Immortal Technique & Brother Ali @ The Metro 09.22.13

Renowned independent rappers Immortal Technique and Brother Ali played to a respectable crowd at Metro on September 22. They were accompanied by openers I Self Divine of Minneapolis and Poison Pen of Brooklyn, all part of Technique and Ali’s “War and Peace Tour.”

The banner that hung behind the stage featured both headlining artists, with Immortal Technique on the left (“War”) side, and Ali on the right (“Peace”). I assume this placement was no accident, and not only because Technique seemed to be holding an assault rifle in his picture, and Ali looked like a hip-hop monk, per usual. The lyrical content of both artists’ songs reinforces this dichotomy. Technique is decidedly political. His songs remind us of the injustices that exist not only within the government, but to an extent hip hop culture at large, which has been equally obsessed with money, power and violence, perhaps more now than ever. Technique is far from a reactionary though; despite his incendiary music, he believes in peace, understanding and unity above all, and this comes through in his music as well as the numerous political corollaries he would launch into between songs. Opener I Self Divine and host Poison Pen, too, made frequent digressions into mini sermons against violence and oppression throughout their sets, which I imagine would normally come off as annoying or depressing at most rap shows, but here were truly moving and heartfelt. Each rapper made at least a couple references to the violence that has plagued the city of Chicago lately, with the recent Back of the Yards mass shooting, in particular, no doubt on their minds. Poison Pen at one point told everyone “to get home safe tonight. I’m gonna get ig’nant with this song now, cuz that’s what I do, but I just wanna tell everyone that.”

It was actually unnerving to hear him say that, a message of warning coming from a native of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, a neighborhood that just 20 years ago was equally notorious for crime as the South Side is today. The show, of course, was far from harm’s way, so to speak, only a stone’s throw from Wrigley Field and Lincoln Park, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the United States. I had no doubt in my mind that I would walk home (~10 minutes away) from that show, alone, around midnight, and have no problems. I am incredibly lucky for this. The music at the show reinforced this knowledge for me, and each of the performers repeatedly emphasized that we, the audience, could not lay down and let people perpetuate these injustices.

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Brother Ali was more on the side of personal acceptance. He implied that this is important for him personally, being a self-professed “ugly motherfucker.” One of his most popular songs – and the one he also closed with – “Forest Whitiker,” embodies the inner struggle of finding peace with a world at war with itself. He goes on about being albino and lazy-eyed, “hairy as hell, everywhere but fingernails,” “not the classic profile of what the ladies want.” As he admits in the song, “You might think I’m depressed as can be, but when I look in the mirror I see sexy-ass me.” It’s this kind of optimism that the rap world is sorely lacking, and the kind of message that on the surface seems more productive than that of most other rap songs.

So then, I wonder, what are we doing still rapping about guns and drugs? Can rappers, in good conscience, still rap about the “ig’nant shit” even if their heart is in the right place? Can they even rap about social revolution when the last thing we need is another war? As the good Jay-Z said, it’s only entertainment. But is it really, when we talk about murder nonchalantly and then see the effects of that “IDGAF” mentality on a massive scale, in the form of the violence in South Chicago and elsewhere? And when it’s reversed, essentially, as in Technique’s music, to violence for justice, is it any different?

Don’t get me wrong, the overall message from the show was certainly one of positivity and understanding. It is this sort of cognitive dissonance, a feeling all too familiar to the modern rap fan, that is constructive and dialogue-promoting. The “War and Peace” tour, at least the 4 hours I saw of it, seemed to represent the beginnings of this conversation. Hip hop culture has been in the midst of a turning point for years now – the old guard of the gangster mentality has given way to political consciousness and broad=spectrum tolerance. And it may indeed be coming from Immortal Technique, Brother Ali and artists like them, who push us to see beyond convention. The beats were really good, too.

Lolla Lounges ’13 [Photo Recap]

Another playground of fun during Lollapalooza at the Hard Rock Hotel: CK One Music Lounge, So Miami Lounge, Hard Rock Hotel Lobby Takeover, and #ASOSRocks & VH1s VIP After-Party Series.

Going on year number 8, BMF Media has created stellar hang out spots to relax while in between checking out the Lolla festivities. So Miami is all about fun in the sun – check out our beach pics! Watch sand being transformed into a sporty masterpiece before your eyes while sipping on some make-your-own sangria with Barefoot. Play some giant sized chess & Connect Four (who will win: Maks G vs Tibs) while enjoying a refreshing Starbucks beverage at the ice bar.

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Herbal Essences & Red7Salon create suave new hair dos with flower crowns *festival fashion must have. I could not leave without rocking one of these myself.

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Feeling the urge to add ink to your collection, Code of Conduct artists Floyd Davis & Kyle Morrison give free tattoos! Or you can always opt for some non-bodily ink and screen print a T with District Clothing as we did.

When traveling about the city what better way than with a rickshaw; our friends at Polaroid not only gifted shades but gave free rides!

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Jam to some tunes with Rosco Bandana, Eve, and others while receiving a makeover in the ck one Music Lounge or show off your competitive side with a game of ping pong and foosball.

Check out the pics of some of our team as we take advantage of this play ground and run into an artist or two.

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#ASOSROCKS & VH1’s VIP After-Party Series ’13 [Photo Recap] #Lolla

#ASOSROCKS & VH1’s VIP After-Party Series did not disappoint. Lines to check out these nightly Lolla events ran up to an hour! We checked out some lively acts: Emeli Sande, The Dolls, Salt & Pepa, Angel Haze, DJ sets by Penguin Prison, DJ Mom Jeans a.k.a. Danny Materson, just to name a few. Rubbed elbows with some heavy hitters in the music and entertainment world; our very own Maks G chatted it up with Aaron Paul. Check out more of our pics from these parties below. Shoutout to BMF Media for another successful weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel.

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ICYMI: Salt-N-Pepa Interview + Performance with GWHH

#GWHHVIDEO: Eve LIVE @ CK One Music Lounge #LOLLA


Filmed & Edited by: Maks G

The CK One Music Lounge was another go-to spot to be at for Lollapalooza weekend if you weren’t at the festival during the day. Exhibit A is this private performance from Eve, who performed a high-energy mix of classics and new cuts from her summer album, Lip Lock.

The intimate and exclusive setting allowed the crowd to interact with Eve in between songs, which gave the performance even more of a family feel. As a first-time viewer of Eve in person, I came away impressed with her engaging vibe and overall style. I was swept up with the crowd in all the fun when her classics came on like “Who’s That Girl and “Tambourine,” both documented above. Plus, I’m seeing more and more that her Lip Lock album is nothin’ to sleep on as the intro track “Eve,” which leads off the video above, really resonated in person too. All in all, it certainly sounds like I enjoyed the performance doesn’t it? So did the rest of our team and those in the CK One Music Lounge.

Give another one of our #GWHHVideos a look-see above and also browse below for a sampling of what the CK One Music Lounge was like. As Eve shouted out in the video too, shoutout to BMF Media once again for putting together the dope event and atmosphere.

 Eve performing, Maks G filming

Rocco Bandana also performed at the CK One Music Lounge this past Lolla weekend

@Sirachana & @heath_michaels on hand for #TeamGowhere

Srirachana’s Lolla Highlights

 

Mumford and Sons and Postal Service went head to head in Saturday’s most coveted headliner spot. To be expected, these were great, but check out what else happened this weekend besides the perfect segueway from Lumineer’s set to Mumford and Sons, the Postal Service farewell, Haim (pronounced “hime”), and the red red lipstick of lead singer ofThe Cure.

 

Eve in the CK1 Lounge

 

The Gowhere team attended the #CKOne shows throughout the weekend. Eve sampled her new CD, including her single with Dawn Richard she personally dubs her “lollipop” song.  She played classics, club hits, Ruff Ryder hits, and future classics off her upcoming album. Look out for our exclusive video of her performance coming soon!

 

 

Ellie Goulding returns to Lolla

 

She first appeared at Lolla in 2011 and since then she’s had smashed hits such as “Lights” and “I Need Your Love” f/ Calvin Harris. She tweeted that Saturday was one of her best performances to date – which says a lot because she does a show almost every other day according to her Instagram. Though she says her last Chicago show wasn’t her best work, I still thought it was dazzling. Her Saturday show proves that she can really put in work.

 

 

 

Ellie Goulding: Lollapalooza 2013

 

The lobster corndog from Grahamwich.

 

The greasy spills are just windows to heaven. The corndog was rich and flaky with a lobster meat sausage topped with a zippy aioli sauce, herbs, and smoky cayenne. Grahamwich has had some serious mixed review since their opening downtown, but after the festival I definitely will give them another try later this week.

 

 

The sign language specialist to Phoenix evening set at the Bud Light Stage

 

How do they keep up with Phoenix lyrics.  Two sign linguist switched off between songs and danced the night away.  Sun drenched smiles and people grooving out to Phoenix at the Bud Light Sound Stage. People were friendly and not pushing and shoving. Why aren’t all festivals like this? I had a fun time just drinking beers and chilling on my picnic blanket. Good music and good vibes, perfect for the last day of Lolla… in contrast to 2 Chainz show at the Grove.  Aren’t they just adorable?

 

 

 

The guy in the wheelchair crowdsurfing during Kendrick Lamar

 

If this doesn’t make you smile, then I don’t know what will.

 

photo shoutout: Chicago Tribune

 

Guy Climbs pole during 2 Chainz  

 

The 2 Chainz show was something else… Crowds fled in and out to see the spectacle at The Grove stage. He put on a show but there was some drama ranging from thrown bottles on stage to a person climbing a pole. And he wonders why he gets injured at music festivals. The crowd was so rowdy, but do you expect anything less from 2 Chainz? The best thing of all? – I know him…

 

 

 

 

And last but definitely not least, Lianne La Havas‘s eyeball necklace. 

 

First I thought it was attached to her shirt but then a piece broke off and we realized it was a necklace.  Not only is her style cheeky, but so are her lyrics.  The London songstress wowed an crowd of new listeners and devoted fans. I would definitely keep my eyes peeled for this girl.  Could she be like the future Ellie Goulding?

 

 

Check out more pics on @maksim333 @heath_michaels @srirachana @samanthalebbosand of course @gowherehiphop IGs.