Hellfyre Club | Schubas | Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., Feb. 27, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $15
Eclectic hip-hop collective Hellfyre Club (and the record label of the same name) grew out of a beloved Los Angeles open mike called Project Blowed about three years ago, but despite its west-coast home base it’s got Chicago connections: longtime member Open Mike Eagle grew up on the south side, and recent addition Milo moved here in the fall. They both do some heavy lifting on Hellfyre Club’s most recent release, November’s pay-what-you-want online compilation Dorner vs. Tookie, and they’re part of the core four-man group appearing at tonight’s crew performance, alongside original member Busdriver and label founder Nocando. On Dorner vs. Tookie their idiosyncratic perspectives, distinctive forms of charisma, and tics in rhyming style work together to make something bigger than the sum of its parts (“the Megazord,” as they say on Bandcamp). These dudes clearly have a ball making music together, and the MCs fill the tunes with shout-outs to their compatriots (some subtle, some obvious) and endearing little in-jokes that hint at their deep bonds even when you’re not in on them. I’m not entirely sure why, say, Open Mike Eagle feels the need to tell Busdriver on “Apologies” that he’s “sorry I get haircuts you’ve already had,” but their camaraderie is audible in his voice. When the two of them partner up on “Degrassi Picture Day (Hellfyre Jackets)” to rap about preparing for school portraits, they evoke the nervous energy and excitement of that childhood ritual. Eagle stretches out words to put extra significance on them, while Busdriver bends jammed, multisyllabic lines into bizarre shapes—and the whole thing’s at least as much fun as dressing up to get your picture taken in class. —Leor Galil

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