First, I wanna give a shout to "Pat the Manager" who got at me last minute into the show along with my guy Malcolm Brinkley (who was taking photos filling in for our own Kevin Parkinson). I clearly remember before Chance's infamous "10 Day" mixtape dropped. I was at breakfast with him, his Dad, and some of the Jugrnaut guys and the discussion was the details of his "first big show for 10 Day". Wow, fast forward a few years later..
I have always genuinely loved Chance's music. I listen to a very small knit group of artists again and again and again. Chance is my #1. So, when he took the stage at Club Red it was pretty much an "all hell breaks loose" vibe. The crowd was absolutely bananas before the show I almost thought security wasn't going to go on with the show. But, when he did it was mayhem in the best way possible. Chance takes you through an absolute "roller coaster of emotions", which is why I dig the dude. And, he is CREATIVE, and DIFFERENT. Something other rappers should take note of. Everything from "Cocoa Butter Kisses" to "Juice" exemplify what I'm talking about. By the way he kicked it off with "Good Ass Intro". Perfect for what was about to jump off that night.
I'm a 90's cat so I grew up on Tribe, NAS, Wu-Tang, Souls of Mischief.....Chance to me brings the creativity back to where it existed back in the 90's. For any tennis players out there another analogy would be Chance the Rapper is what Andre Agassi was when he showed up on the tennis circuit. Difference is I think Chance will be around alot longer and get even bigger.
So being new here to Arizona the first things that concern me are things like "where to live, what the vibe will be like, and of course the shoe game"!
I've been collecting on and off for over a decade now. I'm a 90's guy so many of the releases that come out currently I've seen back then. I'll be honest it's crazy and surprising how hard the shoe game is here in Arizona.
I think the first connections I made were with Brandon from Pound For Pound, as well as Slim from HighPoint. Brandon turned me onto a guy named "Don" who was in charge of this event called "Heated Sole". After a few phone chats we met up and I had a chance to meet his crew as well behind this very cool event going on its 3rd year.
Fast forward to the event. Me and my blogger Sammy D met up at a local high school in Phoenix where the Summit was held at. Automatically, I saw serious shoe heads walking outside with boxes upon boxes of kicks. I actually saw a dude walk out with a pair of those super limited Air Max "Pink" 90's which I believe was part of a pack and uber hard to find. I remember locating them in Europe or Japan last year but I', not about to pay the rate plus the crazy shipping. They were dope though. As we walked in the entire gymnasium was PACKED! Vendor tables, shoe heads, and a huge stage setup. I saw dudes with Yeezy's, of course every Retro Jordan under the sun, I even saw a cat rockin some Asic "Ronnie Fieg's".
Every shoe you can imagine was on display and for sale. I won't go thru every shoe but whatever you were looking for that day...it definitely the day to make a deal. I also ran into several local clothing brands, and sneaker customizers. Personally, I picked up a pair of Olympic 7's at a sick deal. I'm kickin myself cause a kid had a pair of the Jordan 5's from the "Raging Bull Pack", and I waited to long to cop em. By then the kid was gone or sold em. Treated.
It was also super cool how Don and the Heated Crew raffled away a buncha dope kicks from there personal collection. They even did onstage a segment where people could advertise "really sick deals" on kicks. I loved that idea. It was kinda done auction style.
The best part of Heated Sole is that a big portion of the proceeds goes to the school and the kids which the event takes place. Promoting a common love for shoes, and helping our future in the education game you just can't beat that.
When it comes to the shoe game here in AZ....and events like Heated Sole promoting the love...I think it's safe to say we go as hard as any major city in the US.
What better conclusion for a nationwide tour then the hometown, amirite?!
Krewella did just that this past Saturday as the Get Wet Tour finished up here in Chicago at a sold-out Aragon Ballroom. And let me tell you, that is some feat.
The first thing we felt when walking in was just how crazy big the fanbase is for this EDM/pop trio that we've seen grow from the beginning. There was a genuine pre-show buzz as fans were erupting at the mere reveal of Krewella's crystal stage set. Minutes later, Jahan, Yasmine, and Rain Man emerged from behind the crystals and the sisters strutted in front for a performance of their current hit single "Live For The Night". I was in front of the diehards in the photo pit between the first row and the stage and could see the "Krew" in full effect. Just picture fans going bananas. That's what we had here. After all, when there's a synchronicity between the energy of the artist and fans, it's a beautiful experience to appreciate. Just see Jahan and Yasmine below...
The group then proceed to their first performance of "Alive" — a remix of the original summer smash hit (which peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100; an amazing feat for a new artist) that set the tone for more remixes you can't hear anywhere else. In fact, that added such a refreshing element to the show for fans of the debut album — that there was a consistent flow of new production that it left us guessing even more what would come next. And quality-wise, none of them fell flat.
Krewella ran through much of the tracks on their Get Wet debut (with all of them even more suitable for a live concert setting) and even dabbled into some of their earliest singles and most recent collab with Nicky Romero "Legacy". The sisters alternated between the stage and behind the DJ booth to deliver it all, working up a sweat to pump up the crowd and still hit the high notes when appropriate. The fans were following suit, seemingly jumping higher with each drop in the beat and the ladies and fellas alike singing every word.
And that last point, to bring it full circle, was what made this concert experience so memorable. Normally at a hip hop show, it's hard enough to get fans to raise one arm up and down. At the Aragon, there are more rock and EDM acts that crowd participation at these shows and at this venue is already naturally higher. So to see the first few rows jumping up and down, and even girls on top of their friends' shoulders was no surprise. But to see the entire floor, including the back rows that were so far away from the stage, moving like what looked like a wave from our vantage point up top backstage was incredible. And this happened from beginning to end, every song. Get a glimpse and see for yourselves above and below — chills.
No doubt every homecoming is special: whether it's you or me returning to our old high school or a newly big-name artist coming back to their hometown. Krewella's at the Aragon Ballroom the other night was truly special for Jahan, Yasmine, Rain Man, us the fans — truly everyone.
**Shoutout to React Presents and the Aragon Ballroom as the perfect scenic venue for Krewella. All photos/GIFs by yours truly.
FINALLY, Krewella is stayin' home for a bonusDJ Set before they start a new leg of the tour in Europe — The Mid tonight, after 10, and only $20. Hope to see you there!
The 2013 Smokers Club tour stopped in Tempe Arizona performing at Club Red. Right away, with fans piling into the venue, you could feel the energy and excitement. In front of a sold out crowd, First to hit the stage off the tour was Taylor Gangs very own Chevy Woods. As soon as Chevy hit the stage the party got going. Arizona being a very good scene for any Taylor Gang artist, the whole crowd was rapping along with Chevy from his early classics to his new stuff off his newest project "Gangland 2".
Next to rock the stage was BeastCoasts only duo, The Underachievers. The Underachievers consists of Issa Gold and AK. Immediately the crowd started bouncing when the came out to "Flexin" off their latest EP " The Lords Of Flatbush". The Underachievers being one of the more unique crew, rapping about 3rd eye consciousness and enlightenment, while still killing bangers and making songs to beats that really get the fans hype. The Underachievers had a truly amazing performance.
Joey Bada$$ comes on stage next, being a forerunner of the BeatsCoast movement, while he was killing the stage on his own, he brings 2 other members of the Pro Era crew out Kirk Knight and Cj Fly, that was dope, you could see the positive energy with the three, it was a good sight to see. It really gave the presence of being at a hip hop show in the 90's. Not only does Pro Era sound as if they came right out of 1993, they rap about things similar toThe Underachievers, such as enlightenment and realism. For every show they do, they pay a special tribute to the late Capital Steez, while holding 2 fingers in the air their Dj Statik Selektah drops "Like Water" and it was a powering movement seeing the fans pay that special tribute to Capital Steez (Long Live Steelo).
Finally the man of the hour, the headlining Ab-Soul comes out on stage giving the fans the performance they have been waiting for. Performing hits like "Pass the Blunt" and "Track Two" got every single fan bouncing and involved. Ab-Soul payed homage to the rest of the members of T.D.E. (Black Hippy) and played Kendrick Lamar's "m.A.A.d. City". Ab-Soul leaves the stage with one message "You have 3 eyes".
Photographer Stan Perry documented some killer looks Sunday night at the sold out Supersonic Boom F/W 2013 AKIRA Runway Show featuring hair & makeup by Mario Tricoci. The show depicted both retro prints & color schemes and well-tailed craftsmanship in pieces consisting of leathers, chains, furs…in addition, a few eye catching heels from the collab between Kristin Cavallari & Chinese Laundry. A number of sponsors supported the show with goodies as event proceeds went toward the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago supporting the empowerment of women and diversity. Brickheadz entertained at the pre-show; following the show was an after-party and after, after-party filled with many of Chicago's influential industry folks in the fashion and entertainment scenes.
Browse our photos on Pinterest (there are many more!) and take a journey through our photographer's lense of the captivating evening of not only the beautiful models and fresh looks, but also the behind the scenes experience backstage and at the afterparty. Enjoy!
Friday night, Chicago's biggest house party was at the UIC Pavilion, where Waka Flocka, Borgore, Pharrell, and Steve Aoki kicked off the Aokify America tour. Though diverse in genre, all four acts seemed to draw the same, high energy crowd which made for a good ol' fashioned rager.
Crowd surfing >
Waka Flocka towered over the crowd, dreads swingin,' yell'n "squad."
Waka Flocka smokes the crowd
Borgore kept the crowd jumpin' and chanting "cake."
Pharrell... Pharrell took the stage smooth as you'd think he would and brought the funk for a lil while.
And ultimately, Steve Aoki, notorious for throwing a hell of a party, threw a cake in your face, crowd rafting, co2 blasting par-tee. Yes at least three - willing, mind you - people took cakes to the dome while Aoki danced about the stage like he was an eight year old high as hell off some bite size snickers. Don't get me wrong, as would I. Someone just beg's for you to throw cake at their face? That's gong show. Sign me up, Steve.
Look closely, Steve Aoki is throwing cake at a fan, and it's pretty great.
From beginning to end, the party never stopped, and the artists supported each other along the way. Waka came out during Borgore's set (lookin forward to their collab), and everyone stood by the stage to see one another perform. The unique billing of this tour is sure to bring fans of both hip hop and edm together in a way rarely seen before, a trend we hope to see continue moving forward.
<<Use the arrows above to view more photos and scroll below for individuals>>
Sunday marked the release of Derrick Rose's 4th signature shoe release with adidas — simply the #DRose4 — and what better way to launch the shoe than back home at the United Center. adidas put on the event featuring a half-full United Center of mainly Chicago youth, who were treated to free tees, and a lucky few with the shoes themselves. Plus, quite the extravagant event!
Rose was introduced like it was his first game back, complete with Bulls P.A. announcer Tommy Edwards and the legendary Bulls theme music. It was a chilling sampling of what we can expect during the Bulls home opener in a little over a month. Shortly after Rose's introductory words, he got to do the introducing — and it was for none other than Big Sean. Sean flew into Chicago and performed his biggest hits at the beginning and end of the event. In between, he and Rose judged an amazing slam dunk contest (with the best amateur dunkers flown in from throughout the country), as Rose partook with a few alley-oops, as well as in a shooting game with the youth. All in all, it was quite the memorable event and we were happy to cover it courtside.
Enjoy the series of photos from the event above and see the shoe in detail with my earlier photo post and commentary here. And finally, stay tuned for our video recap going live soon!
#Salute adidas for putting on a great event and on the new shoe...
Labor Day Weekend marked the 4th annual North Coast Music Festival at Union Park as Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all packed with a mix of primarily EDM artists and DJs with some of hip hop's most established names, and up and comers in both genres. Let's get right into the highlights...
This was the one day I couldn't attend, but Maks G & Justin Escalona were there taking some of the photos above and bouncing around the three stages checking out act after act. Two of the night's headliners stood out: Mac Miller & Passion Pit, with the latter drawing more rave reviews from Maks & Justin.
Maks and I made it for the night's main acts: Nas, Big Gigantic, and Afrojack. First (of course) Nas, who returned to the North Coast stage after last performing at the debut edition of the festival with Damian Marley in 2010. Nas kept it simple: it was him, a drummer, and a DJ. He ran through classic after classic, only pausing to rile up the crowd for the next one. My only wish was if he dropped the beat completely at times through the set to only further showcase his flawless live delivery. I'm just a fan of a capellas in a live rap show, and if I recall correctly, I think Nas had more of those last time I saw him at North Coast. Sure enough, however, Nas provided the most chilling moment of my weekend when he came back out for an encore of "One Mic", with each verse building up upon the previous. It culminated with Nas whispering into the mic (my desired a capella of sorts) and the crowd waiting for one more intense chorus. Enter: chills. He left Chicago with these short but sweet words, "You have a voice. Be heard."
The scene on a cloudy night at North Coast for Nas
Saturday continued with a couple of big EDM/DJ acts as Big Gigantic first impressed with their live saxophone on top of recognizable remixes like the fitting Kanye West "Jesus Walks". Then we walked over a stage to Afrojack, who I liked even more as he had more of a fast, upbeat flow of songs coming one after another and ending on a premiere that I instantly liked that features some female vocals. I'll be sure to point it out when it drops. All in all, the three acts made for a great Saturday night, as Nas was Nas and Big Gigantic and Afrojack took me out of my comfort zone that proved to be a fun experience.
Justin and I got our money's worth Sunday as we got to the Fest on the early side to first catch DJs Datsik, A-Trak, and Madeon. I especially liked the latter two as A-Trak mixed in some hip hop into his upbeat set while showcasing his live skills as well, and the young Madeon (he's 18, looks like he's 13), keeping the crowd going with just enough recognizable tunes to get the crowd singing (from The Killers to Kanye's "Black Skinhead").
I then made my way across the fields for my most abrupt change in music and scenery. It felt surreal to go from a crowd jumping up and down to EDM and dance to a chill crowd hanging on every word and guitar solo from the soulful Gary Clark Jr.. There was only minor chit chat in the crowd for Gary Clark, whose live sound (especially his guitar) translated well to the festival. The moment he ended, I heard the dark sounds begin from the stage next to us, courtesy of Purity Ring (another abrupt change.)
That's one of the beauties of North Coast: all of the sets are precisely scheduled and never run late, giving the fans a unique experience of the thrilling conclusion of one artist and then the rush to see the beginning of the next artist, who almost always is a completely different genre. It's safe to say Madeon to Gary Clark Jr. to Purity Ring is about as different as you can get.
To speak on Purity Ring real quick, I became a fan of the duo with "Odebear", and now even moreso after seeing what I saw on Carson Daly earlier this summer replicated and more polished in person. The duo can transform your mood in an instant as lantern banging, light shining, and piercing vocals all combine for a very fresh and edgy sound. Look these guys up when you get a chance.
Finally, and if you read this far you won't be disappointed, Wu-Tang Clan closed out the festival like only they would. And that's with a raw mix of songs from their debut album, 36 Chambers. They naturally began with "Bring Da Ruckus" as an endless sea of people threw their "W's" up. Seriously, this was the biggest crowd of the three nights for sure. The group had the crowd going the whole time and kept it moving with no breaks between songs, save for a tribute to Ol' Dirty Bastard. They tried to fit as many songs as possible in before an impending thunderstorm was threatening to cut the performance short. That unfortunately came to fruition 40 minutes in and ending Wu-Tang's set prematurely without a fitting conclusion. The crowd was naturally upset that the set ended 15 minutes before it should have while it was only drizzling at the time, but considering it was drizzling at the start, I'm happy we got that far. Plus, the performance and my savvy to hold the record button combined for my favorite Vine ever. I don't think I can end it better than this...
Great times at North Coast all weekend long! Shoutout to React Presents for putting it all together and be sure to scroll through the slideshow (hit the arrows) for more photos: all taken by either Maks G, Justin Escalona, or myself. Until next Labor Day weekend...!
In order above (click the arrows): Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, T.I., GWHH fans
The America's Most Wanted Tour 2013 made its stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico last weekend, and the show was a sight to behold!
A group performed some promotional tunes as a huge crowd filled the Isleta Amphitheater. Ultimately they were ratchet club bangers, and not bad for newbies. As night fell, at 8pm sharp the lights went out and 2 Chainz emerged. His set was filled with nothing but hits and new material from his sophomore album: B.O.A.T.S. II – Me Time (Based on A True Story 2) due out September 10th. 2 Chainz set was very unexpected, he did not leave any gaps to catch your breath, and publicly commented on popular issues surround himself; Such as the drug raid of his tour bus earlier this week in OKC, “thats player shit!”.
T.I. graced the stage second, his act was a concert in itself. The Platinum rapper fuzed a short film and an actual “Trap House” together on stage. “Tip” performed while interacting with the audience and the set piece's. His portion of the show is based in positive reaffirmation and left the audience filled with excitement.
Lil Wayne aka Weezy aka Weezy F. Baby please say the baby, hosted for two hours. There are back up dancers, skateboarders, lots of pyro and hits on hits on hits! Wayne opened with a great show and ended with a epic performance. Most all of his memorable songs were played or performed and accompanied by a live band. T.I. And 2 Chainz joined both Birdman Junior for performances.
All in all, the show was explosive and to make matters better, Albuquerque is a secret hot spot for some fine women. :)
One reason I like going to live shows is to see an artist first-hand and get to know their true essence beyond what you can hear on the record. More often than not, I come away with a more favorable impression of the artist and that was definitely the case this weekend for G.O.O.D. Music rising star Travi$ Scott.
Scott has made waves this year not only with production on Kanye West's Yeezus but also with his most recent solo project, Owl Pharaoh. I've talked with a couple of artists whose music taste I greatly respect essentially say that Owl Pharaoh was one of the dopest mixtapes this year, and even on top of that glowing review, I couldn't quite get into it aside from the production. With this in mind Friday night, I was eager to see if my opinion would change experiencing some of these tracks live.
And it did.
Travi$' energy was intense and infectious throughout. The crowd that filled up the Bottom Lounge were true fans as well — jumping up and down and even moshing as soon as Scott made a surprise entrance when the DJ put on some Big Sean Hall Of Fame tracks on during the intermission between sets. Two songs in, Scott was already stage diving into the crowd, as Mano brilliantly captured from on stage on Instagram.
Throughout the set, Scott paused a couple of times, weaved into the crowd and up on the bars at the back of the venue, screaming at the crowd that this is a Travi$ Scott show and that we all need to collectively rage more (or something to that effect.) He was successful, especially when bringing out surprise Chicago guests Fredo Santana and SD (of GBE). Scott closed the set with "Upper Echelon", the Owl Pharaoh standout that I did initially gravitate towards due to the catchy chorus, and Bottom Lounge closed immediately thereafter. The set didn't run as smooth as it could have — Scott apparently ran over time, which is why everyone was immediately ushered out, and the ending felt rushed even though the set as a whole was on the short side. Plus, Scott's loud yelling may have caused some mic damage — he needed a new one when Fredo & SD came out, and there was some clear in and out moments in the last track. I think that's because Scott stayed true to his tweet and actually broke shit in the form of that mic, hah!
All in all, it was a great show, Scott shows some clear potential as a solo artist, and I definitely enjoyed the trap and raging experience that I don't normally get from attending the more soulful hip hop shows I love to go to. Maks G loved it even more, as he was in the pit to snap all of the photos above. Get a glimpse of what went down Friday night above and be sure to head on out to where Travi$ Scott is when he comes to your hometown.