Hip-Hop at Intonation ’06

So two-day-long outdoor music festivals aren’t really hip-hop, in general. I’m sure if the city of Chicago actually thought there would be more than four black people (I counted) in attendance at this year’s Intonation Music Festival, they never would’ve allowed the shit to take place in Union Park. After all, someone could’ve gotten shot.

That said, rap was out in full force on both days of this year’s event. It seemed as if Vice made a conscious effort to add a lot of diversity to the line-up – perhaps to combat their image as being vaguely racist white hipsters or maybe just to bring out Chi-town hip-hop fans. If it was the latter, then obviously it didn’t really work. But it was a nice try anyway.

Here’s a brief rundown of the hip-hop shows I caught this weekend.

Devin the Dude. I’m somewhat familiar with his oeuvre, but I’m not a huge fan or anything. He must have done about ten songs that were all about weed and sex – mostly weed. From my vantage point, the crowd didn’t seem to be into it at all.

Ghostface Killah. Despite the fact that he wasn’t an actual headliner, Ghostface might’ve been this weekend’s most well-received performance. Not that this is news or anything, but white hipsters love Ghostface. His set was a somewhat abbreviated version of his normal show, but it was still damn good.

Lady Sovereign. Jay-Z’s new pint-sized British techno rapper did a brief set in between Ghostface and the Streets, who were the first evening’s headliners. The crowd didn’t really seem to be feeling her shit at all.

The Streets. Do the Streets count as hip-hop? Their set wasn’t as hype as Ghostface’s but I thought Mike Skinner’s “unique” brand of humor translated surprisingly well to a live setting. The jigfellow that does a lot of the singing on his records isn’t as much of a focal point on the actual albums, but he’s a real riot to watch on stage, too.

Cage. Def Jux also happened to be playing a show in Chicago Saturday night, which I caught. Cage seemed surprisingly younger and more normal-looking than you’d think. He must’ve kicked whatever he was on. I thought his performance was alright, but you couldn’t tell that to the troubled-looking kids who were in the audience that night. The dude has an intense fan base.

Mr. Lif. I had heard good things about Lif’s live show, but you know how critics like to give a free pass to artists with strong political content. Word to Boots Riley. Come to find out, this dude really is that good. It’s hard to get an idea just listening to the records, but Mr. Lif is absolute monster on stage. More so than any other rapper I’ve seen, the dude can spit loud and fast and still maintain a great level of clarity.

Rhymefest. I showed up about half way through Rhymefest’s set the second day. The crowd was still kinda sparse at this point, not unlike Devin the Dude’s set, but Rhymefest still managed to get shit reasonably hype. His voice projects incredibly well and he takes advantage of that by doing a lot of a capella stuff, freestyles and what have you.

Lupe Fiasco. Hip-Hop’s next big thing (nullus) put on a good set Sunday afternoon, but not quite on the level of most of the rest of this weekend’s hip-hop. He opened rhyming over a bunch of Kanye’s shit, which the crowd enjoyed, but the they didn’t seem to be as into his own stuff, except for “Kick Push.” He went on a bit of a spiel about the situation with his album and announced that Jay-Z would be contributing a verse. No one seemed to give a shit.

dead prez. Hilariously, about an hour before dead prez went on, mad terrorist kids started setting up shop in front of their stage. There were several different kinds of anarchists (gay ones, ecological ones, etc.) and also some kids from the Tamil Tigers, not to mention a few angry-looking older black people. Their set was good-not-great, but the crowd seemed really into it. They even got about half the crowd to shout “reparations” on cue.

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  • john cochran

    I’d pay to see Ghost, lupe and Rymefest but I’ll pass on the rest. Sounds like an aight show though.

  • I Fux

    I luv Dead Prez them Niggers are out of fucking control I just saw show on Starzz ondemand with their live show and shit was getting absolutely nuts, the funny thing was I think they were in San Francisco so all the front row of peoples were crackas or orientels truly remarkable

  • say what

    Sounds like u had a shitty weekend u could not pay me to go out of my way to see any of those ppl perform,
    (except ghost)
    those artists are up there with the ones
    I heard performed at the brooklyn hip hop fest!

    *boring* not orth a blog post and not worth my
    response but I had a 10 seconds to waste so

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    I’m surprised you didn’t snap on Lif’s coif.

  • Tipper Gore’s Inner Sex Pot

    Are you gonna go credible journalist on us?!? Will we have to find another ignorant alarmist racist megalomaniac narcissistic walmart employee to entertain us while we should be working?!?
    Powerful observation skillz! That was almost an interesting concert review.
    High five.

  • roc_representa

    Are Tamil Tigers big where your from?

  • lone1

    Lif and Cage…intermingled with all them other cats?…good shit…I can dig it…I wouldn’t have minded to be their.

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    What’s megalomaniac mean?

  • http://www.livejournal.com Rey

    Glad you enjoyed your little music thing. However, I must ask this: Does anyone else not give a shit one way or another about Lupe Fiasco? The more ppl tell me this guy is the 2nd coming of Nas, BIG, Jay, Big L, or even Kanye the more I can’t stand him. It’s not even hating, I just don’t like being told what’s ‘cool’ or what I’m ‘supposed’ to like. Everything I’ve read about this guy makes him sound like a lyrical Pharrell, and I can’t stand skateboard p’s stupid ass. I’m more interested in Obie f’n Trice’s album.

  • illpo

    double that high 5. Lupe’s set was mid-day fire, the crowd was feeling his set, now back to Noz…

  • bol

    you guys know i’m white right?

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    probably a rhetorical question, but fuck it… megalomaniac

  • RandomName

    I was soo close to comming out to the shows it was so insanely affordable, but there were going to be no ins and outs and I didn’t really want to see most of the rock groups,(and It was going to rain Sunday) so i passed. I mostly really just wanted to see Ghost and Lupe since I missed when they had a show togeather a month or so ago, I think they’ll both be here for Lalapolosa(sp?) though but I think it’ll cost 2x – 3x as much.

  • http://www.byroncrawford.com Rey

    ^^^”you guys know I’m white right?”

    Yeah, but you’re one entertaining honky.

  • I Fux

    yo have to be white to like Cage or Def Jux MrLif or whatever that shit is, its absolutely atrocious, what the fuck’ I didnt get you Bol until I did realize you are a Crack-ass-Cracka

  • Unfaded Disciple

    # Rey Says:
    June 26th, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    Glad you enjoyed your little music thing. However, I must ask this: Does anyone else not give a shit one way or another about Lupe Fiasco? The more ppl tell me this guy is the 2nd coming of Nas, BIG, Jay, Big L, or even Kanye the more I can’t stand him. It’s not even hating, I just don’t like being told what’s ‘cool’ or what I’m ’supposed’ to like. Everything I’ve read about this guy makes him sound like a lyrical Pharrellal.

    ^^^Rey I feel you on you can’t stand how peopel make you or even show you what is “cool”

    Now I listen to Lupe b4 he ven gotten big…afte hearing him on that Touch The Sky joint…I just had to look him up

    This kid got mad skills…you said you READ things about him…but have you ever listen to him? I’m not talking about Kick Push…I’m saying his mixtape joints cuz dude is sick on the mic…really I aint telling you what you should listen to, but I am telling you to give ole dude a chance

    IDK about him being the next nas or so…but this kid got skills to be reckon with…

    Real Talk


    “Try to download his Touch The Sky Mixtape” or even Kick Push II

    “Switch” is also a good song from LupeFiasco and so is “Failure”

  • http://www.livejournal.com Rey


    I can’t stand alot of that skateboard nerd shit in general, music or otherwise, but if Lupe is coming with something mildly intelligent, I’ll check him out.

    I’d thank you for the suggestion but the guy after me would probably just call me a fag for doing so, so instead I’ll just refer to the ebonic:

    Good Lookin’ out.

  • Gutta

    if ya white whos the ugly muthfucka on the top??

  • dollar_wells

    he’s just sunburnt from the weekend.

  • illpo

    Sometimes, I hi 5 white people, especially those who know they are white. BTW, I though whities were more passionate about this. And Lupe thoroughly impressed me.

  • DJ Lucky Luke

    Out of that group, only Ghostface and Dead Prez could get my ticket money… The rest, well…the rest could all pile into a plane and go down somewhere in the Andes for all I care. Get ready y’all, a new mixtape coming soon from JMoney and DJ Lucky Luke and no need to pay for one either. Stay tuned…

  • http://www.do_u.com Mrs. Brown

    most of u on this are racist freaks….don’t ever us the n word on this sh*t…its also asian not oriental…freak!! no excuses..expecially if your a honkie it’s far from cool, the masses would agree but you are all sick individuals hiding behind your computers, punks.. don’t use that crap ever again come with something worth reading cumquats!