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My night on Fake Shore Drive: Project Pat, RXK Nephew, SONNY, DJ Ca$hEra shut down Chicago’s House of Vans

All photos courtesy of John Cotter.

When it’s a FakeShoreDrive event, you show up.

That is, if you can get a ticket. Andrew Barber held the second “FSD Live at House of Vans” show last weekend (April 21), with performers Project Pat, RXK Nephew, SONNY and DJ Ca$hEra meshing hip-hop eras and audiences into one sold-out room for a celebration of the best that the genre has to offer.

DJ Ca$hEra got things going with some of the best mixes that I’ve heard in recent memory. She clearly understands that it’s not just about playing “Just Wanna Rock,” but playing it with purpose; commanding, at the right time, and with the right energy.

SONNY and Preme, the official DJ for SONNY, took over shortly after and reminded us of why they’re such a special pairing. SONNY may have gained national recognition for his viral hit “KILL BILL,” but his expansive discography is a treat to listen to, and was explored at large during his performance. “THIRTEEN” is arguably a bigger banger than “KILL BILL,” with “BACKWOODS AND HOUSE SHOUES” and “RISKY” standing as accolades of a creative style and cadence that will lead to a lengthy career for the Chicago rapper.

When RXK Nephew made his entrance, the mood started to change a bit. His ski-mask-wearing DJ sets up shop and rightfully turns some heads, and then the “RXK!” chants start. Blunts are lit, and a bottle of Hennessey shines through the smoke, as Nephew himself takes stage. Nephew’s an amalgamation of so many peculiar attributes of legends before him — Lil B, Soulja Boy, Viper — but still very much a singular presence in the game. His music is as scattered in stylistic focus as it is in the ways that it’s distributed, with mixtapes and songs found on a number of streaming channels. This is a good thing, by the way. You never know what to expect, but quality is always assured. He cares about this shit, and he more than proved it to Chicago.

It was getting late, but Project Pat walks on with his team and the energy in the room is as fresh as it is dank — something that even Pat himself gleefully comments on. From a side-stage view, watching young and older fans alike singing along to undeniable classics like “Take Da Charge” was magic. Project Pat is as important now as he’s ever been, with his songs being the bedrock for more recent hits from Drake, 21 Savage, Blood Orange and even BROCKHAMPTON.

Influence isn’t binary, and when I showed a video of the concert to my mom, she was even rocking with it (for reference, the only rap album she really enjoys is IGOR). If that’s not proof of Project Pat’s far-reaching legacy, it’s hard to say what is.

The show was free, but it didn’t feel like it. Everyone was there for the carefully curated lineup, from the younger generation’s fascination with the stylistic adventures that RXK embarks on, to the old heads that are keen to the timeless importance behind Project Pat. The converging demographics made for a beautiful set for the latter especially, who had the fans moshing to “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” and — hopefully — recognizing just how integral the Three 6 Mafia co-founder’s sound and influence is to hip-hop’s continuous evolution.