This week we remember Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, talk about new albums from the Foo Fighters and Jay-Z, and see the revival of the New Regal Theater. All this and more On the Radar.
Prodigy of Mobb Deep dies at 42
The hip-hop world took a serious hit with the death of Prodigy, one-half of Mobb Deep, on June 20 at 42 years old. The cause of death was due to complications from sickle cell anemia. The news was confirmed by Mobb Deep’s publicist, who sent the following statement to Rolling Stone:
“It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep,” the statement read. “Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”
Prodigy and Havoc grew up together in Queens, New York and released their first record, Juvenile Hall, in 1993. It wasn’t until their 1995 effort, The Infamous that they broke into the scene. Together, the duo recorded eight records as Mobb Deep, with their last, The Infamous Mobb Deep, released in 2014.
Prodigy will be greatly missed and will always be remembered for his contributions to music.
Foo Fighters and Jay Z announce new albums
Last week was big in terms of new album announcements. First, Hova himself revealed plans to release his new album, 4:44, as a Tidal exclusive on June 30. This marks his first new music since 2013’s Magna Carta Holy Grail. Jay Z has been teasing the LP for weeks with cryptic 4:44 subway posters and banner ads. Soon, it was revealed that 4:44 was part of an upcoming Tidal-only film starring Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong’o and Danny Glover.
A clip from the film premiered last weekend with a snippet of the new track, “Adnis.” So far, there’s no word on how long the LP will remain Tidal exclusive.
Not to be outdone, the Foo Fighters also announced their long-awaited ninth album. Dubbed Concrete and Gold, the record is slated for a September 15 release. In addition, they also announced fall tour dates in support of the new LP. Dates kick off October 14 in Richmond, VA and wrap up December 12 in Salt Lake City, UT. The band won’t make it to Chicago, but they will play the State Farm Arena in Champaign, IL. Tickets are on sale now. And if that wasn’t cool enough, the band even announced their own festival dubbed Cal Jam 2017. Find out more here.
Regal Theater finds new life as hologram theater
The New Regal Theater on the Southside of Chicago has had numerous ups and downs during its lifespan. With various shut downs and reopenings over the years, it left the area without a theater. Now, the Regal returns as a showcase for holograms. The theater is one of 100 in the city to be renovated with Hologram USA Networks’ advanced technology that presents holographic artists, like the infamous Tupac Coachella performance.
Work has already started on the theater, which is set for a grand opening on October 1. “The best way to describe this is like a hologram biopic of both living and deceased stars and the reason we picked the Regal is because, for example, one of the shows we have ready to go is the Billie Holiday show,” Hologram USA Networks founder and CEO Alki David said.
The theater previously hosted shows from 1927-1970 under the name the Avalon. Later the venue reopened as the New Regal Theater in 1987. It later closed in 2003 but was later purchased by Community Capital Invest in 2014 for $100,000.
It’s great that this historic theater is finding life once again. Let’s hope this will be the last time it will be resurrected.
Dead and Company returns to Chicago for two shows at Wrigley Field. Deadheads can catch them June 30 and July 1. Tickets are still on sale.
Catch funky monks Red Hot Chili Peppers when they play the United Center on June 30 and July 1. Joining them for these shows is Deerhoof. Find tickets here.
The legendary Tom Petty and Heartbreakers celebrate 40 years together on their latest tour, which swings by Wrigley Field on June 29. Chris Stapleton joins as a special guest. Get tickets while you still can.
Classic rock bands Styx and REO Speedwagon team up for the United We Rock tour with special guest Don Felder on July 1 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park. Find tickets here.
Chicago Artist Spotlight: Chicago Loud 9
It’s not exactly easy to label Chicago Loud 9 and that’s exactly how they want it. This Chicago quintet is the amalgamation of three local bands who came together in 2012 for a one night only experiment. This quickly turned into a full fledged band combining their various musical styles and influences.
Listening to Chicago Loud 9 aka cLOUD 9, you hear a little bit of everything. There are smooth jazz vibes and funky rhythms from Ivan Pyzow and Tayib Dauda that get you moving. You have the sweet soulful vocals of Aya Smith matched with the serious flow of Dhan Dee. Toss in slick riffs from Chad Wynes and pummeling percussion from Kyle Voivodas and you have a unique experience.
cLOUD 9 truly has something for everyone and while on paper the idea of mixing so many styles sounds terrible, they pull it off flawlessly. When you hear tracks like “Movin’ On” and “Fresher” you instantly start moving. They have a sound all their own that grabs your attention and never lets go.
cLOUD 9’s latest album, Reason, is out now. Make sure you catch them live June 30 at Rhyme or Reason.