The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Common's AAHH! Fest Finally Announces Lineup, Proves Worth The Wait

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 28, 2014 6:00PM

Common says "AAHH!" Photo via his Facebook page.

We almost thought it wasn't going to happen. Common's AAHH! Fest, set to happen on Sept. 21, has long been in the works. When we spoke to Rhymefest (local rap activist and festival production partner) in July he seemed sure the festival would reveal its lineup within the month. Then AAHH! encountered some financial complications, reduced its length to one day and moved to Union Park. Finally though we have a lineup and it was worth the wait.

As expected, Common will perform along with fellow Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco. De La Soul, MC Lyte, Jay Electronica and Lil Herb also join the bill. Dave Chappelle will host the show. Even we didn't expect that much star power.

A community showcase featuring Diggy Simmons and curated by Rhymefest will take place earlier in the day. We assume, and hope, this will feature mostly local artists but Simmons is a New York native.

Our interview with Rhymefest revealed the festival will work closely with youth benefactors of the Common Ground Foundation and Donda's House, giving them an inside look into concert production.

That's not all. The lineup announcement also teases a "special surprise guest." As for our early guesses?

Chance The Rapper: He has the youth connection the festival's backers are aiming for but, to our knowledge, he doesn't have any strong ties to any of the artists curating AAHH!

R. Kelly: It seems as though a good chunk of the music world has chosen to forget R. Kelly's past allegations. Kells was well received at Pitchfork last year and as a special guest during Chance The Rapper's Lollapalooza set this year. He would likely be a crowd pleaser but we're hoping AAHH! Fest takes a different direction.

Twista: The fading Chicago rapper seems happy to take whatever booking comes his way these days but his name doesn't elicit enough excitement to be a "special" guest on a bill this big.

Kanye West: Do we dare get our hopes up? Kanye has ties with almost everyone on this bill. He, Common and Rhymefest have a friendship that goes back years. His and Common's performance on The Chappelle Show is practically legendary. Not to mention the fact that Donda's House was founded in honor of West's late mother. If anyone could rope Yeezus into an appearance like this, it would be the AAHH! Fest team.

Tickets to AAHH! Fest are on sale now. Catch both the early community showcase and late show for $70. The $250 VIP ticket which includes food, drink, seated viewing and access to the performers also seems worth it.