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iEKNOWS Makes You Fall In Love With Hip Hop At His First Headlining Show

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For the past year, I’ve been noticeably absent from a lot of shows. In the beginning, there were very few shows (if any) that you wouldn’t find me. As time went on, I lost the joy of attending them and slowly but surely stopped. I believe that once you’re forcing yourself to enjoy something, you should probably remove yourself until you arrive to that place where you enjoy yourself again.

It’s interesting. From the beginning, I had a vision for what I intended to do and to a certain extent I’ve hit a glass ceiling on that. Every artist wants to feel like they’re important and like they deserve every moment of your time just like every other one does on soundcloud. I get it, we all want to be heard.

However, the ones that remain humble and work the hardest that keep my attention. Enter iEKNOWS.

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(Photo by Saucy Photography)

Last Friday, I was proud to attend iEKNOWS’ first headlining show, 1 FOR THE MONEY, TWO FOR THE SHOW. I don’t really remember the first time I was able to catch his performance. It was probably over a year ago, but he always gives his all regardless of who shows up. These are the kind of artists that I truly enjoy writing about. These are the kind of artists that you truly hope make it because we just need more genuine people with real messages.

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(Photo by Saucy Photography)

At the beginning of his set, the audio from his short video, Rock Bottom Is Beautiful, played. For those who have hit “rock bottom” or breaking point, it’s certainly a relatable piece. Personally, I can relate to this with what I’ve been through so to hear something so personal was refreshing. It reminded us all this journey will push you to places you’ve never been but you’ll be grateful when you reach the end of the tunnel.

From there, we moved into a few tracks from his recently released project, Rolling With The Punches. While independent, iEKNOWS’ rollout of his long awaited project was a slow but steady release. While teasing us with a few freestyles here and there, there was no obvious rush to the process. In my opinion, that’s a great thing. Too often, artists get caught into this warp of appeasing their fans and trying to meet “industry standards,” whatever those may be. He does a great job of keeping the focus of his audience while knowing when and how he should release his music.

One of sweetest moments of the night was the acknowledgement he gave to his mother. It’s always a nice moment to not only see a crowd come out for an artist, but when their family comes it makes the moment that much more heartfelt. Out of all of the songs performed, Paris Dream’n was another track that was certainly a standout record.

It doesn’t matter if you’re chasing the corner office or the spotlight on a stage, at some point you’ll find yourself somewhere in between you dreams and your reality. Paris Dream’n speaks to that and reminds us that we’ve either been there, will be there or are currently there.

Not only was his set phenomenal, but his supporting acts leading up were also outstanding. The Mike Wilson, Bria Zhanae, Mave Jome, and 98KB set the stage hyping the crowd up for a one night only show you had to be there to experience.

The Grand Collab: An Interview with Sandra Quinlan

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Photo by Sandra Quinlan

Perhaps you’ve heard of The Grand Collab. Perhaps you’ve been to Will’s Pub  in Orlando’s Mills 50 District on the last Sunday of the month. But do you really know what the Grand Collab is? We sat down with Sandra Quinlan, one of co-founders of this multi-genre explosion event to find out more about the greatest music showcase in Orlando that our readers might be missing.

The Loud Lifestyle: What is The Grand Collab?

Sandra Quinlan: The Grand Collab is a multi-genre showcase that my friend Chris Mendez (aka DJ Cub of the VLA) started back in November of 2014. The shows are held periodically (generally on a bimonthly basis, but sometimes at different intervals) at Will’s Pub and feature 5-6 musical acts. Local emcee Lauren ‘TKO’ Rohan is our awesome host and DJ Cub is our resident DJ. We also occasionally feature live visual art or the occasional vintage popup shop by Dayglo Diva.

TLL: How did you come up with this idea?

SQ: Cub came up with the name for the event and the concept was spawned following a show I put together featuring Cub’s former band Deaf 2 the Industry, Lake Worth punk band Everymen, and local hip hop trio Table for Three. That particular show was held at Uncle Lou’s and we were stoked that the varied bill was so well received by the audience as a whole. It was after that show that Cub and I decided we wanted to collaborate to form a showcase that would bring a variety of different musical genres to the table, and consequently a variety of different listeners to the audience.

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Art by Nico Suave, photo by Sandra Quinlan

TLL: Why do you love hip-hop?

SQ:  Given that both Cub and I are both big hip hop fans, we knew it was important to incorporate that into the Grand Collab on a very consistent basis. This is why we’ve made it a point to include at least one hip hop act per showcase. I love hip hop for a variety of reasons, but I feel the strongest reason is because it is both an empowering force and a communal one. As for it being empowering, hip hop has long provided a voice for those society might have otherwise tried to keep voiceless. Like with punk music, hip hop is the voice of the underdog. It has the power to teach, inspire, empower, or just make you dance. As for it being community oriented, hip hop is far more than just a musical genre- it is a culture that Afrika Bambaataa of the Zulu Nation is credited with breaking down into five different elements: DJing, Emceeing, Breaking (b-boy/girl culture), Graph Writing (graffiti artists) and Knowledge. I have a ton of respect for this culture and feel it’s important for the Grand Collab bill to feature hip hop artists who haven’t totally lost touch with this culture.

TLL: What is the best part of the Grand Collab?

My favorite part of the Grand Collab is its ability to tear down the invisible walls that tend to separate music lovers from good music because of the generally clique-y nature of most music scenes. Don’t get me wrong, these so-called clique-y music scenes are beautiful in their own light, as they often bring about this homey sense of belonging among likeminded audience members. I just think it’s important to expand your horizons and expose yourself to different types of music from time to time. In doing so, you can become more open minded and also experience the offerings of other types of music. What is the worst part of it? Honestly, I think the worst part of it is the fact that our show has always been held on a Sunday night. While I truly believe the Grand Collab is one of those Sunday night gems, if you will, convincing people that our showcase is more appealing than a lazy Sunday at home can be extremely tricky.

TLL: What’s your ultimate dream for it?

SQ: While the ultimate dream for the Grand Collab is something myself and Cub are still in the process of cultivating, my current dream for the Grand Collab is for more people to realize its potential and come out to the shows. As with any showcase, the Grand Collab could not exist without an audience. My dream is for the Grand Collab to be an event in which music lovers of all walks of life can connect over good music (and good drinks, of course).

Tomi Lahren’s Nonsensical Rant About Beyonce Is Tasteless And Unnecessary

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Tomi Lahren, an obvious conservative, spoke her thoughts on the ongoing conversation revolving around Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance. And by ongoing, it’s sparked quite the debate amongst people with regard to race and apparent anti-cop feelings from her video. Miss Lahren gives me a little bit of a unintelligent vibe with this so-called rant. Maybe more than a little.

For some reason, Lahren found it in her heart to proclaim Beyonce’s heartfelt message and turn into something ugly and could not be further from the truth. I must have been out of the office the day the memo was passed to say the “Black Lives Matter” was missing the additional word, more. The movement isn’t new because racism and police brutality has been happening for years. The main difference between then and now would be the presence of social media and the cameras are catching more of the incidents. So no, Lahren, the movement isn’t about one race mattering more than another. It’s simply that black lives should be treated the same as all others.

“[Beyonce] just like President Obama, Jada Pinkett Smith, Al Sharpton and so many others that just can’t let America heal, you keep ripping off the historical bandaid. Why be a cultural leader when you can play the victim, right?”

Obviously, it’s those who are constantly hurt and killed by racism that are the ones who just can’t let America heal. Girl, goodnight and goodbye.

“Guess what Beyonce? White people like your music too. White people buy your songs on iTunes, memorize your lyrics and admire your talent and beauty. Little White girls wanna be like you just as little Black girls do, but instead of that, you’d rather perpetuate the great battle of the races,”

Also, to continue on the classy route of this rant, she went on to inform the songstress to “start at home” with her “drug dealing husband” Jay-Z.

“Your husband was a drug dealer. For fourteen years, he sold crack cocaine. Talk about protecting black neighborhoods. Start at home.”

Keep it classy, girl. I think the point was lost somewhere between white girls buying Beyonce’s single on iTunes and bringing up Jay-Z’s past. I’ll try to find it. Or not.

Grand Slamm Records Brings Top Local Talent Together for Upcoming Future Legends Concert

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Once again, Chester Williams (Grand Slamm Records) has handpicked several artists from Houston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore and more to perform live at The Abbey next week on January 28th in Orlando, Florida.

The ‘Future Legends’ concert will include Bria Zhanae, Brit Trees, Samuel Shabazz, Marcellus Juvann, Dion Price and LB 199X. This special collective of artists have proven themselves time and time again to be quite the spectacle. Juvann, with the release of his critically acclaimed project, The Fall, is set to give a stunning performance of his new material.

The ‘Future Legends’ are prepared to tear the house down with what the name suggests, a truly legendary experience from some of the top local talent around. If you’re not familiar with their catalogs, click their names to become familiar before the big day.

Doors will open at 7, with the show beginning promptly at 8:30pm. General Admission tickets are $12 with VIP tickets selling for $20. To purchase tickets, click here.

‘Twas The Night of Winter Solstice and It Was Lit

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It’s only right to bring in the new year with some of the best talent Central Florida has to offer. Orlando’s own City Tucker is the man behind this show, giving the opportunity to the locals to show off a little bit to kick the year off the right way. I really have to buy a camera when I go to these shows. But you know, soon come.

Doors opened at 8 p.m., giving early supporters the chance to kick back and enjoy music while things came together. Guests were encouraged to hit the bar while they waited for the first group, Rap Supreme, to hit the stage. Rap Supreme engaged with the crowd while performing for a full 15-minute set. Next up, we saw LB 199X hit the stage, complete with band support and the songstress, Bria Zhanae.

The carefully thought out show gave some of the spotlight to Palmer Reed, a notoriously outstanding performer who gives the stage his all every single time. Last but not least, Cage and IF closed the show out leaving attendees eagerly ready for the next installment.

As a two-time attendee, I can say it’s more than worth it to grab a ticket to one of City Tucker’s shows. While most (if not all of you) are usually turned off by a price tag on a local showcase that isn’t free, take the time to support your local artists. Support means more than the occasional retweet on twitter, come out and support them when they are brave enough to share their art with you.

T.I. & Tiny Are Expecting!

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Well, it appears that child #7 is on the way for Tiny & T.I. Taking to Instagram to announce the happy news, Tiny is happy to share the happy news.

Thank you to my family for my wonderful gifts,” she said. “But most of all thank you for our new heir to the throne. This is the best Christmas gift you could’ve gave me.”

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