Commemorating their latest album's critical success, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib performed for a full house at the NOVO.
Due to the popularity of hip hop, inexpensive concerts are constantly set up to give audience members a chance to observe their favorite performers. However, with this growth, there still are a few times when people are not able to see their favorite artists perform live (sorry MF Doom fans). With this grief, music lovers could only dream of the moment where these events are made possible. This day, I experienced one of those dreams. On July 12th, underground rapper Freddie Gibbs returned to Los Angeles in the best way possible, with producer/DJ Madlib. This duo personified and cemented their legendary status with an amazing performance of their recently dropped album. Bandana.
Before we discuss the men as an odd yet satisfying duo, it's best to discuss the two as their separate entities.
A definite transition from the Jackson 5, Freddie Gibbs is the new face of music for Gary, Indiana. Not much is known or documented about Gibbs' hometown upbringing, though it's safe to say that there is a street culture in Gary, that is both unnoticed and undisclosed. The anti-establishment that is pressed on his hometown, inspired the rapper's lyrics to tell his story of growing up in a very hidden yet dangerous city, From pursuing a career in football, to getting kicked out an attending boot camp; Gibbs' perception switched. "Why trust a system, that is ultimately placed to allow black men to lose", he thought. The once educated student-athlete turned to street knowledge of hustling and selling crack. Though an awful transition, it allowed him to tell factual stories within his growing rap career.
Finding more ties into the music industry the rapper decided to come to Los Angeles. Lucky for him, the scene of LA rap is welcoming to out of state rappers. With his comfortable confident attitude and real-life street cred, Gibbs fitted right into the city. His first deal with Interscope Records fell off with the ever-changing management program of the music industry. His first critically acclaimed internet release was 2009's The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs, a combination of all of Gibbs' unreleased studio material. From 2010-2013, Gibbs continued releasing mixtapes and signing to various labels including Young Jeezy, which is safe to say that the deal did not go too well. By his tenth release Baby Face Killa, Gibbs caught the attention of other artists including collaborations with SpaceGhostPurp, Jay Rock, Currensy, Dom Kennedy and more.
At a random party in LA, Gibbs ran into lowkey legend, Madlib. Full disclosure if you're unfamiliar with Madlib, please get to know this man. From Oxnard, the disc jockey sampled music as far back as the age of 11. Mastering in understanding the artistry of music. he gained recognition in the hip hop community. His talents drifted genres including hip hop, jazz and electronic. Over the years, with several pseudonyms; Madlib/Quasimoto remixed tracks and gained a large fan base. In 2003, he returned to hip hop with notable collaborations with J Dilla (Jaylib) and MF DOOM (Madvillain). These collaborations capitalized his career with the top albums of all time in hip hop. This resume, allowed Gibbs to take an immediate interest in the producer. Conversations then turned into actions as the duo released 2014's Piñata. Five-years later the success of the album inspired to duo to return for 2019's collaboration Bandana.
So far, Bandana has been well received and even noted as one of the top albums of 2019. For their debut collaboration, Madlib shined as a producer. However; for Bandana, Gibbs shined as a grimy street soldier/lyricist. Recently, both men have been enjoying the success of the album with loud and proud interviews, and even a new tour. The Bandana tour is set to stop all over America and even touch base in parts of Europe. Lucky for us, we were able to catch the show at Los Angeles' Novo, which unfortunately always attracts a unique crowd. Known for hosting underground performers at a fair price, the venue is the perfect place for hip hop heads to unite. Kicking off the night was Soulection co-founder, DJ Joe Kay. Kay performed several blends from past producers like Kanye West, DJ Premier, and J Dilla. The at-capacity crowd enjoyed the nostalgic tunes but, eventually grew restless waiting for the closing acts.
Luckily for the audience members, Madlib shortly arrived onto stage. The legendary DJ/producer spun for a few showcasing the many hits from his iconic discography. Just as the audience members began riding the wave that is Madlib, Gibbs appeared on stage looking as ready as ever. The rapper emerged from backstage with Los Angelos accepting him with open arms. Gibbs' level of rap finally transcended onto stage for the full-house crowd. Swift yet threatening, his voice echoed throughout the NOVO. His skills on the mic snapped in a way that was unexpected for both new and old base Gibbs' fans. Connecting to the crowd Gibbs began his set performing Bandana hits "Crime Pays", "Fake Names" and "Flat Tummy Tea". Understanding the power of his voice and the crowd's reactions, Gibbs decided to repeat his first sets. Something unusual yet, brilliant for a small staged concert. After taking in the new album- Gibbs and Madlib reached back into their first collab album to perform hits like 'Shame" and "Get High". Gibbs' charismatic energy and humor was enjoyable to see from a man who has been through so much. With this joy, he even allowed introvert Madlib to come out of his shell in the sake of artistic energy.
The rapid-rhymer hopped onto the minimal beat and reminded everyone about his placement as one of the top rappers in the game. Without a doubt the duo performed an amazing show by connecting with the crowd and displaying the late 2000's form of good hip-hop music. Could Bandana be the best album of the year? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
6/21/2019 0 Comments
Westside Boogie returned to Los Angeles for a Sold Out Concert at Hollywood's The Roxy with openers KB Devaughn Bobby Sessions and R I L E Y.
Since the late 90's there has been a pothole in the Westcoast rap game waiting to be filled. We were luckily gifted with Los Angeles based rising legends such as Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and even YG. Now a new artist is rising straight outta Compton, and his name is Boogie. Returning to Los Angeles, Boogie took the stage for his debut headlining tour "Everything for Sale" at Sunset's The Roxy. Joining him on the tour was KB Devaugn, Bobby Sessions, and R I L E Y. The tour introduced us to the new era of Los Angeles hip hop; blending storytelling, Gfunk and more into their energetic sets.
Boogie came to our attention in 2017 when he signed with Eminem's Shady Records. This partnership created several opportunities for the Compton rapper including a feature on Eminem's album and the 2017 BET Hip Hop Award's Detroit based cypher. Longtime fans were introduced to Boogie from his 2014 release, Thirst 48. A tale that showcased the young rapper's blending of his Gospel background, yet still a struggling youth surrounded by LA's gang culture. Ironically he was introduced to both lifestyles at once, which many young Black males are in the area. A friend from church glued Boogie's ties to the Westside Piru Bloods. This built lifelong friendships that increased Boogie's storytelling skills and growing audience. Music was only a hobby, that Boogie took away from his background in the church. With the birth of his son in 2009,
Boogie finally decided to take his music more seriously. Encouragement from friends and networking, allowed Boogie to get back into the studio. Thirst 48 1 & 2 and The Reach highlighted the rapper's raw talent and unprecedented lyricism. His Jahil Beat's produced single "Oh My" reached viral success and cultivated his skills as a game player in hip hop. From Interscope to Shady Records, Boogie's speedy path to success continued with his 2019 studio album release Everything for Sale. Pitchfork acknowledged the Compton rapper's debut as " smart, technically dazzling, and thoroughly sullen".
Maximizing the album's outreach, Boogie announced his first headlining tour in February. The Everything For Sale tour was set to make stops throughout North America and Canada. A couple of California stops on the tour included Santa Ana, San Francisco ,and San Diego. Lucky for us we made a stop at West Hollywood to experience the enigma of the new era in Los Angeles rap in person.
Boogie's past Instagram posts included parody videos of typical salesman commercials. From broke down cars to church service miracles, Boogie's Everything for Sale CD can cure everything and anything. Sticking to his theme of ironic self-promotion, Boogie matched the tour's marketing plan with his album's. With an old school Craigslist-designed website, fans could expect this level of sarcastic energy and witty humor from the Compton rapper's tour.
Knowing Los Angeles based concerts, we decided to catch the concert a little bit later than the scheduled. However, in doing so we missed out on the performance from R I L E Y. We caught the show right on time to check out Dallas-born Def Jam rapper Bobby Sessions. The Roxy hosted an intimate performance perfect for attendees to get an up and personal show from their favorite artists. Sessions capitalized on this by utilizing his melodic waves and amazing stage presence. The young artist recently gained fame for his music performance from the movie The Hate You Give. He performed songs from his 2018 debut album RVLTN.
Next to the stage was Inglewood native, KB Devaugn. This rapper is a longtime friend and mentee of Boogie. This was our first introduction to the young rapper and lets just say we are impress. He has that West coast soothing and lyrical flow that only Los Angeles natives can attempt. He performed hits from his mix tape 4 Me, Not U.
Finally after a couple of minutes Boogie was finally brought out onto the stage.
Boogie entered the stage with a huge chip on his shoulder. This was to be the first time young rapper was returning to Los Angeles as a headliner. After all these years grinding, it was finally to see his work on the grand stage of Los Angeles. The LA crowd was more than ready to see their hometown hero. He performed several tracks from the tour-based album including "Silent Ride", "Skydive", and "Self Destruction", With these tracks, the audience sung every lyric word from word bringing a smile to the young artists' face. One fan was such a Boogie fanatic, that he had the opportunity to perform one of the songs with the artists on stage. The rapper also revisited several of his old tapes introducing fans to pre-Shady Records Boogie. Joining the rapper with his performances were TDE's Reason, DaniLeigh and 6lack. The last number of the rapper's hype performance was his stand out hit with his mentor Eminem, "Rainy Day". Although Slim Shady was not there, Boogie proved he did not need the extra star power to put on an amazing show.
Rapper and Singer Smino took a pit stop from Coachella to perform for a sold out crowd at Hollywood's
Fonda Theatre with openers Earthgang and Phoelix.
Though halfway complete, 2019 is proving to be the year of rising new artists. With the Coachella Music and Arts Festival going back to their indie inclusive routes, Black artists like Rico Nasty, Anders0n Paak and SiR were able to elevate their fan base. One artist with a cult following that rose during festival season was St. Louis' own Smino. After hitting the stage during the two weekend extravaganza, Smino took over California with a couple of performances in Santa Ana, San Diego and Los Angeles. Joining him onto the Hoopti Tour was Atlanta's group Earthgang and up and coming artist Phoelix. The three acts performed amazing sets reminiscent of the great performer's before them all without losing their modern-day wave.
Following Smino's career is becoming one of our favorite past times. We were introduced to the young artist via Instagram back in 2017. He had just released his critically acclaimed debut studio album, blkswn. On first sound, the St. Louis native's musical style took us a little off guard, but in the best way possible. Very seldom an artist is able to display all of their amazing talents on their first album and it works so well. Smino does that with blkswn, titling himself as both a rapper and singer. With top charting singles "Blkswn" and "Anita", the album proved to be a successful introduction. The genius behind Smino is his unique voice and flow. Having the gift of a gospel-based voice, a thesaurus-wide vocabulary, and a slight southern accent; Smino's flow is something we've never heard before in the rap community.
Born to a family of musicians, Christopher Smith (Smino) has been preparing to take the stage since he was seven-years-old. His talents brought him to open for other acts such as T-Pain and SZA. In November 2018, he dropped his second album Noir. The sophomore production surpassed fans' expectations for the artist. Once again, utilizing his smart lyricism with funk and jazz-inspired beats made Noir a pinnacle moment in Smino's growing career. The neo-soul based hip hop inspired album included many hits like "Z4L", "Klink", and "L.M.F". After the success of the album, Smino announced his second tour.
The Hoopti Tour is currently set up for 33 shows including stops in the United States, England, and Canada. He also announced fellow openers Earthgang and Phoelix. Phoelix is a Chicago based artist who has been linked with fellow artist Noname. The Jack-of-all-trades is an amazing singer, rapper, musician, and producer, with tracks on both Smino's and Noname's albums. The energetic and eclectic duo, Earthgang, has had the spotlight on them since joining J. Cole's Dreamville project. The Atlanta group also has ties to Smino with several collaboration tracks on the way, making them the perfect addition to the tour.
Artistry and storytelling was the driving theme of the Los Angeles' Hoopti Tour. Marketing tactics playing with Noir's theme of Black luxury, beauty, and reality; inspired Smino to create a commercial of him and his crew searching for a Hoopti for the upcoming tour. Fast-forward to an April night in Hollywood where a sold-out crowd was more than excited to see the fresh talent presented on the Fonda Theater's stage. The three acts were almost too perfect of a deal together displaying a new non-mumbling and non-conforming music style. Seeing these three artists at the beginning of their career gave us a comfortable and secure feeling about the future of hip-hop.
Chicago triple threat Phoelix kicked off the night on an old school keyboard set. His voice was both alluring and hypnotizing, so much that it was hard to believe that this was the young artist's first tour ever. He performed a few of his tracks from his 2017 and 2018 albums Tempo and GSPL. A favorite from the night was a performance of his 2018 single "Drip". Drip was created with Phoelix's expression of sexual frustration. An awkward muse yes, but hearing this song live made us Shazam this hit immediately. Just when the audience got used to the singer's voice, he then showed the crowd the multi-instrumental side to him. With already a strong track record as a producer for NoName, Saba, and Smino; we guarantee that you'll be seeing more of Phoelix.
Next on the stage was Dreamville's dynamic duo Earthgang. Earthgang consists of the flamboyant but vocal Johnny Venus and the lyrically talented Doctor Dut. The hip hop duo brought Atlanta to Los Angeles by allowing the usually boujie Hollywood-based crowd to get a little loose during their performance. Fun and energetic, the two rappers performed a couple hits from their trilogy album release Rags, Robots, and Royalty. Eclectic and eccentric, the duo's chemistry was similar to fellow ATL alumni Outkast. The crowd danced and danced till they couldn't any more thanks to Earthgang. Highlights from the act include a performance of the unreleased, yet viral song "Up" (which was featured on COLORS' music platform) and a dance party with the crowd.
As the crowd was settling and preparing for the main act of the evening, the Fonda curtains rose dramatically with Usher playing softly in the background. The crowd was confused, yet excited for what was to come. Unlike any other modern-day concert we've been to, the Hoopti Tour decided to showcase a comedy act in the middle of the show.
After a 15 minute comedy set, the curtain rose again to introduce female singer Schenay Mosley. She showed off her vocal range by dropping a few oohs and ahs, then Smino graciously appeared from behind the curtains with his live band. Rocking a sky blue fur coat, baggy pants and cornrows , Smino took the audience with him back to the early 2000s. One thing that drew us immediately to Smino was his amazing voice. Let's just say that his live voice is just as, if not more impressive than his recorded copies. Long-standing Smino fans were in for a treat as the rapper took the crowd on a 30-song journey of his young career.
He performed hits like Blkswn's "Anita", "Hoopti", "ZFL" , "Fenty Sex" , "Pizano" and "We Got the Biscuits". The crowd sung along to the underrated rapper's melodic hits and jazz based beats. One special member of the crowd was Smino's father, who was visiting California for the first time ever. Capturing the look in the St. Louis rappers eye when he would catch his proud father recording his performance, was something so beautiful and enchanting. Especially after looking back at the young rapper's history in music. His father was a piano player, his mother was a singer and his grandfather was the original bass guitarist for Muddy Waters. The careers of his relatives were put on the hold to preserve their family, but who knew that structural sacrifice is exactly what it took to get their family name and talent in the spotlight.
However, the brilliance behind Smino is that he simply does not crave the spotlight but for sure deserves it. Both conscious yet content, he uses his music to tackle hard hitting subjects while still knowing what our generational youth is interested in. In between sets of his performance he thanked the crowd for their support but, took some well-deserved time to acknowledge his Black fans within the crowd. He brought young African American fans together in the best way possible, by Swag Surfing of course! He even continued the night with a rendition of Young Joc's "Its Going Down". The young crowd followed through and retracted the same amount of energy that Smino was giving them during his performance. Just as the night was coming to an end Smino announced his last song of the night. The crowd was excited for they knew what was to come. He performed another hit from Noir called "Merlo"t. Though the song is a fan favorite, the crowd was a little disappointed with the closing choice. As Smino and his band members closed house, the crowd chanted one powerful word repeatedly, "Klink, klink, klink". The band members took notice as the drummer set back down with the lead guitarist joining him with a smile. The dj and backup singer both returned to their stations as Smino returned on stage with a big bang. Finally, the crowd got exactly what they wanted as the dj began to play the beginning of Noir standout his "Klink". The crowd went wild, is simply an understatement for how lit the closing performance was.
The three performers killed the Hoopti Tour leaving fans with nostalgic feels and future hopes for the new artists. Everyone is now aware and understanding of why these three artists are listed as the Ones to Watch in 2019/To give you a little preview of what these artists' performances are like, we've made a brief playlist of the Hoopti Tour essentials.
Rapper Chief Keef proves to fans that 2019 will be his year after a new mix tape release and performance at Santa Ana's Observatory.
"Did the beat go off?" No one had to ask that question after rapper Chief Keef took over the stage on Jan. 16th. Keef performed favorites such as 'Faneto", "Love Sosa' and "Don't Like" for over 75 fans at the Santa Ana Observatory. Coming fashionably late, of course, Keef kept the audience satisfied for the end of that Wednesday night. With his release date for his new mix tape being Jan. 18th, Keef also decided to give attendees a sample of what is to come. After attending the performance and constantly playing both new and old records from the artist I am finally reminded and upset about the lack of love that SOSA gets as a rapper. Here are my five reasons why Chief Keep needs more appreciation !
1. Amazing Performer
The Observatory was my first experience watching Chief Keef live. I attempted to see him perform at the major Los Angeles hip hop festival, Rolling Loud. Unfortunately, after waiting 45 minutes in the cold surrounded by anxious fans, I realized that his set was definitely not happening. I admit, I felt defeated and disappointed as a long term fan of the rapper. 'How dare he abandon his fans", I thought. Lucky for me, I was able to spot his next California appearance, the Santa Ana Observatory. Now the Observatory is known for two things: their cheap tickets and hours of sound cloud rappers' performances. So the majority of the time was dedicated for up and coming rappers to display their skills. Hour after Hour, the crowd shouted: "We want SOSA !" Finally, at 11 P.M., Glo Gang artist Tadoe came out as the introductory artist. Performing his top hits, Keef suddenly appeared to perform his cult classic "Faneto" (I'll talk about that a little bit later). An hour of amazing sets and a hype crowd rapping constantly reminded me of the great artist Keef really is. His stage presence alone was impressive and surprisingly crowd friendly. After performing the beginning snippets of his songs, he would walk to the nearest fan with their phone in their hands and record a video of himself performing in the camera. He did this several times during the performance of his songs. The hits were non stop and Chief Keef shared with audience members hits back from 2012, where we were first introduced to the rapper.
2. First of His Kind
I was first introduced to the Chicago rapper as a sophomore in high school. At first, I was completely caught off guard by his sound. A lot of "bangs" and "gangs" shouted over a low constructed beat. " No way, this guy can make it", I thought. Listening to "Kobe", "Bang" and "3Hunna", repeatedly for over three days made me understand that even though this artist was different he had something special and unlike no other. The attention the rapper was getting was both positive and negative. Some people ridiculed him based off of his violent lyrics and unflattering portrayal of raw Chicago. Though his hard-hitting style ruffles some feathers, his talent is certainly undeniable. Being the first of his kind he took a lot of hits from critics, but with those hits, he created a new generation of gangsta rap. Notable artists such as Lil Pump and Lil Uzi Vert has gone on record to say that they were greatly inspired be Keef. Mumble rap was initiated by the "Chriaq Legend".
3. Introduction of Chicago Drill
From the melodic rhymes of Common to the fast-paced flow of Twista, we all learned that Chicago artistry comes in all shapes and forms. Between the late '90s and early '00s, Chicago was painted as the Windy City with a smooth sound. Slick and inspired by East Coast jazz, this style of the city introduced us to hip hop heavy hitters such as Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco. These artists created a sound known as alternative hip hop. At that time, that was the only wave everyone was focusing on from Chicago. Then out of nowhere, Chief Keef releases his first top hit "I Don't Like". This song became a Chicago hit after finally portraying the violent reality of a Chicago native youth. The song caught West's attention and he remixed the track with Keef, Pusha T, Jadakiss, and Big Sean. This introductory to the rapper showed the world a new Chicago style called "Drill Music", a form of repetitive Trap. As a prominent leader to this new style, Keef has elevated the careers of fellow Chicago natives and elevated the storytelling behind the vicious cycle of living in Chicago.
4. Young Entrepreneur
At the age of 15, Keith Cozart (at the time) dropped out of high school. Already popular in the South Side gang life , Keef turned his lifestyle into a career. After creating countless of hits and attempting to dodge the court room, Keef decided to created countless of growing businesses all under the age of 25. His first business venture is his own label Glory Boyz Entertainment (GBE) also known as Glo Gang. In his label he has signed various young artists such as Tadoe, Ballout. Tray Savage and many more. Besides his own label, he is also currently working on his own clothing line that is planned to be release in the spring of 2019.
5. Faneto> Mo Bamba & Sicko Mode
"What song is bound to get everyone hype anywhere they go?" This is the age-old question. Some of the top answers include Mo Bamba, Sicko Mode, and Dreams and Nightmares. On paper those songs are amazing, but neither of those songs brings the same energy as Chief Keef's Faneto. Back at the Observatory, Several DJs attempted to soothe the tenacious crowd over, but the only thing that made the crowd distracted from Keef's tardiness was this 2014 hit.
Needless to explain or say more, I'll let these quick videos prove why this song is better than its current competitors.