N*E*R*D, Gucci Mane, Young Thug, and M.I.A. Set to Headline Second Annual ComplexCon

The music lineup for the second annual ComplexCon has officially been announced, and it expands on everything that made the first year such a success for fans of the latest and greatest in hip-hop. N*E*R*D is set to headline the first night of the two-day festival, which kicks off on Nov. 4 in Long Beach, California. Gucci Mane, M.I.A., and Young Thug will headline the second night on Nov. 5.

In addition to the headliners, there will also be a long list of other performers set to hit the stage at ComplexCon. Those performers will include DJ Khaled, A-Trak and Friends, D.R.A.M., SUPERDUPERKYLE, A$AP Ferg, Jaden Smith, Virgil Abloh, i am OTHER #BeGreat Party ft. Special Guests, Noname, Ski Mask the Slump God, Wifisfuneral, Dreezy, Chloe x Halle, Injury Reserve, Ronny J Presents, Cozy Boys, and more. Additionally, Fool’s Gold Day Off will make ComplexCon its southern California performance stop.

Tickets for ComplexCon will go on sale starting at 12 p.m. PST on August 25 at Complexcon.com.

Want to experience Complex IRL? Check out our second annual ComplexCon, a festival and exhibition taking place in Long Beach, California Nov. 4-5. Host committee members include Murakami, Pharrell, Virgil Abloh, Sarah Andelman, J Balvin and Jaden Smith. For more information on performers, panels, and tickets, visit here

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It Sounds Like Kanye West and Kid Cudi Have a Secret Project in the Works

Rare good news alert.

Kanye West and Kid Cudi are reportedly working on a “top-secret project” together. At least, that's what this report from Page Six would have us believe. In an article that confusingly refuses to name Cudi in the headline (opting instead for “ex-protégé”), sources let loose what they (allegedly!) know about the collaboration.

“[Kanye West and Kid Cudi are] going to drop some crazy collaboration out of the blue,” one source claimed. “They're going to drop some surprise project on everybody. They're recording it now.” According to an insider, “nobody knows what it is” and the artists are keeping the creative process minimal. The alleged recording setup is just West, Cudi, and an engineer.

The report adds that sessions have taken place in Japan, where the two were spotted earlier this month paying Graduation cover artist Takashi Murakami a visit at his studio.

 

Long time no see @kidcudi and #kanyewest. Thank you for coming to my studio. It was fire 🔥🔥🔥

A post shared by Takashi Murakami (@takashipom) on Aug 11, 2017 at 3:41am PDT

Takashi previously teased a “project that I can not say yet” with an Instagrammed photo gallery. The mystery project was teased with images of nude art, a guitar case, and a Marshall half stack:

 

A post shared by Takashi Murakami (@takashipom) on Aug 10, 2017 at 4:16pm PDT

Fans have been sharing photos of the 808s & Heartbreak collaborators out and about in Tokyo:

 

칸예실사 👅

A post shared by 정 민수 (@carborfiber) on Aug 11, 2017 at 11:25pm PDT

 

A post shared by TeamKanyeDaily (@teamkanyedaily) on Aug 12, 2017 at 11:07pm PDT

West and Cudi were also seen last month at a Los Angeles-area recording studio with Plain Pat, a name any self-respecting fan will know means something great is almost certainly afoot.

Cudi surprised us all this week with the announcement of his Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin' Tour. The 25-date trek, which includes a spot on Tyler, the Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival in Los Angeles, kicks off Sept. 30 at Philadelphia's Skyline Stage at the Mann.

In a perfect world, West would pop in during the Flog Gnaw set to run through this underrated collab:

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#LifeAtComplex: Internet Sensation HaHa Davis Slides Through the Office

Tony shows off John Mayer’s new Nike Air Mayer 90 kicks and chops it up with internet sensation HaHa Davis.

Neymar on Michael Jordan: ‘I Was Shaking When I Met Him’

Neymar is featured in Complex's latest episode of Sneaker Shopping, and in it the international soccer figure talked about how he went from a kid with one pair of Jordans to a star who got his own Jordan V. He also had the rare pleasure of getting MJ to take a selfie with him, which is a story he conversed about while walking around Flight Club in Los Angeles for some new kicks.

“No, he was incredible when I met him,” Neymar replied when asked if His Airness hesitated prior to the selfie. “He was a really nice guy, really cool. I was even taken aback by his hospitality. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was shaking when I met him.”

He also relayed what he said to Odell Beckham at the NBA Finals, dished on Justin Bieber's soccer skills, and also talked about how he busts Messi's balls over his cleats. After it was all said and done, he dropped well over $18,000 on kicks. Check out the full episode above.

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#LifeAtComplex: Issa New 21 Savage Album and Website

#LifeAtComplex is a daily vlog that offers an inside look at Complex. Watch as Tony Mui takes viewers behind-the-scenes in the office—you never know who or what will pop up.

On today's episode, Joe Budden brings the good folks over at @KeepItChef by to cook up some breakfast for staff members. Later, Tony and Maggie have some fun with a website 21 Savage and Spotify partnered on to celebrate the release of his debut album Issa, and it's appropriately titled Issa.Website, and Tony receives some fresh kicks from Finish Line.

Subscribe to Complex on YouTube to check out more episodes of #LifeAtComplex, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Sneaker Shopping With Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs

Sean “Diddy” Combs and Bad Boy Records changed the hip-hop world, and his documentary, Can't Stop Won't Stop: The Bad Boy Story, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the label that has been a powerhouse for over 20 years. For the latest episode of Complex's Sneaker Shopping, the hip-hop mogul met up with Joe La Puma at Stadium Goods in New York City to talk about the heyday of Bad Boy, a potential Biggie sneaker collaboration, and the sneakers he wore in his iconic music videos.

In the episode, Diddy reminisces on the Air Force 1s he wore in the famous “Mo Money Mo Problems” music video and says that he picked out the sneakers to give East Coast hip-hop a definitive look. He also talked about him and the Notorious B.I.G. buying 20 pairs of sneakers at a time to look fresh on tour. Diddy goes on to reveal in the episode that he's been approached by Jordan Brand and Gucci to make sneakers for Biggie and hints that there might be projects on the way. In the end, Diddy spends over $4,000 on Jordans, Nike SB Dunks, and Chuck Taylors.

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Lonzo Ball Knew He Was Going To Be a Laker and (Maybe) Made NBA Draft History

If he was tipped off, he didn’t say. But if Lonzo Ball truly didn’t have assurance from the Lakers that he was going to be the second pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, he felt it in his bones. Or more accurately his feet.

Because sitting in the green room, off to the right of the podium where commissioner Adam Silver announced all 30 first round selections, Ball decided to switch shoes once the Lakers were on the clock.  

Gone where the black hard bottoms he was sporting earlier. Out came a pair of the infamous Big Baller Brand ZO2s that retail for $495. Only these weren’t all black, like the ones that infamously debuted back in May. This pair was gold and purple—Lakers colors. And before Silver could say Ball’s name, he casually slipped on the sneakers because he just knew suiting up for his hometown team was his destiny.

“Just had a good feeling, and changed them five minutes before when they was on the clock, and I'm glad they called my name,” said Ball, in typically understated fashion.

The NBA’s signature fashion event, where 19-and-20-year-old kids get decked out in suits that would put every prom outside of Beverly Hills to shame, usually does not feature any wardrobe changes, other than the addition of a team hat once Silver calls your name. But Ball just might have authored an NBA first when he switched shoes in the middle of the draft.

Magic Johnson and the Lakers got their point guard of the present and future, one ESPN’s Jay Williams told us Wednesday could be “transcendent.”

Ball told Complex he changed “when [the Lakers] had the pick, right after Markelle” Fultz was chosen first by the Sixers. The Ball family had them hidden “right under the table” and Lonzo “had a feeling” he was about to be next selection. And that’s when he slipped into something way more comfortable and way more marketable than a pair of black dress shoes.

And really, Lonzo rocking a brand new colorway of the ZO2s was arguably one of the more interesting subplots to come out of the NBA Draft that didn't revolve around the Jimmy Butler trade to the Timberwolves or the prospect of Phil Jackson asininely shipping Kristaps Porzingis somewhere. Because the top part of the draft didn’t veer far from most projections. It was short on suspense and very predictable. 

Fultz went to the Sixers. Lonzo to the Lakers. Jayson Tatum to the Celtics at No. 3. Josh Jackson to the Suns at No. 4 and De’Aaron Fox, the guy who was rumored to be ahead of Ball on the Lakers’ draft board about a month ago, went to the Kings at No. 5.

In the end, LaVar Ball, with his swagger on a hundred, thousand, trillion at Barclays Center, could do his damn thing, talk his talk, and most especially walk his signature walk. His son was drafted to the only team he ever wanted him to play for, the team he predicted months ago would wind up with his son. LaVar proved to be a prophet.

Lonzo Ball LaVar Ball Green Room NBA Draft 2017
Image via USA Today Sports/Brad Penner

The man behind Big Baller Brand was surprisingly absent as Lonzo made his way through the arena's bowels, talking to reporters, taking part in NBA sanctioned obligations, and getting hounded by little kids for autographs. Usually, new draftees are paraded all over the arena with their handlers and based on how hands-on LaVar has been, it wasn’t out of the question to expect him to tail his son. But maybe it was by design that he didn’t, or maybe it was just happenstance that papa Ball had to stick around with the rest of his brood and babysit the younger LiAngelo and LaMelo while Lonzo basked in his crowning achievement of his 19 years of existence.

We didn’t really get to witness the bragging and boasting of LaVar afterward, which would have been gold. But he got what he wanted, what he predicted. And we, as NBA fans, got what was basically expected from the darft.

With the rest of the top 10 relatively bereft of drama, Lonzo winding up with the Lakers was arguably the biggest draft-specific story of the night. Lakers exec Magic Johnson got his point guard of the present and future, one ESPN’s Jay Williams told us Wednesday could be “transcendent.” Predictably, Lonzo was about as emotive as a robot, barely smiling or acting like a giddy teenager you’d expect most kids in his position to be.

But at least he was rocking the freshest kicks in the house, the ones nobody else was wearing or could get their hands at the time, the ones that he can most definitely afford now that's he's a Laker. 

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The Best Rap Verses of 2017 (So Far)

2016 was supposed to have been the crazy year for music; 2017 was supposed to be a break. But here we are, halfway through the year, and it feels like rap music is exploding. Many of the best MCs under 40—Kendrick, Future, and Drake—have released full-lengths, and no matter what you hear from the shrinking, fearful cohort decrying the rise of “mumble rap,” hip-hop is as filled with great rapping as it's ever been. This list is the peak of the year so far, the 10 verses that commanded attention, prompted multiple rewinds mid-bar, and had us quoting lines for months on ends (honorable mention to Giggs' verse on “KMT,” which fulfilled the last qualification, if nothing else). One caveat: The list couldn't be made up entirely of Kendrick verses. Here are the best verses of 2017, so far. 


  • Black Thought, “Who Want It”

    Verse: 1
    Best line: “Otis used to sing how we should try a little tenderness/But they ultra envious, crazy disingenuous like/Who need a enemy if that's what type of friend you is?”

    “I got the wordplay of Wallace, work ethic of Shakur, I was sent into the future with a message from the Moors.” Black Thought doesn’t ease into verses as much as kick in the door with them, going from zero to one hunnid instantly—then keeps the intensity all the way up, bar after bar, with internal rhymes and references flowing by so fast—”I got plans, I’m taking my revenge like Roxanne/My man swam here from Mississippi, goddamn”—you’re rewinding to the start of the first verse before the second even starts. David Banner brings it too—it is his song, after all—but you might never get that far. —Russ Bengtson


  • Joey Badass, “Amerrikkan Idol”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “So turn the kid raps loud, I'm about to spazz out/Watch out, another n**** runnin' in the White House”

    The first verse on “AmeriKKKan Idol,” the last track on Joey Badass’s All-Amerikkkan Badass lasts nearly two minutes on its own, building to a crescendo around the minute-and-a-half mark—”Got a message for the world and I won't back out/So turn the kid raps loud, I'm about to spazz out/Watch out, another n**** runnin' in the White House”—before trailing off in frustration before the chorus kicks in. When the title of your album is a nod to one of Ice Cube’s best, you’d better bring it. With this anti-white supremacy lyrical assault—”Media's got this whole thing tainted, that's all fact/Feedin' you lies like this whole thing wasn't built on our backs”—he does exactly that. —Russ Bengtson


  • Future, “Might As Well”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line:“You will never know what I was in”

    We all know that Future's life has had its valleys and peaks. But on “Might As Well” he spends less time romanticizing his rough time in the streets or providing flamboyant accounts of gluttony—instead he hopscotches over the Tarantino production, paralleling his tough past with his prosperous present.

    Due in equal parts to his clear delivery, illustrative lyrics, and self-awareness he manages to poetically portray a rags to riches story, devoid of fantasy or Mafioso cliché. In its place are bars that are honest and relatable. —Brandon 'Jinx' Jenkins


  • Rick Ross, “Idols Become Rivals”

    Verse: 3
    Best Line: “Last request, can all producers please get paid?”

    Man, Rozay sounds so disappointed in how Birdman handles business and his words hit even harder over a beat flip of Jay Z and Beanie’s deadbeat-dad ethering, “Where Have You Been.” Birdman has been, for the most part, quiet since this track dropped. We hope he can find it in his heart to make amends with the people he hurt over the years. Still can’t get over how the Boss felt when he found out the watches were fake and the cars were rented, smfh. —Angel Diaz


  • Offset, “Met Gala”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “Get to the top and we blew the ladder up”

    It's always exciting when a recent real-life flex is flipped into a song. Offset and his Migos family storming the Met Gala just a few weeks ago was a major moment on the timeline, a nice example in a half-year full of them of just how far the Migos have come and how glorious it is to watch them shine. To hear Offset, on a track with Gucci Mane, wax poetic about it so soon after feels like breaking the fourth wall, like he read our tweets about posing with Celine Dion and said, “Yeah, I can't believe it either.” Except, with Offset, it just becomes a brilliant new shortcut for flexing. How good is life? It's Met-Gala-invitation good. —Frazier Tharpe


  • Remy Ma, “Shether”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “And to be the Queen of Rap, you gotta actually rap”

    Nicki Minaj hasn’t been able to get anything to stick since Remy Ma released “Shether.” It's not the greatest song but as a verse—well, it didn’t shake up the game for an entire weekend for nothing (and 48 hours on Twitter is the equivalent of like nine human years). —Angel Diaz


  • Kendrick Lamar, “DNA”

    Verse: 2
    Best Line: “You mothafuckas can't tell me nothin/I'd rather die than to listen to you/My DNA not for imitation/Your DNA an abomination”

    The second verse of “DNA” feels like a cathartic explosion of that side of Kendrick that we all want to see. The side that took the wheel on Big Sean's “Control,” who snapped during his BET Cypher Freestyle in 2013, and resurfaced most recently on the “The Heart Part IV.”

    On “DNA” he's boisterous and superhuman, successfully distancing himself from further from his would-be peers. You can’t be him. He’s the Neo in hip-hop’s matrix. He’s dodging bullets and pulling triggers at the same damn time.

    It's such an insane display, Mike Will had to build the beat around Kendrick's words—nothing else in his library could accommodate the barrage (and Mike is known for his massive library). This is rap as Olympic sport, but it doesn't sacrifice content for the sake of remarkable form. The verse is full of striking images (“Beach inside the window, peekin' out the window/Baby in the pool, godfather goals” and quotables (“You ain't sick enough to pull it on yourself”).

    All while Rick James cries out for marijuana. —Brandon Jenkins and Ross Scarano


  • Drake, “Do Not Disturb”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: They don't know they got to be faster than me to get to me/No one's done it successfully

    “Stylin though.” A simple and catchy opening, the sort of line Drake excels at. The casual confidence in those two words is appealing; if you saw it on the rack you’d want to try it on—it’s plain, but you think you’d look great in it. Then back home, you find it doesn’t work as well as you wanted.

    Relatability is overrated beyonds its ability to lure the listener in. It doesn’t keep butts in seats. At this point, is anyone still listening to Drake because they think their life is like his, that their struggles are similar? It’s the ghost of a feeling you occasionally glimpse but at this point we’re here for the Drake show, for his logo splashed on the sound a la mode and the rare peek behind the curtain at what his true life. That’s what “Do Not Disturb” gives you. “Stylin though/Dissin but got pictures with me smilin though.” The line is a revolving door—you think you’re in only to be spun back out to the sidewalk to spectate. He’s very good at what he does, you should pay attention. Wait for the summary. —Ross Scarano


  • Young Thug, “Sacrifices”

    Verse: 3
    Best Line: “Growing up, I was a running back/You never made me ran once (goddamn)/I got shot, sweat started running/That shit was red like Hunt (ketchup)” 

    The Young Thug that emerges about halfway into “Sacrifices,” the demure posse cut on Drake’s More Life, is one we haven’t seen before. Thug’s rapping is typically elemental, it defies categorization; explaining what Thug rapping sounds like describing the weather. On “Sacrifices,” though, Thug sounds different. Sober, surgically precise storytelling. It’s such a different flow than what fans are used to hearing that it’s tough to capture how strikingly weird the language is before Thug explodes into a Technicolor croon—the Thug we’re used to, and still thrilled by. He reins it in, later, capitalizing this new, darting rapping with his inextricably melody-laced, throaty delivery. The end result is formless impressionism, a completely new delivery from a new breed of rapper that works about as well as it sounds. It’s a triumph but, because it’s Thug, it’s impossible to say if we’ll ever hear a verse quite like it ever again. —Brendan Klinkenberg


  • Kendrick Lamar, “Duckworth”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “Because if Anthony killed Ducky, Top Dawg could be servin' life/While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight”

    Just when you think you've seen all of K-Dot's tricks, know all of the major tentpoles of his story, this motherfucker goes and ends an already impressive album by putting his entire life into a Sliding Doors, cosmic context via the intertwined biographies of the two most important men in his life. A grand destiny fulfilled that could've easily been another banal and wasted life tossed about by the caprices of cause and effect. A tale this cinematic and unbelievably true needs John Williams on the score—9th Wonder provided the web and Kenny spun it like he was Homer delivering a myth from the heavens. Best verse on the best album of the year. —Frazier Tharpe

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Kristine Leahy Has Received Death Threats Following Confrontation With LaVar Ball

Kristine Leahy, the Fox Sports host, got into a kerfuffle with LaVar Ball, darling of the sports media world, Wednesday. Ball appeared on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, the show for which Leahy serves as a co-host, marking yet another appearance for Ball on Fox Sports 1’s programming schedule.

During the show, Ball and Leahy had an incredibly awkward and tense showdown. Leahy asked Ball about the sales for his son’s shoe, the first kicks from Big Baller Brand, and Ball did not take well to it. He appeared to be upset about something Leahy had previously said about BBB and how the brand will not succeed unless it learns how to market to women.

You can watch the standoff below.

Leahy responded to the interview on FS1’s Speak For Yourself Wednesday.

People continue to get really worked up about all things involving LaVar Ball, apparently, because the response Leahy has gotten has been…well, troubling. Leahy said Thursday she has received death threats.

“I think I’m gonna talk more about this later on ‘Speak for Yourself,’ some of the other issues that have come up,” Leahy said. “Now I’m getting death threats, so, I’ll leave it at that.”

On Thursday’s episode of The Herd, Cowherd explained what really went down during the interview and said Ball is “a bully.”

“My issue with what happened is just a complete lack of respect,” Leahy said. “He can disagree with everything I have to say and do it passionately…but have some respect, don’t threaten me, don’t make personal jokes, don’t mock me, and don’t say you’re not going to look me in the eye.”

Leahy also said she hopes Fox Sports 1 and ESPN will stop having Ball on their programs.

“He says a lot of controversial things,” Leahy said. “He’s loud and a big personality, which I’ve been totally fine with. But I hope that yesterday showed who he is and that we stop putting him on all these networks just to get controversial statements out of him.”

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Wale Explains J. Cole Feud and Addresses ‘Shine’ First Week Numbers on ‘Everyday Struggle’

Wale is known for his passionate and outspoken opinions on social media, and the veteran rapper brings that energy to Everyday Struggle as today's special guest alongside Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska.

The show kicks off with DJ Akademiks and Wale arguing, with Akademiks telling Wale people think he's corny. Wale holds his own and comes back with his own opinion on Akademiks.

In a light flex, Wale also takes a quick call from Pusha T.

Wale then opens up about his past issue with J. Cole. If you remember, back in December Cole dropped “False Prophets,” which many believed included a verse about his good friend Wale. Later that month, Wale responded with his own song, “Groundhog Day.” That same evening, Wale and Cole were spotted at a college basketball game together, deading any real beef.

Later, Wale addresses the low sales figures for his fifth studio album, Shine, and says he won't blame his label Atlantic for the disappointing result. In fact, he doesn't consider it a flop since his ticket sales are still strong, and Kendrick Lamar shared praise for his new project. Check out the full episode above.

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