Ten Days to listen to #10Day.

Now , I was pretty late to the party.

I first heard Chance on Childish Gambino’s “They Dont Like Me“. I was impressed by the rhyme scheme he decided to go with and how crazy his voice sounded. He held his own and did what he had to do on there. Didn’t think much past that.

I managed to catch the “Juice” video a few months ago late one night (I’m always up late yet fall asleep very easily) and thought “this is sorta interesting.” Admittedly , I wasn’t super impressed but immediately thought dude can rap , I’ll revisit this.

Fast forward a BUNCH of months and its March. I’m getting ready to head to my second annual dose of “SXSW teach me things about life”. I typed in my Notes app “LISTEN TO CHANCE THE RAPPER”.  10 Day is Chance’s debut mix tape, which he recorded after a 10 day suspension from high school. In pure cool guy fashion , I couldnt get to Chance’s tape unless I listened on the plane. As I took that good “middle seat on a 4 hour flight” loss, I settled in and finally hit play.

What a great decision , Robby.

First off , my mind is blown that he’s this young (19 years old as I write this) and this confident. #10Day clearly feels like he did whatever he wanted to. There’s no fear , no sense of holding back his creativity.  His beat selection is good , he can actually put coherent words together , he’s descriptive, he sings and most important of all??

He’s happy and serious all in one breath.

Happy ass rap annoys me and makes my skin crawl. Thus if you hand me a B.O.B. cd….just call me Uncle Rico. The thing is , Chance is happy about life and shows hope but is no stranger to the darker parts of life. He makes them both work seamlessly in a world where all the big rappers are extremely moody. I love some moody ass rap….because I’m sort of a dark dude (SKIN JOKES SKIN JOKES!) , but that burns you out. Chance is just…refreshing.

Every time I hear this song I grin. Does this not just sound like a HS crush at a sweaty basement party your mom would probably kill you for attending? It’s just fun. Everything from the catchy bars and the carefree energy to how easily Chicago juke/footwork music is worked into the song. It’s perfect for what it’s supposed to be. Chance is a young kid having fun , which we all are at heart (or what we should try to be.)

Then you have a song like “Acid Rain” off of his upcoming tape Acid Rap.

My big homie died young; just turned older than him
I seen it happen, I seen it happen, I see it always
He still be screaming, I see his demons in empty hallways

Jarring.  To hear someone just clearly rap about being haunted by visions of a murdered friend says so much. I immediately knew Chance had quite a personal story of his own to tell. He comes off as somewhat of a tortured soul with lots of talent. Aren’t we all tortured souls? The thing is , we won’t all turn that strain and suffering into art. He spends the duration of Acid Rain rapping about the darker realities of being a Chicago teen , even with his newfound and building stardom. Self doubt , fear of the future; things any 19 year old has come face to face with. Chance chooses to go that route and is never preachy. It’s just…real. He gets vulgar like anyone else but it nothing like the drill music from the likes of a GBE.

Which is another interesting thing about Chance. He has shouted out Chief Keef on multiple occasions , even leading a “SOSA FREE!” chant at SXSW on the day Keef was released from Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. Chance’s music is nothing like Keef’s but he understands the balance needed. Chief Keef needs to exist , even as violent and dark as his music is. Keef and Chance speak for a generation of teens that in reality, aren’t all that different. Being that both hail from the inner city of Chicago , things are tough out there. Chicago is not a scene out of a Wild West film to be ridiculed and ignored; those wonderful children have hopes , goals and dreams like anyone else. Regardless of what side of the tracks the teens fall on , they need outlets. Keef’s music is very angry and aggressive but guess what? So are those kids. They are frustrated, displaced teenagers seeking guidance and answers. Chance like Keef , is a talented kid from Chicago with a lot of painful things going on around him. He just expresses himself differently and didn’t end up so firmly planted in the street. Clearly , teenagers like that exist in Chicago and everywhere else.

I say all of that to say this: Teenagers from Chicago are not inherently bad people. They are putting themselves into music and creating a world for themselves that they could’ve never imagined. Keef is doing it. Chance is doing it. I’m proud of both. Chance is a better rapper in the classical sense and is excellent at relating his personal life and experiences to other people. With that said, I truly believe Chance is next and I’m excited to see what his future holds.

Advertisements

6th Street Sights or , what really happened at SXSW.

SXSW was a pretty ….wild experience. A few thoughts and pictures.

Trinidad James is a star (and I was wrong. For once!)

trinidadjpg

(pardon that guys fat ass neck!!!)

Trinidad was one of the biggest names at Fader Fort last Thursday. I also caught Katie Got Bandz, who did a pretty good job. KAAAAATTTTIIEEEEEEE!!!!

So, I admittedly thought of frontin’ on seeing Mr James for the 3rd time in my life. Thanks to the endless urging from multiple sources, I decided to stick around Fader Fort and give it a go.

Blew my mind. I’m no fan of “Don’t Be S.A.F.E.” but I could not deny what he was doing on that stage. He got to “One More Molly” early (IMO his best song) and I stuck along for the ride. Shocked by his skill (!!!!!!) and mastery of the stage. Soon enough, I was turning up with everyone else in that crowd. I was legit singing along with songs of his that I HATE! He has a way of forcing you to like what he’s doing. Another thing that really stuck out about Trinidad is he’s VERY humble and thankful to be in his position. Every time he addressed the crowd, it felt “natural”. He deeply appreciated every soul under that sweaty ass tent in the middle of Austin. Also, shoutout to my dirty ass shoes that I acquired here; I’m probably never going to clean them because I don’t care that much.

Thank you, Trinidad James. Sorry for doubting.

Baauer is NOT overrated.

I was lucky enough to catch Baauer at show put on by Night Supply. The bill was Just Blaze/Baauer/Big Sean but that last guy decided not to show for whatever reason. Since I wanted to continue being drunk and touching butts, my soul burned a little bit. Not to worry…Baauer saves the day. He really went to work in the very dark, yet cavernous venue.

Baauer worked the crowd into a froth and he DIDN’T play Harlem Shake. He has a great ability to read the crowd and is well versed in various types of music, including rap in all of its varieties. If you like music, you would’ve enjoyed Baauer. If you expected it to be a Harlem Shake WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP UNCE UNCE UNCE UNCE LIGHTS FLASHING sorta deal all night, you’d be pleasantly surprised. I was also drunk as shit. Here’s some visual proof of how chopped I was.

help

Shoutout to Kat for sending me the pic AND tying my based headgear  onto my very drunk scalp. No, I don’t know what the hell that lint is in my beard.

Time with your friends from various walks of life is always great.

Time spent with my #NT savages and my friends from back home. Got to introduce them and put those two worlds together for a little while. Far as I’m concerned, it went rather smoothly.

I also bumped into artists who I consider friends that ALSO make music I enjoy.

Noah Caine, The Boy Illinois, Audra The Rapper. All people I’ve known for some time (especially Audra, as we went to school together.) It’s beautiful seeing your friends work towards their dreams and get closer and closer to success so quickly. Situations like these is really what SXSW was built on.

I also stopped Kris Kasanova in the street to express how much I appreciate his music and progress. I don’t know him personally but I met him through a friend. I take time to show love when we cross paths because that’s important. If you’re a fan of someone’s work and get a chance to tell them in real life? Do it. I have 94% of the time. I choked on talking to Kanye but that’s ’cause he was trying to ninja lurk through SoHo.

I told Victor Cruz what up.

Please come back to NYG, Victor.

I saw Earl Sweatshirt over and over. He was at near my gate the day I flew in and the day I flew out. He looked tired….people still bothered the hell out of him lmao. I understand fully….because he is skilled.

Seeing people perform who have dominated your music choices for months is a crazy feeling.

Perfect example of this is Aston Matthews. He’s from Cali so I didnt forsee having a chance to see him perform anytime soon. Thrasher CLEARLY loves me because they put him in a showcase. I came to see him and ASAP Ferg but I was more than satisfied seeing Aston do his thing. He’s confident, his music is quality, and he has very good people around him. I chopped it up with one of the dudes from his crew “Cutthroat” and he said “yo come turn up when Aston gets on stage!” When Aston did “Latino Heat”, the place turned into a madhouse. I had a stupid grin on my face; it was like seeing a friend make it. Good things lie in his future.

I also got to catch GrandeMarshall in Fader Fort. I’ve met Grande a few times and he’s always shown love. Seeing someone who moves around like a regular dude get and maintain the attention of a Fader Fort crowd, far from home? Madness. I also dug how A-Trak holds him down and vouches for him with such conviction. It’s clear that Fool’s Gold believes in Grande and that’s vital. I feel lucky that I got to even be in Austin for such a big moment. Grande went up there and performed like the crowd didn’t affect him at all. Perfect recreations of the songs on his tape 800.

Heartbreak.

I missed Future, who decided to destroy Fader that night.

I missed Inc., who’s album I bought off of the strength of one song. I then commenced to listen to the CD for nearly a week straight.

I missed Waaves, about 3-4 times. I am a loser.

I airballed on Solange because I am an idiot who doesn’t read the fine print and I am impatient.

Chief Keef cancelled on a lineup that was GBE/RL Grime/Baauer/Flatbush Zombies/etc……the line was as long as the Trail of Tears and we were there an hour and a half. I stared to the skies and hoped BasedGod would deliver me from this pain…..did not happen.

This is my second time going to SXSW. Shows get cancelled. You miss stuff. It happens. It just happened A LOT because stuff that would’ve been a cakewalk to get into last year was like trying to sneak into Area 51 this year. But I won’t complain.

I was real god damn drunk. We were real god damn drunk. 

We were thoroughly chopped. Don’t think anyone around me was sober after 4 all week.

Me?? I was perpetually destroyed because A)back home I really don’t go out or drink that often B)I enjoy being irresponsible out of town.

Last year, we spent a LOT of time in a bar called Toulouse. This bar has 5 dollar mason jars. Mason jars of what?? Whatever your soon to be straining from this greasy ass Texas food heart desires! We prefer the “Adios” jar because it gets you remixed real quickly and is by far the strongest. I was throwing those shits back like Berry Kool Aid. Predictably, I got a lil wild , bros.

Prolly my worst case of “lord help me , I’m very drunk” was Thursday. I believe (THINGS ARE HAZY) I started off with two Stormy Seas (pls Google) that were free at this event. A Rum and Coke. Another Rum and Coke…..another Rum and Coke. This was before I even touched Toulouse. A few hours later I end up in Toulouse with the ever sweet Patrina. We went to ODU together and I haven’t seen her in years; I had no choice but to get her drunk. So I knocked down 2 Adios. She knocked down 2 Adios. All I remember from there is getting dubbed/twerked to the point I was squished UNDER the bar. I also remember vigorously squeezing A LOT of asses that were literally offered to me. At this point I’m nearly half blind but I can identify a southern ass in my clutches blindfolded. In short , I WAS LIVING.

IMG_1107

(screenshot because the actual pic is lost in cyberspace…Patrina unfortunately lost her phone that night)

Patrina intro’d me to these 4 fine YELLABONES from Houston. I was so thrashed that I blew it when I shook one of their hands. She saw me fail and gave my half balled up hand a slap/pound then a handshake. SMH. All was rectified by one of her friends offering me her ass to squeeze. Why me??? ‘Cause real black is back…..fam. Looking like the iPhone dark side of the moon emoji is never a negative.

Every night I entered that bar I definitely said and did shit that would make my mother shake her head. She’s probably going to read this so: Hello , MommyRav.

So yeah go to the Toulouse. Ass will end up in your hand every night. Or maybe that’s just me. LOL!!!!!!!

All in all, Austin was fun. It was tough , it included stress, but I think we still managed to work it and win where we could. If you have a chance to go , do it.

quarters.

I’ve been 25 for a little over 2 weeks now.

I wasn’t even excited really. I had mixed feelings about it. Don’t get me wrong ; I was always happy to make it there (every moment above ground is to be appreciated.),but I didn’t see the big deal. I like the finer things and such but I’m really no fan of chest pounding , especially for something like “living another year”. I kinda got my head right maybe a week and a half before my birthday and said “Rob….this is a big deal.”

Not in the sense of the modern black man ideal of “I didn’t think I’d make it here.” I knew I’d be 25, even when my life was in danger. Ask anyone who’s faced their own mortality; you never wonder about the “future”. You just focus on the moment. The lesson that shitty experience taught me kind’ve got lost on me over time. I had a span where I found myself unable to appreciate the life I’ve lead up to this point and how great my reality is. For my own sake , a little bit before 25 I changed in a DRASTIC sense. This all coincided with me going “so what do you REALLY wanna do for your birthday?”

So , I set out to hit bars across the city with my squad. I left my job literally a week before my birthday (I’d express my thoughts on it here but I legally can’t. CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS FOR THE LOSS!) So , realistically , I’m inviting people from work who no longer see me every day , on Valentines Day Weekend on a cold night. My former coworkers and everyone else I invited had every right to not show face.To be very honest with you , I had no idea if anyone would really show up. If it would even be fun. Amongst other silly concerns.

At some point later in the night , on bar #4 , after roughly 15 people or so have come and gone in my little birthday posse….it hit me. People like and appreciate me. These are all people who matter to me and I’ve tried my best to express how much they mean to me ,even though I know I sometimes don’t do the best job of such. For so many people to still show (and attempt to show…I definitely gave out some horrible , drunken directions) meant so much to me. I woke up the next morning with a grin that wouldn’t go away. How lucky am I? I don’t even feel I’ve done enough for people to show me love like this but it’s deeply appreciated. To me 25 will represent one thing ; love. How much of it I get to feel. How much I give out. How much more I will experience. The craziness of life sometimes makes me lose all of this in the shuffle but I pledge to never forget moments like that night.

I say all of that to say thank you. If you came. If you didn’t come. If you told me happy birthday. It all matters to me , down to the smallest gesture. It’s all huge to me. I very vividly remember having absolutely no friends and feeling like a fish out of water every day. Now that my reality is so very different from that , I’m just thankful. That will be the key going forward….being thankful for every part of the process.

By Robby Rav.