ILoveMakonnen, Key!, Sonny Digital | Metro | Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader
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ILoveMakonnen, Key!, Sonny Digital 

When: Sat., May 9, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $23, $21 in advance
Weirdos and experimentalists have fudged with the DNA of Atlanta’s hip-hop scene over the past few years by rearranging the genre’s flows and language—and have caught some national notoriety and adoration for doing so. One of the brightest of the bunch is Makonnen Sheran, aka ILoveMakonnen, whose untraditional approach to rapping and singing is complemented by an amateurish charm. Unconcerned with sloppiness or being out of tune, Sheran often sounds like a happy-go-lucky kid belting out whatever song is in his head. He became a poster boy for the eccentric strain of rap last year after Drake remixed the slow-burning, triumphant “Club Goin Up on a Tuesday,” which turned Sheran’s sweet, wistful underground track into a crossover hit. Now he’s is tasked with translating that success into a career more stable than his flow, and on the recent Drink More Water 5 mixtape he starts filling the foundation. The mixtape’s freestyle intro is pretty wobbly thanks to Sheran’s scattershot half-raps about ingesting LSD and coke (his performance almost suggests the drugs are hitting him halfway through the track). But for the most part he has a firm grasp of his unhinged style, employing it with so much style on a highlight like “Whip It (Remix)” that he outshines the track’s collaborators, Rich the Kid and ATL scene kings Migos. —Leor Galil
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