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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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Cardi B And City Girls Close Out The BET Experience With Black Girl Rap Magic

Hip-hop is the nation’s most popular genre, from underground house parties in New York, where rappers and MCs would display their capabilities through a devilish delivery, worthy of snatching the breath from your body. Over the past thirty years, rappers have ascended into modern-day rock stars; sold out stadium tours, overt interactions with the law, and for City Girls and Cardi B; the assimilation of popular phrases like, “Okurrr”, and “Periodt” into America’s vernacular.

Their cultural influence was felt among concertgoers on Saturday (June 22) at Staples  Center for BET Experience as fans armies like the Bardi Gang and City Girls transformed the venue into an old school kickback, as they went word for word with their favorite rappers.

Snatched waists, icy gold chains, furs, and the occasional twerk from a group of aunties, (they turned BET Experience into a millennial’s version of Girls Trip); featured fashions from the night resembled one of Cardi’s promotional shots for her Fashion Nova campaign. The diverse composition of fans provided evidence about Cardi and City Girls longevity in hip hop, despite claims about the womxn rappers only be worthy of “15 minutes of fame.”

“Hit 'em with that wet wet, I put a ring on it for a check check,” Yung Miami started her twenty-minute set with a live performance of “Soakin Wet “with Atlanta-based rapper Marlo, as fans witnessed the City Girl demanded the stage, twelve days after her pregnancy announcement. Followed by a live performance of “Throw Fits,” a Bounce-inspired summer anthem with G-Eazy, who performed his verse alongside Miami, and gave her a hug, an acknowledgment from the Oakland rapper, who exited the stage, as murmurs of “Act Up” quietly thumped in the background. “Shout out my bad b***hes in b***h! Who got two phones; one for their suga daddy, and one for they shoota. Free JT, QC until I die,”

Miami’s closing statements as she transitioned into the set’s closer, “Act Up.” Decked in a blue satin crop top, and high waisted tiger pants, Miami squashed rumors about her inability to rock the City Girls brand as an expecting mother with a “PERIODT,” and prepped the audience to secure their frontals for Cardi B’s headlining performance.

“I waited my whole life just to s**t on ni***s. Climbed to the top floor so I can spit on ni***s”, the Grammy award-winning rapper proclaimed her seat as one of the hardest working professionals in the game, among a packed stadium, and started her sixty minute set, with a South Bronx energy, that backed her up claims as “King of New York.” From pouring water on herself during “PRESS”, jumping on top of the stage’s speakers for “Money”, and an intermixed medley of throwing ass, twerking, and grinding on stage; her utilization of the stage is reflective of Cardi’s beginnings as a dancer, because every eye in the Staples Center were fixated on the rhythmic movements of Cardi on stage.

“This is for all the bad b***hes in the building. I did it for the bad b***hes, and you ugly a** b***hes too,” as she performed verses from charting singles, such as “No Limit,” “She Bad,” “Money Bag,” “Motorsport,” and “Thotiana.” A solo performance, Cardi’s presence engulfed the arena, and went non-stop in calling out haters in “Wish Wish.”

The self-described “ brightest motherfuckin star,” backed it up with, “All of that talk and I'm calling it out, Public opinions from private accounts, You not a check, then you gotta bounce” from "Clout," her collab with hubby Offset. 

Mixed throughout the set are essential comedic moments from the rapper, such as a little dance to her repeating “I ain’t going to jail. F**k you mean. I ain’t going to jail” after being charged with 14 counts, dancing like an auntie at the cookout to "Finesse," and camp-inspired moments of fake tears to emotional standbys, "Ring" and "Be Careful." The Cardi B experience closed with "Bodak Yellow," the second song to top Billboard Hot 100 since Ms. Lauryn Hill, is a Cinderella ending to Cardi’s show, a living testament to the rapper’s growth and development in the game, since its release date, two years ago.

In the beginning, music industry executives categorized hip hop as a short-lived phenomenon that scheduled to fade away as its content was too explicit and lacked the range to establish fan bases outside of the boroughs of New York. Similar to Cardi and Yung Miami, hip hop’s 15 minutes of fame will never be up, and thirty years in the future, attendees will still be playing the female rapper’s discographies at family cookouts, a testimony to Cardi and City Girls’ longevity.

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Jennifer Lopez performs onstage for herIt's My Party Tour at The Forum on June 07, 2019 in Inglewood, California.
Rich Fury

Jennifer Lopez Throws Her Own Extravagant Birthday Bash For The ‘It’s My Party’ Tour

Two decades ago, Jennifer Lopez made her official foray into music with her debut album On The 6. After heightened success as the star in the 1997 biopic Selena, she released the album — an amalgamation of chart-friendly pop mixed with dance floor-ready R&B and Latin soul — on June 1, 1999. Its title and sonic influences were nods to her roots, specifically the 6 train which runs from her native Bronx to other parts of New York City. On the second night of her sold-out stint at Los Angeles’ The Forum (June 8), the triple threat not only celebrated twenty years of infectious earworms with a two-and-a-half-hour set but hosted a lavish birthday celebration as proof of how far Jenny from the block has come.

A montage of J.Lo’s iconic career opened the show, depicting the former Fly Girl from In Living Color reminiscing on her milestones from humble beginnings to motherhood. “I was just a dancer from New York and I was trying to make it,” she said in the video. That hustle manifested into superstardom as she pumped out albums, tours, movies, fashion and beauty franchises that have kept her brand — and cash flow — from going stagnant.

As a summer-long pregame for her real-life birthday, Lopez set the Party off with a decadent Moët & Chandon champagne bottle parade and 20 dancers in tow (including finalists from her dance show World of Dance, Swing Latino, season two winners The Lab and dancer Briar Nolet). “Everyone’s a VIP member,” her DJ proclaimed as Lopez proceeded to host an extravaganza that could only be described as balling with no budget. With roughly eight wardrobe changes, cinematic vignettes that provided opportune moments to switch ‘fits, elaborate sets, and enough confetti showers to rival New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, Lopez made every attendee feel like it was his or her life’s anniversary, too.

For those still hung up on the 2000s, J.Lo catered to the day-ones with updated versions of her early hits. Her inaugural hit “If You Had My Love” set the mood for a burlesque performance that included a sultry lap dance from her and two dancers for a lucky male audience member. She also worked a hefty, black chaise chair with a steamy striptease that quenched the thirst of anyone at the show without a beverage. This later transitioned into a candlelit performance of Drake’s Scorpion slow jam “Teenage Fever,” which sampled the 1999 song and perhaps, served as a gratuitous thank you to the 6 God for showing love. “Waiting For Tonight” ditched the green laser aesthetic from the iconic video for a more vibrant, Pride Month-friendly set-up as Lopez slipped into a lime green catsuit and her dancers vogued ball-style in neon colored outfits that exposed their taut bods.

Never shying away from her hip-hop swag, several numbers saluted her rap ties like the J.Lo and Ja Rule collaborations “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny” triggered instant nostalgia of Juicy Couture velour suits and dog days at the local park. The LOX-assisted “Jenny From The Block” featured Lopez in a cheeky jumpsuit and shimmery New York fitted cap. She broke it down to French Montana’s “Shot Caller” and the song’s sampled classics: 20th Century Steel Band’s “Heaven and Hell is on Earth” and Boogie Down Productions’ “South Bronx.” More contemporary jams like the money-loving anthem “Dinero” (with featured guest and fellow Bronx boo, Cardi B, projected against a backdrop of a golden bank vault) the rump-shaker “Booty,” and a random but here-for-it dance performance to Blueface’s “Thotiana” also got the crowd hype.

Any J.Lo set would be remiss without an emotional segment that harps on her incessant campaign of positivity. After slipping on a voluminous red gown, Lopez slowed down the tempo to deliver a rendition of “Limitless” off the soundtrack for her 2018 rom-com Second Act mashed up with David Guetta and Sia’s powerhouse number “Titanium.” To tug at heartstrings even more, Lopez’s daughter Emme joined her mother onstage and flaunted her vocal chops in an impressive sing-off. The night’s leading lady also admitted that birthdays, especially big ones (she turns 50 in July), often prompt deep self-reflection.

 

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I can’t take it! #Emme #Limitless #ProudMama #JLoItsMyParty

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After covering one of her favorite songs “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, Lopez launched into a mini-TED Talk on perseverance. “Even though [“Gravity” is] a love song, it’s about a struggle. Life is like that,” she said. “But somehow, we always find our way back to ourselves when we make it through its tough times. You get to a certain point in your life and people start asking you for advice. It’s like, ‘What have you learned? Give me some secrets. What do you wanna teach your children? What do you want them to know?’

“And I always say, I just want them to know they can do whatever they want to do or they can be whoever they want to be,” she continued. “Life gon’ be hard sometimes and they’re gonna fall down but they gon’ get right back up and mommy’s always gonna be right there.” She turned her attention to the fans, injecting them with the same can-do attitude. “In some of the toughest times I’ve had, when I have fallen down, you guys have helped me get right back up. I want everybody to know that because we’ve really been on this journey together, haven’t we?” she asked. “Something I’ve learned... It took a long time for me, maybe just this year, it really clicked in, is that you can really do whatever you want to do.”

With her toast-worthy speech a wrap, Lopez resumed her boogie-down bash, bringing the funk with “Hold It Don’t Drop It” before repping for all the Latinos in the house with a medley of her Spanish-language bops like her verse on Nio García, Darell and Casper Mágico’s 2017 smash “Te Bote” as well as the Bad Bunny duet “Te Guste.” While Lopez has since secured a diamond from her now-fiancee Alex Rodriguez, “El Anillo” still rang off (pun intended) in the arena.

After shaking what her momma gave her all night, Lopez brought a different type of cake for the finale. After burning what was probably several hundred calories during performances of the club bangers “Dance Again” and “On The Floor,” she returned in a nude bodysuit surrounded a flurry of showgirl feathers as the centerpiece of a three-tiered structure mirroring a wedding cake. It was a fitting encore for a 49-year-old woman who has spent her entire career chasing her passions, even if the risks yielded some type of personal loss or failure both in private and in the public eye. Being an entertainer who can pull off a soirée of this magnitude across the country (while juggling motherhood, an acting career, and other entrepreneurial endeavors) requires the type of confidence only afforded by those who know and trust themselves. As pyrotechnics lit up the stage and metallic streamers and oversized white balloons fell from the ceiling, one particular J.Lo one-liner from the night mirrored her life in that moment. “I’m from the Bronx and this is my party,” she said. “I can do what I want.”

It's My Party Tour Set List

Medicine Love Don’t Cost A Thing Get Right Dinero I’m Real (Remix) Ain’t It Funny (Remix) Jenny From The Block If You Had My Love Teenage Fever (Drake original) Girls Booty Gravity (Sara Bareilles original) Limitless Titanium (David Guetta featuring Sia original) Ain’t Your Mama All I Have Hold It Don’t Drop It Te Bote 2 (Nio García, Darell and Casper Mágico original) Te Guste The Ring (“El Anillo”) Waiting For Tonight Dance Again On The Floor Let’s Get Loud

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Jae Vibes @jaevibesart

Ari Lennox Exudes Grown And Sexy Energy During NYC Shea Butter Baby Tour Stop

Summer hasn't arrived just yet in New York, but Ari Lennox provided plenty of heat during her stellar performance during her stop in New York for her Shea Butter Baby Tour.

The intimate yet lively cold-out set at Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday (June 5), had a little something for everyone. Her openers Baby Rose and Mikhala Jené provided lush performances with their style of R&B soul. Jené's "All I Want" and Rose's very rousing and classic vocals were beautiful discoveries. As natural babes and fellas filled up the venue, alluring blue-hued lights set the tone for the rest of the night.

The connection between the VIBE NEXT alum and the crowd was more than anyone could have hoped for. Stepping out in an all-black ensemble and signature high curly bun (with a very Diana Ross-like fur coat), Ari opened up with "Chicago Boy," which also happens to be the opener for her debut album, Shea Butter Baby. The setlist was a mix of the tracks from the project as well as her breakout EP, PHO. Fans were able to "bust it real fast" on Ari's command to tracks like "Broke," "Night Drive" and the sensual single, "Up Late." With trumpeter Theo Croker performing on "Chicago Boy," "Static" and "Whipped Cream," love and nayhoos were definitely in the kush-filled air.

Loosies like "40 Shades Of Choke" got their moment with Ari requesting everyone to say, "I will be consensually choked tonight and I will survive" before singing the track.

Ari's show was an embodiment of who she is and what her music represents–unapologetic with strong doses of grown and sexy appeal. Her stage was tailor-made for the D.C. native as well. First with the cheekily set up mannequins donning striking wigs behind her, and second with her own commentary throughout the duration of the show. At various points during the show, Ari and her packed audience maintained upbeat conversations.

A fan in the front row shared how the heartbreaking "La La La La" would be her future wedding song with the singer encouraging her by sending good vibes to her future hubby, dog and life.

There wasn't one low point during Ari's show, and it only got degrees hotter when she threw off her fur jacket, a statement piece in her video for "Up Late," and moved effortlessly to the beat of "Broke," her song featuring J.I.D. The Christo-created track got the crowd vibing, and the Bowery was quickly filled up with voices singing along to Ari's catchy lines, "I've been low before/Yeah you know I've been low before."

Hands were thrown into the air by girls sporting long, box braids and styled afros as they danced along to the song. Although J.I.D. didn't come out to perform their record together, the crowd was blessed with a surprise appearance from the brain behind Dreamville himself, J. Cole. With his now, trademark dreadlocks on display, Cole joined his signee onstage for a rendition of their hit "Shea Butter Baby."

The venue was already booming thanks to Ari, but with the two together onstage it may as well have exploded.

The image of Ari and Cole performing is one that can represent 2019 wholly; it's the year of Dreamville. While Cole may have been the icing on the cake for Ari's NY show, she was the entire slice and then some.

Tasting a piece of Ari's live shows is what everyone needs to feel as grown and as sexy and she does.

Check out more dates for The Shea Butter Baby Tour here.

 

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#PressPlay: #AriLennox brings out #JCole in New York for a 🔥performance of her track #SheaButterBaby 👶🏾

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