Pick 'Em Up: Kilbourne, TR!CK$ & UNiiQU3

Kilbourne x Albyy - "The Hand Clap"

I've been following Kilbourne ever since I heard her amazing work with Abdu Ali on his Already EP.  Kilbourne calls New Jersey home but is currently based out of New Orleans.  I just love the way she styles her club music - it's hype but not so aggressive that I feel like I'm gettin' shot up outside the club.  And such is the case with her collaboration with Albyy on "The Hand Clap".  Pulling the vocal sample from Hurricane Chris' track of the same name, "The Hand Clap" is such a classic demonstration of that signature Jersey energy.

TR!CK$ ft. L'Entranger - "All Alone"
 

TR!CK$ is another Jersey-based producer who is starting to make some waves in my world.  "All Alone" allows that super energetic Jersey style to completely carry a sexy R&B vibe from the vocals here.  I'm especially loving the varying manipulations he made to the vocals - pitched up here, pitched way down there, and chopped so expertly throughout.  This is the way you craft a Jersey club track that's fit for dance floors all around the world.

UNiiQU3 ft. DJ Kiff - 69 (If I Fuck)

Bow down to UNiiQU3!  She's a certified Jersey Club Queen and she's running the show in New Jersey and beyond.  This week I stumbled upon an older track of hers that I had on repeat for a hot minute - "69 (If I Fuck)" with DJ Kiff.  It starts out subtle, almost like it could easily transform into a dope footwork track, but instead it introduces this insanely cool bubbly bass that I can't get enough of.  It almost doesn't even sound like it's a Jersey club track - maybe a hybrid of Jersey and Baltimore - which is great because anything that fills the abyss between the two styles is really something remarkable.

Catching Up w/ True Laurels' Favorite Artists From 2014

2014 saw four new issues of True Laurels and while we wish we could have caught back up with every single artist featured, here's what seven artists from the zine took from this year and how they're going into 2015. Check it!

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Butch Dawson (True Laurels Vol. 2)

What was your favorite musical moment from 2014?

My favorite musical moment of 2014 was experiencing my first tour and first time in LA.

Best artist you got put onto?

I got put on to Thundercat this year and I listen to him all the time so he has to be my best artist.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned this year to carry over to 2015?

I've learned that things are possible for a Baltimore guy like me and for all musicians from Baltimore, and that i shouldn't doubt myself or have a conscience when it comes to taking the next step. I wanna be able to take my confidence into the next year and show myself that I'm capable of doing what I need to do.

Abdu Ali (True Laurels Vol. 1)

You've been very candid online with your take on the structure of our society this year. What's a more fitting explanation: The world's bullshit making you more conscious or is your increased level of consciousness hipping you to the bullshit?

It's a combination of both: me being more conscious/educated on the shade of society and the current events of shade that have taken place as well. Both sort of provoke each other to come about. Also with age comes wisdom. As you get older, if fortunate, you become less blind and your perception of the world you live in starts to become more raw and real.

Something you did that even surprised you this year?

At the last Kahlon, during my performance I got too overwhelmed by the energy and became very emotional and idk. It was an out-of-body experience I had on stage for the first time, it was a lot to deal with. I loved it though. It was like I saw and felt that burning bush, as if "god" came down to me touched me and spoke to me.

3 Essential Do's & Don'ts for DIY touring.

Do: Be vegan. Drink a gallon of water everyday. Sleep as much as possible (fuck going out to sight see and all that). Don't: Eat bad. Smoke or Drink. Don't hold any emotions or feelings in.

Your most valuable takeaway from 2014? 

To do the most you can, be uninhabited, and try to stay calm and positive. All three are vital. And try to be healthy as fuck. Drink a gallon of water a day. Try to eat meat once a week or twice. Or never. And vitamins are bullshit. They basically don't work. Most herbal supplements are bullshit because they are cheaply manufactured and can fuck your body up. If anything use raw herbs or powders. Get mad iodine (salt with iodine or from sea plants), b12 (veggies or a high quality b12 product that contains no cyanide), vitamin d (from sunlight or uv light) in your body. FOOD IS THE BEST MEDICINE.

UNIIQU3 (True Laurels Vol. 5)

Overall, club music seemed to have reemerged as a leading genre of interest on the web this year. As an artist in that field, how'd it make you feel?

To see something that we just grew up on grow to be enjoyed and accepted internationally was beyond amazing. It also gave me hope and reassurance that I'm doing something right, as far as my music career goes. Overall it's just a blessing. 

You were on the road a lot this year. What was your best and worst touring experience?

This year was my first year being on the road. My best experience would have to be traveling to Australia. It's half ways around the world and it was my first tour! The whole thing was an amazing experience. My worst experience would have to be when I was getting picked up from the airport one time, my driver had the wrong name on the board so I walked around the ground transportation for an hour, but eventually I found him. 

5 mixes you really rocked with from 2014?

That's kinda hard, I'm such a music junkie but here you go!

1.  Pause FadetoMind :: Kingdom b2b Rizzla b2b Prince Will - Fade to Mind on Rinse FM - 10.9.2014

2.  Pelicanfly :: Dj Slow - As The World Turns Slow Chapter 1 

3. FILTHYRICHTAJ - xoChill

4. BEASTONLEASH :: SICH MANG - WARKSTAP FOR TRADER JOE'S MIX P3

5. The FADER FADER Mix: UNIIQU3

What's a non-music-related goal you have for 2015?

I really want to be the best version of Cherise I can be, and I'm well on my way there. 

B L A C K I E (True Laurels Vol. 2)

You've been a fighter through your music since Day 1. Has this year's heightened exposure to police killing black men added more fuel to your fire?

Not really. Not at all. I'm focusing on making sure my family is living good and all that outside of music. That's the first & only real battle. I got a black child. Fuck the police state. Fuck these tyrants.

Something you HAVE to get better at in 2015.

I want to get better at maintaining my own personal solitude. Kick all the fakes, flakes and mistakes to the dumpster.

Something new you learned about yourself this year?

This year I learned I can move on in my life and not let anyone (even myself) restrain me.

Three albums that got the most spins from you in 2014?

Ola Playa - Slime Season

Blunt Fang - 777 #1 Hits

Deftones - White Pony

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Chrissy Vasquez (True Laurels Vol. 4)

What was your biggest challenge of 2014?

My biggest challenge in 2014 was going to summer school and going on the Freakshow Tour. I had to wake up early in the a.m for a straight month and ride my Huffy bike to school while going out of town on weekends, coming back to school exhausted and not ready to pass some days. In general, it's hard trying to level out school and performing. It's like, "Okay do I take this chance and be half sleep in the morning while the school bus is 20 minutes away?" and I always did it. To be able to express is a blessing. 

What artists did you listen to the most this year?

Artists I listen to the most: Nas. 2Pac, Crystal Castles, Andre 3000, A Tribe Called Quest, Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu. Can't forget the good bike rides listening to Earl Sweatshirt. I listen to tons of artist and tons of genres. So it's not as if I listen to the same people everyday.

You're always carrying around a gallon of water. What health tips can you lend us going into next year?

Yes. I try my best to drink a gallon of water a day. Your body and my body needs water. I've transitioned from a vegetarian to a vegan, it being a full year now. I'm not saying in order to be healthy you have to drop the meat and lift the veggies...however, that would be a good option. I recommend everyone to eat many servings of vegetables and fruit a day. It's many fun things you can do with your food to make a healthy lifestyle not so bland. I enjoy making a good vegan meal with a spot of green tea. Sip it, it's good for you and very relaxing. Everyone should have up to 2 spots of tea a day. For my protein I like to eat beans and eat tree nuts...and digging my finger in the peanut butter jar. Be optimistic when it comes to having a colorful diet. Broccoli is your friend. Pineapples love you. Always remember that you can either look at your body as a trash can or a temple, and that what you eat on a daily basis can either better you or harm you in the long run.

Was there anything you read that changed your perspective?

I'm in the process of reading "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. To sum it up, it talks a lot about the mental and how you can think positively and act on your goals, pushing them to your full potential. Most of the people who are successful now is because it took hard work and a smooth thought process. You can do anything you desire as long as you strive for it. In the book he talks about successful people and situations where a blockage may come into your life and you just have to bite your way through it. I'm not going to summarize the entire book, but here's something I underlined: "Tolerance and an open mind are practical necessities for the dreamer of today. Those who are afraid of new ideas are doomed before they start."

Hi$to (True Laurels Vol. 3)

With some of your peers being featured in both Boiler Room's Baltimore and Jersey club episodes, how were you affected? Were you motivated?

I was definitely moved and more confident in being next. I've payed attention to these people for years prior to moving to Baltimore and I get respect from most of them featured in both episodes. I have a few joints with TT The Artist, a remix I'm working on for James Nasty, and I'm working on a beat I want UNIIQU3 to hop on for my next tape. I met Sliink again around this time last year and talked to him about working before but he was touring heavy over seas after that. One day.

What there a moment this year that made you really miss Houston?

Not really but I say that because I spent three months in Houston over the summer. But if there was a moment, it was definitely SXSW. I missed out on it this year and I usually kick it in H-town before I go to Austin. 

Did you develop any new musical routines during the year?

I've been practicing  new scratch techniques on the turntables. I learned a personal technique where I can knock out remixes within a day. And I'm currently working on fusing visuals I create with my sounds right now for my short film dropping next year. 

Four tracks that never left your rotation in 2014? 

That's kinda hard but my favorites I mostly play are:

Lakim- "Rent4"

iLoveMakonnen - "Don't Sell Molly"

DJ Rashad - "Do It Again"

HI$TO & Gianni Lee - "Shake"

Asaad (True Laurels Vol. 2)

What's your proudest moment of 2014?

The entire 2014. The fact that I stopped lying.

You were on the road with Ab-Soul for the These Days Tour. Your three favorite stops and why?

Chicago because I like the thrill. Toronto because I'm Drake there lol. Madison, Wisconsin was a great vibe. 

I saw online you were talking about getting your health right this year. What was your method?

I rid the lying, rid the stress, told the truth and got some rest. 

Your 5 favorite tracks from the year? 

Lil Mouse- Don't Get Smoked

Asaad- Blue Note Entendre 

Pharrell- Gust Of Wind

Rick Ross Feat. Yo Gotti- Trap Luv

Chief Keef- Faneto 

UNIIQU3: Gunning For Club Kween

Today marks the release of True Laurels Volume 5! Below, read the issue's feature story on rising Jersey Club DJ and producer, UNIIQU3 and be sure to follow her on SoundCloud. Buy Volume 5 HERE

Photo: Ryan Lyons

Photo: Ryan Lyons

I’ll admit, I’m a bit late. Growing up in Baltimore, the only club music that ever existed to me was what came from my hometown. With Blaqstarr, Miss Tony, Rod Lee, K-Swift and all the other club legends being spoon-fed to me on the daily, I never felt the need to look elsewhere for similar music. But over the past year, with club music seemingly getting some of its best press since Diplo infiltrated the Baltimore scene, my curiosity for different variations of the genre has definitely elevated, leading me to dig deeper into the catalogues of Philly and Jersey artists. And while I’ve enjoyed the contributions that artists like Sliink, Nadus, Dirty South Joe and others have added to the culture, no one has gotten my attention like Jersey Club’s leading lady, UNIIQU3. So far this year, she’s been selected for Red Bull’s Music Academy in New York, played at Afropunk, and released a comprehensive history of club music with her mixtape, The New Klassiks. What could easily be looked at as an out-of-nowhere come up has actually been a life-long dedication to music from the Newark native. “I started off with music and the arts at a very young age,” UNIIQU3 tells me over the phone. “I play the piano and I was in dance classes where I was being exposed to classical music and ballet which were completely different from what I’d been hearing on the radio, obviously.” Eventually, UNIIQU3 branched out to auditioning for Broadway plays like The Lion King but didn’t take long to give that up as it was taking away from her everyday kid activities.

Her comfort with performance is still in full effect, though. At this year’s Afropunk while doing impossible vocal chops and repeated claps over radio hits during her set, UNIIQU3’s charisma illuminated through her designated corner of Commodore Barry Park. She was feeling it. After almost every track dropped, she’d look out into the sea of people going nuts, let out a smile of pure joy and get right back into her no-bullshit gameface—Kanye on The Kris Jenner Show style. Reflecting, she says, “I usually do mixes off the top of my head. I don’t like to plan stuff because it’s takes the feeling away from it. Everything is spur of the moment and that’s why it’s special.” In comparison to vocal artists whose emotion, or lack thereof, is almost instantly detectable, DJ’s and producers can sometimes come across as worker bees—people so meticulous in the arrangement of sound that picking up on their emotion is always an afterthought and a real challenge--for me, at least. That’s not the case with UNIIQU3, though. What’s so infectious about her work is the evident, close-knit connection she has to club culture. In a short interview with Fader earlier this year, Fade To Mind producer, super DJ and Jersey-native Total Freedom spoke on his fondness of UNIIQU3 by saying, “She clearly works hard but nothing about the way she’s out there seems forced or corny.” And that’s spot on as her hustle seems to be genuinely from the heart. While on the phone she tells me about an all-female club collective she started right out of high school called Vixens who would dance to her music and shoot over-the-top themed videos around Jersey: “Every DJ had a dance crew in Jersey,” she says. “Sliink had his dancers and rappers. Brick Bandits had dancers and I was the only girl so I’m like, ‘Damn. I want something too!’ I went on Facebook and blasted that I was having auditions at this youth center. I got mad girls to come out.”

And while being a pillar of the female community within club culture is a priority for UNIIQU3, she’s not limiting herself when it comes to bringing people together for the genre’s advancement and preservation. In April she released The New Klassiks—a collection of her favorite club tracks, both original and with her own spin on them. For Baltimore Club legend Rod Lee’s “Give Em Some Room” which was originally featured on K-Swift’s 2005 compilation, The Jumpoff Volume 3, UNIIQU3 chops his vocals to unrecognizable pulsing burps and couples them with claps she calls “sexy”. She makes similar manipulations to songs by DJ Dwizz, DJ Techniques and Jersey Club pioneer, DJ Tamiel. She spoke passionately about the tape while we were on the phone: “Jersey Club is like a new thing to the world--not to us--but people are really just starting to get hip and I was just over talking about the whole appropriation thing. I realized that it’s happened to every genre of music, you know? The black people who actually created the music are living in poverty and people from elsewhere are making all the money from it. But I felt like instead of making a Facebook status about it or addressing it on social networks, I could approach the situation by making a mixtape that teaches people who started it and my perception of what the future of club is.”

Clearly, the club compilation is not a new thing for a DJ/producer but the leadership that UNIIQU3 assumes isn’t common, especially in club music’s place of origin, Baltimore. So naturally, one is forced to look at her role as one that’d make the late K-Swift proud: a young female DJ, endorsed by her hometown’s dominant club music collective (she, Brick Bandits and Swift, Unruly Records) and branching out to other cities where club music is created. “Jersey is different from Baltimore because when I was just starting out all we saw was Tameil taking things to the next level and getting booked in Paris,” she says as she reflects on her journey. “That was crazy but it’s a lot different than seeing someone making moves that’s only two or three years older than you. Jersey’s younger generation has that now with me, Sliink and Nadus.” And UNIIQU3 is just starting to get into the full swing of things. Earlier this year she quit her part time job to fully pursue music and she’s already gearing up for a tour in Australia while putting together an EP of original content set to release in early 2015. Her push to become the queen of club music--while sure to be a long, challenging journey--seems to be within arm’s reach.

Photo: Ryan Lyons

Photo: Ryan Lyons

-Lawrence Burney