AAHH! Fest put an exclamation mark on a historic weekend in Chicago. Chicago was the hub of hip-hop for the weekend and many notable artists made their way to the city to celebrate peace and love. Common, Donda’s House, and The Common Ground Foundation celebrated the second year of AHHH! Fest by raising money for the youth of Chicago. Union Park on the West Side of Chicago was the epicenter. People from all over the city came out to support the noble cause and rep for hip-hop and Chicago.
The second day of the festival started off with Sir the Baptist setting the tone with his explosive spiritual vibe. Matt Muse, an alumni of Donda’s House, rocked the main stage reminding everyone to put their hands up. Tyre Hakim, AAHH! Fest’s 2016 breakout artist, was a natural as the crowd tuned into his set.
Chicago’s own Vic Mensa put on a soul-stirring performance punctuated with his song “16 Shots” about Laquan McDonald. The crowd watched in awe as he lay on the ground as the account of McDonald’s murder played over the speakers. The Roots did as they always do — rocked! Common came out for his verse of “Act Too (The Love Of My Life)'”
Comedian Damon Williams reminded the city that AHHH! Fest represents what Chicago really is, a city of diversity and greatness. Comedian Deon Cole was also on hand to keep the party going.
Common is who Chicago comes to see at AAHH! Fest no matter who is on the bill. The moment he came out for his set, a wave of euphoria took over. We understand that Common knows what he is here for and he is not missing a step. He reps his city with no apology and continues to add to the positivity of Chicago. His rendition of “Black America” was emotional and necessary. Then, right in the middle of his set, he bought Ice Cube out, who performed “Check Yourself” and “Today Was a Good Day.” Twenty years ago, Cube and Common sharing a stage would have been unthinkable. Then, R. Kelly came out, the crowd went nuts as he sang “Step In The Name of Love,” and Common’s background singer had his back all the way.
A light drizzle started to come down briefly, but when J. Cole came out it stopped and he demonstrated why he truly is the voice of the millennials. His professionalism and presence are impeccable and he proved to be the perfect closing act.
“It was awesome, it was raw. J. Cole just performed and I almost lost my voice. I know all the words to his songs. Then we thought he was running off the stage and he came back and performed with Jeremih. I can’t wait to come back next year,” attendee Quanesha Jermon told us.