(Photos c/o Moonhouse Productions)
It isn’t often that a city is treated to a night with the entire spectrum of its most eccentric and talented sons and daughters, but that’s precisely what Common set out to accomplish in the inaugural year of his AAHH! Fest at Union Park in Chicago. An event that sought to provide the city’s youth with job training and community engagement efforts found itself as a true beacon for the culture’s light in a battle for hip-hop’s youngins.
Spry MCs from across the city performed early in the day, meeting and greeting one of the event’s curators in Rhymefest (and of course the man of the hour, the brother Com) local vendors and community organizers alike came out to embrace the tikes of the city’s full-bloom sonic scene, building the bridges to civic duty, so necessary in turning the tide of media perception, often demonizing the city’s younger generations.
On top of the grassroots grind, a legion of our culture’s strongest voices both young and old graced the Union Park stage, all led by the evening’s host, that great unicorn of comedy AKA Dave Chappelle. The city’s brightest stars shined their love-lights on a crowd that was as massive as it was diverse. Over 9,000 attendees bore witness to the mighty daisy crew De La Soul, SZA, MC Lyte and few other non-Chicagoans, before the city’s decorated natives went on to blaze the stage. Jennifer Hudson, Lupe Fiasco and Twista all brought their A-game, but the night was capped-off by a legendary ensemble of the industry’s finest.
As we reported yesterday, when the festival’s organizer hit the stage, he did not do it alone. Joined by reclusive word-weaving sage Jay Electronica, next-to-blow Vince Staples and the self-anointed Yeezus, the night’s finale was truly one for the books. Jay and Staples added their own verse to the combative anthem “Kingdom” (something we’re all hoping makes its way off the cutting room floor) which set the stage for a surprise appearance for Ye, who blazed through his own short set to put the cherry on top of an already legendary evening. Relive those magical Mid-Western moments in the gallery above and keep your fingers crossed (as all of ours are) that this is far from the last time AAHH! lands on the masses. You can also watch Kanye’s set in its entirety down below.