HI$TO: On Breaking Out Of His Shell, Fighting Depression & Being Selected For Trillectro

Over the past two weeks, Baltimore-based DJ & producer HI$TO has been announced as an act on the region's go-to summer music festival Trillectro and released his first project of original music with Yung Spvce Cadet. In a Facebook post last month HISTO shared that he had a list of goals he wanted to accomplish over the next year and from what it looks like, his summer is starting off the right way. While he was getting ready for a new weekly party he and Abdu Ali started in Baltimore called Wet Wet Wednesdays, I linked up with him to talk about his newest accomplishments, the struggle to push through and how he broke out of his shell to pursue a career in music. 

Photo: Keem Griffey

Photo: Keem Griffey

You grew up between Houston and Baltimore. How was that?

HI$TO: I was born in Baltimore. When my parents split, I’d be back and forth between them while I was still here. Then I stayed in E. St Louis, Illinois for a little bit before I moved to Houston with my mother when I was eleven. As soon as I moved there I was turned onto Screw culture and southern music. It was that time when “Still Tippin’” was blowing up. I was like, “Damn. I moved to Houston at the right time!” It was fun being there while everything was hot. People were excited to be from Houston, you know? People were out there. I used to see a lot of rappers around town because I lived in Sugarland and Missouri City. A lot of my music got influenced by Screw. I used to get his tapes from the barbershop and listen to them at school. I was listening to Baltimore Club at the same time and people down there thought it was too crazy. They didn’t really understand. Now they’re bumping dubstep and Jersey Club after I was trying to let them know years ago. That’s really why I left. Nobody was feeling my shit.

Why do you think you gravitated more towards club music over screw music? Did you feel some kind of loyalty because you were born in Baltimore?

HI$TO: Yeah. When I moved to Houston I always loved Baltimore and I came every summer. I always felt like it was a big part of my heart. But I loved dubstep and EDM trap when they dropped too. I chopped and screwed some tracks too. I’m influenced by a lot.

When did you start making music?

HI$TO: When I was 12. I had this game called Magic Music Maker for Playstation 2 then I got my first laptop when I turned 14. I got Fruity Loops as soon as I got the laptop then I learned about Ableton from listening to Blaqstarr and Diplo. I eventually found a link to it and since then it’s been my program. Ableton has so many possibilities.

My pops was rapping and producing in the 90’s. He had a contract with Def Jam but didn’t go through with it because he felt like he’d be selling out.

What did you learn from his experiences?

HI$TO: I taught myself how to produce but my dad bought the Magic Music Maker game for himself and I would borrow it before I got it for myself. But my dad plays a big role in my music career right now. When I moved back here he taught me a lot about what to be prepared for on the business side. When I first moved here I was quiet and didn’t know how to talk to people to be honest. I’ve been living here for five years now and I’m much more outgoing. I didn’t like going anywhere at all. My pops saw that and just told me, “You’re talented but you need to work on the social side.”

A little while ago you got on Facebook and shared what a few of your goals were for the next year and playing a big festival was one of them. Now that you’re playing Trillectro next month, you knocked one of those out. How do you work towards goals? Do you give yourself a set schedule to go by?

HI$TO: I do what I feel. It’s not like, “It’s 1 o’clock, let me do this.” But when I was going for Trillectro I just started sending emails to a bunch of people that know about me. I found their emails and sent out some exclusive tracks. A little while later I got the offer. I have a lot more to do but I’m really proud of this. I’m planning out my set right now. I’ve been working on things for the past few days and I’m making new stuff for it. TT The Artist is gonna hype up my set. I’ve got a month so I’m being creative as possible.

Your debut EP, Yung Spvce Cadet just dropped. When you were putting it together, was there a defined sound you wanted to establish with it?

HI$TO: I knew I wanted to come out with an EP but didn’t know what the EP would be. I actually had a bunch of tracks ready to go but I had a falling out with some featured artists and a lot of them got scrapped. I’m on there rapping as Yung EBT. I really put my all into it. The only feature I have is TT. It’s funny because I’ve always written raps. In middle school I wanted to be a rapper honestly. But I wasn’t myself. I was rapping some gangsta shit because I was listening to a lot of Mobb Deep. The only reason I even put vocals on this project is because I had people around me telling me that they were feeling it.

What would you say is your biggest hurdle as an artist?

HI$TO: Really, staying up to date with what people like instead of playing what I like most of the time. I used to only DJ shit I like but then people started making requests for Gucci Mane, Future and other stuff. I would turn it down but then I got the idea to bring that music in with what I was already doing. People dance to it.

What have been your biggest hurdles as a person?

HI$TO: Aside from the music it’s just getting myself together personally. I’m trying to get my own spot and all that. I mean, I’m cool, but I’m not where I want to be right now. I don’t really talk to people about this but I went through a whole depression period this year. Just thinking stuff like “Damn, what am I really doing with myself right now?” and, “Is this music shit really for me?” It took some people to really lift me up and remind me of the things I have accomplished.

Do you think that depression was from what you expected of yourself or were you comparing yourself to others?

HI$TO: It wasn’t really comparing myself to other people, it was just like “I’m this age. I don’t have a house, a car.” I did have a car but it fucked up on me. It’s really from people placing standards on age and what you should be doing. But I had to remind myself that I’d rather get my shit together and do things right. I had to tell myself that I am cool. I’ve done things other people haven’t. I’m not in a bunch of school debt. I don’t have a house with nothing else to do.

Would you say that those feelings you had are common amongst artists you come across? How do you think artists can help each other not have to endure that pain alone?

HI$TO: Yeah, there are people who have no one to vent to. I didn’t know how to express the feelings I had inside but I found the right people who could motivate me. They understood what I was going through but it took me to understand what was in front of me and how I could go past that. If you feel it, you’re good. Even if you’re not eating right away. When I posted the Trillectro line-up, UNIIQU3 hit me up. Nadus hit me up. They told me to keep it going and that meant a lot to me because they’re traveling the world right now. It shows me that in a year from now I can be cool. It’s not impossible. The few times I’ve been around DJ Sliink and Dirty South Joe was really motivating to me too. I feel like it’s gonna all unfold soon.

What do you hope people get out of your work?

HI$TO: My remixes get thousands of plays over two weeks and my originals barely get plays over time. I didn’t understand. I just want people to understand the originals. All I’m doing is flipping other people’s shit but I’m putting real emotion into the original stuff. But at the end of the day, I just want people to go for what they want. People didn’t think I’d be outgoing at all. I was really in the house all the time, playing video games and just in my own little world. People would make fun of me. My senior year of high school in Houston, I went to see Madlib and was like damn. Then I went to Mad Decent Block Party in Philly the same summer and decided that I needed to be on the East Coast. My mom had plans for me to go to college in Houston but I just couldn’t. My family down there was mad at me for like a year. Once last summer hit and they saw that I had a plan and was getting featured on Complex and other sites, they got it. I want people to just go for what they want. Even if it’s not music. Break out of your shell. Do you.

Pick 'Em Up: Lakim, Rushmore, Flow Castle & Slow Graffiti

Rushmore - "Moment X" (Victoria Kim's Kowloon Edit)

Last year, The Astral Plane released Heterotopia, a collection of super grimy club tracks only suitable for the darkest of nights.  Heterotopia included a minimal club track with an impressively busy percussion section titled "Moment X" from London-based producer, Rushmore.  On the Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 2 compilation released earlier this month, Sydney-based production duo, Victoria Kim ups the ante with incredible force.  Victoria Kim adds some groovy synths, a dark industrial vibe, and most importantly, a textural club beat driven by a "work work" vocal sample so repetitive that it's pleasantly encouraging.  Victoria Kim's Kowloon Edit is a heater through and through.

Lakim - "Get Out On Your Own"

On the totally opposite end of the spectrum lies Soulection, a record label, traveling dance party, and cohesive musical family that thrives in showcasing only the smoothest of sample-based, R&B-inspired sounds.  To celebrate 200,000 listeners on Soundcloud, Soulection gave away their highly-anticipated ode to Sade, Love Is King, complete with soulful dedications from many of their incredible producers.  Check out LA-based producer, Lakim's take on Sade's "Mr. Wrong" on "Get Out On Your Own".  Lakim used the classic, energetic Baltimore club break as the backbone to his track but somehow still made it sound smooth as butter.  

Flow Castle x Slow Graffiti - "Do"

A few days ago, LA-based collective, Too Lush dropped Too Lush Vol. 3, a hefty, 25-track deep compilation which promises something for everyone.  "Do," a collaboration between Flow Castle and Slow Graffiti, is a future Jersey club track that is just too easy to love.  Pumping bass, spiraling synths, and a Jersey club break builds a track that can easily be rocked with all night long.

Pick 'Em Up: Kingdom, Vjuan Allure & Diamond Kuts

Kelela - "Enemy" (Kingdom's Destruction Before Paradise Mix):

It's really impossible to make Kelela's voice not sound like it came straight from the heavens above. Otherworldly Fade to Mind add just the right touch of future to her 90s R&B influences. "Enemy", originally produced by Nguzuguzu, sees a brand new treatment from fellow Fade to Mind creator and cohort, Kingdom.  Kelela's voice sounds as soulful as ever while Kingdom builds a future club beat so delicate at times that it barely erupts into a full-blown ruckus.  While you can hear the occasional pounding bass, grandiose synths, and a hint of the signature kicks of club music, Kingdom keeps his take on "Enemy" right under the threshold of a big room banger.  That's some real finesse right there.

Vjuan Allure - "Wherkk ft. Purple Crush":

"Wherkk" is the title track from Vjuan Allure's latest EP, which is streaming over on THUMP right now.  Allure is one of the innovators of the classic ballroom sound - house and disco tracks that you hear at vogue parties - and actually created "The Ha Dance" (later dubbed as "Allure Ha") which is basically what "Sing Sing" is to Baltimore club.  But on his "Wherkk" EP, Allure demonstrates a vast knowledge of that classic club music sound, especially on the title track here featuring LA's Purple Crush on vocals.  The horns are blowin', the kicks are perfectly energizing, and it sounds brand new and timeless all at the same time.

DJ Diamond Kuts - "Keep Your Ass Down":

Philly's DJ Diamond Kuts has a stellar reputation for being versatile behind the decks to deliver sets that are totally free of the binds of particular genres.  However (!!), I know she has an affinity for club music stylings from Jersey to Baltimore.  "Keep Your Ass Down" doesn't seem like a typical club track from the surface, but it has all the right vibes.  It's repetitive and hyper just like a classic Jersey club track but the way she blends in bouncy twerk and the rolling hi-hats of trap makes it perfect for all kinds of dance floors. 

Pick 'Em Up: Blastah, Imaabs & Sugar Shane

Blastah- Give It Up To Me

I constantly have my ears open for unique productions of club music and "Give It Up To Me" grabbed my attention immediately.  Located in Lisbon, Portugal, Blastah seems to have created his own personal blend of Baltimore and Jersey club in this track.  A classic club beat drives the track while blasting gun shots, bed squeaks, and chopped up vocals accentuate its every unique twist and turn.  "Give It Up To Me" has a comforting way of feeling very familiar while feeling so brand new and rejuvenating all at the same time.

Imaabs- Grafito

"Grafito" is a whole different monster here.  It feels very dark and industrial as an ominous whirring and sounds of "machinery" add intriguing textures to the production.  Imaabs, of Santiago, Chile, seems to thrive in mystery and darkness here as he blends warehouse techno with the hyperactive stylings of Jersey club music.  Techno is usually pretty hit-or-miss for me but I'm so impressed with the way Imaabs expertly integrates that signature bass you'll only hear in Jersey.  If you're feelin' this style, you can hear more on Trax Couture World Series Vol. 2.

Sugar Shane- Kill That Bitch (Promnite Remix)

Sugar Shane's "Kill Da Bitch" in its original form is already a certified club banger, but Promnite's remix elevated the track to critical mass.  If Sugar Shane's stinkeye and super sass in "Kill Da Bitch" wasn't enough of a beatdown, New York-based producer Promnite kicked the joint into overdrive.  "Kill The Bitch" takes on a future club sound at light speed with hints of vogue, heart-pounding bass, and a pitched-down chant that urges you to "go for the kill".




Pick 'Em Up: James Nasty, HI$TO & Debonair Samir

What up, y'all!  It's Stoop Girl here bringing ya the dopest club music I can find on The World Wide Internet.  I usually try to keep it really weird and favor artists who thrive in the dark corners of the mainstream, but this week I wanted to show some love to our locals here in Baltimore.  Very underrated at times, Baltimore producers are still fighting tooth-and-nail to put our city on the map.  But having been all over the place and back again, these guys you'll hear below have a worldwide perspective on club music.  They've really got a lot to offer for the future of club music and we're lucky to claim them as our neighbors here in Baltimore.

James Nasty - "Good Perereca"

What originally attracted me James Nasty's productions was a very apparent love for old school club music—classic breakbeats, what! what! chants, and lots of booty talk.  But lately, he's really been looking at club music from a worldwide lens - a perspective that club music has desperately needed to launch it out of Baltimore and into the speakers of the rest of the world.

"Good Perereca", released via Enchufada's Upper Cuts project, is everything that's great about global club music: Brazilian percussion, samples of frog croaks, and that familiar club sound to keep it grounded.  It sounds amazingly exotic right from the start—the perfect soundtrack to a hot and sweaty night in the club.  I know y'all are gonna act like some wild animals when this shit gets played in the club.

HI$TO- Where Dat Pussy At?

HI$TO flirts with hip-hop and bass music of all kinds so his approach to club music always feels like a well-rounded and complete composition. This track is some nasty shit and if it weren't for all the bed squeaks, sex moans, and a general future vibe to it, "Where Dat Pussy At" would take me back to the days of old school club music.  And all that shit was hella freaky too.  Let ya freak flag fly with this one.

Debonair Samir - "Drunk"

When was the last time you heard some new sounds coming from Debonair Samir?!  I think the club scene might be ready to hear some new music from the pioneers again.  I really dig Samir's manipulation of the classic Baltimore club horns on "Drunk"; they sound a bit warped and when I really think about it, that's probably what it sounds like when you're drunk and wildin' out in the club.  Do ya thang.  Anyway, I'm more excited to see what Samir's up to in the lab in 2015 and we'll all find out in March when his Whatever EP drops.

Pick 'Em Up: Mighty Mark, Lucid & DJ Tuco

What up!  It's stoopgirl and I'm back for another week of Pick 'Em Up!  I really hope you heard something new from the tracks in the very first post from last week.  This week we're traveling the world with club music and we're starting right in our very own backyard.

Juicy J - Low (Mighty Mark & DJ K-Spin Remix

I just can't get over all the vibes Mighty Mark and DJ K-Spin are incorporating in this brooding club remix of Juicy J's "Low".  It boasts a hyperactive breakbeat but a dark, future club vibe to it that makes it sound really complex.  Baltimore residents Mighty Mark and DJ K-Spin sample only the essential parts of Juicy J's "Low" to make this more of an original production instead of a run-of-the-mill remix.  "My beat low/My bass low/I ride low/She go low," pitched down so low that you can't help but to sport a serious stank face.  They even cut into a sample of Ludacris' "How Low Can You Go" to bring the whole theme full circle and make this track one that the ladies won't be able to resist in the club.

DJ Tuco - "Sweet Talk"

Upon my first listen of "Sweet Talk", I totally thought the producer was gonna be some old head from Baltimore with a really solid appreciation of both Baltimore club music and R&B.  I was so, so, so wrong here.  DJ Tuco kicked off his career in London, explored the world, and then set up shop in Prague.  So yeah, some producer in Czech Republic is making Baltimore club music and it's fucking classic.  Sampling one of my not-so-guilty-pleasures, "Heard It All Before" by Sunshine Anderson, DJ Tuco embraces the classic breakbeat of Baltimore club but goes heavy with the synths, bringing it right back to 2014.  I love how many audiences "Sweet Talk" could potentially appeal to: club heads, dance music fans, and ladies who are mad at their boyfriends.  I think it's a win-win situation for everybody on this dance floor tonight.

Lucid - "Heartagram"

I'm not usually a huge fan of festival tunes but I found "Heartagram" by Lucid to be especially intriguing when I heard its nod to the high energy and rapid pace of Jersey club music.  The Melbourne-based producer has created quite a niche for himself within big room dance music and exactly how he melded the two genres together on "Heartagram" has a unique way of meeting both genres right down the middle - making Jersey feel a little bigger and a festival feel a little more intimate.  I'm actually curious if Lucid found any inspiration from his label-mate and proud New Jersey resident, Nadus, for this track (both artists are members of the Belgian-based record label, Pelican Fly).  "Heartagram" is the title-track for an EP that Lucid released last week, so if you're into this kind of sound, feel free to check out the other three tracks.

 

 

-- 

Pick 'Em Up w/ Stoop Girl

I remember being in middle school, listening to 92Q, and recording Baltimore Club classics onto cassettes from artists like Rod Lee, Ms. Tony, and of course Scottie B.  I was a half-white/half-Panamanian girl living in the suburbs while all my friends were bumpin' Backstreet Boys and Linkin Park so of course I was the fucking oddball in the crew.  And it's not that I wasn't interested in that kind of music, but it's always been Baltimore club that has stuck by me even when I went through weird musical phases of my life, like that one time in high school I was really into trance music and that other time I couldn't stop listening to ska.  UGH.  For me, Baltimore club music was never a phase.  It's one of the only genres of music that consistently moved me.  I just have a pure, unwavering love for club music of all shapes, sizes, and wavelengths.  

So, hey, I'm Casey (also known as @stoopgirl on Twitter) and welcome to a brand new series on True Laurels, "Pick Em Up", that will explore all avenues of club music.  When I'm not here kickin' it with Lawrence and his truly exceptional zine, you can find me over at my own blog,Cool Breezy.  Anyway, let's go: 

Swagson- Bring It Back Up

Lately, I’ve been trying to tackle the question of whether an artist has to physically reside in the city of Baltimore to make proper Baltimore club music.  Are they truly capable of translating the very tangible aggression of these city streets into gritty, raunchy club music?  The answer remains inconclusive, but Baltimore club music can feel very exclusive sometimes.  However, I discovered an incredible exception to the rule with Swagson’s “Bring It Back Up”.  I mean, wow.  The horns are blowin’, our signature what!s are expertly sprinkled within, and engaging vocals from Baltimore’s very own Rye Rye are sampled masterfully from her hit, “Shake It To The Ground”.  

Would you even believe me if I told you that Swagson is based out of Germany?  Apparently Swagson is a part of a crew called REALMSIX, an anonymous collective of producers making electronic club music from every corner of the world.  But I swear I can hear this shit bumpin’ right out of the cracks of the sidewalks on North Ave.  So, believe it, man.  I’m 100% fucking with it.  So maybe you gotta be from Baltimore to make authentic club music; maybe you don’t.  I’ll let you decide.

Kilbourne- Jellybeans

This one will rattle the damn bones out of your skin.  You should really prepare yourself for “Jellybeans” from Kilbourne’s latest EP, Satisfaction.  In typical Jersey club fashion, “Jellybeans” borders daringly on sensory overload with alarming sirens, repetitive what!s, and gunshots galore – but I love every second of it.  For me, “Jellybeans” stands out amongst a lot of other Jersey club that tends to become a blur after a while.  It sounds clean, not distorted, and I can pick out every intricate sound within the production.  And it’s fucking fast – music that is bound to move every wallflower out onto the dance floor in the club.  Fresh off the Motivational Tour with Baltimore’s own Abdu Ali and Schwarz, Kilbourne is definitely someone you wanna keep up with.

DJ Juwan- Dance Sing

It’s back to basics with DJ Juwan.  To be honest, I don’t know too much about this guy.  I heard he’s from Baltimore and he’s only like, fifteen years old.  But I’ve never seen an actual picture of his face so who really knows.  It’s very mysterious to me.  But what I do know is that he has fully embraced the classic sound of Baltimore club music.  For real though, his productions sound like they were made back in the 90s during the heyday of Baltimore club music.  Case in point here with “Dance Sing” in which DJ Juwan structures the song around the classic Baltimore club break beat and introduces a vocal sample every now and again.  (By the way – does anybody know where this sample comes from?  I know Cajmere used it in “Do Dat Dance” from 1991’s Underground Goodies Vol. II, but it’s killing me not to know more).  Anyway, it’s very minimal and that’s what I love about it.  Today, it’s very easy to get carried away with an abundance of samples and textures in music but sometimes it’s the simple beats that get us moving.

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