Governor’s Ball is in its second year of being a full, three day frenzy of heat, music, and food. It’s also in its second year of landing on the A-list of music festivals, as last year’s festival received rave reviews and featured Kanye, Kendrick, Nas, Kings Of Leon, Miguel, Guns N Roses, The XX, The Avett Brothers, Freddie Gibbs, Azealia Banks, and a whole hell of a lot more. Some of those reviews were by RESPECT. ourselves, as we loved the festival, even in spite of the apocalyptic rain and ensuing war-like mud that plagued all three days. We’re thrilled that the folks at GovBall added some more hip-hop acts (nine this year, as opposed to last year’s five), and so we’ve decided speak on the five performances we’re most excited for this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. (Unlisted are J. Cole, Tyler, The Creator, Childish Gambino, RJD2).
Let it be said that this is a strong 5-spot. The gritty NYC trio recently released their widely-lauded and loved So It Goes, an ode to all things good and bad in NYC, so it will be a serious pleasure to see them rock out in what will probably be the largest crowd they’ve ever seen in their home state. These guys are beginning to build a serious buzz not only as promising newcomers but as formidable artists with a clear and path-breaking vision for what the sound of genuine and fucked up New York hip-hop will be. They will soon become one of the more largely bit acts in the tri-state area, so it’ll also be good to see them now while they’re still fresh.
4. Run The Jewels Just like most people who study hip-hop or are lovers of bass, we still bump Run The Jewels‘ debut tape from last year. It’s full of acrobatic and passionate MCing and downright destructive beats. The EP (or LP, depending on who you ask) was damn-near perfect, full of humor, gusto, and gnarled wisdom from top to bottom. It was a clear product of their chemistry, which, through some behind-the-scenes and bonus footage, so seeing them trade bars live on one of the summer’s biggest stages is going to no doubt be one of the entire festival’s highlights.
3. Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Mr. Early Bird is on the cusp of something big. After last year’s Doris, which we put at #2 on our list of the year’s best but Earl seems to have dismissed as his “awkward” phase, he seems to be fully coming into his own. As he’s promised in various rants on his (hilarious and wise) Twitter, he’s a whole new beast these days, armed with a less-monotone delivery and rhymes that are more substantive and truer to his life. He’s so damn excited about his new material, it’s easy to imagine that Gov Ball could see him unleashing a new song or two, as he’s known to do at live shows from time to time.
2. Chance The Rapper
Chance is one of the most buzzing artists in all of music at the moment. Acid Rap was one of the most beloved and acclaimed tapes of 2013, with Chance emerging as one of the genre’s innovators–it’s all such common knowledge, it’s almost as if the newcomer all of a sudden needs no introduction. It should be known, though, that his live show is a large part of why he’s made it as far and high as he already has. As the summer rolls around, it’s not too far off a bet that, like Earl, Chance could be unveiling some new cuts on the festival stage, as he likely has a project with the Social Experiment on the way for the near future.
Who else? Before their first set at Coachaella, the music world had been waiting for years just to get a glimpse of perhaps hip-hop history’s greatest duo side by side. After that first set, the anticipation was turned to anxiousness–Is this going to go alright? Are crowds going to act accordingly? Once the second week showed marked improvement, the wonder has been how well the ATLiens can keep ascending. They have one of the most untouchable catalogs in the history of recorded music. All they’ve gotta do is go out there and rock, and all the Gov Ball crowd has to do is rock along hard enough to do justice to a pair of legends. It’s a tough task, but they’ll no doubt be up for it.
Side Orders (The Non-Hip-Hop Acts We’re Excited For):
TV On The Radio
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