RH Review: The Lollapalooza Experience (2018)

After a long four-day weekend of countless live acts, underground after parties, and spending over a hundred dollars in Uber’s; it feels great to be in the AC recapping the Lollapalooza experience.

Arriving early on Thursday to see Valee was the perfect way to start off the festival. The energy during “Two 16’s” was insane. One person, who looked about 17, was screaming every lyric directly in my ear. If I wasn’t sure about the lyrics, I certainly am now. Also the photo below is legendary.

After helping tear down the temporary studio set up hosted by Closed Sessions at SoHo House, I found my way to the front of the Bud Light stage to see Travis Scott. With his new album Astroworld dropping an hour after his performance, the crowd was ridiculous. I had a difficult time recording any of the show due to the mosh pits.

Tyler The Creator and Post Malone were two notable acts on Friday. Post Malone receives a lot of hate in the hip-hop community, but his set was much better than expected. His voice sounded strong and it felt like the entire audience knew every word during his performance. I added a clip from Tyler The Creator’s set below to give an idea of the audience.

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Saturday was the least exciting day for me. I missed Femdot from sleeping in too long. Other than LL Cool J, the other acts I saw were disappointing. Lil Pump found a way to be worse than my already low expectations. GoldLink sounded as if he didn’t have enough material for an entire hour. The energy of the festival was redeemed during Hippie Sabotage’s performance at their after party. The two brothers from Sacramento killed it.

The final day ended strong. Knox Fortune had the most intimate show of the weekend. Their crowd was also the most mature I saw all weekend, with the median age above 18 for the first time. Lil Uzi Vert is a rock star. To think about seeing him at the Metro just two years ago, to playing at the main stage at Lolla is crazy. The crowd loved him.

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All in all, the weekend was a success. It’s almost hard to believe Lolla is over.

Freaky Deaky 2016 returns bigger than before

Freaky Deaky took over Toyota Park for an impressive return with a weekend filled with unforgettable moments.

Festival goers in their best homemade or store-bought costumes made Freaky Deaky their ultimate Halloween playground. The three stages: The Shrine, The Big Top, and The Crypt stage were perfectly crafted to capture the eerie Halloween feeling.  That feeling was matched with incredible performances from a stacked lineup during the three-day weekend.

Day 1 - Photos - Jeremy Franklin

The first day saw early support from local electronic duo The Trap House and San Holo. Naming a few the first day saw a strong start to an even more powerful finish.

The comedian turned rapper Lil Dicky used his humor to bring a quick laugh along with his lyrically impressive rap routine. Lil Dicky a true showman, brought his colorful personality to life.

Rapper Travis Scott made his return back to Chicago following his Lollapalooza performance in 2015. Running into no similar issue Scott didn’t disappoint fans who were eagerly awaiting his return. Scott ended his set with his hit record “Antidote”. Going a bit longer then his promoted set time Scott’s mic was cut off making him storm off the stage.

Disclosure’s set was one for remember for years to come. They knew they were in Chicago and they played for Chicago. A Chicago house heavy set made for a surprise treat for those who just wanted to jam to some house classics.

Day 2 - Photos - Jeremy Franklin

The second day of Freaky Deaky is an ultimate blend of bold modern hip-hop entering with in your face electronic music.

Harlem rapper and self-proclaimed trap master A$AP Ferg brought the show. A hip-hop heavyweight in the making A$AP Ferg played to the crowd performing his hit records like Shabba and New Level.

One of the most talked about artist in the past year DJ Khaled closed off the second night on The Big Top stage. A properly named stage for DJ Khaled through the roof persona he satisfied the highly anticipated curiously behind his set. Serving as both the hype man and DJ, DJ Khaled was pulling double in making sure the crowd was living up every second of his set.

Showing love to the Chicago Cubs and their playoffs efforts, Freaky Deaky screened two of the playoff games that were played during that weekend. Festival goers had the chance to chow down on their grilled cheese from Cheesies and hot wings from Harold’s Chicken while watching the cubbies. Nothing can top that.

Day 3 - Photos - Jeremy Franklin

The final night saw early support from local talent Light Em Up and Porn And Chicken. These local artists had the crowd going right from the start of the gates officially opening. A true sign on how incredibly talented our local scene is.

Electronic heavy hitters each brought their unique spin to the final night of Freaky Deaky. Duke Dumont was certainly not one to miss because of his signature tech house set. As well as BBC personality Danny Howard, and his perfectly crafted set list of electric bangers.

In just it’s second year Freaky Deaky created and filled a void that the Chicago music scene was missing. Along with young festivals like Mamby on the Beach and Reaction NYE, React Presents continues to add to Chicago’s rich music history.

Freaky Deaky is the perfect escape and the best way to celebrate a Halloween weekend with music. With clear skies and an unusual warmer weekend in late October, Freaky Deaky couldn’t have been any better.

It was a perfect mixture of the visual horrors of Halloween alongside the electric sky of that beamed from the crowds. Freaky Deaky like many Halloween attractions are worth the year long wait.

[Sunday Coffee Sipper] Reflecting on the BET Hip Hop Awards

On October 16 in Los Angeles, California Rap music's elite showed out for the annual BET Hip Hop Awards, commemorating the best of all things hip-hop in the past year. Kendrick Lamar cleaned up, hauling in five awards including best album and lyricist of the year while Jay-Z, Big Sean and the rest of hip-hop's governing body took turns patting each other on the back. For today's Sunday Coffee Sipper I break down the list of winners from several of the categories and decide who I would have picked from the very small group of nominees that were available for the awards, enjoy!

Best Hip-Hop Video: Drake "Started From The Bottom": I literally thought this was the most bogus video I had seen until Chief Keef's "Love No Thotties" premiered this week. Seriously though, you're not making it any easier to legitimize the "Started From The Bottom" mantra with the opening scene of a Toronto youth soccer game played in a bubble, or perhaps it's the perfect metaphor. The fake snow, all white everything convertible dance scene is just downright goofy, as is the Wal-Mart confetti-strewn dance party. Drake had a lot of dance parties at the bottom. Where is 'here' anyway? Could be anywhere. Ah, Drake, they'll love whatever you do.

Who Should Have Won: Kendrick Lamar – ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’

Reese’s Perfect Combo Award (Best Collabo, Duo or Group): A$AP Rocky f/ 2 Chainz, Drake & Kendrick Lamar "Problems": Of the nominations, this was an easy favorite for the best collaboration of the year. Featuring the top names in hip-hop today and a blistering verse from K Dot it stood head and shoulders above even Ace Hood and Future's summer banger "Bugatti" and J. Cole and Miguel's "Power Trip".

Best Live Performer: Jay-Z: Not sure about the nomination or the win on this one. Jay-Z is certainly a pillar of hip-hop, but there are plenty of better live acts around the country that could have vied for the title, even outside of the nominees. Granted, Jay-Z proved to be a step ahead of the competition in the crafting of a different live set idea with his "Picasso Baby" art installation, a wholly different take on hip-hop as an accepted artform. Regardless, I can't help but feel there was a better choice to be had.

Who Should Have Won: J. Cole/2 Chainz

Lyricist of the Year: Kendrick Lamar: They probably didn't need to announce this one. Between good kid, m.A.A.d. city, the much-talked about verse on Big Sean's "Control" and a host of outstanding features throughout the year, Kendrick cemented himself as the lyricist to match in 2013. The "Control" verse in general, in which he called out the other top names in the game, nestled Kendrick firmly in the upper echelon of hip-hop artists today.

Album of the Year: Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid m.a.a.d. City: Again, a fairly easy choice as the top rap album of 2013. Kendrick finally emerged from Section 80 to the big leagues with his chart-topping album that, as stated earlier, vaulted him from one of the new guys to the forefront of everything happening from here on out.

Producer of the Year: Mike Will Made It: It's hard to be too upset with this decision, Mike Will Made it had some of the year's biggest songs, using his enormous drum ensembles to shake the walls of clubs from coast to coast with songs like"No Lie" by 2 Chainz, "Bandz a Make Her Dance" by Juicy J, "Pour It Up" by Rihanna and "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus. They weren't the best songs of the year, but they topped the charts. I can't forgive him for allowing Cyrus to don a Michael Jordan jersey while twerking in their "23" collaboration, though. In comparison, Pharrell did songs with Jay-z, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and Daft Punk.

Who Should Have Won: Pharrell Williams

Track of the Year: "Started From The Bottom," produced by Mike Zombie and Noah "40" Shebib: Can't even lie about it, this song was not the best track of the year, by any means. Drake's attempt at convincing listeners that watched him as Jimmy on Degrassi that he, "started from the bottom" was ill-conceived and uninteresting. Sure, the beat and hook get stuck in your head, but is that all it takes to have a hot track? Of course, you catch more fish with a larger net and most of the nominees for each category were held to roughly the same six characters. That makes for a small net.

Who Should Have Won: ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ – Produced by Sounwave (Kendrick Lamar)

Best Mixtape: Big Sean, Detroit: This one just didn't make sense. In a category that included a host of independent artists including Chance The Rapper and Travi$ Scott, this would have been the perfect opportunity for BET to sway towards the up and coming, essentially the heart of hip-hop today. Instead, the crown for best mixtape was given to Big Sean's Detroit, making for an un-inspirational win for the G.O.O.D. Music star.

Who Should Have Won: Chance The Rapper: Acid Rap

Who New? Rookie of the Year: A$AP Ferg: This is deserved. Trap Lord  was easily one of the hottest releases of a packed summer of new music and Ferg showed that the buzz surrounding him and his major debut release was no fluke. With co-signs from just about everyone in the game right now, the award was fitting. Tough competition here, too, with Earl Sweatshirt, Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$ rounding out the nominees.

MVP of the Year: Kendrick Lamar: Honestly, he could have taken most of the awards with the competition BET stacked up against Kendrick. More than anyone else, Lamar and his TDE crew have brought about a sound and a mentality that had been lacking in hip hop as of late. As he made it known on that fateful "Control" verse, this is now Kendrick's game, and everyone has to step up.


[Video] Avenue: "Dreams of A Million"

\Boston native Avenue, has become one of his city's most promising up-and-comers since his most recent release, Summer of ’91, exponentially increased his buzz via critical-acclaim, fans and even a co-sign from Travis Scott. The EP is a smooth listen from begging to end, but if you need to be persuaded even more, below you can watch the official video for the intro of the project and preview what it is all about.