The Louisville Cardinal

Rap Runs the Vernon Club

Kevin Duke co-owner of Art No Easel, threw an event at the historic Vernon Club on September 12 called The Study Hall, in cooperation with The Even Xchange. “I woke up in the morning, thought of something creative to do, and I did it,”  Duke said. Rappers Jalin Roze, nationally recognized Chuck English, Nemo Achida and Godflow performed at the event.  DJ Warren Peace and DJ Always backed the artists.

To complement the music downstairs, The Study Hall also had pop-up booths. These booths included Wolves Premium, a local business created by former U of L student ambassador Kevin Jackson, which held sweatshirts, hats, and other items; Ill X threads, another local business, owned and operated by Danielle Logan, which sells hand-made vintage women’s clothing and denim thongs and Grapes, a larger business than the former two, which sold hats and a collection of other vintage apparel.

The event started at 10 p.m. and lasted until 2:30 the next morning. For the first hour and a half, the crowd was lackluster, compared to the excited vibe. Guests hung out with friends, took pictures, bought from the booths and danced to the music that was playing over the speakers. Then 11:30 hit, and it seemed as if a giant neon sign had been flicked on in front of the Vernon Club, as 150-200 people ended up inside the Vernon by midnight.

The acts did not start until 12, and began with two local rappers. Jalin Roze followed, and the headliner, Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids, performed last. All the rappers performed in a casual manner, calling their friends up on stage with them, improvising raps, interacting with the crowd, and allowing photographers to be on the side, and even sometimes, on the stage with them. As Roze put it, while he was relaxing with some friends in the green room before he went on, “it is just like going out and performing for friends tonight.”

The two companies, The Even Xchange and Art No Easel, met and became business partners through a friend. Randy Gordon, co-owner with Eric Robinson of The Even Xchange. Both Gordon and Robinson agreed the partnership was natural, and that they “respect one another’s companies, and believe both parties can be helped with their collaboration.”

Robinson said the events are held in Louisville first, because they want to give the city they love a chance to be the first to experience what they have to offer. Or as Robinson puts it, “It’s all about bringing it back to Louisville. You know, we are here, we want to grow here, develop here, and plant our roots here. It’s important to us.” Both companies do however seeing themselves expanding very soon into cities such as Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Atlanta.  “We can be anything and everything at once,” and “I really want to be awesome, like I really, really can’t explain to you how much I don’t want to be not awesome.”

As for the present, and near future of the two companies, Art No Easel is working on getting a clothing line on the market, The Even Xchange has an event called Royal Wednesdays at Happy Endings Lounge every week and the two in collaboration plan on bringing in a new headliner, and throwing an event called The Study Hall every month at The Vernon Club. Go to TheEvenExchange.com or follow them at TheEvenExchange on Twitter or Instagram. For news about Art No Easel, go to artnoeasel.com or follow them on Twitter at ArtNoEasel.