The first concert Vegas rapper Chop808 organized on his own took place at the Cheyenne Saloon in 2014. He had high hopes for it … until the doors opened. “There was no one there,” the 25-year-old recalls. “It was probably two people in the crowd.” Chop didn’t care. He was excited to perform, even if the entire audience could fit in the backseat of his car. Then one of the performers he booked took out a phone and recorded a video, laughing at Chop for the turnout. “That broke my spirit,” he says.
Now, Chop’s getting the last laugh. He has spent the past few years perfecting his craft and assembling a team of the brightest rappers, singers and creatives in Las Vegas. Dubbed The Dreamers, the collective created the Dreams Never Die concert series, a platform for the Vegas community to showcase its talents. And people are turning out for it.
The first Dreams Never Die showcase, in January 2018, packed the 250-capacity venue just shy of a sellout, according to Chop. The Dreamers then took Dreams Never Die to the Strip for shows in December and July, selling out the House of Blues’ 350-person B Side room. After the next one, they might have to find an even bigger space.
On September 19, Dreams Never Die returns to B Side for Till Next Time, headlined by Asaiah Ziv, with support from Mac Nealy, Chop808, Jayy, Papichuloteej and more. A press time, they had sold more than 300 tickets.
Rather than give top billing to someone in his camp, Chop chose Asaiah Ziv, a Las Vegan who has garnered national buzz for his introspective tracks. His 2017 EP, I’m Depressed, but Happy, gave hope to those struggling with mental health. Over the past year, Ziv has released hypnotic bangers like “Switch Lanes” and “Summertime.” He’s gearing up for his next EP, to be released via Empire, which distributed early releases by Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak. The rest of the lineup features some of the best R&B and hip-hop acts in the city, like Papichuloteej, whose summer anthems “Getaway Driver” and “S.O.S.” have become runaway hits.
More than anything, Dreams Never Die proves you don’t have to be a big name to pack a room on the Strip. “We’re not opening up for anybody,” Chop says. “We’re throwing this by ourselves and showcasing people that we really believe in.”
TILL NEXT TIME September 19, 6 p.m., $11. B Side at House of Blues, 702-632-7600.