If you are one of the many people who lose control over their body whenever Lil Uzi Vert's "Just Wanna Rock" comes on, here's something to note: there's much more where that comes from. Uzi's song falls in the Jersey Club music category, which is a genre that incorporates house music and hip-hop. Its roots began in the late 1990s in Newark, New Jersey, and it's finally starting to make a name for itself outside of the state thanks to artists like UNIIQU3.
UNIIQU3, born Cherise Gary, is a vocalist, producer, and DJ who grew up in Newark, New Jersey. Already involved in the arts, she naturally fell into the Jersey Club scene. Now, she is credited with being among the first women to bring the genre to the forefront thanks to her many remixes, and more recently, she dropped original tracks like "Shake The Room" and "Microdosing." She also has a radio show, Club Queen Radio, on SiriusXM.
"UNIIQU3. I mean, she definitely lives up to her name," she says. "You always got to expect the unexpected with me, especially when it comes to my music. I'm just fun. I'm free. I'm energetic, and I love to talk about confidence and feeling like that girl. You know?"
Find out more about the Jersey Club queen in an exclusive xoNecole interview below.
xoNecole: When did you know that you could make a career out of Jersey club music?
Uniiqu3: Oh my gosh. Well, Jersey club music is something that I grew up with. So it's always kind of been that second-nature sound that we hear just in the atmosphere. You know what I mean? Like living in New Jersey. That's what you heard on walking down the block, especially like after school. So yeah, just growing up. I've always heard Jersey Club, but I knew that I could make it a career when I started going to parties. I started going to parties because I was a dancer and I used to take dance class at the New York Symphony Hall downtown. It was like the performance hall, you know. I was real prima ballerina.
But being downtown, I heard all this club music. It's like, what is this? Where do they play this at? You know, because I'm listening to piano (laughs). Real, real classical. And yeah, from going to the parties, just seeing, like, how wild it was. I just saw that at the time. It was a lack of female presence on the DJ decks and I felt like the DJ really controlled the night, you know, they were like the ringleader. They control the vibe. They were on the mic, and I was just like, it's no girls. It's just all, dudes. So, you know, I was like, You know what? I'm gonna step from just being a vocalist and doing DJ drops and being a dancer to being a DJ, and that's when I kind of like saw a lane, you know.
xoN: For someone who has never experienced a Jersey Club party, what is one thing or a few things that they can expect?
U: Oh my gosh. I feel like going to a Jersey Club party because it is a very Black genre. It comes from the city of Newark. I feel like you're gonna just experience like Black culture, Black dance culture, and at its golden age, I feel like it's very youth driven, but people of all ages could enjoy it. So you're gonna experience that just like Black excellence on the dance floor behind the decks. Just the energy in the room. And I feel like you're going to just experience some really good music, like your favorite renditions of your top 40 hip hop songs, reggae songs, R&B songs because we're known for our remixes. So you're gonna hear a lot of creative remixes of your favorite songs. Yeah, and just like a very welcoming environment where you could be free. I felt like Newark is a hard place to live, even though it's turning around. I'm actually really proud of my city, but it's like made for you to get lost in it.
Photo by Margherita Andreani
xoN: Do you think with the success of Jersey Club music becoming more mainstream due to the Uzis and even Beyoncé doing more dance music. Do you think people are going back to that, like just dancing and being happy and feeling free in the clubs?
U: Definitely, I think it's really dope how Lil Uzi tapped into the club culture because he came up with it, and Beyoncé, also, she just tapped into the dance culture as well. Yeah, I feel like after the lockdown, everybody's just really wanting to go out and have the best time and just make sure that when you go out, it's, you know, intentionally a good time. So yeah, I think people are just trying to dance, make music that's fun and creative, and also just kind of take you back to a time that was good and life like the way that Beyoncé went and sample music sampling music is really popular now. So I think the way that they went and sampled dance tracks, they just kind of wanted to give people that feeling again, like, you know, of happiness. Happiness and wanting to come together; the community she's touching.
xoN: You started off as a dancer and then became a DJ, producer, and you rap as well. What is your favorite thing about being in the genre and what are some of the challenges that you've faced?
U: I feel like my favorite things about being in just the club culture. Jersey Club culture is that it's really exciting. It's forever changing. And I feel like as an artist in general; it challenges me to just want to, you know, keep reinventing, like the way that I make club music because club music was really raw at first. It was really sample bass. You know, people know it for its remixes, but now we're stepping into original club songs, and that's something I've been doing for a minute just like really learning to express myself and talk about deeper topics, and you know, the turn up let's go, booty bounce shake it to the left, to the right. You know, like some projects I really like to talk about, like love or like just being confident in yourself. Yeah, I feel like that's where club is gonna go. You know what I mean? As more artists are drawn to it these days.
So yeah, that was definitely something I love, like being able to learn to express myself on club, that was kind of a challenge as well. 'Cause I feel like at the time, people didn't understand it. But you know, I'm happy that some of my older songs that I was experimenting on trying to just do like real club songs instead of like bangers are being sampled. Like Doechii, she sampled my song, "Bubblegum," and that was on my first EP, as well as Chlöe sampling "Have Mercy," which was on my first collaboration project with my homegirl TT, the artist from Baltimore, and so it's just nice to kind of see like my older things get repurposed for new. That means like I'm a little ahead of time like I was onto something.
So I love that, and some of the challenges is definitely just being a Black woman just trying to break into the dance world. I felt like before it was really, you know, male-dominated, very white man, but now I'm starting to see like the diversity, and I'm, I'm helping do that, you know, because I like to align with people like me and let them know that dance music is Black music. We got a lot of culture rooted in that. So, yeah, I find that to be a challenge, but I feel like that's something I've been overcoming. And yeah, that's me. That's me in Jersey Club right now.
xoN: You were mentioning, like Chlöe and Doechii sampling your songs. It's kind of full circle, right?
U: Yeah, definitely full circle because I feel like those are girls that I would remix their songs as well, so I could play on the dance floor. If it's like that up to the tempo. I like to play. I like to get, we up there. We make you sweat (laughs). So that's, those are the two girls. I would definitely like remix their songs. And I've always supported, you know, throughout their careers as they're rising to stardom. So I think it's just like all in tune and I'm happy that it could kind of be since club music is like new to a lot of people. I'm happy that that could be like a cool entryway to where people could kind of dive into UNIIQU3's catalog and see what I'm about as well. Yeah, there's more room for collaboration. Like I think it's dope. Black girl magic.
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Feature image by Margherita Andreani
London Alexaundria is the contributing editor for xoNecole. She is an alum of Clark Atlanta University, where she majored in Mass Media Arts and has worked in journalism for over ten years. You can follow her on Instagram and TikTok @theselfcarewriter
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
Featured image by Kanobi Pollard/xoNecole
I’ve said in other articles where I unpack the benefits that come with different kinds of herbal tea that I’m a huge fan of this type of beverage. If you’re not, I’m hoping that this article may convince you to become one because the reality is that tea comes with all kinds of proven health benefits. The reason is that whatever properties are in the herbs that you choose to make your tea from, that is going directly into your system — and since a little bit of raw honey or a teaspoon of brown sugar can make the experience that much sweeter…why not take advantage of all of the things that tea has to offer.
Take today, for example. Were you even aware of the fact that there are certain types of tea that will help to slow down the aging process so that you can extend the shelf life of your skin and your system altogether? Hey, it might sound too good to be true on the surface, but if you’ll give me just a few moments of your time, I’m pretty sure that I can convince you to indulge in at least one cup of tea this week. Ready?
1. Black Tea
Did you know that black, white, green, and oolong teas are all related? Yep, they come from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. What makes them different is how they are processed. What makes black tea unique is the cells inside of it have been exposed to oxygen for an extended period of time. As far as health benefits go, black tea contains flavonoids that help to strengthen your heart, lower your blood sugar levels, and increase longevity. If you happen to have high cholesterol or a history of strokes in your family, black tea can reduce those issues too.
And what about aging? Some studies say that the flavonoids and polyphenols in black tea provide an “anti-wrinkle effect” when it comes to your skin. Plus, it can help to keep your gut in great shape which, indirectly, can help you to age more gracefully as well.
2. Jasmine Tea
Jasmine tea comes from the jasmine plant. It’s filled with antioxidants and is able to do everything from improve your brain function and reduce oral decay to help you lose weight and keep certain types of cancer cells from multiplying. Another cool thing about jasmine tea is, if you’re looking for a bit of a pick-me-up during the day, it can help to improve your mood.
Jasmine tea can also help to slow down the aging process because it contains something known as sesquiterpenoids; they have anti-aging properties as it relates to your brain, heart, and skin. Plus, jasmine tea has the compound EGCG in it, which helps to reduce stress levels, and since stress actually accelerates the aging process — well, anything that you can do to keep your stress levels down, the better off you and your system will ultimately be.
3. Elderberry Tea
Another type of tea that is packed with antioxidants is elderberry tea. Since it also contains properties that help to decrease oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, keep UV rays at bay, and keep your heart healthy — it automatically qualifies as an anti-aging type of drink. Some studies also indicate that elderberry tea can fight obesity, and since that’s just one more thing that is directly related to speeding up the aging process, being intentional about keeping your weight in a healthy place is always a wise move.
4. Hibiscus Tea
The hibiscus plant creates a vibrant color that looks a lot like cranberry juice. The antioxidants in it will help to fight inflammation, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, fight off bacteria, and detox your liver. This is also another tea that can help you manage your weight as well as your blood fat levels so that you are able to decrease your chances of ending up with heart disease later down the pike.
Since hibiscus tea is full of beta-carotene, a pigment that can inhibit the aging process of your tissues and organs — it’s definitely the kind of tea that will help you age beautifully…both inside and out.
5. Oolong Tea
A traditional Chinese tea is oolong tea. It’s a great tea for diabetics. It’s a tea that keeps your brain and heart in good condition. It’s a tea that brings relief to eczema. The plant compounds in the tea can also help to reduce bodily inflammation and reduce depression-related symptoms. And since it does have caffeine in it, if you’re looking for a “midday spike” that features more benefits than coffee, oolong has you covered there, too.
Word on the street is that the antioxidants in oolong tea can brighten the skin, reduce fine lines, and even decrease the appearance of age spots — all good to know if you’re on a mission to keep a youthful glow to your skin for as long as you possibly can.
6. Clove Tea
Listen, if you ever find yourself with a toothache from the pits of hell, put some clove oil on it. I don’t know anything that numbs the pain as quickly as it will! A part of the reason is that cloves have the ability to powerfully disinfect the bacteria that lead to tooth decay in the first place. Aside from that, cloves can also help to clear up congestion, soothe a sore throat, decrease skin irritation, regulate blood sugar levels, and improve the health of your liver.
When it comes to aging gracefully, cloves also have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that make it more difficult for aging signs to creep into your skin as well as your organs.
7. Ginseng Tea
There are some pretty powerful antioxidants in the herb known as ginseng. What they do is help to boost cognitive function, reduce inflammation, fight fatigue, and increase energy levels and it can even help to naturally treat erectile dysfunction in some men. As a bonus, if the flu season seems to come for you each and every year, ginseng tea has been known to shorten the lifespan of the flu, too.
Oh, and if you want your “black not to crack” for as long as possible, ginseng can also help in that department. That’s because it is able to reduce oxidative stress and boost the production of collagen — at the same time. Dope.
8. Rooibos Tea
A tea that derives from South Africa, rooibos tea is a caffeine-free tea that contains properties that help to fight off free radicals, has antioxidants that are good for individuals with type 2 diabetes, and it’s able to lower your risk of cancer. Another dope thing about rooibos tea is it has the ability to raise your leptin levels. That’s a hormone that helps to monitor your food intake, which means that this tea is beneficial if you’re trying to shed a few pounds.
When it comes to aging gracefully, rooibos tea makes the cut because, especially if you use it as a topical skin rinse, it has properties in it that can help to fade the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time, when used consistently (a couple of times a week for a few months).
9. Goji Berry Tea
Goji berry tea is a tea that’s made from steeping little red goji berries. A particular antioxidant that it has in it is zeaxanthin; it’s great at keeping your vision strong, fighting off free radicals, and reducing oxidative stress. Goji berry tea is also top-tier because it boosts immunity, fights off cancer cells, and stabilizes your blood sugar levels.
This tea makes this particular list because of two other age-related things. First, it has properties in it that help prevent sun damage and fine lines and wrinkles. Second, did you know that sleep deprivation is directly associated with accelerated biological aging? That said, goji berry tea can actually help you to fall and stay asleep at night — the more rested you are, the better you will look and feel.
10. Green Tea
And finally, there are almost countless reasons why you should add green tea to your overall healthcare regimen. The antioxidants in it help to prevent cellular damage. It helps to burn fat. It can boost your brain power. It helps to fight tooth decay. It even increases longevity — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
The reason why I’m rounding this article out with green tea is that, as far as aging goes, not only are there studies that cite green tea can help to keep your brain from aging, but it also contains properties that can repair damaged skin tissue; this means that your skin can look fresh and radiant for longer by consuming green tea. In fact, beauty-wise, green tea is so supreme that I wrote an article on several ways that you can use it for that purpose. Check out “You'll Totally Fall In Love With These Green Tea Beauty Hacks” when you get a chance.
You know, Eartha Kitt once said, “Aging has a wonderful beauty, and we should have respect for that” — and I totally agree. So, I hope you get that the takeaway here isn’t to run from aging; after all, if you’re blessed, it is inevitable. My point is to apply these teas to your diet so that you can age, both inside and out, in the best ways possible.
Drink up and enjoy!
Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images