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Tristan Stefan Edouard

Rewind: G-Eazy's Endless Summer Tour Brings The Hits To Chicago

A night to remember.

G-Eazy has been on the road nonstop this year. After wrapping up his Beautiful & The Damned Tour with Trippie Redd, Anthony Russo, and Phora, the Oakland native is now embarking his Endless Summer Tour featuring Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign, YBN Nahmir, Murda Beatz, and P-Lo. The “No Limit” rapper made a stop at Chicago's Huntington Bank Pavilion for an incredibly wild Tuesday (Aug. 15) evening. The tone and energy were set from the moment the YBN crew could be heard and seen near the box office on a small fleet of dirt bikes, riding around the outdoor venue.

Aside from the packed-out venue full of ungodly priced drinks (water included!), warm weather, and noticeably skewed racial dynamics between the workers and the concert attendees (another story for another time), an army of rabid, yet pleasant fans who were ready to see young Gerald rock the house once again. The city of Chicago offered a fitting backdrop to celebrate his ongoing string of “Ws” as, by his account, he’s been performing across the city since his early days. In fact, some of his fans who attended the show watched him gradually work his way from performing at minor in-store appearances “with only 10 people,” and small, intimate venues in Northside Chi, to large-scale festivals like Lollapalooza and bigger settings such as the Aragon Ballroom.

“I don’t know if any of you all know how much I’m in love with your city and respect I have for it, but the first show I ever played at was at Leaders for an in-store performance of, like 10 people or some shit,” he reflected before the red-hot crowd. “Then I remember coming back and playing at Schubas, then later on playing at Aragon Ballroom a bunch of times, Lollapalooza twice. You realize this is one of the greatest cities on the planet!”

And while he kept fans on their toes the whole night with stunning visual effects and a passionate stage presence, it took a minute for most of the young crowd to bring that same energy throughout, despite performances ranging from solid to amazing.

First up on the opener's circuit was the HBK Gang affiliate P-Lo who was fully charged up from the get-go. The San Francisco native hopped out to “No Idea” from his latest release, Prime and went on give solid and hype performances of songs like “Feel Good” and “Put Me on Something”. While most of the fans near the front and upper middle of the pit were rocking heavily to his jams, others from the lower middle section in the back weren’t quite as familiar as most were still mingling and getting snacks (because, of course, Chicagoans make entertainers work for their attention).

Eventually, attendees caught on to the vibe, thanks to P-Lo’s highly-energetic work rate and ongoing interactions with his the fans in the crowd. He even stopped to have a hearty swig of a fan’s gigantic cup of a Bud Light Straw-Ber-Rita.
From there, it led to P-Lo’s fun and spirited performance of “Same Squad” where he had fans grab their best friend and move from side to side while doing the same with his DJ. His set was lit and this certainly was not the last anyone would see of him during the show.

After a brief intermission, Birmingham, Ala.’s rising sensation YBN Nahmir came out the gate swinging with his viral banger, “Rubbin’ Off The Paint” followed by his booming “Bail Out” during his set. From there, he continued to have the crowd rocking by paying homage to the incarcerated Tay-K with “The Race (remix)”, complete with colorful, glittery digital graphics which changed with every song.

When YBN Almighty Jay arrived, draped in his mini-bike gear (which from afar looked more like a bulletproof vest one didn’t catch them on their bikes earlier) he went on to showcase his catalog of bops like “Chopsticks”, the glossy “2 Tone Drip”, and high-octane rapid-fire duet with YBN Nahmir “No Hook”. And with the lingering controversy with the infamous Chicago Police Department and their recent instances of police brutality, the entire YBN gang took a moment to have the crowd put their middle fingers in the air and having them yell, “when I say f**k, y'all say 12!” leading into the somewhat related, “Changes.” After announcing they’ve hit 110 million views on YouTube, P-Lo got back on stage to party with the gang once again, before they abruptly closed their set.

The baby-faced crew had a solid stage presence and a performance quality that was better than what some purists would like to believe, however, after YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay each performed their biggest hits, the overall energy began to hit an inconsistent wave of dying down, to picking back up and so on, likely because of the lack of familiarity rather than anything related to their noticeable effort.

N The Night 🌌 #YBNmixtape #Sept7 🍽

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The gold and platinum plaque studded producer Murda Beatz was initially a head-scratcher after a glance at the lineup due to A. being a very strong producer/beatmaker who, as a personality, lacks a similar captivating star power, presence, and charisma as DJ Khaled who has a similar style of performance. And B. one would be a poor fool to believe would bring out his A-List clientele like Drake, 2 Chainz, Nicki Minaj, and especially 6ix9ine for obvious reasons. However, the Canadian hitmaker, whose wrist was dripping with the shiniest diamonds, showed and proved and by delivering a fun set by having the crowd rock out to a string of hits like 6IXN9NE’s “FeFe,” “M&Ms” with Blac Youngsta and Offset, and even A$AP Ferg’s “Work.” He and his fellow hype men kept the crowd moving with his booming production while shooting “Murda Gang” branded water guns into the fired-up crowd.

Murda also took a moment to unveil his newest member of his Murda Gang crew, Chicago artist Lil Geno, who performed his tracks “Finessin” and “Hit Me a Lick.” Unfortunately, the predominantly white crowd wasn’t quite hip to him and didn’t catch on despite his commendable performance. However, a memorable moment occurred when he was christened as an official member of the squad when they stopped to deliver the announcement and fit him with a dripping gold medallion a la Kanye West/Roc-A-Fella style.

Things continued to remain a bit flat when he transitioned to two of his songs, a Smokepurrp collab from the Bless Yo Trap tape and a Trippie Redd melody which made his set a bit dull, but it turned around immediately when he went into an even more explosive string of his biggest hits like Migos' “Walk It Talk It” and “Motorsport” where he had the ladies sing every word of Cardi B’s scene-stealing verse, and of course the crowd-pleasing anthems from Drake “Nice For What” and “God’s Plan.” Despite a few misses, Murda Beatz gave a solid set that kept the party going.

After entering to the sounds of “Paranoia,” Ty Dolla $ign went on to deliver a sultry, rock star performance that had the fans going insane by performing jams like “Pineapple” and “Missionary.” But the Taylor Gang heavyweight managed to have some fun in between alongside TeeCee 400. During his set, he even took a moment to show love to the city and pay homage to the late Drill music icon, Fredo Santana.

 

The longtime YG and DJ Mustard collaborator practically blew the roof off when he gave a shirtless, rock star performance of Post Malone’s “Psycho” (which he wrote), where he delivered such a high-quality performance making fans wish he kept it for himself. Afterward, Ty closed out with the most interactive performance of the night, singing “Or Nah”. But what made this stand out the hardest was when he got off stage and walked throughout most of the pavilion (with security in tow) and continued singing within the crowd while being chased by a pack of young women. It was the finishing touch to make his set a glorious one.

Shortly after Ty Dolla $ign's set, a newly blond-haired G-Eazy unveiled himself from the shadows and behind a double door with blinding light behind him. With the Holy Cross appearing across the multiple monitors among other brightly lit graphics, he wasted no time performing the compelling and electrifying “Pray for Me,” followed by songs like “The Plan,” “Sober," and “Eazy,” each with passionate conviction. One can’t help but be glued to the stage.

What’s different about this his Endless Summer Tour set up compared to his The Beautiful and Damned Tour is how the stunning visual effects complimented the show. Each set had an over-the-top and immersive effect matched with the right lighting that specifically complimented each song. G-Eazy brought out the engulfing fire and brimstone during his dark alluring performance of “The Beautiful and Damned,” the inner workings of the internet with web pages, emojis of himself, and random cameos of the Lil B’s Twitter avatar during “That’s A Lot,” and even took us to the basketball court with the Yo Gotti and YBN Nahmir assisted “1942.” And what made it spectacular was how Gerald didn't lean on the effects as he delivered his passionate set. He amplified the emotional impact and value of every song, creating many deeply immersive moments (even the “thunderstorm” introduction before one of his songs felt eerily realistic.)

G-Eazy wasn’t selfish with the spotlight as he brought out YBN Nahmir to perform his verse from “1942,” Murda Beatz who joined him on top of an old school Ford Mustang on “Goddamn” during the second act of the show, and once again, P-Lo to perform their each of their popping duets, “Feel Good”, “Light This Bi**h Up”, and “Power” sans Nef The Pharaoh. And like Eazy himself, there were no slouches on stage; they helped make his set an enjoyable one.

But just when (some) fans thought it was a wrap, he came right back to give fans a powerhouse performance of his biggest hits like the Halsey-assisted, “Him and I.” While performing “No Limit,” Gerald brought out hip-hop lawyer Steven Reisman aka $2 Dollar Steve to the help shower fans in the pit with cash as the ladies sang Cardi B’s verse.

While Lil Uzi Vert was sorely missed from the show, the Endless Summer Tour was an enjoyable evening of electrifying performers matched with dazzling effects and good vibes. Casual music fans and those who aren’t as familiar with G-Eazy’s music appeared to enjoy themselves as well.

If you’ve experienced the Beautiful & Damned Tour, you may not want to miss the Endless Summer Tour.

READ MORE: G-Eazy's Beautiful & Damned Tour Reveals Beauty Of The Grey Area 

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Devi Love and Charlamagne tha God attend AfroTech 2019 at Oakland Marriott City Center on November 08, 2019 in Oakland, California.
Robin L Marshall/Getty Images for AfroTech

At AfroTech, Black Tech Innovators Ban Together To Make Their Voices Heard

Entrepreneur Delane Parnell made history last year after his esports software company PlayVS raised $15 million for its Series-A funding round, making it the largest Series-A ever raised by a Black founder in consumer internet. In September of this year PlayVS, which provides a platform for competitive high school esports competitions, again made headlines when it announced that it raised an additional $81 million in funding from a group of notable investors that included Adidas, Samsung, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over the course of 15 months, the company raised a combined total of $96 million in funding to expand the business and a 27-year-old Parnell, who serves as the company’s CEO, became one of the most talked-about Black founders in tech.

During a time when only 1 percent of venture capital funding is going to Black founders and only 0.2 percent of venture capital funding is going to Black women founders, Parnell’s recent success represents an anomaly in the tech startup world. Despite a major increase in press concerning the lack of access and opportunities that Black founders in tech receive and an incredible growth in minority-focused venture capital funds and resources, the PlayVS founder remains a part of a small but growing crop of Black millennial tech founders that have created innovative business solutions so desirable that even the predominantly white-male dominated tech world has been forced to recognize and support them.

Blavity Inc. Founder and CEO Morgan DeBaun is also a member of this burgeoning class of Black millennial startup founders making noise in the industry. Last year, Blavity Inc., which owns Black millennial media and event platforms Blavity, Shadow and Act, Travel Noire, 21 Ninety, AfroTech, and Summit 21, raised a $6.5 million Series-A funding round and grew the company from one office and 30 employees to two offices and over 80 employees. DeBaun, who founded media company Blavity Inc. in 2014 with her three co-founders Jonathan Jackson, Jeff Nelson and Aaron Samuels, is vocal about the struggles not only Black tech founders face but the ones Black tech employees experience working at large white tech companies. Last month, DeBaun once again had a platform to speak on these issues during Blavity’s fourth annual AfroTech Conference, a tech conference geared toward Black millennial founders.

 

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#AfroTech has information and knowledge for everyone. You can find advice from other founders, VCs to pitch your company to, or the tech talent you may need to get your idea going. Don't miss out on new connections that can help you succeed. #linkinbio #careeropportunities #careergoals #venturecapitalist #founders

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AfroTech was created in 2016 as an event to highlight Black tech innovators and provide more opportunities and information for them to succeed. The first three years of the conference took place in San Francisco, Calif., the U.S. epicenter of technology startups. This year, the festival was moved to Oakland, Calif., a strategic move meant to honor a city with a rich Black history and patronize the small Black businesses, that despite aggressive gentrification, are still operating today. During the second weekend of November, Downtown Oakland hosted 10,000 Black tech innovators from around the U.S. looking to form meaningful connections, learn from one another, and celebrate the rising profile of Black people in tech.

One of AfroTech’s primary missions is to address the lack of information Black millennials have about the technology industry. The dozens of high-profile guest speakers, which included Parnell, The ShadeRoom founder Angelica Nwandu, lawyer and political commentator Angela Rye, and media personality Charlamagne Tha God, were carefully selected to provide Black founders, college students, and employees access to knowledge that would better equip them to lead successful tech careers. Across four different stages, speakers shared their experiences and advice on venture capital funding, coding, the cannabis industry, media, and blockchain.

“We don’t always have the vocabulary to frame our success so that we can have opportunities like getting venture capital,” DeBaun tells VIBE prior to taking the main stage at day one of AfroTech. “Part of AfroTech is creating information so that people know how to talk about what they are already doing. We don’t have to change much besides just the vocabulary and breaking down some of the biases we have been taught about ourself.”

Although knowledge plays a big part in enabling Black people in tech to receive greater opportunities, a supportive and well-connected network pipeline is another key factor necessary to fuel the group’s success. In tech, warm introductions and word of mouth rivals technical skills and ability during the job selection process. Ivy League and country club connections make it difficult for non-white people to penetrate the exclusive tech veil. A harsh reality that new diversity and inclusion departments and new executives are apparently working hard to change.

 

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Reports revealed #Al's discriminatory instincts — including mislabeling Black people as gorillas — are only getting worse. What can we do to improve the future of artificial intelligence and remedy the tech industry's diversity problem? #Tech #Afrotech #Al #artificialintelligence

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“Unfortunately we have been trained to have a mindset of deficit, that we can be one of only,” says DeBaun about the lack of representation in tech spaces. “The vision of AfroTech is that we show that it’s an abundance, it’s unlimited potential, unlimited power. So if you have access you should give it to someone else. That’s your duty and your responsibility because you wouldn’t have gotten here if someone hadn’t given you access most likely. AfroTech is actually designed to try to speed that up.”

AfroTech’s socialization component may be the most valuable part of the weekend. Dozens of high-profile tech companies from Google to Twitter, Lyft to YouTube, sent representatives to set up booths to recruit potential job candidates and share valuable information about its diversity efforts. Diversity-focused venture capital firms like Harlem Capital Partners and Precursor Ventures were also engaged with founders and swapped business cards during the conference’s designated networking periods. For Black people who did not attend an Ivy League school or grow up with a country club membership, these moments provided a valuable and direct pipeline to the world’s largest companies.

AfroTech’s opportunities for connection and knowledge distribution did not simply end once the conference did. The AfroTech app, website, and Slack channel have continued to provide helpful resources and opportunities for Black people in tech to communicate with one another. With platforms like AfroTech, Black Women Talk Tech, Black Girls Code and Black Founders, Black people in tech are provided with opportunities to not only empower themselves in this industry but support and empower other Black people in the process.

 

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"A lot of the opportunities I have is because I invited myself instead of waiting to be invited. I don’t often wait for people to validate whether or not I should be in the room. I make that decision myself. In this world, you can’t be afraid of “no” or “sorry, I can’t help you”. You let that be fuel to keep going no matter what. 👊🏾" - @carterlove⠀ ⠀ We found this story in our mentions and just had to reshare these inspirational vibes! We know many #BlacksInTech can wait forever to "be invited" to the table, so it's so important to be the change and invite ourselves! ✊🏾Or better yet, make our own 💁🏾.⠀ ⠀ What are some ways you invite yourself to opportunities? Let's talk about it!👇🏾

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Solange Uses Her Divine Spirit To Calm The Mind And Body For "Bridge-s" Performance Piece

There's a serene feeling over the bodies standing in the iconic architecture at the Getty Center Museum. Jazzy horns, peaceful keys, and crisp guitar riffs gently interrupt the soothing silence as dancers dripped in marigold threads swayed to "Counting," a composition created by Solange. A series of odd numbers like "5", "7" and "9" are recited on a loop by half of her dancers while the others chant "6", "4" and "2." It's just a preview of her latest creation Bridge-s but felt like a dynamic meditation.

Bridge-s brings yet another magnetic piece into her series of interdisciplinary works that spawned after the release of her magnum opus, A Seat At The Table. The world was introduced to Solange's artistic side thanks to performance art pieces at the Guggenheim in New York and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Composed by Solange and choreographed by Gerard & Kelly, Bridge-s was created with the pillars, beams, and columns around the museum in mind. Dancers and the orchestra used the space to their advantage, with tuba players catching the peripheral of attendees from afar.

Four rollouts will take place November 16-17, curated with a selection of films that include Black to Techno by Jenn Nkiru, AFRONAUTS and Boneshaker by Nuotama Bodomo, The State of Things by singer-songwriter Kish Robinson (Kilo Kish) and more. In its entirety, Bridge-s was designed to explore "transitions through time."

This was felt throughout the performance piece as dancers move with the intent of love, internal struggle, and unity. In a stunning zine designed by Sablā Stays, Gerard & Kelly shared the emphasis behind their modernist and inclusive approach.

"Our work, like hers, is part of an interdisciplinary effort throughout the arts and humanities to redefine modernism by critically engaging its prevailing narratives. By accounting for differences of gender, sexuality, and race. By focusing on intimate and collective histories. By centering our work around the body, dance and movement," they said.

Solange also opened up about the importance the museum and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg played in the performance piece. "Both Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Getty Museum have sure strong distinctive voices spatially, and so the intention is that all of the work, the movement, the language, the songs all align with those principles," she said. "Working with Gerard and Kelly, who share many of the same philosophies on their approach to interpreting time and space through performance has really built the foundation [for] the spirit of this collaboration."

Like the rest of us, the artist watched closely the dancers glide across the floor, while bandmembers release enchanting sonnets with vocalists dropping a few high notes in between. Guests like Thundercat (and his Pikachu backpack), Kilo Kish, Dev Hynes of Blood Orange and Tyler, The Creator were also left speechless after the performance.

“I just want to thank you guys for allowing me the space to evolve, experiment and express new frontiers,” Solange said to the crowd after the assembly provided endless cheers.

Learn more about Bridge-s and get free tickets here.

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Scott Legato

Rick Ross' ‘Port Of Miami 2 Tour' Is Motivation To Hustlers Far And Wide

“I can spot a millionaire—from the guy working at the carwash,” Rick Ross said to a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on his “Port of Miami 2 Tour.” “He got the rag hanging out of his pocket, to the way he rock his [pants]. I see the millionaire in him,” Rozay continued.

For nearly two hours on Tuesday (Oct. 15), the MMG bawse galvanized the hustler’s spirit, thanks to the preciseness of words used to explain his “came from the bottom” narrative combined with first hand accounts of the imperative mental spaces that dope boys experience.

But before Rozay graced the stage at the Gramercy Theatre, MMG’s baby boomer Yowda entertained the crowd for a brief set before passing the mic to lifelong MMG soldier Gunplay.

Rocking a black Dickies outfit, the Triple C member, who has been vocal about his cocaine addiction, stormed the stage with coke-like energy while mouthing lyrics to his sobering verse from “The Great Americans,” a song from MMG’s Self Made, Vol. 3.

Gunplay, who was actually born in the Bronx, nimbly bounced across the stage like a point-guard maneuvering through defense closed out his set with his under-the-radar street classics “Blood on the Dope,” “Bible on the Dash,” and his verse from Waka Flacka’s “Rolling.”

With marijuana smoke clouding the venue, liquor relaxing some concert-goers, and the clock inching toward 9:15 p.m., Rozay slowly walked toward the center of the stage—indirectly egging on the standing ovation by confidently nodding his head. Lex Luger’s “B.M.F.” instrumental blasted from the speakers for what seemed like minutes before the Dade County native dived into his verses.

The motivational concert commenced with the words: “I think I’m Big Meech, Larry Hoover,” here Ross is claiming his declaration to be financially independent---probably his No. 1 goal in life.

Less than two minutes into the start of Rozay’s set, The L.O.X.’s Styles P surprised the crowd by appearing onstage to deliver his verse from “B.M.F,” which was followed by ”Good Times (I Get High).” Surprises continued when Jadakiss appeared on stage to help his partner-in-rhyme run through their classic, “We Gonna Make It.”

 

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Elite Mc’ing last night with @richforever . #Dblock #Lox #NYC

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After working up a sweat, a slimmer-looking Ross shedded his beige designer trench jacket. Dressed in all white—like the cocaine money that he raps about—with shining jewels wrapped around his neck and wrists, Ross played the visual representation of success to kids from every coast.

Ross proceeded the show with his get-money classics like “I’m Not a Star,” where when he rapped: “Nine for the slice, dummy that’s a Dan Marino/Talking quarterbacks, meaning talking quarter kilos,” concert-goers enthusiasm seemed to max-out as they rapped with words with Ross.

After performing a list of favorites like “Aston Martin Music” and “Hustlin’,” the Box Chevy anthem that set the rapper’s career in motion, and “Where My Money (I Need That),” Rozay surprised New Yorkers by inviting Brooklyn native Fabolous onstage.

The Young OG entertained the Gramercy with hits like “Breathe” and “Cuffin Season” before closing his set with his verse from Meek Mill’s “Uptown.”

As the night grew to a close, Ross decided to remind fans that it’s totally fine for hustlers to shed tears. With that, the 43-year-old delivered his masterful verse from Kanye West’s “Devil in a New Dress.”

The place erupted with emotion with lines like “Whole clique appetite had tapeworms/Spinning Teddy Pendergrass vinyl as my J burns/I shed a tear before the night’s over.”

 

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Elite Mc’ing last night with @richforever . #Dblock #Lox #NYC

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Tears continued to fall as Ross ran through the CeeLo Green-assisted “Tears of Joy,” a woeful hip-hop ballad that shows the imperativeness—from a dope boys POV—of financial freedom.

Overall, Rozay’s performance is not filled with animation and routines. His stage presence isn’t as strong as fellow hustler-turned-rappers Jay-Z and Pusha T. However, Ross’ words of encouragement are powerful tools that incites the “give me liberty or death” mentality that birthed the hustlers spirit of America, and birthed America.

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