On September 21, 2014 I was in attendance for Common’s Aahh Fest in Chicago’s Union Park. Common hosted this charitable event as a way to showcase Chicago talent. All proceeds from this event went to three charities. The three charities were Common’s Common Ground Foundation, Lupe Fiasco’s Foundation and Kanye West’s charity.
There were two parts to this festival. There was a community showcase earlier in the day and the main event that began at 4pm. We were only there for the main event but the community showcase had local young artists perform their music and talents.
As for the main event that took place later in the day, it was a lot of fun. It included several great Chicago artists. A special thanks to Cristobal Mora for coming out with me and taking all these amazing pictures.
TDE’s SZA performed right after Lil Herb. I was surprised to see her come out because her name wasn’t on the lineup. It was a good performance though. SZA performed at Pitchfork earlier in the year too. Pitchfork also takes place in Union Park. She’s a great R&B singer and even better she’s involved with TDE.
She had a relatively short set. It was only about 4-5 songs. She performed songs from her latest album, Z.
Jay Electronica was the first big name to perform. He was the first performer to really get the crowd going. In fact he even spent some time with the crowd. About halfway into his set he decided to first stand right in front of the crowd in the press pit but then he decided to perform his songs in the crowd. It was quite wild. At one point he was on top of a member of the audience’s shoulder. Thankfully he got out safe without any complains. He later reappeard when ,special guest, Kanye West performed
MC Lyte is a pretty old school artist. She was making music before many UIC students were even born. She’s one of the first ever female MC’s and was the first solo female rapper to release a full album in 1988. She is from the golden age of hip hop. I have not really listened to her music in depth much but I’m aware of her work.
Lil Mama made an appearance during her set and Lil Mama just straight up spit some ridiculous verses. If you’re interested you can check out her cameo appearance here.
MC Lyte is a great artist though and she also had a really good performance. She was very energetic and made herself be known to the younger crowd present at Aahh Fest.
De La Sol
(Dave of De La Sol)
De La Sol is one of my favorite hip hop groups. Before Aahh Fest I never really had any opportunities to see them live. I always end up missing their shows in Chicago but I didn’t this time. They are good performers and they performed some of their best songs.
They had an incident with all the press photographers. They asked all of them to stop taking pictures for one song and just vibe with them for the song. This was a time to enjoy yourself and enjoy the music. I thought that was really cool because often times photographers are into the artists they go and shoot but don’t always necessarily get the chance to just enjoy the moment because they’re working. It was funny though because this one particular person refused to put her camera down and they kept stopping their song until she did. She never did and they just continued with their performance.
Jennifer Hudson had one of the more memorable performances. Her story is quite amazing let alone. She grew up in Chicago’s troubled Englewood neighborhood and was still able to achieve all her success in her acting and singing career.
She put on a good show for her hometown. She was very passionate throughout her whole performance and just very soulful too. That also has to do with the type of music she sings but it was a great performance to be able to see. The fact that she was performing in her hometown also resulted in a very passionate performance.
When I heard that Dave Chappelle was going to host this event I got very excited and I wanted to make sure I was in attendance because who knows when Dave Chappelle will ever do something like this again. He didn’t host the whole night though, which was kind of disappointing. He only started hosting when the big name performers started to come out. I was nice to be able to see him in person though. He’s still very funny for those wondering.
Lupe Fiasco had a quite interesting performance. He performed a lot of his older hits from Food & Liquor and The Cool. I think Lupe Fiasco is always a great performer from the times that I have seen him live. I think he always decides the right songs to perform and he’s very energetic live.
Towards the end of his performance though he wanted to perform another song for the crowd but I believe his time was up so they ended up cutting his mic before he could even say anything. It was unfortunate but I think they had a schedule to to keep up with.
I think Common was the one I was most excited to see just because I have been wanting to see him for a very long time now but he hasn’t really had any shows in Chicago in recent years. Ever since I heard his Like Water For Chocolate album I have been a big fan. He could easily be regarded as one of my favorite hip hop artists. He has so much love for his hometown and you can easily tell. I mean he organized this whole event just for Chicago.
His performance was really good though. He didn’t disappoint my expectations and he played a lot of his hits. Twista even made an appearance halfway through his set. This is a guy who puts on a great show for his city and you can easily tell the pride he has for his hometown.
The special guest for the first annual Aahh Fest was Kanye West. I had a strong feeling it was going to be Kanye West going into this festival and I was right in my guess.
Kanye performed a 16 song set that included, “Jesus Walks”, “Power”, “Touch The Sky”, and the great hometown anthem “Homecoming” just to name a few from his set. For his performance of “Clique” he brought out Jay Electronica, Common and Vince Staples. He ended his set with Common performing the song “Get Em High”.
You can check out his performance here, via Go Where Hip Hop.