This weekend, Chicago made an ode to hip hop. Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day concert sold out U.S. Cellular Field for the first time in history. Followed by Common’s annual Aahh! Fest, supporting charities such as Donda’s House and the Common Ground Foundation aimed to empower, educate black youth and influential artists that inspire the community. Both Chicago natives graced our city with two different festivals but had one unifying message – celebrate the essence of hip hop, the city and community.
On Sunday, Union Park was filled with hip hop enthusiasts like myself flocking from local food trucks while Bronzeville native Sir The Baptist and neo-soul band The Internet warmed up the stage for Aahh! Fest. Common paid tribute to his old neighborhood and stomping grounds such as Harold’s Chicken Shack on 87th – also present as a food truck. Followed by a performance featuring Bilal, as the crowd got lost in his SOUL-try notes. All of Common’s nostalgic moments made the crowd fall in love with Chicago all over again. He paid homage to timeless artists such as Ice Cube, R. Kelly and The Roots who were also apart of the all-star line up that hit the stage. The crowd raised their peace signs high as Common and Black Thought from the Roots transformed the stage to the early 90’s with their classic ode to hip hop, “Act Too (love of my life).”
“16 shots”, a heavy 808 beat wrapped around socially conscious lyrics performed by Chicago’s own Vic Mensa revealed the harsh reality of gun violence encountered by young African-Americans in the same neighborhoods he grew up in. Jeremih, R.Kelly and local artists such as Matt Muse – Global Mixx Summit Scholarship recipient and Donda House youth participant – brought a warm and fuzzy feeling to the crowd as they hit the stage wearing Chicago as their heart on their sleeves. So much talent reigns from Chicago and continues to inspire a community of rising artists who want to follow in their footsteps.
Just before headliner and rapper J. Cole closed out the night with a set of classics such as “Love Yourz” & “A Tale of Two Cities”, Common free-styled to, “I met this girl when I was ten years old. And what I loved most she had so much soul,” better known as his 90’s hip hop classic, “I Used To Love H.E.R.” Common also recognized Laquan McDonald to Philando Castile – all African-American victims of gun violence imposed by police brutality. “We’re going to write a new story,” yelled Common to the crowd after easing into his new single “Black America Again.”
Join me next year in what will be another amazing movement!
Missed Aahh Fest this year? Learn more and get involved here: http://www.aahhfest.com/#hometop
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