Review By: David Mingus
Photos by: Randy Ponikvar
Maybach Music Group’s Stalley, came to Chicago to present "Blue Collar Gang" to the city on the final stop of the three city tour releasing the BCG clothing line in conjunction with Villa stores and New Era. The Event kicked off with free food and drinks, a pin customization area for New Era’s new line of hats, a Villa branded step and repeat, 20% off all purchases during the event, and sounds by DJ Broadway. In addition, promotional mixtapes of Stalley’s Songs By Me were being passed out. The free mixtape included a collection of songs from time he spent working on his 2012 release "Savage Journey to the American Dream" which did not make that project originally released via SoundCloud.
By the time the performances began, the store was packed. In addition to the fans, the event was packed with the who’s who of the Chicago Hip Hop scene. It was great to see everyone mingling, shopping, networking, and bouncing to the music as they waited for the performance to begin.
The relatively unknown Chris Faust came out with dedication. Introducing himself as a long time homie of Stalley and thanking the crowd for being supportive of Hip Hop.The PA system was not ready for this kind of audience. I was able to snag a spot in the front luckily however, I imagine those at the back of the store experienced a bit of a struggle to clearly hear the performances. After working through a feedback spike, Faust persevered and gave a great performance. He switched to accapella raps a few times to draw the focus back to the important aspect of his performance..... His lyrics
Chris Faust was followed by Vada who introducing himself as "King Vada". The Ohio native came extra swagged out. He Delivered a confident performance and made a point to introduce himself to those in the crowd that were not already familiar with him and his music. He also gave a shout out to Leaders and his other friends and family in Chicago. He interacted well with the crowd, and made full use of the blocked off stage area with a backdrop of sick sneakers to showcase his energy and stage presence.
The big supprise of the night was a special guest performance from Stalley’s Maybach Music Group labelmate, and hometown hero Rockie Fresh. Giving a hot preview of a new track as well as rocking out to the intimate crowd with the jams from his highly praised mixtape Driving ‘88 for all those that missed his sold out Electric Highway show at the Metro.
Rounding out the night was the artist who everyone had come to see. Stalley came to stage almost immediately after Rockie Fresh in order to keep the momentum and energy of the crowd. He took time to thank the crowd for coming out and supporting his movement while continuing to promote his new Blue Collar Gang Clothing line. There was a full display table right next to the stage that displayed many items from the new BCG Clothing line. Although Stalley's performance was short, it was direct and to the point. Stalley was very well received and in good company. With fans in the crowd delighted about the show they just got to witness, Stalley stuck around for photographs and autographs with his fans after the performance and made sure everyone that was willing to wait got their chance to take a picture or get an autograph. It clearly showed how humble he is as an artist alongside his respect for the music and the art that brought everyone together.