[Photos] Vic Mensa at Chicago’s Vic Theatre

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Vic Mensa returned to his hometown after his headlining show at Lollapalooza last month with his #VicattheVic show at Chicago’s Vic Theatre. But instead of the show being shadowed by the prospect of Kanye being a surprised gust like the Lolla show was, the focus was all on Vic.

Vic started the show with “Dynasty,” the opening track of his EP “There Is A Lot Going On.” He then followed with “16 Shots,” a song detailing the death of Laquan McDonald. During the performance, Vic is apprehended by actors dressed like cops and acts out the death of Laquan McDonald. After being shot, Vic body lies still as he continues to be shot. Narration details what happened the night of McDonald’s shooting.

The video shows Laquan walking southbound down the middle of Pulaksi. There are squad cars visible in front of him and also squad cars behind him. The shooter’s squad car is visible as it drives past Laquan. Two officers then exit that vehicle with their guns drawn. At that point, Laquan begins to look away from the officers at a southwest angle toward the sidewalk. When Laquan is about 12 to 15 feet away from the officers, the width of an entire lane of the southbound traffic, one officer begins shooting. Laquan immediately spins to the ground and the video clearly shows that the officer continues to shoot Laquan, multiple times, as he lays in the street. 16 seconds pass from the time Laquan hits the ground until the last visible puff of smoke rises from his torso area. An officer then approaches Laquan, stands over him and appears to shout something as he kicks the knife out of his hand

The concert also included other political statements. His song “Free Love” was about accepting all love and “Shades of Blue” was about the Flint water crisis.

The show also included a guest appearance from Joey Purp and they performed “773 Freestyle.”

He ended the night with the title track of “There’s A lot Going On,” a song about the highs and lows of the past few years. Vic climbed the top of the platform on the stage, overlooking the crowd. For a city with a lot going on, Vic Mensa might be the beacon of hope it needs.

Check out pics from the show below.

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My Picks for the BET 2016 Hip Hop Awards

BET announced its nominees for the BET Hip Hop Awards. Unlike the BET Awards in the summer that highlights black excellence in various field, this only focuses on Hip-Hop.  Below are my choices.What’s yours?

Best Hip-Hop Video

2 Chainz – “Watch Out”

Desiigner – “Panda”

DJ Khaled F/ Jay Z & Future – “I Got the Keys”

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Fat Joe & Remy Ma F/ French Montana & Infared – “All the Way Up”

Kanye West F/ Rihanna – “Famous”

I said this before with the VMA’s: Drake’s video made a huge song monumental. The video was released last fall and it still has tons of memes going around.

Best Collabo, Duo or Group

DJ Khaled F/ Drake – “For Free”

DJ Khaled F/ Jay Z & Future – “I Got the Keys”

Drake & Future – “Jumpman”

Drake F/ Wizkid & Kyla – “One Dance”

Fat Joe & Remy Ma F/ French Montana & Infared – “All the Way Up”

It was a bit hard to choose between “One Dance” and “Jumpman.” I think “One Dance” is a bigger song; however, I don’t think that it’s known for its collaborators.  I think “Jumpman” is the best Drake/Future collab song, and the best collaboration of the year.

Best Live Performer

Drake

Future

J. Cole

Kanye West

Kendrick Lamar

I’ve actually seen all of these people live, and it’s hard to choose. I would say for this year, it would be Kendrick Lamar. His Grammy performance was incredible, and his tour for “To Pimp a Butterfly” in small, intimate settings was something different for such a major act.

Lyricist of the Year

Chance the Rapper

Drake

J. Cole

Kanye West

Kendrick Lamar

I’ve been a huge Chance fan for years. But I do think this year, with his mixtape “Coloring Book” and his work on “Life of Pablo,” I think he definitely deserves this.

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom

Colin Tilley

Director X

Hype Williams

Kanye West

Director X directs video for a lot of different genres, and he directed my video pick of the year, “Hotline Bling.”

DJ of the Year

DJ Drama

DJ Envy

DJ Esco

DJ Khaled

DJ Mustard

DJ Khaled basically owned this year with Snapchat. That led to several endorsement deals, him touring with Beyonce and eventually his first number one album.

Producer of the Year

DJ Mustard

Dr. Dre

Metro Boomin

Mike WiLL Made-It

Pharrell Williams

Metro Boomin has been working with Future for some time, but with his work on “What A Time To Be Alive” and “Life of Pablo” made his the topic of conversation.

MVP of the Year

DJ Khaled

Drake

Future

Kanye West

Kendrick Lamar

This is a hard one, because I feel like they all deserve this.  Write in vote for Chance The Rapper though.

Track of the Year

“All the Way Up” – Produced By Cool & Dre and Edsclusive (Fat Joe & Remy Ma F/ French Montana & Infared)

“Controlla” – Produced By BOI-1DA (Drake)

“Hotline Bling” – Produced By Nineteen85 (Drake)

“I Got the Keys” – Produced By Southside (DJ Khaled F/ Jay Z & Future)

“Panda” – Produced By Menace (Desiigner)

I assume this is based on the beat and production, since they show the producer. I would say Panda, because the track is on two huge songs, “Panda” itself and “Father Stretch My Arms Pt. 2.”

Album of the Year

DJ Khaled – I Changed A Lot

Dr. Dre – Compton

Drake – Views

Fetty Wap – Fetty Wap

Future –DS2

Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

Even though I’m a huge Drake fan, I’m not into “Views” as an entire album. I thought “Life of Pablo” was a great project for Kanye, it’s featured radio friendly songs like “My Dark Twisted Fantasy” did, but also also featured the industrial production elements of “Yeezus.”

Best New Hip-Hop Artist

Anderson .Paak

Bryson Tiller

Chance the Rapper

Desiigner

Tory Lanez

I wouldn’t consider Chance The Rapper to be a new hip hop artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel like this year he has become more commercially known. I do enjoy all the pics for the category go, and I really like Anderson .Paak’s “Malibu” and Bryson Tiller’s “TRAPSOUL.”

Hustler of the Year

DJ Khaled

Drake

Future

Jay Z

Kanye West

I think DJ Khaled stepped up his career is such an unconventional way with Snapchat. He’s very consistent on Snapchat, showing sides of himself you haven’t seen before, such as his infinity with flowers and his “elliptical talk.” Because of his hustle, the key emoji is synonymous with DJ Khaled.

My Picks for the VMA’s 2016

The Video Music Awards are one of my favorite award shows because of the simple, yet complex fact that is one of the few ones that I still watch in its entirety live. Depending on what I have going on, sometimes I just watch the highlight on awards show the next day, or passively watch a show while I’m doing other things. However, with just how unpredictable celebrities are at the VMA’s, its a show I make sure to watch live. 

The VMA are voted on my fans, and below are my picks. For a lot of the categories, I could have picked multiple winner. But here are my initial, gut choices that just based off what I liked this year.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Formation”

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Justin Bieber – “Sorry”

Kanye West – “Famous”

This was a hard, and a bit controversial choice for me to pick “Hotline Bling.”  I feel like “Formation” made such a statement about black lives. “Famous” was intersting artisically  because of how detailed the wax figures were. However, “Hotline Bling” as a music video was the best of the year to me. It was so meme-able and the colors were so vibrant, just judging as a music video this year, I would consider it the best.

BEST FEMALE VIDEO

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Hold Up”

Sia – “Cheap Thrills”

Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

When judging a music video, a lot of the times I’m judging how visually appealing it is.  And that yellow dress  in “Hold Up” is just a feast for the eyes man. I love vibrancy and great cinematography in a video, and while I thought “Into You” is a very pretty video, I think “Hold Up” is a better pick.

BEST MALE VIDEO

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”

Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”

Kanye West – “Famous”

The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”

You might wonder why picked “Famous” over “Hotline Bling,” since I already choose “Hotline Bling” as Video of The Year.  Just because you are selected Video of the Year doens’t mean you have to win all categories.  I choose “Famous” for best male video just because of the attention to detail on the wax figure, and the overall commentary on fame, which I felt matched well with the song.

BEST COLLABORATION

Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”

Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign – “Work From Home”

Ariana Grande ft. Lil Wayne – “Let Me Love You”

Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”

Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

I liked that this dance song was set at a dance party. I think the environment of a hot, sweaty party defintely matched the song.

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

Desiigner – “Panda”

Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”

Chance The Rapper ft. Saba – “Angels”

2 Chainz – “Watch Out”

I love Chance. I love the positive song. I love how this is the celebration of the video and is based on a mural in Chicago. Simple as that.

BEST POP VIDEO

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Formation”

Justin Bieber – “Sorry”

Alessia Cara – “Wild Things”

Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Is “Formation” a pop song? No. But with the choreography and the various settings I would consider this the best pop video out of the choices.

BEST ROCK VIDEO

All Time Low – “Missing You”

Coldplay – “Adventure Of A Lifetime”

Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato – “Irresistible”

twenty one pilots – “Heathens”

Panic! At The Disco – “Victorious

I liked how the video was a nod to NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me.”  Also, the makeup is incredible.

BEST ELECTRONIC VIDEO

Calvin Harris & Disciples – “How Deep Is Your Love”

99 Souls ft. Destiny’s Child & Brandy – “The Girl Is Mine”

Mike Posner – “I Took A Pill In Ibiza”

Afrojack – “SummerThing!”

The Chainsmokers ft. Daya – “Don’t Let Me Down”

I just love the song. I think its cool in the video how she wakes up in different scenarios.  I feel like being caught up in the music is something that definitely happens with dance and electronic music, so I think its a good fit.

BREAKTHROUGH LONG FORM VIDEO

Florence + The Machine – The Odyssey

Beyoncé – Lemonade

Justin Bieber – PURPOSE: The Movement

Chris Brown – Royalty

Troye Sivan – Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy

There is obviously no question about it. Although she did a visual album before with “Beyonce” I fee like I enjoyed that this long form video told a cohesive story from beginning to end.

BEST NEW ARTIST

Presented by Taco Bell®

Bryson Tiller

Desiigner

Zara Larsson

Lukas Graham

DNCE

I love “TRAP SOUL” and the visuals that he put out for the album. If his wins at the BET awards are any indication, he will be taking this one home.

President Obama releases Summer ’16 playlist

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Presidents: They’re just like us

President Obama (I’m so going to miss saying that) released his second annual summer playlist today.  He announced the release via Twitter, tweeting

“Drop this.” “The Encore.”  Why do you speak so normal, Barry? Why are you so relatable, and now accessible by making this playlist on Spotify? Why are you leaving me (do not blame constitutional reasons Bar). Your excellent music is making this separation even harder.

I believe that Obama made this playlist compared to having a press contact make it, because honestly this is way too, what many press people would carefully say “urban,” to be made in a long think tank meeting.  The song choices are also cohesive enough that it seems like it reflects an actual person’s music taste.

I like that the playlist consists of both older and new music. It also includes deep album cuts and not just singles. But the best part of the playlist is that their is a day and a night version.

The day playlist is full of motivational, upbeat songs. The choice that stood out for me is “So Ambitous” from Jay Z’s “Blueprint 3” from 2009. I know the Obama is a Jay Z fan, so that’s not suprising, but to pick one of the strongest songs from one of his weakest albums was interesting. The song is also pretty unapologetic and doing what you want to do, which with his mic drop this year defintely goes along with that theme.
The night playlist is basically a vibe out playlist. This is my favorite one out of the two.  It features a lot of songs that I love chilling and being in all of my feelings for, such as Janet Jacskon “I get Lonely” and  Mary J. Blige/Method. He choose Chance The Rapper’s “Acid Rain” a deep cut from “Acid Rap,” instead of a super popular track from the just released “Coloring Book”  I also love that he closed out the playlist with Floetry’s “Say Yes” and I bashfully believe that a wink to Michelle.

Listen to the two playlists below.

[Photos] Bastille’s Lollapalooza After Show at The Vic Theatre

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Bastille performed a Lollapalooza after party show in Chicago at The Vic Theatre. Getting the crowd ready their Lollapalooza performance, Bastille played songs off their old album “Bad Blood” and their upcoming album “Wild World.” Check out pictures of the performance below and click here to see previous pictures of Bastille performing in Chicago.

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