First Avenue was packed on Saturday night with a lively pre-Soundset bash. DJ Fundo, Blvck Spvce, Bobby can rap, Fashawn, and Prof provided the jams at the official Rhymesayers Soundset Before Party. DJ Fundo hosted the night and kicked a diverse mix of old and new school, from vintage A Tribe Called Quest to Bobby Shmurda.
Photos by Patrick Dunn words by Clara Tsac
The gates of Canterbury Park opened at 11am sharp to hordes of eager hip-hop fans. The Soundset Music Festival is an exclusively hip-hop music festival created by local music label Rhymesayers eight years ago, an affordable event that draws nationally acclaimed talents as well as local acts. The Rhymesayers event is unique in its focus on urban music and great bargain price (this year it’s $50-$70 for a lineup of the likes of Ludacris, J. Cole, Ice Cube, and Big Sean, just to name a few). This year, performances were unofficially baptized by Amir Sulaiman’s opening delivery of “Come to the Hills,” a poignant spoken word addressing race, economics, politics, and police brutality.
It’s hard to believe that nineteen Art-A-Whirls have gone by since the first one, in 1996. I almost missed that first Art-A-Whirl, but my state representative, Diane Loeffler, suggested I go and maybe do some videotaping. So I went out on the last day of that first Art-A-Whirl and asked a few people who they were and what was going on.
As a society, we are often ignorant of the deeper ideas, the larger events and even the items of material culture that serve to connect us to other global societies, a complicated condition that the installations “ATTENTION!” by Pao Her and Near and Far by Shana Kaplow address in unorthodox and insightful ways. That such links are oblique or overlooked rather than obvious, abstract or intangible rather than specific is the point. As discrete but complementary projects, “ATTENTION!” and Near and Far innocently unite to create one of the most quietly beautiful and intellectually resonate MAEP offerings in recent memory.