When I saw the lineup for Lollapalooza, I was floored. The diversity of hip hop that was set to be represented was incredible for a festival that’s not necessarily known for its hip hop lineup. Not only were they bringing out some of the biggest names in the game, but they were also bringing in up and comers and underrepresented artists and styles. I made it my mission to immerse myself in hip hop over the weekend and here are my thoughts. Sorry if you’re offended, but I’m only speaking the truth.
As you all know, I’m the biggest Migos fan there is. They may as well just change my name to Migo Morgan. However, I was the furthest thing from impressed when it came to Migos Thursday set. They were supposed to go on at 5, but didn’t come on until around 5:35. This is horrible festival behavior, but it was later revealed that they were last due to travel related issues beyond their control. (It was later revealed that they took a helicopter to the festival, which is the definition of boujee, but I digress.) Migos came out dressed in wack outfits which was the telltale sign that the performance wasn’t going to be one of their best. The trio are amongst some of the best dressed rappers of today so to see them come out dressed in outfits that looked like they could be purchased at Forever 21 was disappointing to say the least. Their actual performance was subpar. The delay made it so they could only play the chorus of most of their songs, which got everyone nice and hype for about 30 seconds and then they’d cut to the next song. While I hated this, I did appreciate the songs, or choruses rather, that they played for their “day one Migos fans”. I had to remove myself from the crowd at this point though because I was uncomfortable with the amount of white people screaming the “n word” and acting like they actually knew what “seventeen five same color t shirt” is a referring to. (Yes, I know I’m white as well, but I do everything to respect the culture that I can and it’s my lifeblood so the blatant disrespect and lack of education grinds my gears.)
For SAINt JHN, I had a nice space in the second row on stage right. This gave me the chance to actually see what was going on onstage rather than through a video screen, which rarely ever happens since I’m only 5′ tall. Anyway, this was the performance of the day. SAINt JHN came on sporting a studded leather jacket with a picture of Charles Manson adorning the back and yellow Raf Simmons sneakers. His passion and desire to be at somewhere like Lolla was evident not only through his energetic set, but also his story about driving 12 hours to be at Lolla after his flights were cancelled. Both new and diehard fans were able to enjoy this set as SAINt JHN played not only his hits “3 Below” and “Reflex”, but also debuted new music. The energy he exhibited was contagious as the crowd followed along to every command he asked of them and they were even able to coax him into the crowd to jump around with him during “Reflex”.
This was the set of the weekend. Do not even try to debate me about that statement. I was drawn away from the Tito’s stage because I could hear something with a hard hitting bass and an interesting voice happening over on the Pepsi, so of course I had to go check it out. What I discovered when I walked over there still has me shook. I “Think You Grown” saved to my Spotify library, but hadn’t heard much else from Michael Christmas so it slipped my mind to think to check him out. When I walked up to the Pepsi stage I was surprised with a decent sized crowd who were all bouncing along with the dude in the “Bodega” shirt on stage. My jaw was immediately on the floor as he started spitting “Grab Her Hand”, a song that features Mac Miller”. I couldn’t believe that there were people at this festival who were missing this talent. The next half hour was so enjoyable. He brought out one of my favorite rappers of the moment, Cousin Stizz, to give him a chance to perform his banger “Lambo”. The energy that was on the stage at this point is unopposed by anything I have seen at Lolla and Michael Christmas even got the crowd to squat all the way on the ground and jump up when the beat dropped on his next track which is an amount of crowd control you don’t see often. Towards the end of his set he took a minute to thank the crowd for being great and helping him make his mom proud. It was so genuine and pure and something that hip hop still needs. It all wrapped up with Michael, his entourage, the crowd, and Cousin Stizz dancing to “Magnolia”, which seemed to be the song of the weekend. To see someone so talented be able to control the crowd so well
This was one of the best moments of my whole life. Video doesn’t do it justice but man smh. Thanks guys. pic.twitter.com/B9OaWUtJur
— Michael Christmas (@MickeyChristmas) August 6, 2017
Immediately after Michael Christmas, a giant crowd swarmed the Pepsi stage to see “Caroline” singer Amine. I was impressed with the draw that he had, seeing how he’s only actually had one hit, and was eager for the performance from the XXL Freshman. However, I had to leave the crowd after his first song because I just couldn’t stand the number of white girls screaming the n word and complaining that he didn’t open with “Caroline”. His all yellow set was very aesthetically appealing, and I wish I would have been able to stay and see more, but as a self-respecting hip hop fan, I just couldn’t.
I was expecting a lot, and that’s what I was given. Even though he delivered an absolutely wack cypher for XXL’s Freshmen List, I knew that anyone who made “skkkkrt, skkrrrt” a staple of my vernacular would put on a show I could get down to. I went on over to the BMI stage and was surprised at the large crowd I found there. It turned into a huge dance party of people who didn’t care about showing up to 21 Savage on time. The energy of the crowd combined with the energy of the little jumping bean
Chance the Rapper
Underwhelmed is the only word I have to describe how I felt after this set. After the spiritual experience that I had when seeing Chance at Bonnaroo, I was so incredibly disappointed in the set that I watched on Saturday. Maybe it’s because he was in his hometown, but the cockiness was such a turn off. I was surrounded by people in the crowd who had apparently not listened to his last album and kept complaining about how it wasn’t “lit” enough. I don’t know what else to say here besides that I wasn’t impressed and I should have gone to see Mac DeMarco.
I found myself drawn to the BMI stage with Duckwrth was performing, despite the fact that I had never heard of the strange named rapper before. The man dressed in all white bouncing around like he was on a pogo stick had a magnetic draw that caused me to leave my co-reporter behind and stay there bouncing around to the funk-hip hop fusion for the full set. Although I have yet to return to Duckwrth’s catalog, I need to because it was cool, new style where the man attached to it was having just as much fun as the audience. (He also has an insane sense of style that I would love to adapt whenever I decide to reinvent myself)
Noname graced the Pepsi stage under the hot afternoon sun Sunday. As always with Noname, I was impressed with her vocals, her band, and the amount of people she draws to a stage, but I was not impressed with her energy. I always find her to be a bit tiring. It’s not a show that’s designed to be viewed in the middle of the afternoon, but rather later at night when the stars are shining, the vibe is mellow, and you’re already a little bit ready to rest your body and soul. I wish her set would have been a lot later, because during the day it was just not enough.
After being haunted by the “6LACK PRONOUNCED BLACK” posters hanging throughout the Lollapalooza city area, I figured that I was obligated to make my way over to the Pepsi Stage, yet again, to see the man himself. Although the crowd wasn’t necessarily large, which I’m blaming on the fact Lil Yachty was performing on the next stage over just 10 minutes later, I was still in awe of the draw that the rapper with one album had. The visuals combined with the very relaxed vibe of 6LACK made for a perfect evening show, even for those who didn’t know all of the words to his deep cut tracks.
This is the show that made me decide it was time to go home. I had run in with Lil Yachty a few hours before his performance in the media village, and kind of realized that he wasn’t who I thought he was so I was interested to see his set. However, I didn’t even get to see Yachty because the positioning of the Tito’s stage only allowed for about half of the people who actually wanted to see him to even be able to hear him. Had the stage been different, it would have perhaps been more enjoyable but the fact that I had to listen to Brad and Jake complain about the fact that they couldn’t grind with Ashley and Christina was terrible and ruined the vibe for me.