Some more gems from Complex Con

Complex Con 18 Recap Sizzle Reel (via @Complex)

Talk about stimulation overload. Complex Con had it all last weekend in Long Beach and as a first-timer, I was simply blown away by the creativity, art, and fashion all on display. In fact, it took me a full week just to sift through everything and continue to reflect about the positive impact and community throughout the two days. Here’s just some of many highlights.

For those unaware, Complex Con is basically the hotbed marketplace for the hip hop culture. Users are first treated to an endless space of brand activations from the biggest names in streetwear and your favorite sneaker companies – all trying to outdo one another.

Around the convention center is a full stage and venue for music performances, an outdoor area for the best LA food trucks and pop-up spots, and my personal favorite: auditoriums for #ComplexConversations — where Complex conducted panel discussions and showcased their original programming (from Hot Ones to Real Late with Peter Rosenberg).

The conversations ranged from Sneaker of the Year to an analysis and communal endeavor to improve upon society’s ills today. All of it inspiring, especially the latter if you can imagine. Here’s a succinct example via the young jedi Jaden Smith:

Skim below for some more #content. I had some fun creating a couple Insta Stories for each day.

Day 1 features some snaps of the Complex Con scene, Takashi x OVO, the Sneaker of the Year Panel with Allen Iverson, and even yours truly and Maksim Presence (peep that Gary Vee interview!)

…and Day 2 features a bunch of celebrity cameos (everyone from Nas to Karreuche to Dennis Rodman) and concludes with some more gems from Jaden Smith.

DAY 1:

DAY 2:

And now for some photos! All of the below is via @Complex.

Complex Con 2018 Host: Takashi Murakami

 

‘Women Behind The Lens’ #ComplexConversations with Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Karena Evans, Nadeska Alexis, Yara Shahidi, hosted by: Jemele Hill

 

The Cadillac Experience My personal favorite. That grid moved. 👀

 

adidas

 

Pusha T @ adidas

 

Ty Dolla $ign @ Puma

 

Future headlines Day 2

 

First We Feast Lagoon

 

Complex Art Experience

 

@MichaelPurdie dunks at the And-1 court

* * * *

Let’s conclude this with The Answer. Complex posted this fascinating sit-down interview for 24 minutes as A.I. shares stories with Michael Jordan, Biggie, and how he even came up with some fashion and sneaker trends.

Thank you Complex Con! We’ll be back again next year. 🙏

Lil Wayne returns… Carter V Stream

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As promised, and nah, there’s no delay!

  • XXXTENTACION on the first song… powerful. (R.I.P. 🙏)
  • The Obama shoutout at the end of “Dedicate”… flex on ’em Weezy!
  • Swizzy brings it on “Uproar” to put this at max. volume…
  • Mona Lisa…

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Wayne and Kendrick on Mona Lisa 🔥🔥🔥

A post shared by COMPLEX (@complex) on

  • Open Letter… Famous (with his daughter Reginae)… vintage reflective Weezy.
  • Snoop and a flip of Dre’s “Xxplosive”. When that dropped… man. Immediate add to the car rotation here in L.A.
  • And then it started to feel long… I’m not the biggest Weezy fan so take it for what it is though.
  • Definitely got the mid-2000s sound a few times too, which for the Ashanti feature… Hey! I didn’t mind!

Weezy returns. How we liking the album so far?

Alan & Jonylah

Before we go any further, we have to show some more love to… dare I say… the hip hop album of the year.

Go Alan! Go Alan! Go Alan! (Gold Island?🤔)

Lupe’s a genius storyteller, guys. I mean, we all knew that. But I’m still amazed at not one, but two tracks across Drogas Waves that reimagine the lives of newborns taken too soon and too tragically.

Speaking of Genius, after the first couple of listens on your own, you’ll want to follow along, song-by-song and pick up references like this one (via our own @hetalbot). Lupe continues to reference Canada in Alan’s reimagined story because his family wanted asylum in Canada. And the more references like that you catch, the more we see that next-level where only Lupe resides.

“Jonylah Forever”, after Jonylah Watkins, a 6-month old baby tragically succumbing to crossfire gunshots, was originally released shortly after her death in 2013.

The one reference I didn’t catch until five years later was the Jimmy Neutron/neutron term for not being gang affiliated in Chicago.

Sadly, “Jonylah” has even more of a somber tone and now I have the feels all over again. There’s much more I want to write about the album as I, still a week later, want to continue to digest. Until then, sit back, and listen to these back to back (and out of order). Maybe the connection will be even clearer…

“I bet you didn’t know that you saved yourself…”

Lord have mercy.

*TIBS FAVS.

ZHU ‘Ringo’s Desert’ (Album Stream)

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September is full of hot new albums and one not to overlook, especially for a different vibe, is ZHU’s Ringo’s Desert.

It’s not as totally upbeat as ZHU’s early releases, but it still has some of those elements off the top. Great riding music.

A couple of cuts I’ve found myself going back to all month: “Ghost In My Bed” and “Waters of Monaco”. Both kind of take a little bit to get going but once they do… (or after a couple listens at least…)

Review: The Carters “Apes**t” Is Beyoncé and Jay Z’s First Video From Their Joint Album

Review: Branding as icons in front of iconic pieces at the Louvre like the Mona Lisa, Nike von Samothrake, and the Great Sphinx of Tanis.

…But what are they actually saying in this song?? The visuals are really artsy, set design is on point, and I appreciate that they are creating beautiful imagery at Louvre. I even enjoy the beat, their delivery, and subtle harmonies throughout.

But again what is this song about?! Thankful about making it? How do these lyrics represent that “Everything Is Love”? Expensive habits, ice ornaments, 35 chains, (glorifying capitalism, consumerism, fake shit) Smoke gorilla glue like it’s fucking legal (sniffing glue.. what?), Banana clips for that monkey business (promoting violence), Sippin’ my favorite alcohol (Alcohol ruins lives) Got me so lit I need Tylenol (prescription pills destroy mental health), they wishing they equal (being better than other people) I don’t give a damn ’bout the fame (ya you do) -> Hang one night with Yoncé, I’ll make you famous.

I know Beyonce and Jay Z are intelligent people, and are at heart positive and promote positive things, but this is something fake. They know how the law of attraction works, they know what they are doing. This song is a good example of how a very well packaged mask of positivity is used to promote negativity. Everything about the branding of this video looks positive, everything except the lyrics… what they are saying in this song is by definition not positive.. it’s ego glorification. It’s what is popular, will hype people’s egos up, make The Carters more money, and promote the same negative bullshit that is actually destroying people’s lives. I know people that pretend to be positive just to glorify their ego to make others think they are such amazing people, when in fact they don’t actually care about any of it. They only care about glorifying themselves in any way possible. #cloutchasers

The album is called ‘Everything Is Love’ — then why are they lyrically promoting hate? They are branding with icons at the Louvre, but their lyrics are not iconic. Words become things. Words feed the subconscious mind to create a reality that reflects those words. These are the two most popular artists in Hip Hop setting an example that is lyrically saying to make it you have to negatively glorify your ego with a positive facade at the forefront. I’m not buying it like the brainwashed crowds. I can see through it.

That is not my idea of making it. I believe making it is world peace and abundance for all. Unity consciousness. Love consciousness. Equality in diversity. Redistribution of wealth. Mindfulness. Taking care of our planet and everything on it. Healthy habits of body, mind, and spirit. Not this fake shit.

Again.. I know Beyonce and Jay Z are spiritual and positively oriented, so I believe they are doing this to sort of fit in with the current culture… but if they are really about that Ascension life… then they need to take a closer look in the mirror and transform the remaining negatively that causes them to promote negativity in the guise of positivity. We really need good people to stand up and go against the grain of what’s “normal”. Peace and love to all, an honest critique.

PREVIEW ALBUM >>

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BONUS SINGLE: SALUD! >>   (3:33 time stamp)

Lollapalooza 5ABIOmatic Day 2 Recap

Hey folks! It’s 5ABIO here with a quick recap of day two for Lollapalooza. This is more of a blog type post than it is a write up going in full detail about artists. There was so much that I could do with the time I had so I tried to do as much as I could to see as many artists as possible with the time give.

I was at Lolla for Day 2 specifically for Hip-Hop because this day was full of different Hip-Hop artists and had the most to showcase from the three day lineup. I was also able to see other acts from different genres but I went with the intention of seeing as many Hip-Hop artists as I could.

Just for a little further clarification, I was there from 11:30am-10pm so there was much ground to cover. There were also some time conflicts so I was only able to see some artists for about half their set and others for their entire set.

Mick Jenkins 11:45AM [Full Set]
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The day started with Mick Jenkins, the lyrical savant from Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene that has amassed nationwide attention as a result of his conscious raps that take a stance against social injustice as well as unrest over the wrongful murders of black youth and black lives. Needless to say, Mick Jenkins was one of the reasons why I decided to come to Lolla because I have been able to see his growth from Trees & Truths to the recent Water[s] and Waves project.


[Vid credit Pursuit of Dopeness]

It was really remarkable to witness his set over the years. The first Mick show I attended was two years ago at Township in Logan Square where he rocked a crowd of 50 people. Years later Mick easily PACKED a crowd of thousands as he had the Pepsi stage over capacity all clinging to every word and knowledge he spoke to his fans.

The highlight of his set was the new music as Mick played three joints off the forthcoming Waves project he is set to release recently.

Raury 12:50pm [Full Set]

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[Video credit: Pursuit of Dopeness]

I’m pretty new to Raury. The recent XXL Freshmen and Atlanta, GA native has been captivating crowds because he’s not the norm when t comes to the Atlanta Hip-Hop scene. Up to the point of this performance I had only heard two songs from this promising artists and at first didn’t know what to think of it over than ‘this is different’. That uniqueness has led me to further appreciate Raury after his set. The kid is special. He reminds me of a mix between Outkast and Frank Ocean cause the kid can sing and his production is different, it’s folk, it’s pop, it’s music that should be appreciated for what it is and his live performance turned heads. It definitely made a fan out of me.

Travi$ Scott 2:15pm [Full Set]

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsGOOD MUSIC signee Travi$ Scott is another artists that I was not too familiar with. I had never heard any of his projects but had been exposed to him on features he was on. He was one of the artists I wanted to see the most because of the fact that he was under Kanye’s brand and is highly considered to be the future of Houston’s Hip-Hop scene. For those that were not in attendance, ‘the Rodeo’ was shut down real quick.

[S/O Pursuit of Dopeness]

This performance was a bit of a disappointment. For the set being expected to be an hour it started with 30mins of DJing which brings down Travi$’ performance to at least a half hour, right? WRONG. Travi$ performance lasted about 5-10minutes before folks in the crowd started creating rampage. It didn’t help that Travi$ pretty much incited a riot and prompting folks to hop on stage with him. This led to a lot of ‘fuckboys’ hopping on stage, security starting to flex people, and eventually the set canceled within 10mins to Travi$ performance. It was a huge letdown for a lot of people that really wanted to see his performance which was packed with his esteemed ‘Rangers’.

Death From Above 1979 4pm [Half Set] 

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Death From Above 1979 is a band I had been put on when I was in high school by my best friend so I looked forward to seeing them live. I spazzed out as they performed as well as I was able to hear my favorite “You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine” in the 30mins I had before running off to see the next performance.

Toro Y Moi 3:45pm [Half Set]

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsI only know Toro y Moi cause Treated Crew/Legion of Dudez showyousuck made a mixtape rapping over their songs so I had to check it out. It had the ShowYouSuck stamp of approval and I definitely did dig the 30mins of the performance I saw. It’s not what I would usually listen to but it was interesting live.

Tyler, The Creator 5:45pm [Half Set]

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For those not too familiar with Tyler, The Creator- he is one crazy dude! The substance matter in his lyrics reminds us how wicked and weird we are individually, which is why folks gravitate towards his music. I had only seen videos of him live so I had an expectation of what his set would be. I’ve been following his Bastard project so I expected a wild yet fun performance which is what we got at Lollapalooza as the Golf Wang/ODD Future emcee delivered his fan favorites as well as new joints off his recently released Cherry Bomb project.

Kid Cudi 6:45pm [Full Set]

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Cudder was the highlight of Lolla. From beginning to end his performance was high energy as he continuously interacted with his crowd that was packed. Cudi not only delivered some of his most celebrated material but as well as delivered a new acoustic joint as he showcased what is in store from his forthcoming project. It was a real dope set from beginning to end and definitely one of the highlights of Lolla.

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Metallica 8-10pm [Half Set]

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With a two hour set I had to make sure I saw the legendary Metallica. I’m a Hip-Hop head to the core but I know when to give respect where it’s due so seeing this legendary band was my biggest priority. As someone that is not that too familiar with the legendary band, Metallica was not only welcoming to new listeners but played a wide array of classic and newer material to welcome any listener that wanted to give them their time and an ear to play to. This is a once in a generation type band playing for the first time at Lollapalooza which became a once in a lifetime event in my first ever Lollapalooza.

G Eazy 9pm [Half Set]

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The last on the list for me to see was G Eazy. He’s another artists that I wasn’t too familiar with but was definitely digging from the few joints I was able to hear as well as the few live television performances I had seen him on previously before seeing him live. The Bay Area emcee not only introduced me more to tracks I hadn’t heard before but as well as payed respect to the city that lay the groundwork for his sound as he embraced his listeners in Chicago and welcomed him to witness more of his roots and influences. Also, one of the cool highlights was G Eazy embracing the greatness behind the Chicago Hip-Hop scene and bringing out Vic Mensa to perform his hit “U MAD”.

Overall, Lollapalooza for me was a real cool experience. I was able to see once in a lifetime performances by some of the best doing it today and it has definitely gotten me thinking of continuing to attend for many years to come.

Mamby on the Beach [GWHH Recap]

Since Wavefront folded a couple years ago, I’ve been itching for another event to be held on the city’s greatest asset – the waterfront. Cue Mamby on the Beach, Chicago’s newest music festival, which hit Chicago’s South Shore over the weekend. Water was centrally located and easy to find, police on site were friendly and helpful, and the people at Mamby were laid back and friendly – a refreshing change from the reckless neon kids of similar events.

Empire of the Sun and Passion Pit headlined the fest, but it was The ‘Go’s own Holt who stole the show. When he took the stage there couldn’t have been more than 100 people there. But the law of attraction would prove strong for the G.O.O.D. MUSIC signee, as Holt brought something to Mamby no one else would – real trap music. It was a much needed change of pace from the dominantly electronic lineup, a breath of fresh air for hip hop heads like myself. Fellow Treated Crew leaders Mano and Mic Terror kept the energy up as people flocked to the stage, and when it was all said and done an intimate crowd had become a high octane mob.

With Chicago’s skyline glistening across the lake and forgiving sand beneath your feet, Oakwood Beach served as an ideal location for the festival. I’m proud to live in a city accommodating a growing taste for live music and peaceful gatherings, and stoked to see Mamby on the Beach possibly become a staple of what we like to call Summertime Chi.