Hip-Hop: For Chance the Rapper’s fans, the flashbacks come before Acid drops
On Fri 11/23 local MC Chancelor Bennett—better known as Chance the Rapper—will headline Metro with a show called “Acid Rap Live,” after the title of his next mixtape. He plans to perform Acid Rap songs, but the collection won’t actually be released Friday.
Bennett isn’t the only local rapper lately who’s promoted a yet-to-be-released full-length with a big show; last month Maybach Music Group signee Donald Pullen (aka Rockie Fresh) headlined Metro in support of his forthcoming Electric Highway mixtape. Pullen has the support of MMG honcho Rick Ross as well as other major-label perks, but Bennett has reached the Metro stage through grassroots hustle. “The Metro was, for us, just like a checkpoint in life,” he says.
The 19-year-old has checked off a lot of boxes since releasing his #10Day mixtape this spring: he packed streetwear store Jugrnaut for a #10Day listening party in April, sold out Lincoln Hall in June, and toured with popular MC Childish Gambino for part of the summer. “I had never been out of this state before I went on the road with them,” Bennett says. “The idea of music literally taking me places was something really hard to fathom.”
But Bennett has started feeling constrained by #10Day and its theme, which has to do with his ten-day suspension from high school. “People are always tweaked out when I tell them, ‘Oh yeah, it’s last year I got suspended,’ and it’s coming up on two years ago,” he says. He acknowledges the parallels between #10Day and the album that inspired him to pick up the mike, Kanye West’s The College Dropout, but he doesn’t want to be too much like West. “Kanye spent three albums writing about how mad he was about school,” he says. “I don’t want to put myself in a box where I feel like I can’t change fast enough.”
After making #10Day Bennett started getting into acid jazz and LSD—hence the name Acid Rap. The material I heard when I visited him at South Loop studio Force One Seven was playful and almost jarringly eclectic. “It gets down to a point where it’s just like a lot of literal trippy shit on the album,” he says.
Bennett says that for him acid is like a big question. Chances are his fans at the Metro will have at least one big question in mind: “What’s Acid Rap sound like?”
BENEFITS: Windmills and drum fills for hospital bills
While walking home from work in the early-morning hours of September 14, Rainbo Club bartender Danny Zaretsky was shot in the face during a mugging. No arrests have been made, but fortunately he sustained only minor injuries and was out of the hospital in a few days. Less fortunately, hospital stays are never cheap—Zaretsky’s bills currently total about $1,300, and they’re not done arriving. As is typical in his line of work, he’s uninsured.
Enter local garage-psych band Disappears. The Rainbo is an important place to them—they were all working or hanging out there when they started the group—and on Sun 11/25 at 8:30 PM they’re throwing Zaretsky a benefit show inside the tiny bar. Admission is a five-dollar suggested donation, and all proceeds go to Zaretsky; he’ll be working that night, so handsome tips are especially encouraged. Disappears‘ set will include the first material they’ve recorded with new drummer Noah Leger, which they’ll release this spring on the 12-inch EP Kone. “We’re also recording a new album in January,” says front man Brian Case, “so we’ll be testing out a few of those as well.”
This is only the second time this year that Rainbo has hosted a rock show—the first was the Running record release in May. If you’ve ever spent time at the bar, it’s easy to imagine how intimate a show there could be. And by “intimate,” I mean “crowded.” Show up early.
LABELS: Dusty Groove’s reissue label makes a comeback of its own
Singular Wicker Park record shop Dusty Groove operated a reissue label from 2007 till 2009, releasing 22 titles of jazz, Brazilian music, and soul from the likes of Jorge Ben, Dorothy Ashby, and the Metros. Store owner Rick Wojcik says the label did well, “But at the end of the day, we’re a retailer first, and wanted to keep all of our energies focused on that area.” Running a reissue imprint involves more than distributing and selling the music—the paperwork surrounding licensing and production is especially time consuming.
Thankfully Dusty Groove’s curatorial acumen isn’t going to waste. Gordon Anderson, who co-owns reissue label Real Gone Music, recently agreed to partner with the store. He’s long been a fan, and his previous reissue label, Collector’s Choice, distributed Dusty Groove’s original imprint. “Having had a lot of A&R ideas generated through customer feedback through the [Collector’s Choice] catalog,” he says, “I knew the power of market research derived from directly interacting with customers—seeing what they bought, what they requested. Dusty Groove has that kind of customer base, so their A&R suggestions come to us field tested.” Real Gone and Dusty Groove launch a shared imprint December 4 with three reissues of early-70s Blue Note titles by Bobbi Humphrey, Gene Harris, and Jeremy Steig; coming next are reissues by Jorge Ben and Gal Costa.
“We’ve got a pretty darn big wish list,” says Wojcik. “But it’s ultimately up to what we secure the rights for, and how well the series does overall.”