I first heard of Westley Parker, also known as Ovrlord, when the Chicago group “Hurt Everybody” formed back in 2014. Myself, along with a few friends, had gone to a show of theirs, after which we discovered Westley, along with Wi5am, managed the group and their affairs. However, this wasn’t the first time Chicago had seen Westley on the music scene;he made his first waves long before anyone knew who Hurt Everybody was, and long before anyone knew who he was.

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We met at a park in the South Loop of Chicago(both of our home towns) on a Thursday afternoon and enjoyed the beautiful weather as we discussed his life, Chicago’s music scene, and the many workings of the culture we cultivate. “Fall is definitely my favorite season” says Westley, in terms of fashion, weather, culture and the promise of what’s to come. “When it starts to get cold, people fall back which makes it easier for me to t-up”. However, this fall has been far from cold, looking more like Spring, and lucky for us, it set the scene for a wonderful conversation and good vibes.

img_4157Despite growing up and living in a few states, Westley has spent most of his life within the city of Chicago, and says he’ll “probably die here”. A pastor’s kid, his love of writing music came from his mom, who was a poet and fueled his love of writing music, poetry, and things. This evolved into a love of rapping, which led to his attending Columbia College in Chicago, with a major in Audio Engineering. Westley says, “I went to Community College first, then transferred to Columbia, then dropped out because, real niggas know when it’s time to leave”. This was just the beginning for Westley.

With friends, he started a rap group called “Impolite Society” with whom he self-managed and played shows at local stages. From here, he went on to co-establish LOD(Legion Of Dudes), which was a collective of friends/creatives who all worked together to put out content and grow as artists. He went on to run a studio called “Kimball House”, that recorded up and coming artists and groups in Chicago. He later went on to start a label with a friend called “Freshly Baked”, and together, helped put out Lili K’s first album. Later, after the collective Hurt Everybody parted ways with their first manager, Westley stepped in with Wi5am to co-manage the group for quite some time until they later dismantled.

“There was no more Hurt Everybody, and I started my own thing called Ovrlord, which is a pretty much a combination of everything I was doing before, under like one centralized, focused brand with like, a team. And also, These Days. News started around the same time with another team”. This, in a nutshell, is Westley’s creation story.

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Westley goes by many different names: Ovrlord Blakk, Cowsuit Shawty, and Black Ass Westley, to name a few. He jokingly says, “Look, if I know you’re talking to me I’ll respond”.

When asked about his favorite project he’s been a part of that he felt most passionate about thus far, he answered, “Hurt Everybody. There music was really great. When that group was together they did some damage.They were just super duper cold.” But he believes there’s a time and a place for everything.

Westley is currently focused on managing Chicago rapper, UG Vavy and Chicago’s own, DJ Oreo. UG Vavy is currently working on his solo tape, as well as music with Fight Me, a Chicago collective consisting of UG Vavy, Supa Bwe, and Shephard Hues. He spends most of his time focused on UG Vavy’s growth, along with overseeing These Days, whichhe describes as, “ A chicago music focused website started over a year ago that covers mostly music, but also news and things relevant to the music content covered.” These Days News covers the community of Chicago and the story behind the music, showing that there’s much more to the music than the music itself. From managing talent to putting together shows and rapping himself, Westley has contributed a lot to the culture within Chicago.

Chicago’s music scene is an exclusively segregated one, something Westley considers to be one of the cities’ greatest strengths and weaknesses, and what sets it apart from other cities. You look at the roster of rappers coming out of Chicago, like Chief Keef, Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, NoName, and The Cool Kids, and it’s’ evident that they each bring a different sound to the table that were all fostered within a Chicago community. He believes that part of the reason these talents thrived in this community had a lot to do with the fact that they were given the opportunity to grow. When asked about the music scene in comparison to the art scene, Westley said “Everything is working together. The music and every medium of art right now is because of the community. Community is the only thing pushing us up”. In any one given show thrown in Chicago a community of artists can be showcased; from the person who made the flier, to the designer who made the clothes the rappers wear, to the videographer who shot the promo vid. Chicago is putting Chicago on and the community is felt through the art produced here.

img_4160Chicago, like other major cities, sees new talent popping up daily, with an endless list of aspiring creatives all looking to make their mark. Among those creatives, many are under the influence of some of the hottest artists who guide them down the path of success,while others, are new to the community, working hard on their own to make their dreams a reality with very little support. For those people, Westley says, “Go outside and give people a reason to remember you, make an impression. The work will and should speak for itself, but if they don’t see the work, then who is it speaking to”. In the bigger picture, the hard work you put in and the art you create will get you as far as you want it to, and will become what you make of it.

As far as Chicago artists go, one of Westley’s current favorites is rapper BigBodyFiji, who’s making waves in the city right now; “I think he’s great, I think he’s very dynamic, there’s a lot of angles to him. He’s doing his own thing”. Outside of music, his favorite photographer’s are Bryan Allen Lamb and Zoe Rain, and when it comes to fashion, he thinks Fat Tiger Workshop, Iridium and OG Brand are killing the game right now in the realm of streetwear, but he shows love to all the local brands. It’s unquestionable that Chicago is and will continue to be a game changer in the creative world.

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While Chicago already has a great creative community, Westley believes it would benefit from having a “Chicago-based structure label, a Def Jam equivalent in Chicago”. Chicago’s current structure makes it complicated to be an artist who thrives solely here, and that’s a major part of the reason you see so many artists blow up and leave the city for somewhere they feel will be a better catalyst to their success. It is so crucial to provide a platform for talent to grow and build on themselves, their brand and their art, and something as simple as artist development can go a long way, but is often ignored.

As our conversation comes to an end we talk about his favorite albums of all time, which includes Aquemini by Outkast and Infinite by Eminem,but he admits that he mostly finds himself listening to artists he personally knows, along with Frank Ocean’s most recent album. He talks of his future, and when asked where he sees himself in 30 years, he says, “I’m 27, 30 years from now I will be somewhere coolin, having raised several children of my own, in a tall ass building looking over the city….I wanna have made a difference, and I hope a bunch of shit is different and better because of me”. He firmly believes in the community, “I take care of the community and the community takes care of me back”, he says.

For now, Westley is diverting his attention to his management of UG Vavy and DJ Oreo, who both have new things soon to come. In the meantime, you can check out/follow the accounts below to keep up with Westley, These Days, and all related endeavors. Continuing to be a positive example for young creatives, Westley ends with,“Don’t lose focus and sight of what you’re doing. Know your worth regardless and make sure what you do is valued and know that everything you do and know is worth something. In an industry like this one, hard work and passion will set you above the rest”.

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“Come find me in Chicago, I’m out here!”.- Westley a.k.a Ovrlord a.k.a Cowsuit Shawty a.k.a Black Ass Westley a.k.a Ovrlord Blakk

@OvrlordBlakk

@Ovrlord_

@thesedays_news

@UG_Vavy

@DJOreo90

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