[Video] Vic Mensa x Ian Eastwood “Feel That” Choreography

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Vic’s been killing it lately on the visuals, most recently for “Feel That” and “Down On My Luck”, the former of which featured some pretty dope dance moves from well-known dancer Ian Eastwood. The pair linked up again to show off more of the kid’s moves and continue to put Vic’s blossoming acting skills on display. All in all it’s a pretty cool little piece and definitely worth a look. Shout out to Ian for the Leaders cap!

[Video] Nick Jr: “Nightmare on High Street”

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Nick Jr recently unveiled his latest project, To Be Continued, near the end of August and did pretty well on views and listens for an artist occupying his area of the scene right now. Currently working his way up, Nick Jr., is always nearby the downtown Wells shop and you know we have to show love where love’s given. Check out the latest video for Nick Jr’s “Nightmare on High Street” here below.

[Video] Chance The Rapper Rocks Leaders Onstage with J. Cole

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Chance The Rapper has made University of Illinois-Chicago’s annual ‘Spark In The Park’ concert series as his own personal yearly performance just off I-290. The 21-year-old artist took the stage with Kids These Days back in 2012, followed that up by opening for Kendrick Lamar last year and showed up again this time around to join J. Cole on stage to perform their sort-of-released track “Thotty”. Always true to those who held him down day one, Chance is rocking a Leaders Skate shirt from our summer line and looks like he has a hell of a lot of fun up there. Check out the video below.

[Music] Murph Watkins: “Yun Woman”

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Murph Watkins has been doing his thing in the city for a minute now and first popped up onto my radar with his Loose Women N’ Booze project that seemed to catch the eye of quite a few in and out of the city. Always reliable for a few good tracks, Murph is back again with his latest single, “Yun Woman” which is a prelude to his upcoming project, Yun which is slated for an early 2015 release date. Murph waxes poetic about the intricacies of being in and staying in a relationship while avoiding the headaches that come along with it. I.B.C.L.A.S.S.I.C does his thing with the production, embedding a smooth piano line alongside a strikingly soulful vocal sampling. Check it out below.

[Music] Octave Minds: “Tap Dance” (Ft. Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment)

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Chance has been going off in all sort of different directions that have us at Leaders excited about what’s to come on the follow up to Acid Rap which we expect to be coming sometime soon. It’s been a minute since we got new music from Chano and he returns today with one of the more interesting collaborations he’s had yet, this time teaming up with Boyz Noise and Chilly Gonzalez’s Frankenstein of production known as Octave Minds. As always, The Social Experiment is not too far behind and help set the tone for Chance’s frolicking wordplay throughout this track that has drawn comparisons to his ode to Arthur the Aardvark on “Wonderful Everyday: Arthur”. It’ll definitely pace a summer day. Give it a listen below.

[News] Jackie Robinson West Fall After Impressive Run

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With all the talk of violence, city corruption, lies and the like that fill the newspapers and headlines here in Chicago, it’s always refreshing to be able to rally around a local team who makes good on an opportunity. With August coming to an end and Summer(?) coming to an end, one would likely expect that rallying to be done in the South Loop at Soldiers Field as Bears season gets underway. This year, however, it was a squad with an average age of twelve that took the city by storm and had everyone on the edge of their seats until the final out yesterday in South Korea.

To say that the run of wins put on by the members of Jackie Robinson West was impressive is almost not enough. The team from the city’s embattled south side fought their way through the city championship before taking the national title and moving on to the truly big stage where they were bounced yesterday in an 8-4 nailbiter that had crowds of Chicagoans camped out on State St. cheering for baseball in August, a site we’re not all too familiar with here. As ESPN pointed out, the running joke throughout the youngster’s string of wins is how they consistently outdid the White Sox and Cubs in the TV ratings, going as far as to say: Frankly, this is Chicago’s best baseball team since 2008, back when the JRW kids were, what, 6? These kids were barely walking when the Chicago Cubs blew it in 2003.”

Regardless of age, it was an absolute joy to feel even a tiny part of the movement that was the Jackie Robinson West team these past few weeks in Wiliamsburg. Our city may have it’s problems and issues, but Chicago continues to prove that it is a place of perseverance and immeasurable strength. Congratulations to JRW and everyone involved from Leaders 1354!

[Music] YP: “Stop” (Ft. Twista)

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Chicago rapper YP has had a rough few weeks to say the least. In that span of time the 27-year-old MC lost his child and had several relatives involved in a hostage situation in Harvey, Il which made news last week. Ever one to persevere though, YP is back with his latest visual for “Stop” featuring fellow local, Twista and shot by D Gainz. The loss and hostage situation come at a precarious time for YP, who has been ramping up promotion around his upcoming project, Backwood Jones for the last month and a half. To be sure, his struggles mirror those of the city he represents: gritty and heartless with a penchant at times to take. Yet, just like the city he’s from YP makes a point to continue grinding in the face of adversity. With all that he’s seen in the past few weeks, I doubt he’s sweating the release at all. Shouts out to YP for rocking the Leaders 1354 hoodie in the video below, watch for yourself and pick up Backwood Jones, out tomorrow!

[Music] Nick Jr: “To Be Continued”

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I’ve met Nick Jr. in and around the shop over the past few months or so and was surprised to catch this release over the weekend from the Treated Crew affiliate, the rare Chicago project to sneak under my radar. Nick returns here with a captivating piece of work that upon first listen seems to straddle a sub-section of Chicago hip-hop with tracks appearing to fall somewhere between trap and drill while employing a semblance of thoughtful lyricism that is becoming par for the course for artists coming out of the ‘Go. Nick is one of the more talented up and coming young talents from the city, give him a listen here below.

[News] ChooseChicago Interviews Leaders 1354

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By Katie Karpowicz

Originally Published on ChooseChicago.com

When it comes to Chicago’s streetwear fashion, Leaders 1354 owners Corey Gilkey (right) and Diego Ross have elevated the playing field. What started as a humble Hyde Park shop in 2002 is now a nationally recognized brand and portal into the city’s music, art and design communities with prime location in the downtown neighborhood. In addition to their primary mens and womenswear shop, Gilkey and Ross recently returned to the Hyde Park neighborhood to open LDRS Skate with its own line of gear and skate team.

Celebrities as far and wide as Jay Z and Tommy Lee have been spotted wearing the brand. This summer alone, the Leaders 1354 store (located at 672 N. Wells St.) has hosted an album release event with Chicago native Common, a pop-up shop from white hot local MC Chance the Rapper and his Social Experiment band and a graffiti session with female street artist turned fashion designer Claw Money.

Chicago Like a Local sat down with Leaders’ owners to get to know more about the brand and how it came to be the staple that it is in Chicago’s fashion scene.

So, let’s start with how Leaders 1354 got its start. How do you two link up in the first place?

Corey Gilkey: I had a business before that was called Crew Sportswear but we failed so I learned from my mistakes. We didn’t know how to run a business. I didn’t have mentors so I learned how to run a business the hard way.

I did some consulting after that and then I got into the sales end of things. I was a Midwest sales manager for brands like Pony and Varsity. What I noticed was that when I would do trade shows we would have a caravan of like 40 different brands within a hotel. Buyers from each city-Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis-would all come to these shows but they would only go to the top five brands so the other 35 guys sat around and couldn’t get any business. They had great stuff. I hated it. I made a little money but it was a tough business.

Diego Ross: We both came up through sales.

CG: And we didn’t like it because our blood is in retail. We like being able to engage with the customer.

My friends and I knew what we wanted to buy. I wanted to open a store. I wanted to call it Leaders and I wanted to sell independent brands that can’t get the exposure these bigger brands are getting. I wanted to start off small. I wanted to buy my friends brands and see how it went. And that was it.  Continue reading