When it comes to the rap underground, Black Kray is one of the true living legends. Though he has historically shied away from the limelight, Kray has managed to build an extremely strong, organic, and like-minded fan base. His supporters are the product of tireless and innovative music-making rather than tireless public relations –for that reason he will always have loyal fans, especially here in Chicago. It is almost appalling that Kray and Kane’s Grocery’s had never performed in our city before so I felt extremely blessed, if not a bit jealous when I found out that IC3 3NTERTAINMENT was bringing the figureheads of Goth Money Records to Pilsen’s AMFM Gallery.

Inside the impeccably curated gallery was a small stage adorned with soft pink cassette tapes. To say the venue was “based” would be an understatement. But it was based. It was drippin. It was everything you could ask for. The lineup was programmed with an acute attention to detail –all of the performers made sense performing side-by-side and many were featured on each other’s songs. The shared influence of Spaceghostpurrp, Lil B, and Black Kray was palpable –all these young performers had clearly worked extremely hard to push the underground sound forward in the years since Kray first burst onto the scene. Easeworld, Muddy Mick, Sovren, and BiGBODYFiJi were four rappers that stood out particularly to me and I hope you will listen to their tracks below.

GIF Me The Deets: Pitchfork Music Festival 2017

If you’re a true music fan living here in Chicago, you know that Pitchfork is THE event of summer music festival season. Charming as always, the laid-back festival featured numerous food and alcohol vendors, as well as the brand-new Pitchfork PLUS+ section. In PLUS+, cocktails and food were curated by Chicago’s Land and Sea department (I tried a fish-focused dish from Lost Lake, which was delicious), and included air-conditioned bathrooms, which were a welcome reprieve from Sunday’s humidity. Other features of the festival included the pop-up Saint Heron house on Sunday, CHIRP’s record store, and the poster vendors—I was very excited to snag a Sonnenzimmer piece this year!

Musically, the festival tended to lean a little heavily towards the rock and indie side this year, with acts like Pinegrove and LCD Soundsystem drawing almost shockingly large crowds, but the lineup was excellently diverse nonetheless. All of the hip hop acts were some of the best that I’ve seen at Pitchfork: Isaiah Rashad was extremely charismatic, while Joey Purp brought an intense energy to his set. Of course, A Tribe Called Quest’s closing performance on Saturday was legendary, and a highlight of the festival. Arca and Derrick Carter gave electronic music a great name—Arca’s performance was absolutely wild, as he played high-intensity Latin music and unsettling visuals while rocking heels and a leotard.

My favorites, however, were Nicolas Jaar and Solange. Both artists were mesmerizing in different ways; Jaar put the audience in a trance-like state, making an hour feel like 15 minutes (no exaggeration). Solange, however, felt reverent, as if I was in a place of worship. Tears were shed as she performed her catalogue of hits (shoutout to “Locked In Closets”). While it may not have been my most exciting year at Pitchfork, it was an enjoyable one nonetheless, and a festival that’s always worth going to, in my opinion.

Recap: Corona Electric Beach

Corona Electric Beach, a one-day popup beachside festival that’s touring the country this summer, hit Chicago’s North Avenue Beach on July 15th for a day of fun in the sun. Win and Woo, Borgeous, and Grandtheft each played hit-heavy sets suited for the sun-drenched, beer-guzzling patrons; a heady mix of trap filled the salty, boozy air as beach balls bounced around the crowd. While the Corona-loving masses got down on the sand, there were other activities happening at the fest as well: for the more athletically inclined (of which I am not), there was lots of beach volleyball, as well as a beach lounge space to gather up free swag. And of course, lots and lots of Corona. Check out the photos from the event below!

07.01.17 – Secret Walls x Chicago – East Room

Recap Video of our Secret Walls event with Galerie F in back parking lot of East Room on July 1st.

Secret Walls is the world’s largest live art event where artists battle against each other in a dramatic, timed contest of artistic skill. This race-against-the-clock features one white wall per team and nothing else except black markers or acrylic paint. For 11 years, Secret Walls has traveled the world staging these beautiful art battles to the delight of international crowds — at the end of 90 minutes, you decide who wins. As art blooms furiously right before your eyes, you’ll have the final vote for which team walks away as the winner.

Video by @wayupcreative and @wandering_wayup

GIF Me The Deets: Mamby On The Beach 2017

Mamby on the Beach, React Presents’ indie-leaning beach festival, faced the telling third-year test: while many buzzy festivals hit logistical bumps in their third go-round, Mamby passed with flying colors, even surpassing my own expectations that had been garnered by two solid years of fun. It seems that many Chicagoans had caught on as well; Oakwood Beach was noticeably busier than it was last year, especially on Saturday. Mamby’s crowds tend to be on the older side, as reflected in the lineup (Cut Copy and MGMT, aka blog staples of the mid to late aughts) and the plentiful number of bars.

Seriously, if all Chicago festivals could get their bar game to be more like Mamby’s, it’d be amazing. There was a large selection of alcohol, the bartenders were prompt and friendly, payment was quick and easy, and I discovered the joy of little single-serve glasses of wine stacked in a tower.

Also noted was React’s focus on reducing the environmental impact of the festival, which included forgoing print-out maps and schedules. While I appreciate the efforts to be more sustainable, I would have liked some sort of large poster of a map at the entrance of the festival that guests could take photos of. I didn’t realize that there wouldn’t be a physical copy of a map or schedule at the festival until I was inside, and with the speed of my mobile data on the grounds, downloading the Mamby On The Beach app was out of the question.

However, I mostly remembered the lay of the land from last year, and found a friend with a screenshot of the set times, so I was good (and resourceful). Musically, this was one of Mamby’s most diverse years; each stage had their own special vibe, but my favorite spot was the Mixmag Tent. MK’s set was magical, and not just because he is one of the most beautiful men in the entire universe and I sort of fell in love with him while watching his performance.

Other highlights included an actually interesting bass-house set from Tchami, Justin Martin’s dreamy brand of house, Lee Foss’s “I don’t give a fuck that it’s mid afternoon, I’m playing late-night German techno on a beach” style, and Green Velvet’s iconic performance celebrating the 25th anniversary of Relief Records.

The Beach Stage had some great acts as well, including the electro-pop group Marian Hill, as well as Miike Snow (my other new boyfriends). I hit the Park Stage when I needed a break from dancing, and caught snippets of BJ The Chicago Kid and Thundercat during my downtime. The Park Stage was a better stop later in the day, when there were more people in the crowd to absorb some of the sound; while the acts were awesome, the stage’s sound was a little on the loud side, depending on where I stood. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it made me realize that I should probably start wearing earplugs when I go to festivals if I’d like to hear past age 30.

After three ever-improving years, Mamby On The Beach has been cemented as a Chicago festival season staple, and I can’t wait to see how the fest continues to top itself.


Bad Boys Reunion Tour

On Thursday night the United Center was filled up for the Chicago stop of the Bad Boy Reunion Tour Diddy fka Puff Daddy fka King Combs fka Sean John. The show included performances from: Lil Kim, Mase, Faith Evans, Mario Winans, 112 Total, Carl Thomas, The Lox, French Montana, Puff’s son Christian Combs and a special guest appearance by Chance The Rapper. Not only was the Chicago show and the line up impressive but Puff’s constant presence and relevance in the music industry is a feat in and of itself. He has managed to build a entire empire over the past few years that has a great mixture of old school and rising talents.

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Chance The Rapper has been making significant headlines the past few months made a guest appearance on Thursday night. Since the release of Coloring Book, Chance The Rapper’s association with Kanye West, Beyonce, and Jay Z has helped him grab national attention and ultimately became the “patron saint” of Chicago Music. It seems whenever someone significant comes to Chicago, Chance making a guest appearance is becoming a norm.