When: Sat., May 24, 9 p.m. 2014
When I met south-side rapper Taylor Bennett to interview him for my recent B Side feature on five up-and-coming Chicago MCs, he was still finishing his sophomore mixtape, Mainstream Music. He'd already recruited a few other high-profile local MCs to help him make it as big a hit as possible, and on the final version, street-rap royal King Louie, high-flying Maybach Music Group member Rockie Fresh, and Englewood kid done good Spenzo (among others) deliver strong performances that hint at the city's broad range of sounds. Bennett didn't necessarily need ringers to make Mainstream Music good, though: He's grown considerably since last year's The Taylor Bennett Show, where his speed-of-light raps sometimes make him sound like he's too eager to prove himself. Now 18, Bennett varies his pace with a mature sophistication on Mainstream Music, and my favorite cuts are the ones where he slows down and drops his battle-ready flow to do some luxuriant, airy talk-singing. That technique pairs especially well with the kitchen-sink electronic beat on "Demon Slayer" and the sumptuous R&B of "New Chevy," which makes me want to drop whatever I'm doing and get down every time I press play. —Leor Galil Kene, Joey Purp, and Logan open.
Price: $13, $10 in advance