Spring is officially here and Chicago’s own Leaders 1354 is back with a new line inspired by the city that birthed it, just in time for sunshine and beach days. This time around, LDRS skewed toward some well-known city icons for our latest rollout, dropping off designs inspired by two of the town’s best eaterys: Portillo’s and Giordano’s. Nothing says Chicago better than deep dish pizza and hotdogs layered in veggies and Leaders gives a nod to each, which also happen to be neighbor’s in they city’s Loop near the Leaders flagship store on 672 N. Wells. As always, we also linked up with some local talent for a quick look book which we have a sneak peek here below for everyone. Taylor Bennett and Roosevelt The Titan make a pair of cameos, rocking the new gear throughout the city on one of those rare sunny days in the ‘Go. We also played off more utilitarian aesthetics, such as a new take on the Chicago flag’s stars and stripes and a play on the infamous parking meter signs. It’s wearing your city on your back, literally. Check out all the merchandise HERE.
Leaders 1354 has always been about the community in which it exists and on the heels of enlisting local up and comer and SaveMoney artist Brian Fresco to show off our winter line, we teamed up with fellow artist on the rise Logan to start giving you all an idea of what the Spring of 2015 has in store for LDRS. Logan is a perfect fit for the brand, having systematically worked his ways through the hierarchy of the local hip-hop scene. From opening for local acts like Spenzo and Taylor Bennett in 2013 to selling out rowdy-ass shows of his own, the kid has the juice and emanates high-energy bangers that come draped in a juxtaposed indifference. Here he’s rocking a slew of our new stuff you can pick up for yourself HERE including our new line of snapbacks and five panels and a rollout of t-shirts and hoodies, of course. Check it all out for yourself here below and get off the couch and stop into the shop down on 672 N. Wells. in Chicago’s Loop!
It’s not a secret at this point that the scene around us is beginning to engulf the country at large. As one artist after the next ascends from the city we are left to sit back and simply wonder who the next Chance The Rapper or Vic Mensa or Mick Jenkins is, where they will come from. Something often lost in the conversation of our local hip-hop renaissance is the acts that came before the current new wave. Case in point is 23-year veteran of the game, Phenom, who was part of an earlier edition of Chicago rap music as part of the Kanye era, who he spent time with as a labelmate and contemporary. Phenom is also a close friend of Brother Mike, who was a catalyst for the development of much of the talent locally before passing away earlier this year and the namesake of Chance’s weekly ‘Open Mike’ event in town. The lineage of a movement he had a hand in being a part of early on is now being realized and Phenom is here again to interact with those who came up under him.
Having established himself around Chicago as a pre-eminent MC and poet with a conscious tongue, Phenom has continued to release spot singles here and there but has waited two years to roll out a full-length project, that is until next month when he plans to release his project, I Didn’t Come, I Was Sent. To jump off the promotion for the release, Phenom today releases his lead single, “All I Know (Crown)” produced by longtime collaborator 42 Keez. Here listeners get a decidedly turnt-up track from the seasoned vet who proves he can mold his brand of more thoughtful stylings to the sounds that are pervading the Internet today. 42 Keez provides a bass-heavy post-drill backing beat that keeps the energy up throughout. It’s a breathless re-introduction to one of the more recognizable faces in the scene, check it out for yourself via Soundcloud and iTunes below. Catch Phenom on Friday (4/3) at the 7th Annual Youth Art Activism Fest “Use Your Words 2015″ and Saturday (4/4) for his birthday and video shoot at 1944 S. Racine, further infos at the photo below.
Listen via iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/
If you haven’t noticed by now, Leaders supports local talent like no one else in Chicago. Earlier this year we dropped the Lead Never Follow Vol. 1 mixtape featuring a who’s who of next-up talent from the country’s most bountiful hip-hop scene and today we have a new visual from local upstarts UFB (Unfamilia Fly Boyz) who lace the inspirational video for the single “One Day” with LDRS products throughout. As UFB crosses off the days on the calendar as the count down the time until they make it, we get a collection of shots from in and around the shop at 672 N. Wells in the city’s Loop as well as a glance at some of the new Spring line that dropped a little over a month ago. Fresh off a stirring performance at this past weekend’s Oreo Fest, UFB appears poised to make a strong run at 2015 with whispers of a possible show with Future in the near….well, future. Check out the video for yourself and make sure to get in tune with the local scene, in more ways than one.
Chris Cap began his campaign toward his highly-anticipated full-length release, Fallen Summer by dropping the two-song EP, Fallen Summer: The Preview which premiered here and the other day he returned with the release of “No Disrespect” – his lead single off the project, which debuted with DJBooth. The track is fully hip-hop through and through and is different than what has come to be expected from Chicago rappers as it contains a sort of turn-of-the-milennium, East Coast sound that stands out amongst the trap and soul-based hip-hop coming out today. The emotion and content call to mind an artist that has been through trials and tribulations his hometown provided and now offers a sort of nuanced perspective on a project that is fully sponsored by us here at Leaders 1354. Dude has poured his heart and sould into these most recent joints and has positioned himself well for a positive release with a dedicated street team push and regular release schedule that should keep him at the forefront of rap fans’ minds in the lead up to the March release of Fallen Summer. Check out the full single for yourself here below!
Chicago’s Chris Cap has seen his hometown’s scene from all sides. Of the earlier generation to start doing it, he has watched as the city’s ranks have crested and fallen and learned plenty in the process. Pulling from those experiences and plenty others growing up on Chicago’s rough streets, Cap spent the last year and a half dutifully working on what he considers the best music he’s made thus far in his career. Holed up with producer King Mickey, Cap unveiled two of the tracks last summer before fully realizing the larger theme for his upcoming Fallen Summer project which is slated for a late March release. To prepare listeners for what to expect from Cap moving towards the project he packaged the pair of singles, “June XX” which Andrew Barber of Fake Shore Drive called ‘regal’ and “Good Night” featuring Henny B as Fallen Summer: The Preview. The tracks both set the tone for what’s to come and prep us for Cap’s sound which has been somewhat dormant since the summertime. The project is also powered by LDRS which you may have noticed from the plastering of posters all across the city and beyond touting the project. LDRS is very excited to be helping out one of our own as he sets off on his latest project, get a first taste below!
It’s been a hectic start to the year for LDRS with the release of the PONY collaboration sneaker, the debut of our Lead Never Follow Vol. 1 mixtape and accompanying shirt from Zeph Farmby and an assortment of sales and new releases that have kept us all busy since 2015 broke. Amidst all that, Diego was able to make it over to Navy Pier to take part in an interview all things Leaders with Vocalo’s Jesse Menendez and Rashana Baldwin. During the talk they touched on LDRS commitment to Chicago as a whole, the meaning behind the different facets of the sneakers and some upcoming plans for the brand that should see 2015 be one of the biggest years to date. Check it all out for yourself below and keep an eye out for plenty more coming soon!
DJ Oreo has been making moves around these parts for some time now. The Chicago native has almost literally handled the decks for just about everyone and their mother, including the likes of Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Calez and host of events and who’s around the city and beyond. Those who know him have heard of plans for his Oreo Fest for some time now and today he announces it with a promotional video. The description bills it as “not a party, it is an experience” and goes on to explain: “one night is Dj Oreo’s version of endless possibility and inspiration.” We’ll be there, you should too. Check out the video for yourself below.
Last week, LDRS started off the new year in a hurry with the simultaneous releases of our Lead Never Follow Vol. 1 mixtape and accompanying long sleeve shirt from Zeph Farmby alongside the PONY collaboration sneaker. To celebrate, we had friends, family and colleagues in the store to listen through the tape, pick up the shirts and take a first look at the PONY sneaker. With artists in the house from the tape from Spenzo to Taylor Bennett it was a star-studded affair and Roosevelt The Titan took things up a notch by taking them down a bit in performing his “Untitled Acapella” appropriately, acapella. Check out the man’s powerful words in the exclusive video below.
On January 1 Leaders dropped their Lead Never Follow Vol. 1 compilation project featuring a who’s who of the next wave of Chicago talent to emerge locally. With songs from the likes of Taylor Bennett, BJ The Chicago Kid, Spenzo and a host of other talented newcomers and mainstays, the project achieved it’s goal of putting on for those in the peripheral of the LDRS family. The project also coincided with an auxiliary longsleeve t-shirt designed by Zeph Farmby and on January 2 we unveiled our collaboration sneaker with PONY. To celebrate everything, we had friends, family and supporters to the store for a celebration of yet another year of Leaders 1354. Shouts out to Phil Shaw for the photos, flip through below and relive the start to a successful 2015!