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Toyota Music Mix with Sway and Friends


Going into this event I honestly didn’t know what to expect. The savage journalist that I am was prepared to go in and take all the details down that I could. After listening and taking in the scene, I was prepared to basically snatch up Sway.

But my experience was so much better! First off, I just want to thank TrueStar for giving me the opportunity to continue my working relationship with them so that I am on call when these types of things come into play. The Gemini in me has me desiring to become a lawyer and a psychologist (which I will do). But what I won’t do, is pass up an opportunity to have my ear to the music industry.

With that being said this was yet another time for me to explore what Music Journalism feels like and it feels great.

From not having to wait in a line, to being seated in a different and elevated section it was all great.

Sway went on air and began to talk about his love for Chicago. He was accompanied by the illustrious Heather B, and was able to even get another cohost on air from New York. Soon, what I thought would be all work, became all about chilling with a purpose.


As I talked about the cyphers happening on stage with an employee of The Chop Shop, I took multiple pictures of the stage and mental ones of my environment. It was truly a sight.

Drinks were flowing as I stuck to a mini parfait. Hyenas (those who performed well in the cypher) were circling the lower floor as I watched Liz Dozier and Sway chop it up about the steps being made towards developing Chicago.


As the morning continued my contact for the event pulled me aside and said “After Black Ink comes off stage and does a photo op, maybe you guys wanna interview them?” My face dropped.

Up until this point, I had been standing in front of Don and looking down off the balcony. I was one embarrassed that I didn’t say anything or even introduce myself before hand. Two, I felt unprepared because besides stepping into the living room and it being on, I had never really watched an episode of Black Ink Chicago. I even texted my mom and she was no help because she fell asleep on the last episode.

So instead I decided to do the one thing I know how to do best. Converse.

Originally, my partner in crime Clarke and I were supposed to divide and conquer. She take Ryan and I take Don. But then they both came together and we had to resort to plan B. The reason why we both decided to go in with a game plan is to make sure we got the job done quickly and efficiently!

Plan B was to take a picture with the guys and lead them to a quieter portion of the Chop Shop to set up an interview. Something quick simple and to the point, but still insightful and substantial.

One thing that has been bothering me about Chicago is how segregated we are. Seeing that “Westsiders westsiding” meme float around Facebook has made me roll my eyes so much. At this point I just wish we didn’t place as much disdain on opposing sides of the city as we do.

After listening to the Black Ink Crew talk about philanthropy in their own communities and what they desire to do for Chicago I decided to forget that they were even reality stars for a second.

In my mind, I went in and I wasn’t interviewing Don, Phor, and Ryan. I was interviewing three men who had seen the best and worst of Chicago and had something to say. I wasn’t even interviewing them, I was having a conversation about what could, should, and needs be done for my city. Our city.

Ryan lead the group conversation with first discussing what’s really going on in Chicago and how it’s changed over the years. Back then nobody could ride from 79th over east to Ford City without getting robbed or jumped and sadly it’s still like that.

And for those of you who don’t think otherwise, Don says that frankly no teenager has the urge to step away from their neighborhood for the simple fact that all they may know is the block. “Some boys don’t even know what it feel like to get ice cream and chill with they girl on Lake Shore drive”. And that’s real.

For those of you who don’t know, Phor made a track with Twista about uniting the city with nothing but love (Thinking Cap). Not only was the track lit and dope and all that, it was real. I could tell that it came from a real place and not just something that was cooked up for the purpose of saying “I did a woke track”. But because Chicago holds a special place in the hearts of 9 Mags finest.

I threw out the idea of starting a big-brother type of foundation for teens in Chicago. I remembered Liz and Sway talking about a organization that helped new and young fathers through those struggles since the founder was once a new and young father himself. So seeing Ryan, Phor, and Don have passion in their voices about our city, it was spectacular. It let me know that they were all more than the tattoo needles, fights, and drinking that we see on VH1 every Wednesday night at 9 pm.

I view them as real people and not just reality stars so I honestly want other young people in Chicago, young men especially, to have that opportunity as well.

The opportunity to be in such a successful, driven, ambitious, and hustle oriented space like that was amazing! I hope everyone that I spoke with enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed theirs!


Written by Shay

Working so I'll no longer have to introduce myself💯.


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