Fino here, still recovering from a successful event. I had the chance to attend Life is Beautiful for the first time ever this year! Fremont street was definitely on and popping, with so much food, art, people to talk too, little tents with events and freebies there was a ton to make your head spin. But, if you want to indulge in that, go check out my fellow team member Zach’s Full Review. We are here for nothing but the sweet sweet music, and not just any music. That funky, bass, head bobbing hip hop baby! I made a Top 5 and I was lucky enough to see them when I attended and boy did they put on a show!
Leikeli 47 definitely lived up to her show reputation, setting the stage on fire competing with the Vegas heat! In a green camouflage jumpsuit and her iconic ski mask, Leikeli came out with her two accompanying masked dancers who donned kicks, crop tops and shorts. Coming around 4pm the sun was definitely blazing, but that didn’t affect anyone on stage or on the floor. The gathering of fans were small, but everyone chanted along with her words, moving their bodies to the tribal beats and repeating whenever Leikeli asked for it. The energy and love was definitely flowing through the air, when she dropped her bangers “Fuck the Summer Up” and “Heard ‘Em Say Pt 2” the crowd exploded with so much energy I thought I was at the main stage! After the show was done, she came down to the crowd and took pictures with everyone, and I mean everyone! I didn’t snag one, because she looked exhausted and I had to run along to other shows. You can tell that she really loves her fans, and thanked and expressed her appreciation for them coming out. I can’t wait to see her progress, she played a short set because of her short catalog of tracks, but she killed it and the future looks bright!
Chance The Rapper
Chano!!! Chance was a nice and mellow set, definitely very intimate with intense moments of jamming. “The Social Experiment” live band definitely woke the crowd up around 9, and welcomed all the new comers who came to watch the best acts of the night. Before Chance came on, the Ambassador Stage was packed and only getting fuller as fans kept coming in the truck loads! The crowd was not sitting still either; I had people chanting his name, singing his music, just vibing out ready for Chance to grace the stage. Popping off with the bass heavy and very fitting introduction song “Everybody’s something” the crowd immediately got into gear singing along and swaying with the beat.
My buddy who was with me (who doesn’t listen to hip hop at all) was moving and swaying the whole time! Seeing Chance live is definitely a reminiscent to those grateful dead jam band days. “Pusha Man” turned from his regular song, into something totally different. With the band going ahead and jamming out and going insane only for the DJ to bring right back into the chorus and then cuts off to the second part of the song. Which I think is the beat reversed the bass and melody increased, and the organic instruments muffled. But it adds this amazing atmosphere to the rest of his bars and chorus, and you feel every word and sound that protrudes the air and definitely takes you to another state. Chance definitely surprised the crowd with his “Planes remix” which is a Jeremiah cover that he does wonderfully, and dropped everyone’s favorite “Cocoa Butter Kisses”. He chatted with the crowd for a long time, before slowly transitioning into his “Everything’s Good” which is a very melancholy sort of track. It’s definitely fitting as it’s also known as “Good Ass Outro” and it just plays out very heavily. The crowd of course was not silent after the music stopped, they chanted for a good 5 minutes before Chance ran back out and just destroyed the rest of his time with “Chain Smoker” which is a smooth ambient banger with nice bars and great voice work. If you get a chance to see “Chance” definitely take it, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Run The Jewels
Man oh man was Run the Jewels the bee’s knees my friends. I got blessed to actually go inside of the photo pit to do my best to capture photos for their first 3 songs! It was a pretty awesome experience to hear their title track, “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” and “Blockbuster Night, Part 1” up close and personal. The crowd was loving every second of it, with the security having to stop the front of the crowd from bursting at the seams! Once the third song was done I had to go back into the crowd, I dived straight into the center of the crowd just as “Banana Clipper” started, and once those whistles were done, the crowd went bananas! (hah!) Fists were thrown, people were shoved, drinks were spilled but one thing stood out the most, everyone’s insane smiles they had going on. It was the closest to “happy violence” I have ever been too. The energy just got more intense as they dove deeper into the set, “DDFH” had everyone chanting in unison. Even folks who struggled to speak English were rapping along, it was amazing.
My favorite moment of the show had to be when they dropped “Love Again” and they actually brought out Gangsta Boo! Gangsta Boo is what all those bad bitch rappers want to be. She was involved with the Hypnotize Mindz outfit, run by DJ Paul of Three Six Mafia, and that was my shit back in the day! It was a blessing to see her come out and rip the mic, and hear her signature “yeah HOE!” in person and to be able to chant it with her. Killer Mike had a lot to say about what is going on with our nation at the time, and definitely felt the emotion and love he had for his fans, music, and the world around him. He told us a story of how he got married in Vegas, and El-P invited everyone out to Dairy Queens up at Sahara Ave after their performance. If I didn’t have to run off, I definitely would have gone and ate some ice cream with Run the Jewels. Definitely didn’t disappoint, I hope I don’t have to wait another year to Run The Jewels again!
It’s a weird feeling you get, when you’re done with a music act. And you just can’t help but sit there and just stare off into space about what just happened. You feel happy, complete, and like the questions that drove you into an anxious break down, kind of just melted away. That’s the feeling you get after watching Atmosphere live. Slug took me to a journey deep within myself, and still managed to get everyone vibing along with a smile. “Puppets” just starts as soon as it gets pitch black and everyone knows its time. Clapping along with the song, everyone starts cheering as Slug starts rapping the beginning, and it’s the perfect intro. His flag drops with a woosh, a giant America with the eyes in black and white. Smoke starts billowing out as he goes into the bridge, and right then the Atmosphere is set. Right in cadence after the first song is over, he goes straight into “The Loser Wins” almost to continue the same thing from the first song. Everyone is loving and people are having a blast. After the song cuts off, Slug starts dialogue with the audience. Asking how Vegas is, and sharing some memories about being in Vegas, and what he thinks Vegas is for. It’s very casual, and very real. Then almost out of nowhere, the conversation turns into music. As he smoothly transitions into “ScapeGoat” which is rough, almost as he takes you from the top straight to the bottom of the food chain. And the trend continues, they certainly live up to the “Atmosphere” name, they put you in their world while you spend time with them. The stories in their songs are all relatable, and the messages behind the themes are extremely positive.
I can drone on forever, but the my favorite moment of this performance has to be when they dropped “Yesterday”. Right after “Fuck you Lucy” and “The Waitress” it seemed like the natural next song to play. This song has a deep connection with me and my childhood. It definitely reminds me of me and my neighborhood friends and all the shit we did. For whatever reasons, we don’t speak and this song reminded me of them and everyone has felt the chorus before. It’s the song that no matter how much shit you talk about where you grew up, who you grew up with or the instances you went through growing up, when you listen to it far away from that place, it makes you realize that it’s home. It’s a home that you know can go away at any given second, but you don’t think that thought while you’re there, Atmosphere reminded everyone that night that home is extremely relative. Great experience, and I was blessed to attend, I can’t wait to see them again later on in the year.
The king of the west came through Life is Beautiful and definitely dropped some bangers! Just as I hoped that Kendrick would drop some of old stuff he opens up with “Money Trees” and guess what, he also brought along Jay Rock! It was awesome seeing him fly out of nowhere to rap his verse and continue to hype up the crowd. Then boom right into “Backseat Freestyle” which got the crowd rapping along to his signature chorus and feeling empowered. Then he slowed it down with “Swimming Pools” which got everyone grooving with their partners, or their friends. I had to get out after and was able to experience “MAAD City” with the crowd, where they definitely brought the heat, and started a mini mosh pit. So many people came out to see Kendrick, and I can see why, his timing with his band was amazing, his dialogue with the audience was genuine and you can tell he felt really happy to be there.
I hung out at the far back with my buddies, and vibed out with the crowd and some mentioned how big fans they were since “Section 80” which was one of Kendrick’s first few albums. He dropped “I” and “King Kunta” back to back and that woke up the crowd from the slow calming sounds of “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”. He finished off with “ADHD” “Real” and “Alright” which seemed fitting to end the entire festival for everyone. Needless to say, Kendrick Lamar is an experience that no other West Coast artist at the moment can reproduce. His variety along with his style is definitely what got him King, but his performance is what solidifies it.