Hip-hop is from the streets. It was created by the poor and disenfranchised who made art out of whatever could make a sound or could be used as a canvas around them. Hip-hop’s streets returned to the House of Blues Chicago last night. Street music is alive and well, thanks to the Key To Life Tour in case anyone was wondering. The Lox, Griselda, Smoke DZA, Statik Selektah and DJ Green Lantern all brought the grime of hip-hop back to the forefront of House of Blues Chicago with the Key To Life tour and the culture is better for it.
A great surprise on the Key To Life Tour last night was the appearance of Chicago’s very lovely and talented K’Valentine. She pulled up and represented for the new Chicago emcee and looked very good doing it. Ms Valentine hit the stage with gold sequence shorts and a rapid fire flow that had fellas around me in the audience with a resounding “GAHDAMN” for both! Please check out that Here for A Reason album if you haven’t already. K Valentine gets busy and her music is definitely worth your ears.
Next in the Key To Life line up was the incomparable Smoke DZA. I haven’t seen DZA perform since he was rolling heavy with Curren$y and Jet Life. Not only has DZA not lost a step. DZA may be giving the best overall performances of his life right now. From coming out with the 80’s classic WWF title, along with his version of the NWO title. To leaving out to the John Cena theme music while signing shoes and album covers. Smoke DZA truly is Really F**king Cool! DZA can rap his ass off. No shortage of bars on any project. Get up to speed on the Kush God if you don’t know what’s up already.
What’s cooler than legendary DJ Statik Selektah doing an intermission set on the Key To Life tour? Him showing love to the late great Chicago DJ Timbuck2 during that set. We’re coming up on 2 years since his untimely passing. It was great to know his name has not been forgotten and is still respected.
The Key To Life tour would then unleash the Griselda gang next and street music would prove to be alive and well. Griselda is the hardest team on and off the mic in America right now. It’s no debate. They got it. Respect to the legends and the others currently doing it, but this Griselda wave is literally early Lox, Mobb Deep and Wu rolled into one and residing in upstate New York. Yes! No borough can claim Griselda. Buffalo, New York is their home and the soundtrack they’re providing is making it clear it’s talent there, but nobody is safe!
Westside Gunn is an underground legend. We got to give him that. Him having a project with MF Doom is literally unbelievable, but it’s real. Gunn is hilarious too! He definitely had the most comical moments of the night and let us know it’s ok for the “real ones” to have a little fun, laugh, joke and enjoy some hip-hop. Next up is my guy Benny The Butcher! Benny is nice! He’s got one of the best rapid fire flows in the game right now. Benny’s verse on “Dirty Needles” still ranks as my favorite from him, but you got to really listen to what he saying. His energy and flow is incredible. Benny really could be a superstar in this game, because the ladies mess with him too. Benny’s destined to cook in this game. Catch the wave now!
Griselda closes their Key To Life set with Conway The Machine. The hardest rapper in America today! A survivor and a lyrical monster, Conway has the hot hand in the street music sector of hip-hop right now. Getting shot in the neck and now having bell’s palsy only made his talent and charisma reach another level and hip-hop fans reap the benefit. Conway can rap forever. He said it best. He’s the illest with half a face. Conway is also ready to beef and battle with anybody in the game right now. He’s going to hear crickets on that offer though. No one wants it with Griselda in the booth right now. Period.
Closing out the Key To Life tour is legendary trio from Yonkers, The Lox! I love The Lox. They just might be the best rap group period. I love the fact that they came to Chicago twice within a year and their set wasn’t identical to the previous trip. Even with time constraints they gave a different show. The Lox are legends. Fathers to the pocket called “Hardcore Lyricism”. The Lox are a reason why Griselda can do what they do. They gave us one of the first Key To Life answers. If you hate The Lox, f**k you.
The Key To Life Tour is hard! It’s a dope show start to finish. My only critique is the crowd. Too many guys are too tough or too cool to have a good time. They need to let loose, hit your two-step, come with a woman. I get it. You’re a real one. But G, music is playing. Have fun for few hours.
Also, somebody came with some trash bag weed and the mix and aroma made me so sick I had to run to the bathroom for air and cold water to the face. I almost missed The Lox inhaling that trash bag second hand smoke. Key To Life tour is lit! Pull up if you still can. Hip-Hip is alive and well and so are the streets!