I’m not about that.How do you straddle that line of being womanly but not the overly sexy woman rapper? For me I think it’s a little bit easier because I grew up with guys. Like me and my sister are like tough girls, we’re not like girls who are really prissy which there’s nothing wrong with. But I feel like a lot of women coming into rap now feel like they need to up the ante a little bit. Sex sells, like if your sexy you going to sell more. I feel like there’s a fine line between just sexy and being sexy, and lyrically stimulating, and inviting and captivating. I’m at a perfect time in my life where I’m not signed but everybody is going to be watching because I’m attractive and I’m new and people are going to be like oh what is this really pretty girl doing rapping...I’m always smiling, I’m always laughing, I’m always joking with people so when I start rapping people are like wow, we didn’t expect that at all.
Vic Spencer Can you talk about how Chicago influenced your style and your style of music? I could say that just me being a Chicago dude like if you listen to my music you can tell I’m from Chicago but people think it’s got a New York feel because its not the drill sound but its some old-school Chicago hip-hop type of music and that’s one of the influences. Like old E.C.-Illa the old Midwest Mobstaz Compilations and stuff like that. That’s what I kind of grew up off of but I’m a contrast to it at the same time. How long you been rapping? I first started rapping maybe like ’94 and then professionally, I didn’t start taking it serious until ‘02How would you describe your sound? It’s definitely different from what’s going on out here. I’d say funny, gutter. People say I sound like, well not sound like, but that I remind them of Shawn Price, from Duck Down, Sean Price the rapper, Rock from Heltah SkeltahHave you been getting more attention off this song or your other stuff? They don’t even look at the song as it mine, whoever knows that it’s mine they know that it’s on Vic Greenthumbs, my third studio album. Vic Greenthumbs is just like an alter ego to who I am as an individual it was kind of a therapeutic album for me. I was turning 30 so I put like 30 tracks on it and it was just like various things that was happening in my life and Vic Greenthumbs had this different, raspy, scrundgy ass voice and it was like aww man Vic you could do this, you do it this kind of way and it was just throughout the whole project it was just an alter ego to help me get through some of the stuff I was going through, you know, with females you know getting married and all types of stuff. Ya’ll gone do a part 2? I’d love to! But I feel like if it’s gone be a part two its got to be five different artists, if its not gone be [the exact same] if I can’t get Silken to jump in, j down, then it’s a wrap. Winter 2012 7
“You have to do what you have to do until you’re able to make room for what you love to do.”
the chicago kid
By Senyo Ador
Photography: Jakina Hill
raped in a rookie Michael Jordan jersey, some camouflage shorts and a pair of Jordan 3s, BJ the Chicago Kid waltzed casually into sound check with a paper bag of Harold’s Chicken in tow. What image could be considered more South Side of Chicago than that? If it wasn’t for his powerful voice or highly coveted songwriting talents B.J. would be hardly discernible from any other of mid-20
to 30 something in Chicago. Endowed with a strong sense of musical self and an everyman personality, B.J. is far from your run of the mill Chicago R & B crooner. After graduating from Percy L. Julian high school BJ entertained a job in retail, working at The Lark, a now closed clothing store in Evergreen Plaza, before moving to L.A. to pursue a career in music.
One may wonder how a talent who has penned hits for the likes of Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton and Kanye West was allowed to leave Chicago before being noticed. “I feel like my career and my place in life wouldn’t be what it is if I hadn’t moved out to L.A.” Unlike today, when up and coming talent are being featured on the cover of newspapers and MTV shows, Chicago’s hip-hop and R & B climate has been traditionally more challenging to its artists. The artists in turn waste no time in going to New York or Los Angeles in search of better opportunities.
“You have to do what
you have to do until you’re able to make room for what you love to do.”
“I saw a lot of negative bullshit and I also saw a lot of positive. There are a lot of good people here, but I feel that sometimes the bullshit kind of outnumbers the good people. It makes it difficult for those who really strive for the best because they end up running into more B.S. than good people.” If you are not familiar with B.J.’s work you might describe his first releases like Taste of Chicago or The New Beginning as mixtapes. On the contrary, B.J. loads his work with so original production and content that heavyweight producers like David Banner urged him not to belittle efforts like Taste of Chicago by calling them mixtapes. “David Banner was like ‘Never call those mixtapes again, just call them free albums.” Fast forward to February 21, 2012 the release date of his most critically acclaimed album to 8 Winter 2012
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Eat The Rich Artist Talk:
Zeph Farmby date Pineapple Now and Laters. The album is narrated with commentary from the 70s film Wattstax, a documentary about the racial tension in L.A. during the Watts Riots and a concert featuring some of the great African American artists of that era. Not only did it reach number one on the iTunes R&B charts but the likes of Estelle, Jill Scott, Snoop Dogg and Black Milk have all personally reached out to congratulate him on his latest body of work. “I let life motivate me with the Pineapple Now and Laters project. You always know what the next step is in creating. There is always something to do, whether it’s something small or something big. If you understand the process of something then you know that there’s always something to do. And I hold 10 Winter 2012
myself accountable for that. And I felt that on the Pineapple Now and Laters project.” Not only does B.J. The Chicago Kid know history, but he’s making history too. On Aug. 2, 2012, with his parents onstage he announced to them and a club full of fans that he’s now signed to Motown Records, adding that he wanted his hometown to know first. Looks like nicer days are ahead for the kid from Chicago’s mean streets.◘
You can reach Senyo at www.twitter.com/ senyo_twilight
by Jakina Hill
A balmy Friday night, the last in August of 2012, an oversized crowd of fans, curious passer-bys, art enthusiasts and long time supporters spilled out of the cramped, standing room only Elephant Room Gallery and somewhere to the right of center, the smiling artist Zeph Farmby was being welcomed back home. The next morning the energy drink toting artist
was back for an Artist Talk, and still all smile’s. The rain threatening dark skies where a 360 from the night before but inside the Elephant Room just enough excitement lingered as Farmby gave 3D clarity to six pieces of the Love, Lust and Desire collection and exhibit. To fully appreciate the art is to understand the artist and for about an hour with a much smaller audience he told us about himself. Winter 2012 11
“ People always say wait till I get rich.
Love, Lust & Desire controversial and also it would become a much stronger piece if I added a certain element to it and I didn’t know what that element was until I started painting on it and stepping away from it, moving on to
your education, get a good job, make some good money, so it’s still money being a part One thing that I’ve come in contact with a of it, not saying go to school find a passion, number of time is people gaining funding follow that, you know, live a dream its not and turning into this evil person almost. that part. Finaces bring For one out the evil in people…. “...being told to go to school, get your education, get a good job, make some good money, so it’s still money thing, I didn’t want That’s what being a part of it, not saying go to school find a passion, follow that, you know, live a dream its not that part. to cut the this was comic book about. up ‘cause I titled this I have an one Love appreciation Lust and for comic books, but this particular one is Another thing in this piece that I felt was Desire and the reason I did so was because another piece and then coming back to it. So once I said I wanted to add Mickey where Captain America actually lost his really strong is that I put the Captain it all started off I wanted to do a large Mouse it then made that much more sense powers, so he wasn’t as strong and that America comic book pages in there to painting of a dollar bill being burned and because you have the burned dollar bill but represent the almighty dollar as being the also represents the dollar being like it was creating a heart, like the burn created the then you have Mickey whose Americas strong but now our dollar is weak.” Captain of America. Even being in school heart. I also felt that I could make it more favorite character and I wanted the halo now there being told to go to school, get
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over his head because he’s looked at as Americas favorite but also there’s a lighter in his hand to show that okay even though I’m your favorite I still will do some evil things to you, if you allow me to.
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“It was just gone be an
American flag all the way down…. I sketched it out, this sketch I did I probably did it in 30 seconds it looked like crap to someone else but to me I saw a masterpiece where I wanted to have a hundred dollar bill instead of just being a dollar bill cause I felt like using a hundred dollar bill shows the highest level that we all have and also I used that as a reference of the more money you make the more evil you think you can see out
“The funny story about this painting [Eat The Rich], it wasn’t meant to be as popular as it is. It all started with me being booked to paint live for Dr. Benjamin Chavis, and it was like ok, you gone be sharing the stage with him. So it only made sense for me to paint something that had much more meaning... it wasn’t even complete when I was done with the event but what was done was the kids face, the sign, the sign was blank and even at the time people were asking questions about what’s the sign gonna say and I didn’t know what it was gone say, I just felt like, okay, it has all the essence that I want it have but its not a home run yet. My research to complete the painting went a 14 Winter 2012
little bit further than any other piece I’ve done before. I looked at hundreds of boxes that were cut up, I even cut up some of my own boxes, wet em up, weathered them, rolled em up, you know, to get the feel of that box being ripped apart. And also with my research I found this phrase from an actual bum that was just holding the sign up and to me it was, it spoke to me but then me putting that with this kid holding the sign that then felt like a home run.”
Photography and Styling by Jakina Hill Make up by Keisha Michelle Model Jessi F.
Jacket: Cynthia Steffe (msrp 495.00)
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Jacket: Sam Edelman (msrp 480.00) Tee: Theory for Fashions Night Out (msrp 25.00) Legging Jeans: Calvin Klein (msrp 79.50)
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Gloves, Earrings, Vintage Fur, Forever 21 Dress, Fishnet Stockings Jessica Simpson Boots, all Models own. H&M necklace Stylists Own, Location: Abbott Park on Chicagoâ€™s South Side.
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