Tag Archives: Metro

Vic Mensa’s Homecoming @ Metro in Chicago 11/28/14

Vic Mensa’s homecoming show lived up to the hype. The sold out show was a memorable showcase by all that formed part from beginning to end and left much anticipation of what is expected from the young emcee’s forthcoming EP Streetlights. Highlights from the show are below in order.

Stefan Ponce:

Stefan FUCKING Ponce!! CC: @stefanponce

A video posted by Adan Figueroa (@5abiomatic) on

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The Treated Crew producer/DJ kicked off the show with a phenomenal showcase of his production credits as well as played some exclusive never before heard tracks that he and Childish Gambino have been working on. His DJ showcase left audiences wanting more for his unique ability to blend some juke and house music.

Towkio:

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The Save Money rapper was high energy from beginning to end delivering tracks from his Hotchips N Chopstix project and bringing it all together with his classic feel-good track “I Know”.

Leather Corduroys [Joey Purp & Kami de Chukwu]:

LCITV

If you didn’t know Leather Corduroys [Joey & Kami] they wasted NO TIME in introducing themselves to new and old listeners. The Save Money duo gave us intensity and energy throughout their showcase and brought the house down with their banger “Irie Trill Vibes”.

Irie Trill Vibes

Va$htie:

Vashtie

Vashtie Kola was in attendance at Vic’s show and DJ’s a set. For those that don’t know Va$htie, she is a New York based director, filmmaker, artist, designer, and creative consultant extraordinaire. She is also the first female designer of the Jordan brand shoe. Her set consisted of golden age 1980-early 90’s NYC based Hip-Hop.

DJ Oreo:

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Oreo2

DJ Oreo, Vic and Chance the Rapper’s DJ did a great job hyping up the crowd for Vic Mensa, continuously building up momentum for the arrival of Vic on stage.

Vic Mensa:

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Vic Mensa was lights out phenomenal in her homecoming performance at Metro. The prolific Save Money emcee and XXL Freshmen had his audience holding on to his words as he performed some of his most popular tracks off INNANETAPE and some exclusive new material off his forthcoming project Sreetlights EP. The most memorable cameo was Chance The Rapper coming out to spit his verse for Suitcase. Vic Mensa closed off his show with an encore performance of “Feel That” that brought down the crowd as he capped off his phenomenal performance for the night. The Save Money army leader definitely shined bright in his night of glory and reminded us how much our Chicago youth has been doing to claim back our streets through empowering music.

Wimme Nah

Orange Soda

Going Scottie

Suitcase

Seven Nation Army

Down On My Luck

Feel That

Other Highlights

YAWK YAWK YAWK!

Schoolboy Q‘s Oxymoron World Tour slid through Chicago last night for a sold out show at the Metro. Riddled with bucket hats and DBM fits, the crowd vibed along with Q’s yawks as he busted through Oxymoron. With more Chi town fingerprints on Oxy than lint on Drake’s pants, it was right of Q to bring some of that ‘GO flavor to the stage when BJ The Chicago Kid joined in for “Studio”.

GroovyQ kept the heat up for nearly an hour and a half, only briefly slowing down to address Chicago with a narrative of faith. Just two years out of jail, Q has come from not being able to provide for his daughter to taking care of his whole family. His message was simple – “have faith in yourself.” RT that.

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All Photos: @WhoDough

ICYMI: Schoolboy Q “Studio” f/ BJ The Chicago Kid [Music Video]

Earl Sweatshirt Live Review — Metro 10.15.13

Compared to most other artists, Earl Sweatshirt is following a bit of a backwards career arc. In what is now essentially cliche, artists or bands who rocket from obscurity to popularity early in their lives are supposed to have one hot song, maybe even a whole album if they’re lucky, tour off its initial strength for a while, try to match that success on their sophomore album, fail miserably, sink into obscurity for several years, and then re-emerge with a comeback tour once their first claim to fame becomes cool again.

Earl, on the other hand, saw his fame balloon at light speed, thanks in small part to the internet, but in large part to his shocking, uncensored, Fox-News-pundit-fodder lyrics and music videos. When you’re 16 and you make a rap video wherein you and your friends drink a blender full of drugs and alcohol and then proceed to mutilate each other on skateboards, you are definitely going to attract attention. When the lyrics to said video include references to date rape, underage sex and murder, to name a few questionable topics, you’re basically asking Bill O’Reilly to have an on-air aneurism and then insist this is “what’s wrong with America.”

And maybe he would be right. Earl and his Odd Future affiliates’ real talents, in the music media’s eyes at least, long remained buried underneath the alleged homophobia and incitement to violence and depravity in their rhymes. This was supposedly why Earl’s mother saw it fit to pull him out of school soon before Odd Future was about to strike it big and enroll him in a program for at-risk youth in Samoa for a year. The group’s spearhead, Tyler, the Creator, and the rest of the OF crew got massively famous in the meantime, and when Earl returned in the beginning of last year, he came as the long-lost hero who would save rap music. That’s a lot for anyone to handle, let alone an 18-year-old.

Now, a little over a year since “going missing,” Earl is on his comeback tour, and he seems like he couldn’t be happier. That’s unsurprising considering the huge fanbase that Odd Future has built up since his departure. I arrived at the Metro at 7:00, which was when the show was supposed to start. I figured there would be a decent crowd there already but nothing too huge – every rap show I’ve been to before included several openers and lots of waiting. Much to my surprise, I waited over an hour for anything to happen on stage, and pretty much the entire floor was packed when I arrived. When things did start happening, though, this turned into one of the most fun rap shows I’ve been to.

I’ve always thought Earl was probably the most talented member of Odd Future. I like how he draws obvious influence from Wu-Tang and MF DOOM in his flow, but also is very much his own man. When he returned to the States, I was excited for what lie ahead, and so far it’s been everything I had hoped for. He ditched the murder and rape stuff in his lyrics (mostly) and adopted a much more honest and heartfelt tone. He’s also made the rounds with big shots like Flying Lotus and even DOOM himself on a recently released track. His second album, “Doris,” was released this summer to much acclaim. With all this already under his belt, there’s no doubt he will soon become something of a legend in hip-hop.

His skill as a showman is not quite so refined, but the Metro crowd hardly cared. OF member Taco kicked things off for Earl, playing one trap banger after another. When Earl finally took the stage with Vince Staples, the house was nearly brought down. Earl was clearly taken aback by the unrelenting energy of the crowd, and remained characteristically reserved but definitely overwhelmed at the sight of people losing their minds to his music. He seemed to be concentrating hard throughout the show, maybe a little too much. A little bit more swagger on his part could go a long way towards his stage presence, but he was rocking with it nonetheless. Maybe it was because his mom was in the crowd, whom he introduced towards the end of the show. She seemed ecstatic to be there and was even dancing a little bit. Who says Odd Future isn’t family friendly?

Just about every song Earl knew was played, which he mentioned at the end when announcing his last song (“I’ve only made like 20 songs my whole life, I just did all of them.”) Highlights included the famed OF remix of “Orange Juice,” “EARL,” and just about anything off his new album. Vince Staples held his own as well, with the two going off on a cappella freestyle tangents frequently and skillfully.

All told, it was a sign of great things to come for the only 19-years-old artist. As he matures, so too will his music and aesthetic (hopefully), and that is great news for hip-hop fans.

Immortal Technique & Brother Ali @ The Metro 09.22.13

Renowned independent rappers Immortal Technique and Brother Ali played to a respectable crowd at Metro on September 22. They were accompanied by openers I Self Divine of Minneapolis and Poison Pen of Brooklyn, all part of Technique and Ali’s “War and Peace Tour.”

The banner that hung behind the stage featured both headlining artists, with Immortal Technique on the left (“War”) side, and Ali on the right (“Peace”). I assume this placement was no accident, and not only because Technique seemed to be holding an assault rifle in his picture, and Ali looked like a hip-hop monk, per usual. The lyrical content of both artists’ songs reinforces this dichotomy. Technique is decidedly political. His songs remind us of the injustices that exist not only within the government, but to an extent hip hop culture at large, which has been equally obsessed with money, power and violence, perhaps more now than ever. Technique is far from a reactionary though; despite his incendiary music, he believes in peace, understanding and unity above all, and this comes through in his music as well as the numerous political corollaries he would launch into between songs. Opener I Self Divine and host Poison Pen, too, made frequent digressions into mini sermons against violence and oppression throughout their sets, which I imagine would normally come off as annoying or depressing at most rap shows, but here were truly moving and heartfelt. Each rapper made at least a couple references to the violence that has plagued the city of Chicago lately, with the recent Back of the Yards mass shooting, in particular, no doubt on their minds. Poison Pen at one point told everyone “to get home safe tonight. I’m gonna get ig’nant with this song now, cuz that’s what I do, but I just wanna tell everyone that.”

It was actually unnerving to hear him say that, a message of warning coming from a native of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, a neighborhood that just 20 years ago was equally notorious for crime as the South Side is today. The show, of course, was far from harm’s way, so to speak, only a stone’s throw from Wrigley Field and Lincoln Park, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the United States. I had no doubt in my mind that I would walk home (~10 minutes away) from that show, alone, around midnight, and have no problems. I am incredibly lucky for this. The music at the show reinforced this knowledge for me, and each of the performers repeatedly emphasized that we, the audience, could not lay down and let people perpetuate these injustices.

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Brother Ali was more on the side of personal acceptance. He implied that this is important for him personally, being a self-professed “ugly motherfucker.” One of his most popular songs – and the one he also closed with – “Forest Whitiker,” embodies the inner struggle of finding peace with a world at war with itself. He goes on about being albino and lazy-eyed, “hairy as hell, everywhere but fingernails,” “not the classic profile of what the ladies want.” As he admits in the song, “You might think I’m depressed as can be, but when I look in the mirror I see sexy-ass me.” It’s this kind of optimism that the rap world is sorely lacking, and the kind of message that on the surface seems more productive than that of most other rap songs.

So then, I wonder, what are we doing still rapping about guns and drugs? Can rappers, in good conscience, still rap about the “ig’nant shit” even if their heart is in the right place? Can they even rap about social revolution when the last thing we need is another war? As the good Jay-Z said, it’s only entertainment. But is it really, when we talk about murder nonchalantly and then see the effects of that “IDGAF” mentality on a massive scale, in the form of the violence in South Chicago and elsewhere? And when it’s reversed, essentially, as in Technique’s music, to violence for justice, is it any different?

Don’t get me wrong, the overall message from the show was certainly one of positivity and understanding. It is this sort of cognitive dissonance, a feeling all too familiar to the modern rap fan, that is constructive and dialogue-promoting. The “War and Peace” tour, at least the 4 hours I saw of it, seemed to represent the beginnings of this conversation. Hip hop culture has been in the midst of a turning point for years now – the old guard of the gangster mentality has given way to political consciousness and broad=spectrum tolerance. And it may indeed be coming from Immortal Technique, Brother Ali and artists like them, who push us to see beyond convention. The beats were really good, too.