Kehinde Wiley – Los Angeles native and New York based visual artist, Kehinde Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, among others, Wiley, engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, black and brown men found throughout the world.
By applying the visual vocabulary and conventions of glorification, history, wealth and prestige to the subject matter drawn from the urban fabric, the subjects and stylistic references for his paintings are juxtaposed inversions of each other, forcing ambiguity and provocative perplexity to pervade his imagery.
Wiley’s larger than life figures disturb and interrupt tropes of portrait painting, often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation and the critical portrayal of masculinity and physicality as it pertains to the view of black and brown young men.
Initially, Wiley’s portraits were based on photographs taken of young men found on the streets of Harlem. As his practice grew, his eye led him toward an international view, including models found in urban landscapes throughout the world – such as Mumbai, Senegal, Dakar and Rio de Janeiro, among others – accumulating to a vast body of work called, “The World Stage.”
The models, dressed in their everyday clothing most of which are based on the notion of far-reaching Western ideals of style, are asked to assume poses found in paintings or sculptures representative of the history of their surroundings. This juxtaposition of the “old” inherited by the “new” – who often have no visual inheritance of which to speak – immediately provides a discourse that is at once visceral and cerebral in scope.
Without shying away from the complicated socio-political histories relevant to the world, Wiley’s figurative paintings and sculptures “quote historical sources and position young black men within the field of power.” His heroic paintings evoke a modern style instilling a unique and contemporary manner, awakening complex issues that many would prefer remain mute.
Find out more of his work at: kehindewiley.com
Kelela – is an American singer and songwriter. Her 2013 debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me, earned praise from music critics and contemporaries such as Solange Knowles and Björk, and was listed in various publication’s year-end lists. Seeking to make the mixtape sound like a remix album, Kelela added her own vocals over instrumental tracks by DJs from Fade to Mind and Night Slugs.
A first-generation Ethiopian American, Kelela was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland and graduated from Magruder High School in 2001. She has been based in Los Angeles since 2010. After transferring from Montgomery College to American University, Kelela began singing jazz standards at cafés. In 2008, she joined an indie band called Dizzy Spells and tried to sing progressive metal after meeting Tosin Abasi, whom she later dated.
Having moved to Los Angeles, Kelela connected with Teengirl Fantasy and contributed to the group’s 2013 album Tracer on the song “EFX”, which led her to meet Prince William from the label Fade to Mind. He introduced her to the sound of the record label and its sister imprint from London, Night Slugs, which Spin has described as “one of the most distinctive sounds in U.K. dance music, a mutable hybrid of grime, house, electro, R&B, techno, hip hop, and dubstep.” In May 2013, she appeared on Kingdom’s “Bank Head”, and five months later released her mixtape Cut 4 Me for free. Harriet Gisbone of The Guardian has described the album as “an experiment for the production team, the first time the production crew had used vocals on their club tracks.” In March 2014, Kelela was featured in Bok Bok’s song “Melba’s Call” for his new EP.
On March 3, 2015, Kelela announced the forthcoming release of her Hallucinogen EP with a video for the project lead track “The Message”, produced by Arca (who’s also produced for FKA Twigs).
Catch more Kelela following her social media pages, or the Fade To Mind website: www.facebook.com/kelelamusic
Elaquent – Canadian-based producer Elaquent is certainly no rookie in the thriving beat scene. Known for his smooth, soulful style; his off-kilter, neck-break beats; and his obsession with Batman and Sega Genesis, Elaquent is finally beginning to reach his full potential. Elaquent, or “eQ” as he is also known by, has been making his mark on the independent beat scene in a big way over the last few years, with a large discography of well received instrumental albums. Since the ninth grade, eQ has been mastering his production techniques, creating a sound uncommon to the crop of other local producers. Citing J Dilla and DJ Premier as some of his earliest influences, eQ has become much of a fan favorite among beat afficionados in Toronto. After a string of successful releases, including “The Scenic Route” , “Green Apples and Oranges”, and most recently, “Good Karma”, eQ has taken his show on the road, armed with his trusty SP-404sx loaded full of beats. Having toured all around the United States and many parts of Europe, eQ shows no signs of slowing down. Signed to HW&W Recordings (based out of Los Angeles), the prolific producer is already planning a number of albums, live shows and collaborations. Needless to say, Elaquent is on the come-up. Video Interview with the man himself:
For more on Elaquent, you can check out his Social Media pages, bandcamp/soundcloud or website: elaquent.com
Mick Jenkins – On January 13, Mick released his first mixtape, The Mickstape. In August 2012, he Released his second mixtape entitled The Pursuit of HappyNess: The Story of Mickalascage. Listed producers include After The Smoke, Swisha House, Chris Calor, Quincy Banks, Chuck Inglish, Vanilla, and Dijon.
In the Fall of 2012, Mick returned to Chicago and began attending YCA (Young Chicago Authors) a youth center where his first a cappella verse caught the attention of local artist and leader of Chicago’s Pivot Gang collective, Saba. Shortly after, the two collaborated on Heaux for Saba’s 2012 mixtape GETCOMFORTable. Jenkins is a member of a hip-hop group called Free Nation. Other members include Prop, J-Stock, Burman, and Maine The Saint. Free Nation promotes creative thought without accepting narrow views imposed by the powers that be. This group believes that when you find a way to combat the status quo, you are free.
In April 2013, Mick released a mixtape entitled Trees and Truths. It quickly became a local favorite, buoyed by acid jazz-influenced production, biblical allegory and lacerating lyricism. The project was by far his most lyrical body of work and caught the attention of Chicago’s incipient gatekeepers. A few months after its release, a collaboration with Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa came in the form of a single entitled Crossroads, which received attention and praise.
2014 – July 2015: The Water[s] & Tours
In July 2014, Mick received significant attention after the release of his single/visual Martyrs, which juxtaposed harsh societal truths with a catchy hook. The thought-provoking single held various underlying messages and subtle notions. Martyrs has led people such as Timbaland, among others, to reach out and praise Jenkins for his musical talent and intricate lyricism. Mick continues to find creative ways to convey his message and on August 12 released his project The Water[s] which has garnered national attention. Centered on the idea of comparing water to life’s truths, The Water[s] serves as Jenkins’ breakout project and has received much critical acclaim. Shortly after releasing the project, Jenkins announced he would be touring during the fall on the 2014 Smoker’s Club World Wide Roller’s Tour along with Method Man, Redman, B-Real, Trademark da Skydiver, and Berner. He had his first official tour in February 2015 with Kirk Knight,Noname Gypsy and Saba Pivot. He was on tour with Joey Bada$$ and Denzel Curry for Phase 1 of their World Domination Tour.
On July 20, 2015, Mick Jenkins announced an EP titled Waves, which was released on August 21, 2015. Mick Jenkins began streaming his new project in full via NPR’s First Listen on August 13, 2015. Wave[s] is the follow up to Jenkins’ critically acclaimed 2014 mixtape, The Water[s]. For Wave[s], Mick continues to keep the collaborators confined to those within his inner circle. The project features the likes of Sean Deaux, Saba, and TheMind. Mick will also be North American tour with French producer STWO from the end of August through the beginning of October.
Catch more of Mick here: mickjenkins.com/
Teeko – While Teeko’s notoriety over the last decade may come from his superhuman Turntablist repertoire — DMC, ITF and Guitar Center champion, co- creator of the Vestax Controller One, recording for Mark Ronson, D’Angelo and others, his creative prowess naturally extends to his work as a keyboardist, writer and producer. He has also received accolades by the world-renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston, receiving the Milestones Innovative Producer’s Award. Teeko has also been recognized by the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival, being the first DJ/Turntablist invited to perform. In recent years, he has teamed up with acclaimed fellow bay area producer B.Bravo to form the modern bass/funk outfit, Starship Connection. Hitting festivals across the country bringing new elements of live performance in the electronic music scene. His recent culmination of skills on synths, turntables and production have taken his live sets to new hights including several exciting collaborations with Dj Craze, Salva, Dj A-trak, Ruckazoid and more. All in all, the man is at one with his art, no matter what his device his sound continues to take exciting new shapes while effortlessly blowing minds and breaking necks.
“Teeko is a constant innovator, one of the rare DJs who pushes boundaries of what turntables can do musically.”
– DJ A-trak
(Fools Gold / Duck Sauce)
The pre-order link for that includes gratis track “Bruh Bruh Do Him Thing” when you order. This is his latest project for Dj Craze’s Slow Roast Records.
PRE-ORDER – TEEKO – BLAST THAT EP (SLOW ROAST RECORDS)
*All tracks are free download and listeners can donate to him by pressing the heart (“Send Love”) button that appears after they create an account.
“Teeko is a constant innovator, one of the rare DJs who pushes boundaries of what turntables can do musically.” – DJ A-trak (Fools Gold / Duck Sauce)