by Miles Raymer
I just got off the phone with a spokesman from House of Blues Entertainment, which operates the national chain, who gave me this statement: "The House of Blues made an autonomous decision, one not influenced by the Chicago Police Department, to remove L.E.P. Bogus boys from the May 3rd A$AP Rocky concert. Unfortunately, the decision was initially represented to the artists by an email that inaccurately cited the reasons and source of the cancellation. We apologize for any misunderstanding surrounding this decision."
Meanwhile the L.E.P. camp has released the e-mail—written by a House of Blues talent buyer and forwarded to them by Don C., the Kanye associate who was putting the show together—where the inaccurate reason for their removal was first communicated. You can read it at Fake Shore Drive.
Unfortunately, though the House of Blues was at fault here, it's the CPD and L.E.P. Bogus Boys who've been catching the most flak, stoking some reasonably well-founded anxiety in the local rap scene that the city is coming after it as well as accusations that the whole thing was a publicity stunt at the cops' expense.
The Chicago Police Department has released a statement denying any influence L.E.P.'s removal from the bill and declaring that the only involvement the police department has in live music performances in the city is allocating manpower for large concerts. L.E.P.'s camp claims to have evidence to the contrary. I'm continuing to look into it.
The other day I wrote a preview of the upcoming A$AP Rocky show at the House of Blues that was supposed to feature ascendant local rap duo L.E.P. Bogus Boys. I praised not only the group's musical talents but also the gritty portrayal of the violence plaguing Chicago's poorest, blackest neighborhoods on their recent mix tape Now or Neva. Then this morning, E from L.E.P. visited WGCI's Morning Riot show to break the news that the group was off the A$AP Rocky show, apparently at the behest of the Chicago Police Department.
I'm currently looking into the situation and putting in calls to the CPD and L.E.P. both, so right now I can neither confirm nor deny E's take on things, but it's a fact that for all the lip service the city pays to the "vibrant local music scene" in its promotional materials, in real life it frequently takes an antagonistic stance toward it: Mayor Daley's hugely misguided attempt to extort license fees out of independent promoters, for instance, or Mayor Emanuel's recent cutbacks to the city's infrastructure support for the bustling local music-festival scene. It's also true that the CPD and Chicago hip-hop recently scuffled at a Congress Theater show featuring upstart local rapper Chief Keef, which might explain CPD hostility toward L.E.P.'s spot on the HOB bill. Another possible explanation? Now or Neva's unflinchingly grim portrayal of endemic violence on the south side doesn't side with the people causing the violence, but it doesn't exactly make the police out to be heroes.
Check out a snippet from the Morning Riot after the jump. (Shout to Fake Shore Drive for being on top of this.)