Images above provided by Tito G. (@gotit_lens).
This weekend in Chicago there was a lot going on, a lot of good things. One of the major, positive events happening was AAHH! Fest, brought to us by Chicago’s own Common. It was a special festival full of stars, great organizations & the best of Chicago.
This was the 2nd AAHH! Fest, which premiered in 2014, but took a break last year. This year it returned with 2 days of good energy in Union Park. It began with community day on Saturday. It was hosted by Malik Yusef & the community stage featured some great artists from right here in Chicago. A lot of local artists & organizations were spotlighted. While major artists like Taylor Bennett, Omen, & Tink were on the docket, local acts from organizations like Donda’s House, like John The Author, as well as other groups from around the city, like Huey Gang, had an opportunity to be seen. The Boy Illinois blessed the stage, as well as Matt Muse, who performed yesterday as well. Chicago Scholars, Straight From The Go, We R Englewood, M.U.R.A.L. & True Star were out spreading their messages & letting people see the great work being done in Chicago. Of course, the Common Ground Foundation & Donda’s House, both of which work to put AAHH! Fest together, represented all weekend.
The major moment that had everybody talking on Saturday was the fact that Chance the Rapper took time away from the Magnificent Coloring Book day to support AAHH! Fest & perform. It was not about competition, it was all love, just like Common went & performed at Chance’s festival later on that night. Then it was on to Day 2, which is Main Stage day. Shoutout to all of the restaurants out getting the people fed, I know it was much appreciated. Yesterday it was supposed to rain, & in some parts of Chicago it did, but God shined on AAHH! Fest & we were able to remain dry as we enjoyed the acts.
Matt Muse blessed the stage, as did Sir The Baptist, who is an artist we support with his great music & performance which many enjoyed yesterday. Then The Internet came & had the whole crowd rocking & singing along. Not only were Syd’s vocals on point, but the whole band rocked out & gave us special live renditions from their amazing album Ego Death. In between the acts we were graced with some DJs to keep the energy up, as well as personalities from WGCI such as Leon Rogers, Tone Capone, & Frankie Robinson. Meanwhile there were artists making murals live, voter registration at the iHeart Media area, as well as tables for Chicago Department of Public Health & Noah’s Arc Foundation.
Vic Mensa came out & gave a very powerful performance dedicated to victims of police shootings, which ended with Vic lying on stage, splayed out as we’ve seen too many Black men. He then turned the crowd up with his hit song U Mad. In between him & the next act Hip Hop heads were blessed with an extended set. It was a lot of Hip Hop & 90s music on display. Shoutout to DJs Jermaine & Genius. Next up to perform was Jeremih. He & his DJ got the crowd rocking with a series of his hits. Unfortunately, his set was cut a bit short because of time constraints, but he still had the crowd into it. Dreezy came out & made an appearance during his set. Comedian Damon Williams came out to keep the crowd into it & get us laughing before going into an old school DJ battle. The battle was a tribute to DJ Timbuck2, may he rest in peace, & featured DJs Rock, Apollo, Diamond Cut, & Toe Tek. They all put on some great mixes.
Then it was time to get into the legendary Roots crew. They’re set was absolutely amazing. The band was on point & Black Thought had us all into it as he sung some classics before getting to The Roots’ catalog. Common even came out to perform his collaboration with them. The set hit an all time high when guitarist Kirk began to sing & play his guitar. He went absolutely crazy & the crowd loved every minute of it. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. If you have never experienced the legendary Roots crew live, do yourself a favor. From there DJ Vince Adams came out & gave an amazing set that had everybody dancing. He went through the new & the old, Hip Hop, R&B, & House. Then Blackish star Deon Cole came to jam along & introduce Common.
Common was another one who did not disappoint. He came out with his band & immediately represented for the Black Lives Matter movement & performed his new song Black America Again, from new album by the same name, due out in November. He was accompanied by Maimouna Youssef aka MuMu Fresh who absolutely killed it with the vocals throughout his whole set. He then took it down going through his extensive catalog, performing songs like Love of My Life, Testify, & Go. The whole crowd was lit. He brought out Bilal to sing along to some songs before performing his hit Soul Sister, which Common rolled into Come Close, which led to him performing an incredible freestyle. He launched into his classic I Used To Love H.E.R. which lead into him bringing out Ice Cube who performed Straight Outta Compton, Check Yo Self, & of course, It Was A Good Day. Common went to close out his set, but not before R. Kelly came out to sing with him & went into Step In The Name Of Love & the acapella beginning of Bump & Grind. The whole thing was amazing to watch, but the night wasn’t over yet. J. Cole closed the show with his own hits to conclude a day that left no one disappointed.
Overall the experience was incredible. Between Chance’s historic festival & Common bringing back AAHH! Fest, Chicago was in the news for all of the right reasons. Special thanks to Common for always representing the city so well. Also thanks to everybody who came out to party in peace, as well as sponsors Allstate, Do312, Black McDonalds Operator’s Association, iHeart Media, Miller & Coors Lite, Google, Common Ground Foundation, Donda’s House, Aramark, & Starbucks. To everyone who took part & made the festival special, thank you as well. I cannot wait for next year’s AAHH! Fest.
Review more images from AAHH! Fest via Do312.