Four days of fun, sun and perhaps the most varied line-up of talent this side of the Atlantic. The Hip Hop portion of Bonnaroo out shines most festivals in the nation with its mix of legends and fresh faces. Up and coming artists given the chance to lure in unsuspecting patrons and turn them into die hard fans. For the veterans, a chance to cement their legacy. This year’s line up was as varied and good as any Hip Hop show you’ll ever see.
Pusha T was the first MC to get his hands in the Bonnaroo crowd. The, G.O.O.D. Music signee, arrived fashionably late but gave a great performance. The mix of new tracks coupled with some classic Clipse songs was enough to get the crowd jumping and set the tone for the rest of the rappers performing at ‘Roo.
Day 2 was an amazing showcase of Hip Hop’s past, present and future. Danny Brown and Chance The Rapper both killed their respective sets. Proving that Hip Hop has a promising, albeit odd, future in the works. And of course…there was Yeezus. Ye’ gave the most polarizing performance of the week before a crowd that both cheered and booed him. Some fans left outraged at his unapologetic rants, others moved by his passion and catalog of bangers. Either way 90,000 people attended the show and every one of them had an opinion to share. Kanye’s performance was appropriately followed by America’s former “Nigga Ya Love To Hate”; Ice Cube. Cube hit the crowd with barrage of classic gangsta hits including “It Was A Good Day”, “Bow Down”, and “Straight Out OF Compton”. The legendary artist brought the West Coast to the heart of the deep and dirty south to the delight of thousands of head-bobbing fans.
The third day of Bonaroo had fewer rap artists on the schedule but the impact lasted all day. Ms. Lauryn Hill treated the fans to something new. Reggae versions of her classics where fresh but left many fans yearning for the Lauryn they grew listening to. Fortunately, Frank Ocean would later serenade the crowd and give everyone a taste of RNB. Bonaroo’s signature Super Jam was filled with Hip Hop artists paired alongside some of the biggest names rock and electric music. Hosted by electronic music extraordinaire, Scrillex, the set featured A$AP Ferg, Damian Marley, a surprise visit from Mystikal, Rob Krieger of The Doors, and Janelle Monae. Ms. Lauryn Hill returned to the stage and ended the Super Jam with amazing renditions of The Fugees, Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder classics.
Bonnaroo’s final day was marked by two great acts in different stages of their careers. A$AP Ferg picked up right where he left off in the Super Jam and delivered a great performance. The Trap Lord took full advantage of Bonnaroo’s magic. Festival goers walking by his stage were inevitably lured and treated to one of the best shows of the week. No doubt, the A$AP Mob gained many new fans after that show. Wiz Khalifa didn’t need new fans. The crowd at his show was packed with loyal “Taylors” that echoed every lyric and catchy hook while releasing giant clouds of weed smoke that would make Snoop Dogg proud.
At the end of the week Bonnaroo proved that it is a premier platform for Hip Hop. The names and styles varied but each and every rapper that performed on the 700 acre farm provided a great show. Bonnaroo continues to show that it is a make or break venue for both big and small artists, as up and coming artists often see instant results after performing at Americas greatest music festival and building their army of new fans. The 4 day extravaganza came to an end last night with Elton John closing the festivities. Bonnaroo is held the second weekend of June every year and we have to say, you are not going to want to miss it.
Photos by Mark A. Macpherson @the541Guy
Words by Rodolfo Arias @FiroTheBoss