Metro // Chicago, IL // January 19, 2019
What better to start the year than with the Bennett Brothers?
As dozens of people (including myself) lined up outside the Metro, the snow started coming down. The streets were already filled with slush and ice, and the throngs of fans were definitely antsy to get inside and warm up. Luckily, once inside, they were treated to nearly 4 hours of nonstop hip-hop and R&B with a nearly 90-minute finale with Taylor Bennett and his older brother, Chance the Rapper. While Taylor may have grown up in the shadow of his big bro, he’s making a name for himself all on his own. His 2018 album Be Yourself is poignant and creative without forcing a point. He doesn’t rely on his family name to gain respect from his fans; rather, he makes them proud to have taken a chance on the younger Bennett.
For his birthday show, Taylor pulled out all the stops and invited some big names to join him onstage. DJ Oreo and DJ Caleeb took turns spinning old and new tracks, including “Bohemian Rhapsody” (as a Queen fan, I will never object to this, but it was especially fun to hear a bunch of high school kids screaming this at a hip hop show). Queen Key opened the show with a somewhat lackluster set given the energy of the room. The trap rapper delivered her songs with a feeling of drowsiness, although her fans certainly didn’t seem to mind and shouted along to every track. Repping the south Chicago suburbs, Queen Key’s album Eat My Pussy is both funny and smart, and her lyrics are delivered with a sharp tongue.
King Louie, a Chicago legend in his own right, was the second act of the night and gave a pretty kickass performance. Having released an astonishing 16 albums and mixtapes since 2007, he started passing out burned CDs at parties to get his name out there. Following a huge car accident and lots of physical therapy (the rapper had to learn how to walk again when both of his legs were broken), King Louie came back strong and was considered one of the big reasons Chicago became a hip hop haven in the early 2010s. He bounced from one side of the stage to the other while rapping some of his most well-known songs, and the energy in the room went up immediately.
It’s no secret that Chicago loves the Bennett family. We wear our hometown pride like a badge of honor, and the Bennetts are certainly a part of that pride. Before Taylor’s performance, Chance and Taylor’s father joined Chance onstage to give a loving and warm introduction for the youngest Bennett brother. Backed by a full live band, Taylor’s performance of new and ‘classic’ songs featured a few guest stars, including Chicago’s own Supa Bwe and Bianca Shaw. Seeing all of these amazing Chicago artists onstage together just reminded me that this is truly one of (if not the best, in my humble opinion) the best cities for hip hop in the world. Taylor Bennett’s birthday show was an incredible way for me to start 2019, and I know that Taylor’s only going to get bigger and better with age.