Washington D.C. has always been a formidable market for live music and culture. Known particularly for its college party scene and go-go music, the region has now broken new ground with its first ever Trillectro festival. The live electronic and hip-hop festival put on by blogger/promoters DC to BC fused together elements of live hip-hop and brought together young entrepreneurs, musicians, hipsters and everything in between. Trillectro, was an important and prolific milestone, cementing Washington D.C. as a haven for hip culture, welcoming a mix of music that is the undeniable voice of this generation.
The idea of mixing genres isn’t new. In the early 80s, both punk and hip-hop collided ( just look at Blondie’s first single “ Rapture” or Run-DMC & Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”). Today’s scene just does it on a more expansive scale. DC to BC’s Trillectro not only supported the progression of popular music, but with their social media clout, they were able to have New Yorkers and Los Angeles natives travel to our nation’s capital for hip-hop. Looking at popular culture now, and even indie culture, it’s becoming hard to define the difference between musical genres. Trillectro headliner, Schoolboy Q’s hit single “Hands On The Wheel” samples a line from Lissie’s cover version of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness.” The sample in itself, an indie band’s cover of a hip-hop/indie artist, speaks to hip-hop’s genre bending kick that’s been poppin’ for quite some time now. Six Years ago, the average fan of hip-hop music only listened to hip-hop. Now, that same fan who listens to Kendrick Lamar, also listens to Gucci Mane and The Cults. Trillectro, brought all that together.
According to D.C. writer Marcus Dowling, Trillectro has been about three years in the making. DC to BC’s held the weekly event Rock Creek Social, and smaller, more local-oriented hip-hop based shows, but this festival marks their peak. Housed right outside of The Washington National’s park, at Half-Street Fairgrounds, Trillectro held two stages: a main stage for hip-hoppers and a Red Bull truck on the opposite side of the venue, equipped with turntables for electronic DJ’s like Brenmar, Tittsworth and Gianni Lee.
The set-list didn’t contain the most-well known proprietors of modern-hippie culture like Wiz Khalifah or Major Lazer, but they chose underground, cutting edge act’s like TDE’s Schoolboy-Q and Flosstradamus who have cult-followings and provide similar aesthetics.Every act gave tremendous performances. Like any festival, Trillectro introduced new energetic act’s like Beyond Modern and showcased underground acts, like Phony PPl, on the brink of superstardom. It also provided a deeper look into the scenes surrounding the DMV by including Philly artist Asaad.
The energy took a positive shift when New York’s up and comers hit the festival. While, smoking joints on stage, mouth’s full-o-gold, and donning tie-dye shirts, Brooklyn’s Flatbush Zombie’s appeared in full-fledged Trillectro spirit, grabbing the D.C. crowd with their New York flavor.
While, New York tore it down, locally-bred acts like A$AP Ant, Tabi Bonney, and Oddisee quickly reminded us of the influence of the DMV music scene. Tabi Bonney, backed by his dancing crew, Beat Ya Feet Kings, showed that D.C. is his playground, going from banger to banger, from older jams like “Put Me In The Pocket” to new jams like “Parachute.”
D.C.’s scene has been bubbling for damn near 20 years and Bonney’s excited for the future. “ It’s happening man, beforehand it wasn’t this many hip-hop artist. It was go-go dominated. It’s expanding. Hopefully soon, D.C. becomes an entertainment haven.” Baltimore native, A$AP Ant, is just happy to be welcomed into a D.C. festival, ” This shit is fun. This is actually good for the DMV. There was no festival like this, and they bringing it all together. Philly people came out, Virginia, and New York people too.”
As time dwindled and the humid air gave way to a cooler climate, Schoolboy Q finally appeared for an incredible, energetic set. As drizzled-rain pierced the sky, and “Blessed” blared from the speakers, an old-school Q, outfitted in adidas, multiple chains and an american flag bucket hat spit hardcore verses while the diverse crowd gladly received them.
The last set by Chicago-based electronic DJ duo Flosstradamus was cut short by a noise complaint that ended in the speaker volume being turned down to barely enjoyable octaves. Still, a feeling of satisfaction swept over the crowd. The night was young, but successful as hip-hop and electronic made Trillectro the perfect mash-up.
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