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2017 Soundset Review

Travis Scott proclaims in his song “Antidote” that “anything can happen at the night show.” Call it fate, call it irony, call it anything you’d like, but this statement would prove to be 100% accurate in describing the 10th annual Soundset Music Festival.

As Travis began his headlining set, the countless fans eagerly waiting in attendance were doused with heavy rain and wind. This precipitation continued to pelt down at increasing speed through the first half of his set. As the storm intensified, so too did Travis’s set. Thousands of hip-hop fans partying and thrashing through a rainstorm to Travis Scott— Epic.

Soundset took place this year on May 28th at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St.Paul and is curated by hometown rappers Atmosphere.The love and adoration for these guys was heavily apparent, as was the wild amount of Minnesotan hip-hop fans, of which there must have been 50,000.

The entire day was filled with this kind of hectic madness that would reach its pinnacle later in the night. There were surprise schedule changes, a no-show of a huge performer, and more than anything, so much awesome music.

Sway Calloway, aka Sway, basically one of the most iconic MTV and radio personality hosted the day, and he said it best: “This is the only music festival that features all of the elements of hip-hop.”

There were the the classic rhymesayers like Talib Kweli and Kool Keith, as well as young bloods, like Denzel Curry and Playboi Carti. There were the B-Boys break dancing, and pioneer record-scratching DJ’s Pete Rock and Peanut Butter Wolf scratching the wax.

There were two notable surprises that occurred during the day: 1) Lil Uzi Vert was nowhere to be seen in the state of Minnesota, and his no-show created a wave of scheduling conflicts, and 2) Ms. Lauryn Hill, one of the most elusive artists alive, showed up and performed an entire set! I truly didn’t believe she would be there until I saw her with my own eyes.

Ms. Hill did not disappoint, in fact, she did just the opposite. She blew me away- resulting in me saying “Wow” out loud so many times that it bothered the people next to me. Her rapping ability is unparalleled to anybody I saw all day. Not only does Lauryn Hill have an unbelievably beautiful voice and genius songwriting, she can spit every word of all of her verses. 99% of the rappers in the game don’t do that. She also melted faces with her singing. Her performance was incredible and rare and truly special to see.

Another powerful performance was Gucci Mane, who is currently enjoying the greatest success of his career, and deservedly so. I remember Gucci as a fearsome murderer (although the charges were dropped) with an ice cream face tattoo and an intense, angry demeanor. #FreeGucci was one of the first hashtags I knew of because he was constantly incarcerated. Gucci was recently released from prison and emerged as an entirely new man.

It’s true. Gucci never used to smile, now the man has the sweetest smile in rap music and shows it off in everything he does, especially performing. Gucci also is ripped now, engaged to the love of his life, and creating the most inspired and impressive music of his career.

Much respect to the classics like “Lemonade” and “Wasted,” both of which he performed, but Gucci is laser-focused and making new hits, like “Both” featuring Drake, and “Met Gala” from his latest mixtape DropTopWop. It’s just a wonderful thing to see Gucci Mane thriving like this, you know? It’s a feel good story that warms my heart.

Hit-making veteran of the game, T.I., performed one of the most captivating sets of the day to an ocean of fans. T.I. is Southern-rap embodied with every ounce of swagger in the Atlanta. And as the undisputed “King of the South,” T.I. delivered hit-after-hit-after-hit-after-hit. This man has an endless catalog of incredible songs. “Whatever You Like,” “Live Your Life,” and “What You Know” are just three examples— all of which are unstoppable jams and a pleasure to hear live and in person. T.I. will remain one of the greatest always and forever.

However, it was Travis Scott that slayed the festival ultimately, in epic fashion. Travis is known for having the most rowdy live show in rap, and in a festival setting, this rowdiness is amplified by 1,000. Travis’s screaming voice rang off like a war cry on top of powerful bass to a sea full of hungry devotees. Every song he performed resonated with the crowd like their favorite song. It would be a long list to include the most lit songs of the set, because they all were so insanely lit. At one point, I scoped out four separate moshpits raging. Travis Scott shows are like an adventure that you might not survive. It’s exciting and intense, and when it’s over, the joy and relief is sweeter than any of the pain felt while battling the elements.

The 10th annual Soundset Festival could not have been a better representation of the great scope that hip-hop has taken on. The number of genres featured on the bill was easily about 50, but they’re all living respectfully together under the giant umbrella of hip-hop. Artists and fans of all ages came together for an epic day of music, bonded through their love of hip-hop. Because that’s the power of music.


Soundset Festival Preview

The 10th annual Soundset Festival is happening May 28, 2017 on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

The Atmosphere-curated one day fest includes performances from some of rap’s most prominent and lit artists, like Travis Scott, Gucci Mane, T.I., Mac Miller, and a performance from elusive R&B queen Ms. Lauryn Hill.

The impressive lineup is stacked from top to bottom with some of the dopest names in rap, including promising up-and-comers like Amine, Denzel Curry, and Lil Uzi Vert.

Uzi is easily the fastest rising star in the game right now, accumulating an unbelievable amount of fame and fans in the past two years alone. His incredibly catchy music and immediate rockstar appeal lead to a an absolute superstar in the making. While Uzi has released some of his biggest tracks to date, including “Do What I Want” and “You Was Right”, his rise to fame is not even close to his peak. In fact, his latest single, ” XO Tour Llif3″ is his most popular track currently. His Rolling Loud festival appearance was easily the most buzzworthy of the weekend, and led to the most meme’d image of the weekend- a shot of Uzi jumping off a 50 foot tent into the crowd. This will be a can’t-miss, exceedingly hype event of the day.

Another can’t-miss artist on the bill is Houston rapper and avid-trend setter, Travis Scott. There is no doubt that Travis Scott is perhaps the leading curator and pusher of the culture today. His sound, uniquely menacing and hypnotizing as well as hard-as-hell and melodic, is instantly recognizable as one of those songs that people will turn up to. Songs like “Antidote,” “3500,” and “Goosebumps,” will erupt out of the speakers at Soundset and the crowd will absolutely lose its collective mind. There is something infectious and rambunctious about Scott’s music, and it’s effect on all other music coming out today, including Uzi’s is directly apparent. Scott is one of the most sought after and beloved artist in the game today and his shows are some of the rowdiest, most fun in rap.

Gucci Mane, a legend in every sense of the word, is on an award tour right now. After being released from jail earlier in 2016, he has released some of his best music, accumulated more wealth and success than he ever has, and has become one of rap’s greatest treasures. Since leaving jail, he has dropped 2 studio albums and a mixtape- all of which featured multiple hits, several superstar features, and countless bangers. To hear some of these songs from a man who is currently at the height of his game will be phenomenal to watch. Not to mention, Gucci has some of the underground’s most fire tracks, including “Lemonade” and “1st and 15th,” which will rattle the ground at Soundset.

What more could be said about festival-headliners, Soundset founders, and Minnesota natives Atmosphere. Their sound, their lyrics, and their unbelievable body of work make them easily one of the most prolific rap groups in history. MC Slug has an incredible stage presence and is able to release lyrics even more powerful than ever imaginable on the album. Every chance possible to see these guys is a true pleasure, they are professionals to the highest degree, and are constant fan favorites. For this, the tenth anniversary of Soundset, a special set will certainly be in order.

Soundset features an outstanding lineup and will most definitely have plenty of sets that will have people talking for a long time. Coming up quickly, on May 28th, this is a one day event that is truly a can’t-miss.


Buy tickets here: https://soundsetfestival.frontgatetickets.com/?_ga=2.158281721.2140404112.1494982705-1691685848.1494982705