Last night, Red Bull Music kicked off the Chicago edition of the Red Bull Music Festival with the Hip Hop collective/record label known as G.O.O.D. Music.
If you’ve been living under a rock and not too familiar with the assembled group of brash and hard-hitting artists – G.O.O.D. Music (Getting Out Our Dreams) was created by Chicago native and polarizing recording artist Kanye West in 2004. As a collective, G.O.O.D. Music has had a rich history of affiliates. On this chilly night in Downtown Chicago, the best of the best from the label would be showcased.
Originally doors to the Wintrust Arena were to open at 7pm, with the show set to begin at 8pm, however plans didn’t go as scheduled, and show kicked off at 9pm. As the show went on, fans continued to pack the arena. Before the show began, inspiring MCs could seize the opportunity to spit a quick 16 bars or freestyle in the Red Bull Swift 16 Booth. As with concerts, those who rush to be first at the guardrail tend to lose energy halfway through the show, this wouldn’t be a problem as Red Bull had assistants on deck giving out cans of Red Bull to quench the thirst of members of general admission.
The stage design had a minimalistic look and feel, completed with a ramp and stairs, plus a large screen background. This was the perfect set design for G.O.O.D. Music as the label has always been known for their minimalist approach to production. Throughout the event, the large screen would display eye-catching visuals for each performer.
It should be noted that Sheck Wes did not perform as he tweeted that he was ill.
Kicking off the night was 070 Shake (who seemed to be a bit under the weather) performing the “Violent Crimes” and “Ghost Town”, two tracks from Kanye West’s 8th album ‘ye’, in which she had a huge presence on. The crowd seemed to be into it as Shake went into the chorus of Ghost Town – and just like that, the next performer hit the stage. Valee casually walked on stage to the tune of his track “Womp, Womp”. The standout moment of his performance was Valee’s hypeman taking over the show – he would run all across the stage, recite all of Valee’s lyrics into the mic, plus was only 1 of 2 people who actually utilize the ramp, the other being Teyana Taylor’s dancers.
Next up was Desiigner who rushed onto stage who immediately caused a controlled chaos with an almost 8 minute mix of “Father Stretch My Hand Pt 2” that went directly into his 2015 smash hit “Panda”. Hands down, Desiigner brought the energy to the Opening Night of the Red Bull Music Festival. Throughout his set, Desiigner would continuously toss water on the audience (throwing water on the crowd was played out in 2016) and instruct them to make a mosh pit. His set came to close with a crazy performance of the yet to be officially released “Over Seas”, featuring Lil Pump.
Teyana Taylor would grace the stage next, rocking the highly coveted Yeezy Red Octobers. Taylor’s performance would include milly rocking during performance of tracks from her recently released KTSE album and also a quick performance of “Dark Fantasy”. Siking Chicago out after what was to believed to be her last song, Teyana rushed back on stage to perform “Rose in Harlem”. Teyana’s energy during this song had the whole Wintrust Arena vibing and singing along.
Fresh off the jet from ComplexCon in Los Angeles, The President of G.O.O.D. Music, Pusha T, wasted no time hitting the Chicago crowd with “If You Know, You Know”. From the start, Chicago showed appreciation for King Push’s lyrical skills. The “Daytona Experience” was alive and well in the Windy City as Pusha went through select tracks from his latest album, Daytona, which was named the Best Rap Album of 2018 by Def Jam. Surprising everyone in attendance, Pusha T closed his set with his verse from 2011’s “Don’t Like (Remix)”.
To close out the evening was the legendary Nas. Nas entered the stage to a standing ovation from the crowd as he went straight into “Adam & Eve” from his recently released 12th studio album Nasir. Just as Pusha T did with his set, Nas would also rap his lyrics without assistance from backing vocals, it was just the instrumental. It’s always a great sight to see when a MC takes its craft seriously and remembers their lyrics and doesn’t have to rely on the full song playing in the background.
Nas performance wouldn’t only include Nasir tracks, but Nas Escobar would deal out some fan-service performing some of his classics including “If I Ruled The World”, “Made You Look”, and “Hate Me Now”. Nas took a moment to speak to audience, thanking Chicago for the love and reminiscing shooting music videos in the old neighborhood that was once Cabrini Green. Before the show concluded, Nas performed an intense performance of “One Mic”, which in turn saw the entire arena recite every word.
The Red Bull Music Festival continues all through November in Chicago.
Check out photos from the Opening Night of the Red Bull Music Festival with G.O.O.D. Music.
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Tre G, the Journalisy Without A Beat. Got an entertainment tip, product to review or story to tell? Send all inquiries over to to journalistwithoutabeat.com