Chicago’s Hyde Park Summer Fest has always been one of the premiere destinations since it first started over eight years ago as the unofficial kickoff to, “Summertime Chi.” When it was just the Hyde Park Brew Fest and started off on the iconic 53rd and Harper Court where everyone tried to squeeze in to such a small space. To now being at Midway Plaisance Park and more focused on the music. As well as still focusing on the great activities and time to be around a beautiful local community of boutiques, cuisines, different vendors, shops and a great community of people just having a good time. Enjoying all the great things that Chicago provides and many enjoy even more during the Summertime. Not to mention some of the best live Hip-Hop performances and DJs. Which was on full display this weekend on both days of this year’s 2023 Hyde Park Summer Fest.
The special Chicago Hip-Hop 50 Performance that featured a DJ set from Mustafa Rocks to kick things off on a very sunny warm Sunday and Father’s Day. By far the highlight of the second and final day of the festival.
As Shawnna came out giving a really great performance. While going through many of her hits ranging from What’s Your Fantasy to Getting’ Some and her newest single, Drip. Also bringing out Chicago’s very own Ben 1 to perform his hit single, Never Leave My Girl, which features Shawnna. Who also did her, Shawty 2 Mics, routine that shows her doing the famous Chicago rapid-fire flow for a killer freestyle with two mics that she eventually does accepalla. Dave Jeff would then bring out legendary and iconic Chicago producer, The Legendary Traxster, who Shawnna had mentioned recently put out an all Chicago compilation album featuring herself and almost all Chicago Hip-Hop artists. That is appropriately titled, Chicago. Dave giving Traxster his long overdue props and flowers for helping craft that Chicago Hip-Hop sound we almost all grew up on and love.
Before Crucial Conflict then came out with their very high-energetic performance we normally expect from them. As they went through many of their classic records ranging from Showdown to Roll Somethin’, Ghetto Queen and Ride the Rodeo. You know Crucial Conflict couldn’t close their portion of the performance without performing their unofficial Chicago anthem, Hay. Continuing to stay on the Westside of Chicago fellow legendary Chicago Hip-Hop group, Do Or Die, would then come out performing their classics ranging from Do U? to Playa Like Me and You, Twista’s single featuring them and the late great Johnny P, Yo Body and Hotel Room. You know Do Or Die couldn’t close out their portion of the performance without performing their signature The Legendary Traxster-produced hit single, Po Pimp featuring Twista and Johnny P. Eventually bringing Twista to perform his signature guest verse that really put him on the map nationwide.
Twista would then stay out to perform. Kicking things off with his own unofficial Chicago anthem, Adrenaline Rush. Buk of Psychodrama who’s signature guest verse and hook really brought the track to the next level, not able to make it out. So his groupmate and queen of Chicago Hip-Hop, Newsense, coming out to perform Buk’s hook and verses. Twista would of course continue to show why he is one of Chicago’s best performers and emcees by going through several of his hits ranging from Get It Wet to Wetter, Slow Jamz and Overnight Celebrity. Also doing his own version of showing off his signature rapid-fire flow by performing his killer guest verse on his remix of Chris Brown’s hit record, Look At Me Now. Even then later slowing it down and doing it accepella so the crowd could really hear all of what he actually said on the track. All of the Chicago Hip-Hop 50 performers would then come together to take a picture together to mark this historic moment. Right before Vic Mensa then came out and performed.
Things would then get real smooth and laidback with Robert Glasper’s late afternoon set. Where he provided some very chill and laidback vibes. That were actually somewhat needed after such a high energy and really truly energetic adrenaline rushing and pumping performance as the Chicago Hip-Hop 50 performance was. Legendary singer and Chicago’s very own, Lalah Hathaway, would eventually come out towards the end of Glasper’s set to really show off her truly amazing vocals and talents.
Chicago’s very own Jay Illa, would then get the crowd rocking with his various great mix of great Hip-Hop and R&B tracks he played. Even throwing in some house music that got the crowd footworking with each other having a good time. Right before Dave Jeff would come back out with special guest and recently elected new Chicago Mayor, Brandon Johnson. Who would introduce the very next performer, Tobe Nwigwe.
The very talented, Tobe Nwigwe, who had his wife, Fat Nwigwe and a very beautifully amazing choir backing him. As well as very talented guitarist, Jabari Johnson. Would bring it to church with his very epic opening of, FYE FYE. Also letting Johnson go crazy by doing a very stellar guitar solo from his portion of, TRY JESUS. Tobe would also perform, LORD FORGIVE ME and EAT. As well as doing several random, but dope freestyles throughout his performance. Closing out with a very soulfully dope freestyle with his dancers backing him, crank that soulja boy. As his backing background singer, Vanessa Hilton, also provided the soul. To end such a very amazing performance. That ended with Tobe just free styling straight off the head and going dancing with his daughters. As he ended by free stlying about how much he loved his wife and his kids and being a father. Which was only appropriate with it being Father’s Day too.
The living legend Lil’ Kim would then close out the festival by bringing out Chicago’s very own Twista to perform their collaboration, Do Wrong. Right before she came out to perform her verse and started performing a bunch of her classic records ranging from The Jump Off to How Many Licks? and Magic Stick.
Also bringing out her Junior M.A.F.I.A. groupmate, Lil’ Cease to perform their classic hit record, Crush on You. As well as the late great, The Notorious B.I.G.’s forever classic and timeless hit record, Get Money. That they are featured on. Kim saying how much she always loved Chicago. Her and Cease both continously saying how much Biggie always loved Chicago too. Unfortunately Kim bringing out Twista and Cease was the highlight of her performance though. That was way too all over the place and had the fans and crowd rapping and singing more of her verses than herself. Whether it was cause she was running late and ended up not being fully prepared, having a rare off night or whatever the case maybe. Lil’ Kim’s performance was not the greatest and is not the type of performance you would have wanted to end an otherwise great and amazing weekend of performances at the 2023 Hyde Park Summer Fest. A lot of the crowd that was about as packed as it could be for being a Sunday and Father’s Day even leaving before Kim’s performance was over.
Overall as a whole despite that though. For a second straight year the Southside of Chicago and really the whole city of Chicago showed what greatness there can be. When the city of Chicago puts together such a drama-free great weekend and festival. That shows the greatness of the city when things are done right and not all of the negative things we always see portrayed on the news. Which makes other people that are not from Chicago think that is how all of Chicago is.