Thanks to Indianapolis native and seasoned tour photographer, Levi Turner, Soul Culture was front and center at Joey Bada$$’s packed-out Chicago leg of the AMERIKKKANA TOUR.
With opening performances from Pro Era’s Chuck Strangers, Pharrell’s protege, Buddy, and Shady Records signee, Boogie, each hour of the show was as high-energy as the one before it. And it wasn’t strictly Joey fans – the crowd seemed to acknowledge the talent and lyricism of each performer on the bill.
Buddy’s stage charisma was especially contagious. The kid from Compton rocked DBM‘s latest “Just Smile” drop as a natural ode to Chicago’s lasting impact on streetwear, while also wearing a PLANT hat – a head nod to his connection with Skateboard P. His liveliness floated over each track, serving as the perfect lead-up to Boogie and his memorable guest appearances. Speaking of those appearances… Each night on tour, Boogie encourages the crowd to choose a local act worthy of blessing the stage with an acapella freestyle. I missed the name of the Chicago MC, but his content matter was consistent with Pro Era’s urge for rebellion and social consciousness.
As Concord Music Hall filled with chants of “Joey, Joey!”, the all-American badass stormed on stage. The mania persisted throughout the entirety of the headliner’s track list. Even as he took the crowd “way back” six years ago to 1999 mixtape tracks, almost everyone recited the songs word-for-word. Very rarely do I attend a show where almost all of its attendants have been fans of the headliner from the very beginning. Besides the Jay Z’s and Kanye’s, it’s nearly impossible to find a rapper whose oldest tracks boom through a packed out show. Joey is the exception. Despite his broadened reach into mainstream hip-hop, the rapper has maintained the original message and rhyme style that earned his popularity.
To show his gratitude for the crowd’s loyalty and love, Joey kept the party going, performing well after midnight. The highlight was his hit smash Devastated, which he performed at least three times back-to-back. The same uplifting track that took over the summer of 2017 carried the AMERIKKKANA TOUR up through Concord Music Hall’s list of greats.
All photos were taken by Bria Carter of Soul Culture.