Tampa’s iamdoechii is a unicorn. Her latest release, Oh The Places You Go is a wild and grand introduction to knowing the Tampa Bay artist. It is an open, twisted, adult fairytale book of a black woman who is being herself unapologetically. Peculiar as it is, it keeps your attention for a 20-minute duration, that will make you want even more.
Iamdoechii, references Dr.Seuss’s classic children’s book, Oh The Places You’ll Go. She turns turns the children’s book into her own coming of age story. It is more so of an adult version that can be dark yet cheerful and humorous.
While the Dr.Seuss classic speaks on the wonders and challenges you’ll face within your journey of life, Doechii makes the opportunity to show her personality and her experiences that she faced through her adolescent years up until now. Those weird puberty stages, where we begin to learn our bodies and sensations, the young emcee takes us into an empathetic journey of her life. Her opening and title track introduces us to a woman who is reflecting on her childhood. She begins with an enchanting yet crude and maybe a concerning poem that creates the narrative of the project. “I sat way too close to the tv screen. Now I can’t unsee the scenes mama tried to hide from me”. Nonetheless, the atmospheric pads and spacious sounds are lush and mesmerizing.
Moving on to “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake”, where she paints a picture of introducing herself as a new student in class. At this very moment, iamdoechii tells her narrative of someone who was always an outcast. “I never really went with the flows and the trends”. The song showcases not only her absurdity but her capability to spit elite level bars. If Tyler The Creator and Nicki Minaj were ever to fuse together, iamdoechii would be the outcome. Although I say this, it is still a disservice to her lyrical ability and her unique character. Her artistry is unmatched.
One of the most important songs on the project is “Black Girl Memoir”. The Tampa artist raps an inspiring message about chasing your dreams. It is a powerful and potent message that is about overcoming poverty and adversity. “I can be anything, /I can do anything”.
Oh The Places You Go, is an amazing project that is a must listen. One of the most important records that speak on being an outcast, and a woman who is learning about life, like the rest of us. Iamdoechii is an idiosyncratic character that is possesses many talents and styles that will never cease to amaze you.
Throughout the years, onlybyday also know as DaShawn Watson has shown growth and consistency. The Broward County emcee has been featured as one of our artists to watch back in 2019. He is shown that he has an immense of amount of skill and potential within his artistry. Songs like “Blood Red” shows that his lyrical ability is top-tier and deadly. “White Jeep” shows he can write not just bar-heavy raps but songs that feel good and warm. It has always been exciting to see what he will do next.
Although 2020 has been a year of disarray for most people, there’s some that have found this year to be a year of growth within themselves. DaShawn Watson is going through a transformation within his artistry and most importantly himself. He now goes by the name, onlybyday. While the name signifies a separation from his true himself and his artistry, he also a deeper meaning within his transformation. “I do not like the feeling that I’m not progressing. Truthfully, it is like, I want my name and all of this to signify that I am growing. I’m in a stage of elevation.”
Onlybyday returns to speak about his latest release, “Pink (Over You)” where’s completely vulnerable. A track that speaks about being more honest with others. As well as his other track, “Red” that’s aggressive and shows his savvy wordplay, let alone opening up about his frustration of being an artist.
In our latest conversation, onlybyday speaks about his need to grow, his latest clothing line called daywear, wanting to go by onlybyday and so much more.
First off, I want to ask you how your mental has been this year?
This year, boy! It’s been a fucking roller coaster: It’s been a lot of changes, a lot of shifts, a lot of growth, and maturity. It’s really just been a lot.
The last time we talked was about 2-3 years ago. What has changed about you since then?
My perspective. My perspective on things. It is so funny too because even back then I’m probably sounded so sure about myself. I would even say now, I know enough to know that I know nothing. I know nothing…
Literally people would talk to me and say, “oh you’re so sure of yourself” and I don’t disagree with them, like I am. But if look back in retrospect, I’ll be like, “Dude. Boy was I so wrong.”.
What makes you so sure of yourself?
I’m a very confident person. I live off confidence. In the moment, like in best it’s all through confidence. That’s like my internal flame. That’s my internal motivation and drive. Through my self-confidence, I can achieve anything, I do anything. I can just do whatever I possibly believe and it’s through my confidence.
Now where does that confidence come from?
It’s comes from a lot of places. It comes from arrogance. Sometimes it is doubts from others. It can be just from my own internal will. Very much so that confidence literally just comes from whatever I put it towards. Whatever I latch it to, whether it’s internal or external, it doesn’t take long, and I can just- boom! Be in that confidence area. But on the same note it doesn’t mean it’s always the best in real world applications.
With Covid-19 causing a disarray in the music industry, what makes you feel like this is a good time release music?
Just personally, I believe there’s a time for everything. There is a divine time in essence. Literally, there is a time for everything and there is no right time for anything. I do not believe it. I did before in the past but now that I am older and wiser, I do not believe in it. The right time is always fleeting. There is never a moment in which truly, where like “oh this is the best time to do some shit”. Truly for me this one just felt right. This is the one where I felt like got all my pieces together. It was not even about something transpired and I was able to look around and assess. Everything clicked in this moment..
Right. Sometimes I feel that if you try to wait for the right time, it may be too late, or you waited too long.
You will end up waiting forever. There’s a difference from patience and stagnation. Patience is like the understanding of saying “hey this isn’t the right situation yet. This situation doesn’t benefit me right now. Having myself acting early on it will shoot myself in the foot. That is patience. Then stagnation is like waiting for certain a moment, that’s just different. It’s kind of like a fear of action and there’s a line between the two.
Both songs you dropped are colored titled tracks. Starting off with Pink, what transpired in your life to create this song?
I wrote that song from like a year and some change ago. That’s not even recent song at all. I just had it for a while. It was more so just realizing that “Over You” [PINK] is just one of those songs that say, I’m not the good guy. It was more so in the light of just understanding that honesty could’ve went so much further than anything else. Problems could have been prevented. Situations could have just been handled better with honesty.
Are you getting with honesty?
Definitely. That’s not even a doubt in my eyes. I’m just finding out that being honest as possible and being as straight forward as possible prevents every future problem that can come about.
With “Red” which symbolizes being determined and anger. I do hear a sense of frustration. It’s like you’re saying, “I’m tired of y’all sleeping on me. Now it’s time to let y’all know”.
Yeah definitely. Red is like it’s either you feel me, or you feel me and that’s that. I’m a fire sign, a Leo, and all these kinds of things. However, in my opinion, I just be chilling in person. I make jokes, I’m a funny guy but, that’s when the music is where a lot of that energy is channeled and exerted outwardly.
For those songs did you do your own production, or did you get help from someone else?
I did the production on “Over You”[PINK] and my boy VinnyFuego did the production on “Red”. He sent it to me, and I hit him back a day later and he was like, “are you serious right now?”
How often do you work with other producers?
As of recently, a lot more, and I am so grateful for it to be quite honest. I’m extremely grateful because I didn’t in the past. In the past I did a lot of art by myself and I’ll take blame for that because I was kind of shut off from certain things. Now I have been working with a lot more people. I am grateful to just have people around who just give a f***. Who really just see potential and want to take part and contribute in ways that they can, that’s just something I desire for a very long time and I finally have it coming to fruition and I’m very appreciative of it. Because there have been times where I wanted to do it so badly.
Do you feel that working with other producers has helped your artistry?
Entirely. In the past, I would do a lot by myself and as cool as it sounds, it’s like just because you can do everything doesn’t mean that you should. I’m trying to be way more intentional with my energy just having people around me who can carry their own, and also be great in their own regards. It is just so cool to me.
Is there a song or project that you like as you wish you can go back to and change?
Everything and that’s not even a joke. Everything is so funny dude. Don’t get me wrong the last big project I put out is Some Things Just Feel Better, which is really a big project of mine. I love it for what it is and I’m greatly appreciative of it, but I can still look back and be like, “Damn I could have done that different. On the project there is a song called “4me” and I look back and I’m like, “DaShawn, why the f*** did I have that song? Why did I have that song on there?” People like it but I’m just like, “DaShawn why did I put that on there?”
Not only did you drop new music but also your line of merch, called daywear. What sparked the idea of daywear? Is there a story behind it or is it just merch?
So, here is the thing. I have never fit in, in my opinion. It has never been that way to me in my eyes. I never really belong to anything or anywhere. So, I have just been like, alright cool I’m just going to make the things that I belong to. I am just going to create the spaces in which I can be myself. It is just cool to me because it’s like I just never have. Making the clothes for me, which is something, where I was like, I knew I was always the guy for designing. I have done that since 9th or 10th grade when I started. Now I’m just over here like, “Yo! You have this gift that you’re really f****** good at. Why am I sleeping on myself?
For me, daywear which relates to my name, Onlybyday, represents the things that I do by day. The logo for daywear is the Moon and the Sun. What that is about to me is about creating balance. In my eyes, the moon needs the sun to shine light throughout the day. The sun needs the moon because who’s going to shine light at night when the sun isn’t available ? It’s really just about creating balance in life where things belong. It is a space where I can just be me.
I really enjoy when artists take time into their merch.
Yo, I put time into these into these things, The designs and everything it’s so funny to me bro the things that I think are regular or I didn’t like I’ve had people look at them and say like dude that’s so f****** hard and I’m like oh so you like this and they’re like yes this is hard as f*** it’s like literally I just need to get out of my own head I need to just step out of the way.
So, I was snooping around your Twitter and I saw someone say, “Are you simply putting yourself through some destruction for more inspiration?”. I then, saw your response to that and you took that personally. Can you speak up on that?
That was my friend, Lisha [Lustfullisha]. I want to shout her out because that is my friend and I love her, and I care about her. She is a ridiculous artist, so I want her to be plugged. But yeah, that was just funny to me because I am kind of in the stage where truthfully speaking like, you control everything in your life. The things in your life you control. The problems that you deal with, the things that you go through, ultimately you control that to some extent. You do not have to be somewhere you don’t want to be.
Speaking of onlybyday, what made you want to have transformation from being DaShawn Watson to onlybyday?
You know there’s nothing wrong with my name and my opinion. I very much so love me. I am me entirely. I know I have no problem with that.Jjust personally I felt like I kind of need it a separation of two. I needed something that was very like, this is DaShawn and, this is the art. I just wanted something to really signify that I’m in a new stage of my life. DaShawn is cool and everything, but I wanted the art to be situated. I very much so wanted to be like, “Yo this s*** is different.”
Do you really feel like there is a big transformation within you?
Yes, hugely. It’s not even a joke. There’s a huge transformation. Honestly, I’m growing. It’s not comfortable but that’s how you know that you’re going in the right direction. I think as humans we think familiarity is good. We think that what we know is good, what we know, won’t hurt us anymore than what already hurt us. We think that the unknown is new and, the new is bad. The new can be 10 times better than what the old is. I just want to grow, ultimately. It’s just been in my mind that I just want to grow. I do not like feeling that I’m not progressing. Truthfully, it is like, hey I want my name and all of this to signify that I am growing, that I’m in a stage of elevation.
With your music, what is the message you would want to push to the people?
The message I would like to convey is to know yourself. Know who you are and not who you think you are. Know who you are because there is a difference. There is our false self and then there is our true self. Truly take the time to know who you are. I just want people to understand that you can create your reality. You can create your dream and happiness. You can create everything in life that you want and it is all possible. Life is short. People do not realize that your words hold weight. You talk ill of yourself, you gon’ create exactly what you’re looking at. So, that is something I really want people to understand.
Is this how you want to end 2020 or do you have other plans to drop more music or something else by the end of the year?
By the end of the year maybe something a little small but nah. I am already planning what I want to do in December. I probably will not be recording in December. I’ll be finishing up a project that I want to finish. It’ll be everything that I’m doing now but so much different and bigger. So much bigger. The clothes will be bigger, the music will be bigger, and better. Visuals will be doper. I got a lot; the clip is loaded.
Now what are your plans for 2021?
To be that n**** inside and out. I can confidently feel like I’m that n**** outwardly but I want to feel like that inward and outwardly. It is just the truth.
Back in July, Lrk Chronicle dropped his stunning EP, titled You’re Safe Here. The EP is a project full of layers to peel back that reveal the hardships of love and creating a safe space for your special someone. The Jacksonville artist crafts together a 7-song musical experience that takes you on a journey of understanding what love is. Now he returns with a beautifully melanated visual for his titular track, “You’re Safe Here”. He takes a selfless approach by by steeping back from the limelight of his video and lets black women take the forefront. This is a video that celebrates black women.
While we live in a world where there’s a long a history of black women being silenced and oppressed, facing not only racial adversity but intersectional violence, LRK puts together a video that is a must see. The video was creatively directed by two black women, Indigo Menasai and @thatdamnabney. The 2 ladies together turns Chronicle’s “You’re Safe Here” into a video that captures the beautiful essence of black women. Indeed, the video embodies they’re radiating skin complexions while capturing an intimate unification that is present amongst them.
Overall, the Jacksonville artists does an amazing job of making a video that is tranquil and necessary. It’s video of cherishing and showing deep appreciation for a specific group people who deserved to be revered.
“This new project is an album of shorts, and after thoughts that followed right after Moments” – Kaelin Ellis
2020 had been a great year for the rising producer, Kaelin Ellis. From collaborating with Lupe Fiasco on HOUSEand composing his instrumental album, Moments, Ellis has been catching much attention. HOUSE was a breath of fresh air, while Moments felt like an escape from reality. His new album, After Thoughts is nonetheless a continuation of greatness. After Thoughts shows how Kaelin Ellis is a true composer who can blend genres and take you to a whole new world of feels.
Composed of Jazz, Hip Hop, and funk, After Thoughts gives you 13 minutes of a grand adventure of dazzling sounds and cozy rhythms. After hours on repeat, I gained the impression that the Orlando producer derives from the likes of J.Dilla. The side-chained kicks, bouncy percussions, and lush chords, Kaelin Ellis proves he is a one-man band who is possessed with passion and soul. Songs like “Moons” and “Clarity” feel like a sunny Saturday morning, while “Touch” is more of a beautiful sunset that kisses you into a goodnight.
Overall, After Thoughts is a must listen. Ellis delivers an album that gives moments of celebration and tranquility. Truly an album that will uplift your spirits and get you through these unsettling days.
Nia Ray from south Florida finally releases her EP, What Love Anyways that’s been anticipated since the beginning of the year. Earlier this year she gave us her bubbly single, “Lowkey” with a video that was aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Now with her latest EP, she reaches new heights within her musicality.
Although, “Lowkey” was cute and sparkly, What’s Love Anyways shows she’s an artist to take seriously. Her ability to write relatable lyrics while making songs to sing along to showcases Nia Ray as an artist who is promising. ‘What’s Love Anyway’ is an open book EP on Nia’s experience with love. The Miami songstress invites us in and shows vulnerability by giving us the ups and downs of a struggling relationship.
“Relationships are hard, but people always make love seem so easy.” Nia Ray continues, “I’m sure you’ve found yourself wondering, ‘I thought love was supposed to be this and that, could this be love that I’m feeling?’ Well…what’s love anyways?”
Her opening introduction titled as “Sober”, symbolizes her excitement and nervousness of falling in love with someone. It is a very up-tempo and uplifting record, that’ll make your spirit smile, while hoping for the best. On “Need More (Comfortable)” you get your trap-soulesque record that sits just right in the mix. Produced by DJ Luna, she brings an open field for Nia to do what she needs to done. A slick and tasteful bass-line along with a buttery rhythm, makes this song stand out among the rest. There’s also this tranquil transition that invites light shimmering keys and guitars that feels enchanted.
Nonetheless, Nia Ray checks off every mark to make a solid R&B project. We get ‘the getting ready to go out’ bops and the late night phone call records that’ll have us reminisce over an Ex, that we shouldn’t even think about. With this EP being her first debut, it’s exciting to what she will do next.
Ivysound raps with a purpose. With his latest stream of releases, the south Florida native comes with an underlying message that he hopes people would pick up. With “I Need You”, Ivysound expresses the beautiful wonders of being in love and showing that black love exist. On “Insecure”, he told a story about a relationship that’s poisoned by insecurities. The unashamed emcee continues the momentum with “Memories”.
“Memories” is a song about the dangers of living in your past mistakes and regrets. Consequently, living in those not so great memories can fabricate insecurities in oneself. However, Ivysound finds light within it all with his undying faith in Jesus Christ. With his unashamed faithfulness, he feels a sense of redemption. Through his undying love for Christ he gains a shining light that clears out his clouded thoughts. It goes without saying that there’s hope in recovery and a brighter future with Ivysound.
The young virtuoso raps over tender and charming piano keys with dusty yet savoring drums that will for sure keep your neck gyrating for its two and half minute duration. “Memories” is well suited for those moments of reflection and aspiration.
Earlier this year, the South Florida vocalist, Marlounsly has gifted us with “Honey” that was poised with seduction and delight. Which made us more excited for what she has next to come. With “Lie Again”, Marlounsly keeps up the momentum by delivering another record that’s exuberant. As the summer season comes to an end, the singer/songwriter, crafts together a feel good record that you may never get enough of. It’s an up-beat R&B record with tantalizing grooves.
Not only does, “Lie Again” do a good job of making you feel joyous and a sense of relief, that will for sure brighten your day, Marlounsly croons about a potential crisis in a relationship. ““Lie Again” is about how one lie could be someone’s breaking point. I felt like I was directing a movie when I wrote this!” She sings about honesty and someone who is fed up about a one-sided relationship.
With two back to back bangers, Marlounsly is an artist to keep on your radar. She’s proving to be an artist who is potent with their craft, making sure her music is an enjoyable listen.