- Courtesy of Saba’s Facebook
There are more shows on Friday nights in Chicago than anybody could possibly get to. For fans of Chicago hip-hop, this particular Friday is either one to celebrate or one that will cause folks to pull out their hair trying to choose what to see. I count three shows I’m eager to check out, and until I’m able to be in three places at once I’ll have a hard time deciding how to start my weekend.
At the Hideout the dynamic duo ZRO FOX (aka Psalm One and Probcause) leads a bill that includes Angel Davenport and Fluffy. Long-grinding rapper Longshot will also take the stage, playing cuts off his recent #FTP EP. “FTP” is an acronym with an interchangeable meaning, though as the MC raps on the title track’s hook those definitions are closely related—for the people, fuck the police, and fight the power. Social justice (or rather injustice) hangs over #FTP, though Longshot uses the rage he raps about as fuel for uplift; he balances those forces out on the spry “Let Me Live.”
Just west of the Hideout eclectic, genre-blurring musician Shawn Rosenblatt, aka Netherfriends, plays Emporium in Wicker Park along with Chris Crack‘s New Deal Crew and new rap-pop outfit Beach Jesus. The latter recently released a small batch of recordings filled with smoldering, minimal percussion, blue synths, and controlled caterwauling. Tracks such as “Menudo” and “Floundering” are stylistically scattershot, but Beach Jesus—aka producer Jarofmy and rappers Chandler London and Jessiath—have enough charm to make their ideas easily understood.
The biggest show of the night is at Bottom Lounge: poet-turned-rapper Saba headlines a killer bill featuring Lucki Ecks, Martin Sky, Noname Gypsy, Mfn Melo, and DJ Damnage. Saba’s rich, engaging 2014 mixtape, Comfort Zone, is reason enough to snap up a ticket to the show. The MC’s star has been on the rise, and he’s headlining bigger venues because of it—it might not be long before it’ll be hard to see him in a space like Bottom Lounge, so Friday is a good opportunity to catch the rapper in a relatively intimate venue.
And in case you’ve got any energy left by Saturday night, the Portage Theater hosts “Homegrown Fest” with Post Malone, Saint Millie, Leather Corduroys, and Hurt Everybody, who just dropped a short and sweet EP called I Know Where the Light Goes.
Correction: This post has been amended to reflect the actual date of the Portage Theater show.