Rich Jones, Qari, L.A. Vangogh, Burns Twins & Kaina, Sports Boyfriend, DJ Skoli 18+ Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Jan. 20, 9 p.m. 2017

Chicago hip-hop would be worse off without rapper Rich Jones. His influence manifests itself most noticeably in All Smiles, a monthly series he’s helmed at Lincoln Park’s Tonic Room for nearly five years, giving Jones an avenue to unite people from an array of the city’s underground subscenes. The hodgepodge lineups each month—filled by raw rappers with overlooked Soundcloud pages, quasi-pop experimentalists, and dogged freestyle veterans—reflect Jones’s sensibilities as a hip-hop listener, participant, and creator. He’s inquisitive, adventurous, versatile, and eager to challenge himself, which shows in his new self-released project Vegas. Recorded in the titular town with dance producer Ryan Lofty, the digital release features Jones casting aside rapping-with-a-big-R to focus on singing, a change he’s teased out in collaborations the past year—he sets the mood with an easygoing hook on OddCouple’s luxurious “Crazy Games,” for example. Jones’s relaxed, potent sense of melody embellishes the pop punch in Lofty’s tropical-inflected production, particularly when Jones softly intones over murmuring synths on “Lie to Me.”

Leor Galil

Price: $12, $10 in advance

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