On September 28th and 29th, one of the greatest festivals in music will be stopping in Washington D.C. What began in 2004 as a small hip-hop festival in Los Angeles, CA has since blossomed into a travelling mega-festival celebrating all things hip-hop. This year the festival has decided to travel to four locations around the country, including D.C.’s very own RFK Stadium. This year, the festival’s line-up is just as star-studded as ever, including two virtual performances by Eazy-E and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB) (in conjunction with living members of the Wu-Tang Clan). While these virtual performances will be remembered in hip-hop history for years to come, there are many other marquee performers who will be appearing at the D.C. show:
Rising to prominence in the early 1990s, the rap collective from Staten Island, NY has undoubtedly established their place as one of the best hip-hop groups of all time. Including such legendary members as GZA, Method Man, Raekwon and RZA, the Wu-Tang Clan became popular after the release of their album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and have continued on an upward path ever since. Wu-Tang have traveled with the festival since it’s inception and have continued to be headliners for the annual festival series ever since. Their reputation as performers is one of legend, and with the inclusion of a virtual rendering of the deceased ODB, this year’s festival looks to be one of the most memorable of them all.
Composed of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, the collective has taken over the rap game, especially after Kendrick’s latest album Good Kid M.A.A.D. City. Notable and popular as individuals under the same record label (Top Dawg Entertainment), when together the group of rappers/friends perform under the name Black Hippy. Powered by their Hiii Power movement and core of voracious fans, the group has continued to make waves in the rap world, especially after Kendrick’s recent verse on Big Sean’s Control (HOF), in which he challenges many other notable rappers to create further musical competition. As someone who has seen Schoolboy Q multiple times, and has seen footage of all members of the crew live, I can attest that this will be a show that will not be forgotten.
Fayetteville, NC bred, New York City influenced, J Cole has been a mainstay in hip-hop as of recent and has made waves this summer with his latest album Born Sinner. Boldly moving his album release date up a week to compete with Kanye West’s Yeezus, Cole made a statement that brought him into the rap elite as his album beat out West’s album in sales and, many believe, in quality as well. J Cole’s shows are always full of energy and paired with his lyrical prowess and catchy beats (all produced by the man himself) provide for an exciting show. Performing songs from his latest album, Cole will not disappoint.
Coming from New York City, the southern-sounding crew have placed their flag in the hip-hop game and appear here to stay. Led by A$AP Rocky, the A$AP Mob have created a new lane in hip-hop, showing how the internet has impacted the genre as a whole. Although from Harlem, you wouldn’t know by listening to their music. Their dark production, slowed down style and smooth lyrics would make you think the group was from Houston. This style has caught on throughout hip-hop where both fans and other artists have embraced it. A$AP Mob shows are always fun and where raucous, involved fans are sure to be found. With A$AP Ferg’s album Trap Lord coming out Aug 20th, the A$AP Mob will be sure to put on a wild, fun show that will leave everyone in the crowd with something to remember.
While these artists listed are upcoming performers, there are many other notable and diverse artists, including: Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony, Chief Keef, Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh, Curren$y, Immortal Technique, Earl Sweatshirt and many, many more. For more information about the festival be sure to check out the website. Buy your tickets soon and we will see you there!