A 4 O’Clock Show at Cole’s Bar in Chicago; Featuring Jah-monte Ogbon

Old Style w/ the New Style

A self described laid-back neighborhood watering hole, Cole’s Bar (2338 N Milwaukee, Chicago IL) didn’t disappoint. Walking the sunny sidewalks of Logan Square provided a nice precursor to the daylight challenged environment within Cole’s. A quick shuffle past the bar full of regulars, drawn by the audio bounty streaming from the rear, and I was quickly transformed into a
Cole’s Bar is an iconic Chicago Watering Hole
wonderful venue. Part Hideout Chicago, part abandoned Metra station, Cole’s was the perfect for the “I’ve Really Never Been Better” 4 O’Clock Show.


Having seen Ganawae, J Wade and Jah-Monte at the CrimeApple Show this past April, I knew this show was gonna be F I R E! With the full lineup listed below:
Police State, CLOUD Boy, CRASHprez, Ganawae, J Wade, Vic Spencer, and Lord Jah-monte Ogbon.

As I get older, I love shows that start on time, honestly though, who thinks that’s gonna happen at any show. I may have showed up 20-30 minutes after 4PM and was surprised to have missed the start of the show. Kudos to the organizers for keeping to a schedule. Also, I am getting too old for late nights, the 7PM end time was a Sunday evening vision, although again, I didn’t see it happening, but it was a nice draw.

I arrived to the beats emanating from the back room and entered to hear Ganawae mid-performance. An up and coming artist whose first song ‘WTF am I doing?’ was released in 2022. Ganawae brought a much different vibe than the CrimeApple show, but no less confident in his delivery. A quick conversation following the show revealed he’s a Sooner by birth, originally from Oklahoma. We can’t wait to catch the entirety of his next performance, the last half showed increased command of the mic and continued evolution of his delivery.

A quick transition into CRASHprez, the Maryland rapper whose first album ‘more perfect’ was released in 2015, and we were on our way. CRASHprez brought the most energy to the stage and delivered his lyrics with frenetic energy, roaming the stage aggressively, alternating between slow dancing, conversations with the crowd and commanding delivery. With the crowd’s support, he launched into ‘Fascists Don’t Cry’, screaming:

If your mans and them get upset
Wanna object? That’s suspect
When it comes down to the get down
Will they stand up for the unrest?
Look, I give no fuck what you look like, let’s link up
Cuz this still our nation, they ain’t finna take it

J Wade was next on stage, calmly delivering verse after verse in his signature staccato delivery. We’re still not sure he is breathing in, but we know he’s spitting fire on the exhale. How he continues to empty his mind to the beat is captivating and unique. After giving credit to CLOUDBoy on the beats, his set was done. An all too brief excursion into the mind of a growing presence in Chicago.

Up next, Vic Spencer took the stage. Born in the Windy City, Vic gained recognition for his witty and introspective lyricism, raw delivery, and unique style. He has released numerous projects, collaborating with various producers and fellow artists in the Chicago hip-hop community and beyond. His discography includes albums like ‘The Ghost of Living,’ ‘Spencer for Higher,’ and ‘Duffle of Gems.’ Vic is a vet, he cleared the stage of extra mic’s and even took a seat at one time. A real joy to witness and experience in a small venue. Sorry guys, wish this one was recorded for streaming at a later date.

To close out the show, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon. He hails from Charlotte, NC and has been gaining attention in the underground hip-hop scene since picking up a mic. Poignant storytelling with a nuanced scream, he’s not yelling so much as emphasizing. Eloquence and delivery unfound in any other rapper I’ve seen live. It translates to radio and streaming also, so turn it up and find him on Soundcloud, Spotify, Youtube, etc…

As he did at CrimeApple and as I was hoping he would, he gave up on the stage and joined the crowd on the bar floor at Cole’s. Such an intimate concert experience and one of those, ‘you were there when…’ moments that you hope for as a fan.

As Alphonse Pierre wrote in reviewing ‘I’ve Really Never Been Better,’ “Savoring his rhymes and going back to find the wisecracks that previously went over your head is the point; his mixtapes are a world you want to spend time in.”

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