Show Review: Noname and Ravyn Lenae Slay at The Crocodile

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I saw Noname perform at The Crocodile this past Wednesday. Ravyn Lenae opened for her, and needless to say they were both incredible. I had been anticipating this concert for quite some time now (I ordered the tickets in November), and the night had finally arrived.

First things first, I had also bought meet and greet tickets for my lovely girlfriend in an effort to blow Valentine’s Day out of the water. For the most part I think it was a success. She was excited to meet Noname, as was I, of course. Unfortunately, we both had different reactions to talking to her in person. She was so nervous that her mind started racing, asking Noname-whose real name is Fatima-question after question. This was a godsend, because I was so nervous that my mind drew a blank and stood there sheepishly, only mustering the courage to introduce myself and say “yes” a few times. 

After a photo op with Fatima, it was time for the concert. Unbeknownst to me, there was an act before Ravyn Lenae. Local Seattle rappers Nyles Davis and Mo Money got the show started, but not exactly as I had expected. Noname and Ravyn Lenae’s musical styles both exude peacefulness and don’t try to be in your face. Davis and Mo Money were both accurate reflections of what rap is becoming: repetitive lyrics over bass-heavy beats. Their music reminded me a lot of Lil Uzi Vert, my least favorite rapper in the game right now. Mo Money also got really sweaty and it was flying everywhere, so that didn’t help his set improve.

Finally, the time came for the actual concert to start, and Ravyn Lenae came out. And let me tell ya, her voice was jaw dropping. I knew it was good when I listened to her music on Spotify, but it was probably even better live. Each song she performed had multiple vocal inflections where she would change the note while she belted out a single word or sound. My previously hefty expectations had been exceeded somehow and I was witnessing an angel on stage. 

Lenae also took the time to explain the meaning behind each song before she performed it. I had listened through her Moon Shoes EP multiple times, but had never taken the time to thoroughly listen to it and pull the meaning from each song. I found myself listening much more intently, trying to connect the lyrics to the explanation she had given just a few minutes earlier. Also, she put the mic in front of my girlfriend to sing a part of a song, but evidently the pressure was overwhelming and she could only sing for a split second before laughing it off. To be fair, I would’ve done the exact same thing, and Ravyn probably would’ve gotten the whole crowd to make fun of me because I can’t sing as well as her. That may have been why she did it in the first place.

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Lenae’s set ended after about 45 minutes and it was time for the headliner, Noname. Her debut album Telefone was one of my favorite albums of last year. It was meaningful, perfectly produced, and it introduced me to a female rapper that I actually enjoyed (sorry not sorry Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea). Noname’s band was the first to come on stage, performing a few minutes of smooth instrumentals before Noname came out to open with “All I Need”. To my relief, she sounded exactly like she did on Telefone. The live band was a great addition; Davis, Mo Money, and Lenae all performed over recordings of the instrumentals to their songs (Davis actually rapped over recordings of his songs with the rap recorded too, so he didn’t have to work as hard). Noname performed Telefone in its entirety, as well as her verses for Mick Jenkins’ “Comfortable” and Chance the Rapper’s “Lost”. Ravyn Lenae joined her on stage and they performed “Forever” together, which was easily the best moment of the night. Noname’s discography still has some growing to do, because she ran out of music to perform after half an hour. Despite the short set, Noname was excellent on stage and had the audience captivated the whole time.

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The concert as a whole was great. The surprise openers got the concert off on a sour note, but Ravyn Lenae and Noname more than made up for the openers’ slip-ups. Both either performed exactly as in their recordings or far beyond what I had expected. Once they expand their discography there will only be more demand for them to go on tour again, and I look forward to when that day comes. Check out each artist’s music below.

Noname – Telefone

Ravyn LenaeMoon Shoes EP

Nyles Davis

Mo Money

Archie O’Dell

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Show Review: Chance The Rapper Brings his Imagination to Life on his Magnificent Coloring World Tour

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Monday night I had the privileged of experiencing Chance The Rapper’s uniquely brilliant Magnificent Coloring World Tour inside the cavernous WaMu Theater. Mountainous black curtains lined every inch of the venue instilling a rich sense of mystery. Despite the flowing crowds, I felt alone in the space-like complex. This feeling was short-lived as I was quickly surrounded by masses of colorful people pushing me towards the illustrious ‘front row’. Nevertheless, the vast darkness of WaMu’s towering walls created an alternate dimension isolating the stage and the crowd.

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The show opened with Chance’s electrically awkward collaborator Francis Farewell Starlite of Francis and the Lights accomponied by Chance’s go-to producer, Nate Fox. The Oakland, CA native has been on the alt-pop radar since 2007 and recently dropped his debut studio album Farewell, Starlite! in late September. Francis possessed a very soft-spoken demeanor despite his musics’ jagged edge and funky synthesized melodies. He consistently addressed the well-being of the restless crowd and didn’t serve as much of a hype man until the end of his set. I reluctantly began to enjoy his shameless dancing and oddly groovy style due to his undefeated positive attitude. The man was having fun. It then dawned on me that the true purpose of Francis’ modest performance wasn’t to hype up a restless fans, but to set a peaceful precedent for an enjoyable evening.

After Francis left the stage the show encountered a brief 30-minute delay coupled with a preset playlist containing only Drake and Future. This pause disrupted the concert’s energy momentarily but any shadow of a doubt was obliterated with Chance’s immediate energy.

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Excitement rushed through my veins as the Broadway-esque red curtain rose to reveal the wondrous stage set. Singing animatronics, colorful supersized crayons and Carlos the spirit guide/lion/mega puppet transformed the stage into an animated fantasy land. Chance opened the show performing classic hits off his breakout mixtapes 10 Day and Acid Rap including songs like; Cocao Butter Kisses, Brain Cells, Favorite Song, Long Time and Juice. Each song exploded with spirit backed by Social Experiment members Chi-town producer Peter Cottontale on the keyboard, Stix on the drums, and the incredible Donnie Trumpet toting his famed bugle. Brilliant multi-color lights and textural animations illuminated the once colorless auditorium adding to “Magical Coloring World” experience. After taking his fans on a trip down memory lane, Chance rerouted and began performing his latest masterpiece, Coloring Book, in its entirety. Carlos the Lion acted as Chance’s mentor, guiding him to push the message of the gospel-inspired album. Loving ourselves. The animatronic choir conveyed the setting of a southern-baptist church as Chance’s soulful-jazzy beats served as a perfect medium for his advocacy of God, peace and happiness. I even teared up as Chance spoke personally on the importance learning to love yourself and his current emotional struggles. For his finale Chance brought Francis back out to perform their song (and one of my favorites off Coloring Book) Summer Friends with an extended outro courtesy of the Social Experiment team leaving the crowd with a sense of musical wonderment. I was absolutely blown away by

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part rap-musical part spiritual service the concert turned out to be. If you have yet to experience Chance the Rapper’s music you can find his latest project here. I have also provided links to his previous mixtapes and Soundcloud if you’re interested in exploring this innovative artist’s past work. Chance’s music certainly changed my life and it could change yours too. 

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For fans of: Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Childish Gambino, Mick Jenkins.

10 Day

Acid Rap

Chance the Rapper’s: Soundcloud // Twitter // Instagram

Robert B

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CONCERT REVIEW – Chance the Rapper: Family Matters

Celebrating the release of Surf and touring with his group The Social Experiment, Chance the Rapper performed on November 19th at The Paramount with his opener D.R.A.M. The sold-out crowd went crazy when the lights dimmed. Everyone knew just what was coming, and when chance got on stage the party started.

It was amazing that Chance’s performance was just as much about his personality and showmanship as it was the crowd’s. Everyone was singing along to his songs off of the mixtape 10 Day with the same dedication as his better-known songs off of his full albums, Acid Rap and Surf.

With the crowd backing him, Chance really let the crowd get to know him as a person, taking breaks in between songs for personal dialogues. You could tell he was more than a little excited to try and shake the foundations of the Paramount, and with his crowd conversations and boundless energy, he definitely did so.

With slower songs like “Paranoia” and “Long Time” (during which Donnie Trumpet showcased his trumpet-playing expertise) to feel Chance’s emotion, as well as his bangers “Cocoa-Butter Kisses” and “Sunday Candy” to feed the energy of the crowd, the show quickly turned into something akin to a family gathering. We all know Chance, but it felt like Chance knew the crowd,too.

Chance and the Social Experiment are natural performers, and if they weren’t on your “to-see list”, they should be now.

Kobe Ryan is a first-time blogger for Rainy Dawg and a regular DJ for Rainy Dawg Radio–listen to his show, The Album Hour, every Friday from 9-11pm!

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

HAPPY SoX DAY: Chance the Rapper & Social Experiment’s Short Film

here is a present: an excuse to take a quick break from studying and watch this 11 minute film by Austin Vesley.

featuring all my favorites, including Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, Peter Cottontale, Stix, Nate Fox and Macie Stewart, the short film details behind the scenes of the Social Experiment Tour. 

have a look:

i love seeing the guys (and Macie) open up, even if its on camera. the laughter and camaraderie makes you feel welcomed as a bystander and the fun and vibrant footage of their tour makes you feel like you’re actually with them.

i don’t know about you, but this made me laugh out loud. happy SoX day 🙂

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-gnovs

“Sunday Candy”: something to be thankful for (New Song)

this thanksgiving, i am SO thankful for Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, Peter Cottontale, and Nate Fox.

the four, commonly known as The Social Experiment, dropped a song on November 25th, with help from Stix on drums, vocals from Jamila Woods, Jabari Rayford, Eryn Allen Kane, and Macie Stewart, J.P. Floyd on trombone, and Patrick Paige on the bass.

the track, named “Sunday Candy,” is a single from Social Experiment’s upcoming album Surf, set to be released before 2015. 

and, as i said earlier, if you were looking for things to be grateful for during this lovely holiday break, search no more. this song is a blessing. the vibrant and upbeat trumpet accompanies a soulful, smooth beat that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs, probably in the shower, or at all times, whatever works. 

another reason to fall in love with this song is the lyrics. the first verse Chance the Rapper raps about how much his grandmother loves him and Taylor Bennett, his younger brother, because of everything she has done for them. 

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as if i’m not already madly in love with Chance

the second verse, Chance expresses how important his grandmother is to him. he says “I’m pessimistic on Monday if I had tweaked and missed you,” referring to the thought of skipping seeing her at church on Sunday. given how chance is relatively open about his skepticism towards religion/God, this speaks volumes to how much inspiration his grandmother provides. it’s just so cute, okay! Take a listen:

the song is about waiting to see someone that improves your day, your life, any aspect of yourself. its about cherishing the people who are important to you, which is so great to have on a day like today.

anyways, the song is awesomely put together, with so many contributions from so many great artists. Nico Segal (better known as Donnie Trumpet) is noted in The Fader as saying ”this song specifically is a great representation of [The Social Experiment’s] collaborative efforts. It’s my curation, but then bringing it to the table with all these beautiful people and including them in their own way. Jamila sang on that hook, then I brought it to the collective. Peter added some great layers of texture and helped produce, Nate added a bunch of drums, tons of our friends from Chicago played instruments and added their ideas.” 

everything about this song is feel-good, and the people involved are people that you can also feel good supporting. Nico Segal and Chancellor Bennett went to high school together, and have been making music together for years, like Zion released on Donnie Trumpet EP in July 2013 and Wasting Time released from Traphouse Rock EP in 2012. it’s amazing to see the two, and other Chicago natives, succeeding on a larger scale, and releasing an album together years later.

so now, i sit and wait for Surf.

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gnovs