A smoking bowl on the kitchen counter leaves the scent of recently smoked weed lingering in the apartment.
If you live in the Boca area, chances are you have run into them without knowing. Burstein works valet at an Audi dealership and Chapnick at Grand Lux restaurant, while Li coincidentally delivers Chinese food.
It was last year when Burstein and Chapnick came up with the idea to createDailyChiefers.com
, a blog with up-to-the-minute posts of hip-hop and rap singles from major, underground, and local artists. And yes, they were stoned during the website's creation.
"We just figured we had new music before all the blogs have it, so why not make a blog to help promote local music?" says Burstein.
In July, the two brought in Li, who attended Coral Springs High School with Chapnick, to write mixtape and album reviews. By the trio's admission, Li stands alone as the one who smokes only occasionally. More of a "monthly chiefer."
Unable to keep up with the amount of content coming out, Li stepped in last August to play a bigger role on the team. Since, he's become an x-factor by pushing the other two to be more productive in building their brand.
"Because he's not really the smoker; we'll be high Friday night and be like, 'Oh, we'll go to that show in an hour,'" says Chapnick. "An hour comes around and Kelvin will say, 'Yo, get off your asses. Let's go.' And we'll say 'OK.' So, bringing him in, it's helped us grow our local buzz too because he knows a lot people."
They say the site gets 10,000 hits a week on a bad week and has an Alexa global traffic ranking, determined by daily visitors and page views, of less than 1.4 million, an improvement from 3 million a few weeks ago.
Their goal is to reach a ranking of 500,000 and to eventually meet the same following of Ashley Outrageous, a fellow South Florida blogger whose global ranking is less than 250,000.
"She's got a really good interaction," Chapnick says. "We're not saying she's our competition or anything, but we want to at least match what she has."
The three also receive about ten music submissions a day from unsigned local and out-of-state acts. Not wanting to stray from their beliefs of putting out quality music, they are selective about what they post. No submission goes unheard. Artists have been known to fail at their first attempt to get noticed but eventually become regulars on the site after fine tuning their sound. This was the case with an artist from Virginia named Jo Casino.
"When we first started, he was always sending us shit, and he always tweeted us," says Chapnick. "But when he first started, he wasn't that good. His latest stuff, it's good."
Tagging buildings with stickers of their logo, passing them out at hip-hop and rap concerts at Revolution, having them end up on cars, student laptops and on the walls of Florida Atlantic University and Palm Beach State College, and giving away tickets have been useful ways in gaining more attention. But staying true to their roots, Chapnick says smoking sessions have been the way to spread the word.
"Everyone I smoke with usually listens to hip-hop, and it's always, 'Yo, check out our website,'" says Chapnick. "And when they're smoking with someone, they're sitting there like, 'Oh, did you hear that song on Daily Chiefers?'"
Interviews have been conducted in the same fashion. The pleasure of smoking out with a hip-hop veteran such as Fiend during their first interview and with Miami-Dade County's own J. Nics and Mayday inside the band's studio has become the norm. But that wasn't the case with one interviewee.
While living in Orlando, Burstein had a chance encounter with hip-hop producer Ski Beatz minutes after purchasing a camera. The meeting gave opportunity for an impromptu interview with the legendary beatmaker, who is most notably recognized for creating Jay-Z's "Dead Presidents."
Since then, Ski Beatz has continued to keep in touch with the three, shown support via Twitter, and even been seen wearing a Daily Chiefers hat at the hip-hop festival A3C.
Though the smoking culture plays a big part of dailychiefers.com's identity, the three do not want that to shadow their main objective: giving local artists an opportunity to be recognized.
"The Rising," which will be taking place at Propaganda on Wednesday, February 22, features South Florida artists J. Nics, Will Brennan, Sin, and Phresh James, all of whom the three consider to be the next breakout artists of South Florida, a region they know comes with a stigma.
"South Florida isn't known for lyrical artists," says Burstein. "There are a lot of lyrical artists, but people don't expect it. They're expecting trap music."
Their next step is putting together frequent shows in local venues that can hold crowds of 100 to 200 with local talent in the Broward and Palm Beach area. Their mission is to provide entertainment to the community and more exposure to talent and themselves, even if no money is made.
"We're probably not even going to make money off of it," says Burstein. "We're just doing it for support, to help artists out, to get our name out."
The three are still amazed to find fans showing support and purchasing Daily Chiefers grinders and stickers in state like Texas, Maine, and Colorado, even in other countries.
It may take time for the money to roll in and place them in a position where they might leave their jobs, but until then, if there is hip-hop going on, you can be sure to see that green and white Indian.
"Everything hip-hop in South Florida we are gong to be involved in," says Chapnick.
And they say you can't be productive while stoned.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.