Lex Luger, Styles & Complete, Kyral, Banko, Free Pizzv, Kromuh, Foxhound, Lux Johnson | The Abbey | Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader

Lex Luger, Styles & Complete, Kyral, Banko, Free Pizzv, Kromuh, Foxhound, Lux Johnson Recommended 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Sat., May 23, 9 p.m. 2015

No producer has held hip-hop in his hands quite like Lex Luger (aka Lexus Lewis) did at the onset of the 2010s. Armed with a laptop and a copy of digital-studio program Fruity Loops, the Virginia beat maker helped make trap a pop phenomenon, in the process injecting hip-hop with the kind of fast-acting muscle-building supplements that late-night telemarketers can only dream of selling. Luger’s hulking, swirling instrumentals provided the perfect platform for the larger-than-life personas of Waka Flocka Flame and Rick Ross—former Reader critic Miles Raymer poignantly describes one of Luger’s production trademarks as “power-up noises from a video game,” and it gives his tracks an extra shot of bombast every time it pops up. After getting tapped by Kanye West for the 2010 opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and then coproducing one of the better tracks from West and Jay Z’s Watch the Throne (“H.A.M.”), Luger commanded space in megastar Rolodexes. Now no longer the “It” producer—Chicago’s Young Chop came into view with drill in 2012, and LA ratchet master DJ Mustard had a grip on the Billboard 200 last year—Luger is still hustling and still evolving. On his recent collaborative mixtape with Alabama rapper King Kuma, Gas-o-Holic 2, he tosses down percussion hailstorms and thundering synth stabs, and he molds big production to fit the mood—sinister, grandiose, and in the case of “Bubba,” a little romantic. Even when the MC’s flow fails to spark, Luger can keep a track moving forward on his own. And when the pair do click, as they do on “Loft,” he manages to make something as seemingly innocuous as wall decorations in a new loft seem giant. —Leor Galil

Price: $20, $15 in advance

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