When I was told I’d be interviewing Jimmii Montana just a few weeks ago, I had never heard of her. The first thing I did, naturally in this technologically driven generation, was look up her Instagram. There were two things I could tell just from scrolling briefly. She had an amazing fan base and that she was lyrically superior to most rappers walking around Cleveland. As we talked in our interview, Montana promised that her EP, titled “Blacked”, would be just that. Fast forward to the release, and a promise that was more than kept. The four-song project, perfectly mastered, may be one of the best projects I’ve heard from an indie artist this year. “Melanin”, an ode to blackness and self-love, gives you a glimpse of where she gets her confidence from, while “Ghetto Child” dives deep into some of what she’s been through and the responsibilities she’s had to carry. The way that Montana conquers each beat with her lyrics is something that artists don’t do very often these days. She isn’t supported by beats that overshadow her rapping simply because she has more than enough talent to not even need a beat (check out her Instagram to witness this for yourself). I was left wanting much more, and I can’t wait until I get it. “Blacked” is available on Spotify and iTunes now.
A year ago, if you looked up Q Money on whatever music server you prefer, you’d find 2, maybe 3 songs. So, it’s safe to say that since last summer’s release of his hit song, “work”, he’s been doing just that. From signing to Warner Records, releasing 2 mixtapes and more than a handful of features and performances, he’s proof of just how much a year can change your life. His second mixtape release of 2018, entitled “Ain’t S**t Funny” is a true testament of that growth. While he touches on the surface of his lifestyle, rapping about foreign whips and chicks, money and his life in the streets of Cleveland, Q Money dives deep into emotion as well. “Lord knows” is a track devoted to a struggle between living life in the streets and changing his life for the better. The final track, “Be” is a true confession on the life of a black man in the streets. From family disputes to dodging bullets, we’re given a glimpse at the trials and tribulations Q Money has had to face over the years. It’s always refreshing to see an artist, especially in the rap game, be able to shed their layers and let us see who they really are, and for that I applaud Q Money. “Ain’t S**t Funny” is available to stream on all major music platforms now.
Can I be honest with you? The idea of being in a crowd full of people gives me the coldest case of the sweats. Now I don’t know if that’s just the introverted anxiety filled mess that I am, or because as of late the world has gotten just a little bit crazier, but I’ve learned to hide it well for you, our readers. Just hours before I received news that I’d be covering day 1 of Vibe Fest, a local video shoot got shot up, so you know I was on high alert as I walked into the Symposium on Friday night. Now, maybe my hopes were a little high because of the incredible line up of talent, but as I sat waiting for the show to start I felt my concern quickly shift from my safety to my sanity. The first thing that I noticed was that audio was less than desirable. I’ve never been to a show at the symposium, and I can promise that if I have any say, I won’t go to one in the future for this reason. While that may not be the direct fault of the Foolish Artist team, I do believe that Is their responsibility to put the artists that they’re working with in the best possible position to flourish. I’m sure there are many factors that came into play when choosing this venue, and maybe things got switched last minute since the flyers going around Instagram did say Phantasy Nightclub, which wasn’t the case, but this issue alone made it hard to enjoy any of the artists fully. That leads to my next issue, the artists themselves. As the night went on I learned that a large portion of the performers had pulled out of the show. While I know that things in life happen, it was very disappointing to see that so many, upwards of 15, weren’t going to perform. To those that didn’t perform for any reason other than a family emergency, I offer a small piece of advice. Every opportunity to show your craft should be valued, if for no reason other than to network. You never know where these performances can lead to, what collaborations or relationships can be built. Every space presented to show your talent should be revered, and I hope in the future you look at it as such. As for the artists that did show up and performed, you are to be applauded. Cleveland is a city full of talent, and whoever oversaw selecting this talent did an amazing job. The variety in artists was amazing, from Pat W. doing a spoken word piece and leaving it all on the stage to Pandora letting you guys know that there’s no games to be played out here and a little bit of everything in between. Day 1 was a day to learn from, but I hope that the lessons learned made for an even better day 2, and a greater Vibe Fest in the future.