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12 Artists to See at Riot Fest 2017

posted by Oscar September 12, 2017

It’s Riot Fest week!! The Chicago festival is best known for putting together some of the nation’s best lineups year after year, bringing back iconic bands for special reunions along the way, and the 2017 edition is right up there among their best ever.

We’ve been attending the Punk-rooted festival since 2011 and this year’s going to be a bit different for us, as it marks the first time we’re attending as part of the press. So instead of sneaking our way to the front rails to see the action up-front or hopping from mosh pit to mosh pit, we’ll be bouncing around all of Douglas Park this weekend to take in all it’s got to offer and taking photography of the artists we are most eager to see from this lineup.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite artists on the lineup that we are looking forward to seeing perform live at Riot Fest 2017. Check out the can’t-miss acts below.
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6 Classic American Songs That Would Sound 100x Better If Quavo Redid Them

posted by Alejandro Hernandez August 14, 2017

A few days ago, a petition to give the National Anthem a much needed facelift by getting Migos’ very own Quavo to redo it went viral, and garnered the attention from music blogs everywhere. What’s more (and is proof that God works in powerful, mysterious ways) is that the hook god himself cosigned this petition on twitter:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”>

SO THEY WANT HUNCHO TO BE FEATURED ON THE NATIONAL ANTHEM LETS ROLL

— QuavoYRN (@QuavoStuntin) August 12, 2017
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

What are some other traditionally American songs that could desperately use a trap remix featuring Quavo though? Inspired by this new (and truly revolutionary) petition, here is the list comprised of songs considered patriotic, classic, and/or culturally significant to the U.S. that would sound 100x better if Quavo redid them:

Sweet Caroline- Neil Diamond

Before I start with this one, I want to make one thing clear: Neil Diamond is a music legend, and I am very grateful for his contributions. That being said, what could possibly be his most famous contribution, is easily his most overrated. “Sweet Caroline” is the Seinfield or Friends of music (depending on which show you think is more overhyped). “Sweet Caroline” is the white frat boy version of “Knuck If You Buck,” which means that, for one reason or another, it’s the one song that gets played at every Yakubian function , except it’s way less amazing than the Crime Mob classic in every sense. This track can definitely use a Quavo redo with Metro Boomin’ on the production side, and then maybe it can legitimately rival Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck” as the top turn-up song of our lifetime.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Any fan of baseball knows just how important this song is to our country’s history. It serves as the theme song of America’s pastime, with ballparks across the nation having their drunken audiences sing along to it as part of the 7th Inning Stretch. I don’t want to front though, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” depending on who the celebrity singer is, it’s pretty hit or miss (Will Ferrell’s is easily the best though), but imagine how fire the remix would be if he did it. The idea of him dropping “yeah, dat way” ad-libs in between lines is already giving me goosebumps. Plus, people will get a healthy double dose of Quavo with him doing the National Anthem as well as the 7th Inning Stretch, and honestly, I think we sholud double our daily intake of Quavo if we truly want to lead a happy and healthy life.

Sweet Home Alabama

Even though this song is about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s love for their home state of Alabama, it’s been adopted as an anthem for overall Southern pride (Confederate flag waving pride and all), and is considered a staple in the American music canon (it was even featured in Forrest Gump, which is like one of the 5 greatest and most American films ever), but that still doesn’t mean it’s need of an upgrade. I could see it now. Led by the omnipresent Quavo Stuntin’, the song will be rebranded as “Sweet Home Atlanta,” and it will be the ultimate trap anthem that South or any other region has yet to see. It can even feature fellow Migos members Offset and Takeoff, and other Atlanta rap legends like Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Jeezy, while production can be handled by the likes of Southside, Mike WiLL– oh my God why are we not funding this to happen this could be the only thing that could bring back OutKast on wax, this will be hip-hop’s version of “We Are The World.”  We as a society need to make this happen if it’s the last thing we do.

Born In The USA

Bruce Springsteen’s classic song about a war vet coming back to his hometown only to grow disgruntled and disillusioned by the U.S. government is easily the best song on this list that can stand on it’s own. It’s also the only song I think doesn’t even need to be completely redone. By that, I mean Springsteen will stay on it, while Quavo would serve as the feature, which we all know is where he tends to excel best. It may sound crazy, but I think we all secretly would like to hear The Boss and The Huncho on the same track. After Springsteen is done talking about how fufu the U.S. government is, Quavo comes on rapping about about how due to the circumstances (created by said government) that he grew up in, he had to come up by trappin’, but it doesn’t mater now because he’s rich as hell and can stunt on everyone with his icy chains and designer clothes and it would instantly become the perfect song for the times we live in as a society

America, The Beautiful

I dare you to try and think of something more beautiful in this country than Quavo’s auto-tuned hooks. Exactly, you can’t. That’s why he needs to redo this song.

The Star-Spangled Banner

This is the song that inspired this whole post, so it obviously had to be on here. Quavo covering the national anthem isn’t what this country deserves, but it’s what the country needs right now. Let’s be real, the “Star-Spangled Banner” is like 200 hundred years old, and it’s pretty played out, mostly bland and outdated af. That’s why Quavo needs to be on it. If Quavo covered the Anthem at every major event I attended, I would proudly stand every time with the patriotic pride knowing that people like Quavious Keyate Marshall are what makes this country tolerable.

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Our Favorite Moments from Lollapalooza 2017

posted by Oscar August 8, 2017

I’ve been going to Lollapalooza every year since 2011 and in that time I’ve been lucky enough to see at the multi-day festival held at Grant Park some amazing sets from legendary acts, as well as witnessing the rise of acts that have gone on to become some of our favorites today. This year’s edition sure added more fun memories and great performances, so below I’ve highlighted the moments that have stood out the most from my time at Lolla 2017.

See the list below. Continue Reading

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Top 12 Acts of Pitchfork Music Festival 2017

posted by Oscar July 20, 2017

Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 was definitely among one of the best editions of the Chicago installment of the festival. Three days full of artists doing what they do best, and we were in attendance scoping out Union Park to see what #P4kfest had in store for us.

What we got in return was awesome performances, some that will likely be on my year-end list of the best performances I saw this year. From icons to fast-rising up-and-comers, the eclectic balance at this festival had plenty to offer right from when the first acts hit the stage.

Check out our list of the best acts we see over the last weekend. Continue Reading

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5 of this Past Week’s Best Music Videos

posted by Alejandro Hernandez June 25, 2017

Several new videos from many of today’s biggest names in hip-hop were dropped this past week. Here are 5 of the best ones that you should definitely check out:

2 Chainz- Trap Check

The artist formerly known as Tity Boi dropped not one, not two, but THREE new music videos during the last seven days for songs from his latest album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music. While the videos for “Sleep When U Die” and the Migos-assisted “Blue Cheese” are both great videos in their own right, neither can match “Trap Check” in creativity or eeriness. The black-and-white video features 2 Chainz mostly rapping in a throne on a giant chessboard with humans serving as the pieces (perhaps to symbolize himself as the King of the Trap game). The video itself is an interesting juxtaposition between hype and horror with the human chess pieces going around and killing each other like it’s the Hunger Games in some scenes while getting straight t’d in others. Either way though, one thing about this music video is certain: the game of chess has never looked this lit.

Lil Bibby- Free Crack 4 Intro

It’s been almost two years since audiences’ ears were blessed by Free Crack 3. Now, the Chicago legend is ready to re-up with the fourth installment of his iconic mixtape series. Lil Bibby doesn’t have time to play any games in his new music video. He just raps straight inferno into the camera for two and a half minutes and by the end, he’ll leave you itching for some more. FC4 is on the way soon, and if the whole project is to share any semblance with the intro, then we should be sure to expect another outstanding mixtape.

Vince Staples- Rain Come Down feat. Ty Dolla $ign

“Rain Come Down” was the last single Vince Staples dropped before releasing his outstanding new album, Big Fish Theory, but he was quick to unveil the video, releasing it just minutes after BFT went up for streaming. The video seems to pick up where the video for “Big Fish” ended, with the Ramona Park rapper being shipwrecked and deserted. The video almost doubles as a Sprite commercial with the blatant product placement of an empty Sprite bottle essentially being Vince’s main tool of survival by pointing him to the direction of safety. It’s a great commercial though, with the video being just as beautiful as the song, and the song itself is pretty damn beautiful. It’s simple, yet elegant, and the final shot should leave you thinking about the possible meaning behind the Big Fish Theory, as well as leaving you with a thirst for a cold, delicious Sprite.

Desiigner- Outlet

Speaking of commercials, Desiigner dropped a new one for Adidas with the “Outlet” music video, but it’s so damn lit that it even doesn’t matter that there’s so much product placement or that this song came out almost five months ago. Honestly, aside from the reasonable criticism of his rapping abilities, how can anyone hate on Desiigner as a person? He looks like he’s having the time of his life in this video, which prominently features Manchester United star Paul Pogba getting t’d alongside the Brooklyn native. On top of that, Desiigner actually drops some bars in this song, and seeing him spit (figuratively and literally) straight into the camera towards the end while he’s dropping lines that address his haters is honestly so damn empowering.  I felt like running a marathon after watching this video. Instead of running 26 miles though, I ended up taking a Lyft to Wingstop and eating 26 wings but you can bet your ass I still had “Outlet” playing in my headphones motivating me to finish strong.

Meek Mill- YBA feat. The-Dream

The Philadelphia rapper quietly dropped this track Saturday night and it’s so damn good. It’s a classic style hip-hop song with boom-bap production that flips a Jay-Z sample and has a powerful message about the plight that many young Black men face while living in America. The video is a direct reflection of said message with Meek spending the majority of it speaking to a teenager and warning him about just what will happen if he devotes his life to the streets. The video goes back and forth between Meek, the teen and stark images of street life including gang violence, drug deals and funerals. It’s a sobering message, but one that’s always needed and is one of the things that makes hip-hop so great.

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Drafting the Top 5 Ball Playing Rappers into the NBA

posted by Alejandro Hernandez June 22, 2017

Tonight was the NBA draft, which might be the most exciting day in the NBA off-season. It’s the night that essentially sets the tone for the upcoming year, with all types of franchise altering decisions happening, from once-in-a-generation talent being picked, to major trades that can completely make or break your team’s upcoming season (see: The Chicago Bulls).

Tonight was a showcase of a fairly talented draft class, with the top 5 pick being Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox. It got me thinking though. What would happen if we were drafting rappers instead of college athletes?

Hip-hop and basketball go almost hand in hand, from Kurtis Blow’s iconic ode to the game and Lil Bow Wow’s early 2000s interpolation, to popular hip-hop songs often serving as the soundtrack to the NBA season, with ‘Magnolia’ and ‘DNA.’ being the main songs used during this year’s NBA Finals promos, so it makes sense that many rappers partake in the game itself.

Many of today’s most popular rappers play during their free time, but who would be the ones dressed up for draft night had they decided to pursue basketball instead of music? This list attempts to answer that question. So without any further ado, here are your top 5 NBA draft picks if we were picking rappers:

1. Romeo

The consensus number 1, Romeo actually played D-I basketball at the University of South California where he was teammates with close friend and NBA All-Star DeMar Derozan, which automatically makes him the most overqualified prospect in this hypothetical draft. Romeo is also a regular at the Celebrity All-star game and he’s clearly sits in the top tier of celebrity players. Also, the fact that his father is rap legend and former NBA pro (for like 3 preseason games) Master P, the two would easily rival Lonzo and Lavar Ball has the most iconic father-son duo in today’s NBA.

 

2. 2 Chainz

Below is the only known footage of 2 Chainz playing in an organized game (numbered 21), and it shows him smacking a three and dunking like his name is Kevin Durant. The artist formerly known as Tity Boi was good enough to play basketball at a D-I school, albeit a smaller program in Alabama State University, but he left after his freshman year (like a true NBA prospect). He’s also 39, which is pretty old in basketball years, but despite his age, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he has gas in the tank. From beating fellow Atlanta legend and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins in a game of ‘HORSE’ to babying former Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Champion Kevin Garnett in the post, it’s as clear as day that the College Park native can still ball.

 

3. Cam’ron

Killa Cam wasn’t just wrecking dudes in the rap game, but he was really outchea breaking ankles on the court too. The basketball career of Cameron Giles was short-lived, but it sure was accomplished. During his high school career, Cam’ron established himself as one of the best players in New York, and while teamed up with fellow rap legend, Ma$e, he actually led his high school squad to the Public Schools Athletic Class A championship. He was even tasked with shooting the final game-winning shot, but unfortunately, he just didn’t have that shooter’s touch. However, he not only beat Stephon Marbury’s squad to get to the title game, but according to the Diplomat rapper himself, he dominated the former NBA pro/Chinese basketball league legend, which is actually a really dope/wild thing to have on your resume. (Skip to 1:55 for highlights)

4. J. Cole

The Fayetteville rapper’s love of basketball is well documented. With each of his first three mixtape covers featuring an overt basketball theme and North Carolina Tar Heel games being one of the few public events he’s willing to go out of hiding for, it’s clear that the sport is more than a game to Cole. His basketball career is that of an underdog though. He got cut twice by his high school team, but like a true Rudy Ruettiger, he came back again and eventually made the team in his senior year, showing his commitment to the grind of refining one’s skills. He also played in the 2012 Celebrity All-Star game where he displayed his athleticism by dunking on national television, which is possibly the second most impressive accomplishment anyone on this list has (nothing will ever beat the image of Cam’ron breaking Stephon Marbury’s ankles).

5. Quavo

God bless and protect Quavious Keyate Marshall, for there is nothing he cannot do well. Not only is the Migos rapper one of the hottest names in all of hip-hop, but he might be the best athlete. Unlike the other names on this list, there is no known evidence of Quavo playing in any organized league, which is the reason he’s not number 1, but recent videos floating around the internet show that he is no stranger to the game by any means. He’s essentially the equivalent to that raw European player that no one in America knows about, but there’s hella highlight reels of him outmatching the hell of his competition (see: Kristaps Porzingis). Earlier this year, the hook god was seen outlasting fellow Migos member Offset, Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner, and Chance The Rapper in a game of knockout, he embarrassed Tory Lanez in one-on-one, he’s showed off his handles in a team pickup game, and now just this past week, he was seen balling up with Arizona prospect and son of Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal. He might be the biggest risk since he does not necessarily have the same experience as everyone on this list, but I think it’s safe to say he has the most upside in this draft class.

 

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Top 10 Artists To See at Soundset 2017

posted by Alberto May 24, 2017

The premier Hip Hop festival in Minnesota and in our opinion, the best in the country, is only days away and we are really excited to be making our 4th trip to officially cover Soundset. As always, the festival provides a great combination of legends, current stars and stars of the future all in one lineup. Below are our top 10 acts we are looking forward to seeing rock a Soundset stage.

Thinking of making the trip to Soundset’s 10th Anniversary and don’t have tickets yet? You still have time to cop some HERE. Don’t tweak. Continue Reading

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12 Chicago Artists To See at SXSW 2017

posted by Oscar March 11, 2017

It’s the most…. wonderful time… of the yeeeeear! SXSW is back, and we couldn’t be more pumped to attend again this. For as much as we make sure to take full advantage of this festival every year to discover new sounds and find new bands to follow, we always make time to show some love to our favorite Chicago acts playing down in ATX.

So if you’re going to be in Austin, Texas this coming week to attend the massive festival, these are the artists from our hometown that you definitely need to check out. This isn’t all of them (and it’s definitely not the only ones we’ll be catching down in Texas at this festival), but these are the artists we’re definitely not missing out on! Continue Reading

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Dopest Albums of 2016, by Oscar

posted by Oscar December 28, 2016

It’s that time of year again during which we summarize the best music we heard over the last 12 months. Because Pursuit of Dopeness is composed of an eclectic mix of individuals, this is just one in a series of posts for 2016’s Dopest, so keep an eye out for the rest of the team’s lists in which they select their own picks for the best of 2016.

Now, onto my list… This time around it was much easier to figure out my picks as all I had to do was think back at the albums that resonated with me the most, and by unintended coincidence, these just so happened to be the limited albums that I actually downloaded to my phone so I can hear them whenever the moment struck me.

So now that you’re familiar with Alex’s 2016 favorites, hit the jump and find out my picks for the dopest sounds that filled my airwaves in 2016! Continue Reading

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Dopest Albums of 2016, From Alex

posted by Alex December 26, 2016

As this year comes to a close and lists are brought up, I can’t help but to think of the music projects that shaped my year and made my year so much better. After looking at my list of top albums of 2016, I came to the conclusion that I was more focused on different sounds as well as where each artist’s head was at in the making of their particular project. Yes, The Life of Pablo and Coloring Book are a couple of the top albums of the year, but I’m different and these following works of art have gotten me through this weird 2016. Check em out!

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Dopest Videos of 2016

posted by Oscar December 22, 2016

This year-end list takes aim at the best visuals of 2016. The music was already great as is, but these are the music videos that made you check out the song on YouTube instead of Spotify and Apple Music (TIDAL, if you’re down with them).

So look below for our list of the Dopest Videos of 2016, with artists like Chance The Rapper, Kanye West, David Bowie, and more. Continue Reading

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Top 5 Artists We Want To See at Freaky Deaky + After-Party Announcements

posted by Alberto October 25, 2016

freaky-deaky-2016

It feels like only yesterday we were attending Freaky Deaky 2015 watching performances from the likes of 2 Chainz, Logic, A-Trak, Pretty Lights, Joey Bada$$ and many others. Freaky Deaky 2016 is upon us this upcoming weekend and we are excited to see tons of great acts at Toyota Park. Below we have listed the top 5 acts we would like to see this year.

Don’t have tickets for the fest yet? You can still pick up some passes HERE. Interested in attending an after-party? React has you covered with plenty of shows to check out after the festivities rap up each day at Toyota Park. Check out the list of parties and links to buy tickets to those parties HERE.

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