Upon stepping a toe into the neon lighted, heavily bodied space-memories of ghetto house cuts, spray painted skyline backdrops, and talk of infamous trips to 50 Yard Line and The Lick came rushing to mind. For many, the rap and hip-hop lifestyle of the 90s and early 00s went out with portable cd players and Cross Colors. But there are a few us authentic street kids who remember and occasionally yearn for that old school feeling today. On April 27th 4-Star Explorer ventured out to the Twitter Takeover Concert at Chicago's Rap Factory at 2315 w. Fullerton. Presented by, what some would dub “Chicago-lebrity,” Duble “R” Da Great. The concert gave over 20 Chicago rap artists the chance to show off their skill as well as "Race for the 500" in prize money.
Once initial nostalgia for growing up in Chicago's hay day wore off, I began to notice a little more of the unsightly details. For anyone outside the urban community, you might be taken a little aback; what with the less than cohesive decor featuring a "Stripper Booty" wall. There is also your share of mean mugs and of course a sea of Jordans and designer knock offs. But hey, it’s like a family reunion to me.
Let’s start with the cons. There was a huge lack of organization. Once you stood in line and paid your ticket there was no real order to things. Doing what most adults do in an unfamiliar situation your first option is to bee line to the bar and get entirely too much attitude while paying entirely too much to get inebriated. Another familiar urban event feature, “CP” time strikes again. After waiting over an hour for the event to start, my complimentary bout of courtesy ran out. And of course with any music venue people can never do the smart thing and just sit down but bum rush the performing area leaving those unlucky slowpokes trapped in the back, unable to see most of the show.
The real highlight of this set is the event’s coordinator Duble R Da Great. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this young artist around for months now and every time I see him he has always shown growth. No wonder he boasts the title of “Chicago’s best Puerto Rican rapper.” And if you can’t believe that then he’s certainly the hardest working young Chicago artist I’ve seen in some time. I also appreciated the vision behind the concert. For your 10 bucks you get to see over 20 artists perform…now I’m not sure if you exactly will like all of them but in a law of averages sort of way you have to appreciate how the numbers work out. They also featured a couple of lady rappers which soothed my historic longings for the days of Ladies First and Kente hats. I personally enjoyed Indiana import lady rhyme spitter, Live Free.
My next round of event kudos goes to the talented DJ Freddy B for providing a well rounded compilation of rap standards and newbies. I also really appreciated Duble R’s passion at lifting the local music scene up. “Just in case you were wondering, this is some next level shit. If you want to really make it onto the scene these are the people here to help you do it.” This was in reference to guest judge Ben Funkman, a prevalent Chicago music producer and artist developer.
A lot of artists really showed up and did their thing. But it was crowd-favorite Wolf Pack that went home with the prize. Never one to cut down anyone’s hard work I gave a nice but reluctant clap to the results.
Be on the lookout for Duble R's upcoming single, She Crazy, which drops in June. It looks like a good one....
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