Many of the people who came through Schubas for Closed Sessions Live on Sunday night turned up to see Brooklyn collective Phony Ppl. The group is recognized for their powerful fusion of jazz and hip hop and their seamless musicality, all of which came across in their performance. This being said, however, I was there to see two of my favorite Chicago artists: Alex Wiley and Vic Mensa.
Wiley took the stage first, and with good reason. His performance, featuring tracks off his latest project, Club Wiley, was full of energy, including mosh pits and water thrown into the crowd. His latest release, "Earfucked," was met with particularly enthusiastic response and served as a reminder of the excitement that the dominantly emerging Chicago hip hop scene incites among Chicago natives.
Vic Mensa LIVE @ Schubas
Vic Mensa performed a bit later, following the O'Mys, and began his set with his verse off of Chance the Rapper's "Cocoa Butter Kisses," with the crowd echoing back every word. From there, he performed tracks off of his upcoming debut mixtape, Innane Tape, set to drop August 15th as he announced during the performance, and, while matching the energy of Wiley, had a more laid-back demeanor that was perfectly in tune with his relaxed musical style. To conclude his set, he performed the Chicago summer anthem "Orange Soda," with help on instruments from members of Phony Ppl and while throwing cans of orange-flavored Crush out into the audience - fun, unexpected, and a bit dangerous - all of which characterizes Chicago hip hop.
The performances by these two artists reminded me of why Chicago rappers can't be touched. As young as they are, Alex and Vic reveal everything good about Chicago and hip hop with their music, and that revelation is shared with the audience. I left the show feeling really good about hip hop, but even better about Chicago hip hop. Chi-city stand up.