Daniel Dewan Sewell (Born March 16, 1981), better known by his stage name Danny Brown, is an American hip hop recording artist from Detroit, Michigan. He is known for his individuality, being described by MTV as "one of rap's most unique figures in recent memory." In 2010, after amassing several mixtapes, Brown released his debut album, The Hybrid. Brown began to gain major recognition after the release of his second album XXX (2011), which received critical acclaim and earned him such accolades as Spin's "#1 hip hop album of the year", as well as Metro Times "Artist of the Year". In 2013, he first obtained Billboard chart placement, with the release of his third album Old, which reached number 18 on the US Billboard 200 chart and spawned three singles, "Dip", "25 Bucks" and "Smokin & Drinkin".


In his essay In Praise of Shadows, Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki wrote of how, in adopting Western technology, illuminating their homes in bright electric light, the Japanese lost the aesthetic virtues of their older interior design. The traditional method of paper lamps in sparsely-furnished rooms had given this "world of shadows" a "mystery and depth superior to that of any wall painting or ornament." To Tanizaki, the shade cast by overhanging eaves, the foggy texture of unpolished silver, the darkened lavatory of wood grain, unlike the clinical white tile of the West, cultivated an atmosphere of "immutable tranquility."

This could also easily describe the absolute calm of the art of Valee, whose work thrives in a world of shadows. The mysterious Chicago rapper drew genuine excitement from peers across the country even before he'd signed to Kanye West's GOOD Music label. In an era when aspiring public figures broadcast constantly in an effort to maximize their brand value, where rappers live their lives in an unsparing spotlight of tweets and TMZ headlines, Valee stands apart. With short songs and a soft-spoken style, his unpredictable raps sketch subjects with a droll eye for detail over a bass-heavy canvas. This is trap music for the connoisseur, for fans of clever lyrics and effortless style. His blunt lyrics fixate on the here-and-now, recited with deceptive simplicity, as if he were rapping as much to hear himself speak, as for any audience.

Valee Taylor grew up on Chicago's South Side, beginning in the Robert Taylor Homes and moving frequently when they were demolished. In school, he did just enough work to get by. He had a tendency to throw temper tantrums, and he was kicked out of numerous schools. His energy seemed destructive: when he received toys as a child, Valee broke them. But he now sees its purpose. "I think I was just figuring out how stuff works," he says. "How I can make it faster, how I can change the wheels on the car."

By his teenage years, he'd relaxed some, though he still liked his music loud--No Limit, Cash Money, and Project Pat. He had begun to focus on what he calls the "end-of-the-day perspective," a kind of practical philosophy: "You know how people get stressed out, and you have that one friend who says, 'Well, look at the bright side,' or 'Well, at the end of the day…' I just think that way from the start so I never really get stressed out about anything. Smoke a blunt, ignore it, go to the store or something."

At 19 he started a business, offering maintenance work to schools in the area. From the money he'd made, he rented a loft he could "barely afford" and bought a nice car. "I always want nice stuff, so if I see something I like and I want it, I may not be able to all the way afford it. But you've got 30 days to figure out how to start making more money." In contrast with the constant hustle of the rap industry, Valee's day-to-day when he began recording was simple; he'd worked on cars, putting rims on people's cars. But really: "I never really had anything to do. I would get in my car and download mixtapes. The latest Bankroll Fresh. I wasn't really doing anything. I've always floated." The day his career began, he intended to buy a gaming system, but stopped at Guitar Center instead.

His music came out on a series of mixtapes, often curated by producers like Rio Mac and Chase the Money. Much as he did with toys, then cars, he enjoys the process of dismantling, then rebuilding, his music, playing with its internal architecture: "Sometimes I rap and cut and copy and paste and move parts around and it changes the whole song, for the better." Though he works hard to improve, his philosophy prioritizes working smart. He compares his process to school science projects; because his last name was towards the end of the alphabet, he'd see two weeks of other people's work before having to produce his own, giving him an edge. "If I like 2 Chainz and Bankroll Fresh, and I liked the beats they pick, when it comes time for me to rap, and it comes time for me to pick a beat, I have to act as if it is something they want and wish they had first. Once I do that, my job is twice as easy. I've cut half the hard work out."

In 2017, he was signed to Kanye West's GOOD Music label, and released his GOOD Music debut, GOOD job, you found me. Yet his strategy remains unchanged. "I just wanted to make beats better than what I hear on my mixtapes or on the radio, and I wanted to rap on it. I wasn't thinking about anyone else at all. I just have to keep that mindset. The moment that starts changing, I might feel like I don't have to do music any more. It's not supposed to feel like a job. It can't feel like a job."

"We tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable. If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty. But the progressive Westerner is determined always to better his lot. From candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light--his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow."


Often, art is considered the safe space for dangerous ideas. JPEGMAFIA is a reminder that in a dangerous world, sometimes nowhere is safe. Operating out of Baltimore Maryland but born in New York to Jamaican parents, JPEG spent the bulk of his childhood in East Flatbush, Brooklyn – a neighborhood deeply rooted in West Indian culture and black pride – & the majority of his mid teens in deep south rural Alabama – bouncing from place to place due to rough circumstances at home & after a short stint in prison due to a racially-charged altercation in his late teens, JPEG joined the military where he’d be deployed to different parts of the world, meeting fellow artists and adding new elements to his producing and rapping repertoire.

If trap music is the sound of the street, then JPEGMAFIA is trap’s subconscious; dark but not without a humor that makes things even more uncomfortable. His role as villain or satirist, hood protector or nihilist is intentionally hard to put one’s finger on. What more appropriate way to embody the frightening and confusing reality of America today?

Sam Austins

Sam Austins dad is in the Four Tops, taught him to play an MPC at age three, and kicked him out of the house by 18. After making noise in the underground as a teenager, the 21 year-old Detroit artist Sam Austins ended 2017 with a November EP ANGST that the city's Alt Weekly called the best project of the year by an emerging artist, echoing praise by national publications like Earmilk, Pigeons and Planes, Fake Shore Drive, Elevator Mag and more. Detroit's Metrotimes opened 2018 by calling him their #1 urban artist to watch from the city this year. Presented by Assemble Sound and Fake Shore Drive, this is Sam Austins debut headlining live show.

BEARCAT is a London-born, Philadelphia-based artist. She has performed all over the world, including Egypt, Paris, Lyon, Berlin, Leipzig, Barcelona, Mexico City, Oakland and Chicago. She has worked as a DJ/producer, audio engineer and professional make-up artist since 2005. BEARCAT provided creative direction for live events and festivals such as Afropunk, Glastonbury, Reading and Lovebox, among others. She has also DJ'ed sets for the musicians including 21 Savage, CupcakKe and Caleborate. She draws from deeply personal experiences and Diaspora roots, and isn't afraid to delve deep. Her sets are emotive musical selections as a form of therapy. Her ear guides her into creating bass-heavy uncompromising, powerful mixes that harness a symbiotic energy between the music and the crowd to generate the perfect soundtrack to any event. 2017 was a year of astounding new heights. BEARCAT performed at the Guggenheim, Wiener Festwochen in Vienna, Bloomberg Summer Picnic, 29Rooms, Performa 17 Biennial. BEARCAT's archive of work and sets can be found at bearcat.digital

Jay Daniel B2B Kyle Hall = Fundamentals

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