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June-Sept.08 Issue 2

Where Underground is Mainstream

s e i t s u L e h T


Check out this South Loop street couture boutique and take a peek at some of the delicious gear for men and women.

Tech Talk

Tips on what you can do to protect yourself from electro pollutants found in electronics.

Market Watch

Vincent Dawkins searches diligently to find out what’s changing the game and how multiple genres add up.

On the Map


ToineTracks ToineTracks ToineTracks ToineTracks Toin 1 eTracks ToineTracks ToineTracks ToineTracks ToineTrac

Name:Hea!er Nycole A": 21 Height: 5’3 Model mayhem #620399 my#ac$com/oreocookie921

Contents Electronic Garbage

UPFRONT----------- Flow Eazy Kidd


5. 7. 8.

Pearls Mahone


The Lusties




FRESH 2 DEATH----- Jugrnaut


TECH TALK------------ EMR


BREAKIN’ BREAD-- “Organic or Bust”


SEE YOUR AD IN LEVEL-UP MAG! CONTACT US @ 312.698.4665 4x4=$25...6x8=$50...Full Page=$95 Ad prices valid for the three months



Level-Up Magazine



The second issue of LevelUp! Magazine has come a long way since April. We’ve been truly blessed with support from friends, family, and the people like you who religiously read and enjoy indie zines. We believe that staying true and dedicating time to your vision is vital to reaching your goals. Level-Up! Magazine is represented by individuals

Vice Prez/Editor-in Chief

who find the importance in the voices of our generation. We represent and believe that individuals who are underground are mainstream. It only takes one idea and a commitment to a venture to spark a revolution of change. As an independent urban based zine, our main goal is to showcase individuals and information meaningful to our times. Music, fashion, art, and politics is what makes us. As always, strive for new heights and stay leveled up. -Peace & Victory!

Big ups to our Contributors, Jugrnaut Chicago, The Lusties, Flow Eazy, Kidd, Franco Bravieri, Pearls Mahone, Kaja Wichman, Ashley Lambirth, & Heather Nycole.

Vincent Dawkins Vincent Dawkins is currently a Senior at Columbia College majoring in Music Management. He has always had a passion for writing and music. See his article on page 13.

Mariah Karson Mariah Karson is a freelance photographer residing in Pilsen. See her pictures on page 17-18.

YOU! Currently, Level-Up! Magazine is seeking individuals with a passion for the artistic value in life itself. If you have always wanted to be part of a community of writers, artists, musicians, photographers, etc. hit us up!

Level-Up is looking for the following individuals to join our team, Writers, Graphic Designers, Fashionistas, Photographers, Food Critics, and Web Designers! There is More to come as the magazine levels up every three months! Drop Us an email or Call 312.698.4665

Level-Up Magazine


Flow Eazy They Know! “It’s kind of empowering for me to be the voice of females. A lot of people tell me they can relate and so I take much pride in that when I’m performing and making music.” trends. Currently working on an of the few young female emcees EP titled Life of the Party, Flow holding it down in Chicago. As a brings a unique aspect to the game with her first single called student and rap extraordinaire, Flow uses her determination and “That Boom.” Flow’s first single brings energy and with every drive to balance out a busy class verse, you can’t help but to schedule and still has time to rip bounce. “That Boom” is like a the mic at various stages in female version of Rocko’s Chicago. During our interview, anthem “Imma do me” but Flo sits down with us and pays homage to her biggest fan; MOM without the simple and repetitive hook. Not only does Miss Eazy and her top idol of all times; rap like a true veteran, she states Aalyiah RIP. Clad in a black tthat her favorite aspect of being shirt representing her number an artist is the performance. one idol, Flow comfortably sat Flow’s fearless confidence shines down with Level-Up and talked through in her music and in about Flyy City, where she sees person. herself in 5 years, and industry

This Illinois born native is one

This is that boom, This is that fire, This that stop wait wait look at my Attire….

Hear Flow’s tracks at LEVEL-UP-What project are you currently working on? FLOW EAZY- I’m working on my new EP called Life of the Party and it drops this summer. How many tracks are on your EP? As of right now, only eight. I’ve seen you perform a couple of years back and you really got the crowd hyped, what’s your strategy? Performing is like my second love other than creating my music. I really love doing it so I try to give my all every performance no matter what the crowd looks like or what venue I’m at. I love performing and I never get nervous. Are there any events or influences that had an impact in your life?Aalyiah is one of my idols. She doesn’t rap but everything about her is positive. Also Missy and MC Lyte are two female emcees I’ve always liked.

Do you have a booking manager? Who handles your shows? Yes .Flyy City, the label I’m on which was started by fellow college students. I have two managers and one main one. Any show I do is through them. Can you think back at a show where you put on your best performance? It was actually recently, on Valentine’s Day. I did a Big Mouth at Columbia. It was like one of the best performances just because I had plenty of time to do what I wanted to do and the crowd was like“wow.” It was a good feeling; the energy in the room was just amazing. I performed a couple of tracks. I performed “That boom” which is my single and I did another track called “If I want cho man” which is probably going to be my follow up single. I ended it all with a freestyle off Shawty Lo’s “They Know” instrumental. It was fun.

UP FRONT At the age of 20, Kidd is ahead of his time and dedicated to his music.

Here’s lookin’ at you Kidd! “I’m young but I got a veteran look at this.”

Humble and driven does not even begin to describe rapper Kidd’s persona. As the music industry pumps out one hit wonders everyday, talented artists only spring up ever so often but make their mark in the game forever. Kidd happens to be one of the few artists in our generation that actually brings the energy and drive to his music. The only artist representing his set, Kidd and three other childhood friends decided to collaborate their creative avenues in indie label Quiet Money

� �

Cash First last year. The label represents both music and business aspects of their creativity. Very blunt and honest, Kidd’s goal is to represent life’s everyday occurrences through his lyrics. Simply put, Kidd’s stylistic approach is art imitating life in technicolor. Influenced by Lauren Hill and Jay-Z, Kidd writes from his experiences and affirms to never change for the money. After constantly being asked for demos, Kidd decided to give his fans what they wanted and made plans to record his

first EP. Fans won’t only get a treat when they hear the album, they’ll be shell shocked by the chilling performances he puts on. Jaws dropped after seeing Kidd preform. Every lyric he spit was powerful like the spark of a dendrite. One doesn’t even have to experience what Kidd raps about to appreciate and head bang to his music. His raw lyrics embrace the hard hitting beats and mash together to create black super hero music for the confident, cocky and in between.

Wanna collab with Kidd? Contact Quiet Money Cash First @ � � 773.418.8160


Meet Kidd, the first addition to Quiet Money Ca$h First. LEVEL-UP- What separates you from other artists? KIDD- Passion. Reality. I make different music. My music is mature. The content level separates my music from everybody else’s. How did you get the name Kidd? It was something that stuck with me from when I was a shortly. A lot of people get these major and complicated names. I have a complicated flow with a simple name. It’s something to get used to. It’s been an ongoing argument about hip hop being dead, what’s your take on the controversy? I don’t think it’s dead, I think it’s in the wrong hands. I don’t think hip hop is being looked at like hip hop anymore. A lot of artists get away shit. I don’t think it’s dead though. I’m young, I’m an 80’s baby. Music to me ‘aint what it used to be. We gotta deal with music because the public embraces it. The public is going away from what music really is. Artists don’t chase the music anymore, they chase the money. How did you get involved with Quiet Money Cash First? I just encountered the whole Quiet Money thing last year. Cash first is a term I came up with when I was a shorty. It’s four of us and we just come together because we have the same mind state about success. I’m the artist and it’s three other guys but they’re love for my dream is what makes it Quiet Money Cash First. I like it. It sounds good, it’s a good look, and I’m comfortable. New artists break everyday,what makes you different from them? I’m different because people get there and they’re not ready. They make those mistakes they should have made before they got there and it messes them up in the long run. I’m different because I’m ready. I’m young but I got a veteran look at this. I think if the right artists get the right shot, it would be better for music community. How do you feel about music piracy? I would have to be in that field to truly speak on it. Personally, I don’t have a problem with it. Right now I have support from people in my immediate circle and the people I perform in front of. If I ever get into a situation where the universe wanted to bootleg and download my music, do it, I don’t have a problem wit it. Success should be defined by how an artist feels about their own music, not by how much that artist earns. What’s the name of your album? I haven’t started my album yet. By listeners request, I’m starting a mix tape. I just do a lot of music. Every time I go out, people ask me about a CD. I

decided to give the people what they’ve been asking for. As far as a title, I haven’t come up with one yet. They say if you let the right artist in the studio, crack open the door and let GOD in, something good will come to you. I’m just waiting for it to come to me, just like the music. At Level-Up,our goal is to bring the voice of the people to the people. As an artist, how do you do that? I state facts. I deal with my life issues and my life issues are usually what society deals with on a regular basis. For instance, I went into the studio yesterday with an artist and he wanted me to sit down and write to a song but I don’t prefer the whole pen and pad thing. I go in and I do me based on how I feel at that time about that topic. I feel like people love my music because I help them deal with life’s situations. The emotion and power that I put into my music is what I want people to feel. Do you have a target market? Can a 16 year old listen to your music? Anybody that has ever been through anything can listen to my music. Anybody that comes from nothing and wants success can listen to my music, anybody that has a strong belief in anything- faith, God, money. You can listen to my music if you believe in yourself. Having low self esteem and attempting to listen my music won’t work for you. Who or what was a major influence in your life growing up? Death. I’m 20. After my parents passed, I was forced to grow up fast. From age seven and up, I had this mentality that everything I did had to make a statement. I just started rappin’ like 4 years ago. I just want to be good at what I do. The influences that I have are everyday. I’m influenced by what I hear on the news, by anything with Quiet Money Cash First that brings a smile to my face or makes me sad. I’m influenced by emotion. However I feel at the moment is something that can reflect in my music.

“The people who have the power to start a movement here haven’t because they don’t have faith in



Franco B: Breaking the levy.

Straight from the North Pole of Chicago, and representing his Sicilian roots, Franco Bravieri opens the flood gates with his new mix tape titled Da Flood. His first single “See it in my eyes” Left to right: Migraine; Franco Bravieri produced by 7 year veteran and in house producer Migraine is a hard hitting track that disses the music industry. With the snap and roll trend in full effect, Franco believes that the release of a super star artist is the only way the industry can be saved. For Franco, Kanye West and Eminem represented people whose music manifested into longevity. Having rapped his entire life, Franco takes pride in his lyricism and has an entire clique backing him up. One hundred members strong, indie label Top Knotch Entertainment is bringing more than just music to the game. “It’s bigger than just rap, it’s a lifestyle, a culture. Everything we do is Top Knotch.” Bravieri’s leadership in TK has opened up doors for him to perform at the Puerto Rican Fest, The Basement located on 1415



N. Ashland and at various open mics on the North side of Chicago. Franco looks forward to releasing Tha Flood in June/ July and is working with Chicago based producers Rice Man and Migraine to get that perfect chemistry poppin’. On a semi warm spring day, Level-Up was honored to sit down with Franco and Migraine to discuss the urban music hustle and how diversity is important in the industry.






“I’m me and only me, !there will never be ! ! another Franco Bravieri.”


“Baby, I’m a g - you can see it in my eyes.” LEVEL-UPHow long have you been rapping/ doing shows? FRANCO BI’ve been rappin’ for 5 years, I started recording in 2006. I’ve been doing shows since the beginning of last year. How do you get the audience to feel your energy?I just feel like when you hear me rap, you have no choice but to understand that it is coming from my heart and soul. If you don’t feel that, you probably don’t have feelings at all. Where did you grow up? I grew up on the North Side of Chicago, we call it the North Pole. I moved around over the years but that’s my home. Where do you think the music industry will be in the next 5 years? I think it will be better than it is now with the sales and everything, there is no super star artist and that’s what the real problem. Once that happens, the game will probably pick back up.

Migraine is part of the Top Knotch clique and I met him through Gutta G a year ago. Can you tell me more about Top Knotch? Top Knotch is a big movement. My guys Polo and Gutta G started it years ago. I became a member three years ago but now I’m the leader of it. It’s bigger than just rap, it’s a lifestyle, a culture. Everything we do is Top Knotch. We have a TK foot working team and a street team. We’re growing everyday. How is the chemistry in the studio with Migraine? The majority of the time we work together, he makes the beat in front of me. As he’s making the beat, I can sit there and get the vibe of the beat so it becomes easier for me to deliver proper. He raps too and he’ll be featured on my mix tape.

From the past, who would you consider a super star artist? A super star artist is somebody you wouldn’t expect to be in the game. The last artist that came out of no where would be Kanye. Before Ye was Eminem - somebody that brought something new to the table.

Do you always write your lyrics prior to recording or do you freestyle? I don’t feel like anybody really freestyles. What I do is think of what I’m going to say while Migraine makes the beat. It’s not a freestyle to me because it’s not written and I memorized it in my head. The majority of the time, I do write the verse and create the hook as I listen to the beat.

Do you currently have an album/mix tape in circulation? I’m currently promoting my mix tape Tha Flood, it will be out this summer. My single is called “See it in my eyes” produced by Migraine. I’m also working with a producer called Rice Man.

Let’s say a rock band came to you and asked you to collaborate on a song, would you be open to do that? Yes. As long as they’re real hot, I’m open to all of it. My producer Rice Man has a live band for his artist Mo Will and we’ve been discussing doing the same thing for me when my mix tape comes out.

Who were some artists that influenced you growing up?Growing up, my favorite artist was Snoop Dogg I had the Doggie Style CD about 10 different times. Because I’m 100% Sicilian,artists from different ethnicities like Big Pun and Eminem really opened my eyes up to the possibilities. How do you keep your performances fresh with different crowds?I try and become familiar with where I’m going to perform. When I perform, I’ll use certain parts of the song; and only put the first verse, chorus, chop it off and put something new in to see if the crowd is feeling it. How did you get involved with producers Migraine and Rice Man? I went to grammar school with Rice Man,

How would you categorize your music? I would say both gangsta rap and hip hop. I’m in both worlds. I’m not one dimensional.

If you would like more info about Franco and the Top Knotch crew, hit him up at:


Pearls Mahone & The One Eyed Jacks In a world of sub cultures and limitless genres, it should not be unusual to have heard of rockabilly music. In a unique sub culture all of its own, rockabilly is a mix of early 50’s rock, Chuck Berry, and hillbilly music. Never having heard rockabilly music, Level-Up was interested in checking out Pearls Mahone and the One Eyed Jacks. Feel good music reaches across genres and this group is broadcasting their talents via Myspace and at venues in the Midwest. Originally from the Southside of Chicago, vocalist Pearls gains influence from from jazz, blues, and rock legends, like Aretha Franklin, Big Mama Thronton, Little Richard, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Chuck berry and Elvis. Eclectic and full of soul bearing vocals, Pearls wants to influence more women to be involved in performing and music composition. In the game for over ten years, Pearls believes that young girls should be exposed to various genres of music and taught how to play instruments. With the many facets of rockabilly music Pearls Mahone and the One Eyed Jacks are keeping a strong hold to the values of their genre.

“%ere aren’t too many females 't !ere rocking it 't like I am.” For more information on rockabilly go to:

rl Pea



ho a M

From left: Nick, Derek,James, Buster, & Pearls.

A yo technology, thanks for bringing together so many bands! Online communities MySpace and Craigslist contributed to the meet and greet of rockabilly band Pearls Mahone and the One Eyed Jacks. Going out, to having a good time, and dressing up is an aspect of music that Pearls Mahone is bringing back. Pearls

Mahone’s style fuses elements of high class punk rock with old school values. “We’re just about having a good time, getting dressed up, going out, and living life.” With 6 demos under their belts their EP titled Steel City Rockabilly was influenced by the working class steel centered town of Steel City, IN. The first single, “I got one round left in my six shooter gun” is about a cheating lover who of course gets busted for his infidelity. You can hear that and other tracks at: myspace.compearlsmahone. In the meantime, Pearls Mahone and the One Eyed Jacks are planing on performing in North Carolina on July 5th, and on August 2, at a new venue in Bedfort Park,IL called Buzz Bomb. There will be an array of female fronted bands in the rockabilly genre representing their talents. Pearls Mahone are the spokesmen for the lost culture of r&b and rock and roll that dominated the scene in the 50’s and 60’s. The retro “esque” sub culture has a unique style that any music lovers would enjoy.

“I would like to see more people noticing this style of music. It’s not on MTV or VH1. We’re getting it out there, and getting appreciated for the hard work we do as artists.”


The Lusties Rock!

You haven’t heard rock until you’ve heard the Lusties.


hile lust is one of the seven deadly sins,

Chicago rock band The Lusties are a once in a life time band you canʼt pass up. Creating a hybrid of punk and rock, their music embodies a synergy of true dedication to the meaning and culture of rock and roll. A Harvard School dropout, Edie is like the Bill Gates of rock. In September of 2006, Austin Texas bread Edie was contacted by two guys to embark on a rock journey. According to bass player Bobby, it was her amazing voice that he couldnʼt pass up.


ith an amazing voice and four men

backing her up, female vocalist Edie has benefitted from the experience of being a lead vocalist for a punk band in Austin. After collaborating with drummer GT and bass player Bobby the other group members fell into place and the Lusties was born. Above: Edie Lustie, rockin’ it out at a show. LEVEL UP- As far as genre goes, what would you consider your music to be? LUSTIES- Punk and roll. Edie: I really intended for the Lusties to be a rock band. It’s more like punk and roll. What are some of your influences? Lars: Social distortion, Judas priest, Motor head. I like Johnny Cash, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder. GT: Kiss, Cheap Trick, Sex Pistols, early Ramones. My influences as I’ve gotten older have become a lot wider. Subtle things like Nina Simone then Slayer which is the heavier of all heavy metal. I run the gamut. If you look at my CD collection, you would think it belonged to ten people. Edie: I grew up listening to Blondie and I said, “when I grow up, I’m gonna be Debbie Harry.” Now, unfortunately I think it happened. I am compared to Blondie all the time and I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it kinda pisses me off cause I think I’m angrier than that. Growing up, it was Gary Numan, Blondie, Kiss and Cheap Trick. Then it just sort of happened. Now it’s weird because I don’t play guitar and I don’t play drums or bass, I sing and I write these songs and sometimes I feel like I’m just channelling these people. It just happened, it’s very close to the new song I’m writing.

Bobby: Truth is, Kiss has already been mentioned but Kiss is the reason why I started playing drums because Kiss wasn’t just music, Kiss sparked imagination more than any band up to that point. What appealed to me was the fantasy of being a rock star and being someone other than yourself. It was something more than that, your imagination went wild with Kiss. Kiss lead to Deep Purple for me, Deep Purple is every bit as important as Led Zepplin and then it evolved into Jimmy Hendrix. I’m not a guitar player but Jimmy Hendrix was an unbelievable song writer guitar player and unbelievable stage performer. What’s up with the new album, what are your favorite tracks? Bobby: As far as favorite tracks, the album has only got four because we only put out EP’s. Why put out an album with 12 tracks when 8 of them suck? They fill up a bunch of space and they’re not that great. Edie: We give you four tracks every 3-4 months and everyone of them knock you out. The rest is just filler and we all know that. The new EP will be out respectively in June. Larz: We could easily pump out enough filler songs to go along with the four really great ones that we worked hard on but they are filler songs and there is no reason for us to do that.


Is MySpace the only place to hear your tracks? Do you sell them? You can buy our albums at our shows. Anything we’ve done so far with the exception of one song can be downloaded for free. The reason you can’t download it is because it is for a good cause. We covered a Shirelles song from the 60’s called “Soldier Boy” and it went on to a compilation album to benefit families of GT Lustie soldiers. It can be found on: Edie: All of any money made from this goes to the Fallen Heros Fund and it is as close as we will ever get to doing and saying anything political because I personally dislike bands that mix politics with rock and roll. I play rock and roll so that the people in front of me can have an escape. Have you guys ever toured? This particular band has not toured proper, we’ve gone and done some regional stuff at this point. We’ve been to Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois but we’re hoping and it looks pretty good for things changing and us getting a little further out. One of the things that opens the door is what we were talking about earlier; the song we did for the compilation disc. What’s your fan base like? Edie: I have no idea what’s happening. We played the Metro and I was little scared and I thought to myself it’s a huge room, who’s going to show up and it was amazing. There was a wonderful turnout. GT: There’s four people I see at every show. It seems to be a trend. One group of people will come to three shows in a row and then another group of people will come to three shows in a row, they overlap and you get waves of people. I don’t recognize everybody all the time and it’s getting harder to. Bobby Lustie Bobby: When we played the first shows it was like “hi Joe, thanks for coming out to the show Joe, did everybody meet Joe? Cause he’s the only guy here. You can’t meet everybody and you can’t keep track of it. Which is good and bad because I like to be personal with everyone but if I can’t remember your fuckin’ name, I feel really bad. Are there any pre show rituals?Edie: You know it’s really funny because I think the first time we did a pre show ritual was at Metro. My pre show ritual is usually a half bottle of Beam. Larz: That was the official one. Edie: His (Bobby’s) post show ritual is usually his sweaty ass t shirt. Larz: It makes a good slip and slide.

Mike: Pre show ritual, you know what, you’re getting on stage to perform and to kill every other band that’s on the bill so you know what, you have to get your game face on, you have to be focused on what you want to do. It’s extremely easy to make a mistake. Your pre

show ritual has to be concentration because they’re distractions everywhere. It’s easy to get caught up in the cute girl but you have a job to do. Edie: Can you see girls from your place on the stage? He’s so far back. I can’t see them. I can’t see anybody’s package when I’m on stage. So are you the one who dives in the crowd at the end of the show? Mike: That’s actually a good idea.

Edie: What you never see with bands, especially rock bands is this guy right here. (Bobby) He stands up and throws shit and he’s in your face and he’s a drummer, you’re supposed to sit down. GT: That’s just the kind of band this is, it’s very much in your face. Mike: Yeah who wants to see a guy just keeping to himself back there? I guess there is a line you that can Larz Lustie cross but it’s all about having a good time. Rock and roll is about fun. Edie, what do you do to interact with the crowd since you’re in the front?Edie: Here’s the deal, when I first started playing in a band one of the things that happened was that I was playing in this venue and there was no riser on the stage, that means that I was level with the audience. They rushed me and I was frightened. It was my first show - I’m standing there and these people are rushing me and I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to act. I’m kind of intimidated and I’m pushed back and everything. So over the course of about the next three shows, I developed this attitude that was St. Mike Lustie “look, give me some breath, stand back.” I became vicious, I wanted them to be afraid. I wanted them to be mesmerized and scared. I just didn’t want them to think they could come up and touch me. What I decided was, I would get off the stage and push them back and just interact. I became very vicious. It’s a very delicate art. Larz: We’ve had many people back up. So you don’t even need security?Mike: The crowd needs security from Edie. I’ve been in the crowd before I joined the the band! We want to see this all in action. Mike: Oh, now we have 3 fans! Love it! Love the expectations. And how did you come up with the name Lusties? Mike: The statement that has been said before is “you either want to be one of us or you want to fuck one of us.” Edie .…..And that is what it means to be a Lustie. Can’t et enough of the Lust? Hit ‘em up at: and

Level-Up Magazine



Market Watch THE END IS NEAR!

The Armageddon of CD sales is here and now. Does your genre foot the bill for piracy costs? First off, I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to read this new segment of our magazine. We hope this information will be helpful and informative to those of you attempting to carve a name for yourself in this incredibly turbulent music industry. I often ask myself, especially as a person who’s had relatively little experience sifting through consistent changes in marketing, distribution, and technology within the recording industry, how in the in the hell am I going to make it? Nah, scratch that, how am I going to make some money without busing tables on the side? The first step is to analyze the current state of technology, the economy, and how it all relates to revenue in the music distribution market. As of June 2008, it has become normal to laugh at the prospect of having to go pay for an album from a retail store. Traveling to purchase an album has become an expense in itself, especially with gas prices jumping up every day. In the current state that music buyers, are in snatching a few songs from BearShare, LimeWire, Soulseek, or in some rare cases (with the people who still care about actually supporting their favorite artists) a legitimate online retailer such as iTunes or Amazon Digital downloads has become a normal part of our lives. The last ten years have been like a retail Armageddon for physical CD sales with sales from every major genre declining on an average of about 40% between 2004 and 2007 and a loss of $2 billion between 1996 and 2006. Let’s take a quick look at CD sales through the past four years. 180,000

R&B Alternative Country

160,000 140,000 120,000

Metal Rap Christian/Gospel Latin

100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 2007




Soundtrack Classical Jazz New Age

There are a few things we can conclude from looking at this chart. The most obvious of these conclusions is that some of most popular genres of music are the ones suffering the biggest hit in sales. R&B, Alternative, Rap, and Metal are four genres that have suffered the largest drops in sales with losses of 41.1%, 33.1%, 48.8%, and 30.1%, (respectively) over the last four years. Other genres, such as Country, Christian/Gospel, Classical, and Jazz have experienced an overall loss in sales over the same period of time; however their losses are nowhere near dramatic as their popular counterparts. In fact, classical album sales, slumped between 2004 and 2005, and surprisingly saw a 16% increase in 2006, hinting that digital downloads and online retailers were actually helping boost those numbers. Reading those stats may be pretty unsettling for folks trying to break ground in the industry but instead of being frustrated,be proactive about it. The large market share of digital downloads and Internet music distribution has allowed everyone, from artists and producers to managers and promoters, to bypass a lot of the red tape that traditional record labels required them to walk through. Now you don’t have to worry about jumping through hoops to get a record deal if you’re smart and willing to work very, very hard. The explosion in digital downloads has afforded a lot more opportunities for people attempting to market and distribute music than they’re willing to admit. Every month, myself and the rest of the Market Watch team will be exploring topics such as these. Until then, stay tuned. - Vincent Dawkins

fresh 2 death

Jugrnaut Chicago: Urban couture Walking into this South loop treat for

the first time is a fashionably awakening experience. Jugrnaut’s Urban Couture fashions is reminiscent of comic book hero meets Japanese toy collector. Each item is original, fresh, and exclusive.The Level-Up crew couldn’t help but to fall victim to the visually stimulating t shirts, hats, kicks, and sick dj booth. What does Jugrnaut mean? Brian: We wanted to start off the business with a bang. Jugrnaut means unstoppable force and we want to be unstoppable forces in the industry. How long have you known each other? We’ve known each other for over 10 years. When was your grand opening? September 2008 As far as the style, what would say the store represents? JG: I think it’s like a hybrid of everything. Jugrnaurt definitely has a comic book theme to it. Being fans of fashion ourselves we try to bring everything together. What were some of your influences growing up as far as music and fashion?Hip hop was a driving force for me. It’s kinda like serendipity, all of our talents and backgrounds merged and it makes sense. We’re all products of hip hop culture. Is it more like 80’s hip hop? More so the 90’s. That was like our teenage years. The 80’s for us was more like cartoons, comics and toys. The 90’s is def more hip hop influenced. We were in our teens in the 90’s and when you’re in your teens, especially in the hip hop culture, you want to dress like you’re part of the culture. I wanted to know, does Chicago have its own definitive style?I think that the use of the Internet has influenced Chicago fashion. I think everybody here in Chicago defines themselves on an individual level.

The window to urban hustler heaven: The powerful force of Jugrnaut’s window is like visual crack. Get your fix seven days a week.

“we’re all products of Hip hop.”

fresh 2 death

Kaja Wichman is modeling Hellz Bellz Women, a Chicago based clothing line.

Drew Yung pictured right is also rockin’ Hellz Bellz for men.


pictured above

can be found Exclusively

@ Jugrnaut Chicago.

Models not included.

Skools out




T h r o w a w a y t h o s e a n n o y i n g b o o k s a n d i t c h y c a r d i g a n s w e a t e r s ! S c h o o l s o u t ! A b o v e : F i r s t t i m e m o d e l , A s h l e y L a m b i r t h i s s h e d d i n g h e r u p t i g h t o u t f i t a n d h i t t i n g t h e b e a c h i n s t y l e .

Name:A(ley Lambi)h A": 22 Height: 5’34 my#ac$com/adl1986

Tech Talk

Electronic Garbage Part I As cell phones are replacing land lines it seems impossible to not have the all in one communication system by your side every second. One can go any and everywhere without their computers or planners and the information is just a click away on the Blackberry or iPhone. While the convenience and trend of having a cell phone is a necessity, our communities have become flooded with WiFi hot spots, cell phone towers, and what scientists call electropollution. Electropollution is the accumulation of EMR or electromagnetic radiation that is being flooded in the atmosphere. The culprits are not only our cell phones, but the towers that sit around our cities giving the power of service to the handy pocket buddies. While people don’t immediately feel the effects of using a cell phone, iPod, and other electrical devices,(EMR) is being emitted to power the devices. What’s important here is the delicate link between our bodies and EMR signals. The trillion cells in our bodies communicate using low levels of electromagnetic energy. The energy is then used to communicate with the different biochemical and physiological processes in the body. As a result of these natural occurrences, the more unnatural (EMR) we are exposed to affects the communication and functions of our cellular activities. Here are some tips on decreasing the effects of EMR: use land lines as much as possible, turn off and unplug any unused electronics such as cell phone chargers and computers, etc. Please stay tuned while we delve deeper into this issue. Thanks to Total Health Magazine for supplying us with the information we need


to educate the masses.

Organic or Bust: With the U.S. Becoming conscious of what’s going in their stomachs and how it affects our natural resources, there is a greater demand for organizations and businesses to provide sustainable products and food. Notice that at the check out lane, organic produce typically costs 25 percent to 100 percent more than nonorganic ( One of the myths behind buying organic foods is that it is too pricey to afford. With a bit of knowledge, anybody can set aside a couple of bucks to afford organic fruits. Organic produce is mostly grown using renewable energy and is more expensive than regular produce due to this fact. There are various ways in which an individual on a small budget can get a decent amount of food that will fill the fridge and keep the checking account in the clear. Conservation is golden as our society enters into a period of radical political and climate change. Buying organic is not a lifestyle change, it is the best option for future conservation. To put this in basic terms, there are a few things you should know before buying organic. 1. You live in the midwest! Chicago Farmer’s Market began in mid May and continues on through October. Buying local fruits and vegetables will reduce your carbon footprint and you will be less likely to come across foods sprayed with pesticides. See for times, dates, and locations of a Farmers Market near you. 2. Thick skinned fruits and veggies like onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papaya don’t retain pesticides and can be consumed without the issue of pesticide consumption. Thin skinned fruits like apples, strawberries, and cherries should be purchased organically.



LeveL-Up! magazine Issue 2

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