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If you read our review of Pitchfork Music Festival 2018, you already knew that the festival was a must-see even before this year’s lineup was announced. One of the most prominent names in music journalism has made it their mission to curate a lineup that combines the best in rising talent with some of the most exciting names in music (um, Lauryn Hill anyone?). This year is no different, with a stacked schedule of artists that is sure to appeal to most any music taste. On top of that, ComplexCon is that same weekend, as if you needed another reason to plan your trip to Chicago.
Here are some of our top picks from this year’s lineup:
Standing on the Corner
Standing on the Corner has been making major waves in the past few years, serving as direct support for King Krule following his latest release, The Ooz, and working closely with Earl Sweatshirt on his career-defining Some Rap Songs.
Their website design is one of many visual manifestations of their sound, with a few friendly pop-ups to express well-wishes to their fans, and to assure them that a follow up to their ambitious, thought-provoking project Red Burns is on the way. Check out their Pitchfork “Rising” interview here.
If you were lucky enough to catch JPEGMAFIA’s set during Bruiser Thanksgiving 2018, you’re probably aware that he is one of the most energetic and exciting performers in hip hop today. His musical catharsis is laid bare on stage wherever he goes, featuring him writhing and screaming every lyric in a way that can be worrisome for those concerned with overexertion. That is, until you realize that he was once in the Air Force and can surely handle a high level of creative labor, whether mental or, in this case, physical.
One of the most promising names to come out of Chicago as of recent, Valee’s rise to prominence has been swift and effective, aided by his seemingly effortless delivery coupled with his whimsical and deceptively sinister lyrics. His affection for dogs is evident (as shown in the picture above), he is apparently a salad connoisseur, and his rhyme schemes are so infectious that they have allegedly been jacked by the likes of Nikki Minaj and Tyler the Creator, to name a few. If we’re lucky, maybe he’ll perform his verse from “I Was on the Block” with YG and Boogie from earlier this year.
Rico Nasty’s collaborative project with Kenny Beat, Anger Management, took the exciting promise that she showed with last year’s Nasty and brought it further into the spotlight. Blossoming in an era where female artists are finally getting at least *some* of the recognition that they deserve, where an artist like Rapsody can get nominated for a grammy alongside some of the biggest names in music across the world. Nasty’s brash, intense creations juxtapose quite sharply with an artist like Rapsody, but both present different versions of a resolved self-assurance that women have had to continuously earn for themselves, showing younger artists-to-be that there are many right answers, and the only wrong one is not being your full self. With an energy that bleeds from the speakers to the stage, Nasty’s set at Pitchfork 2019 is surely one to look out for.
Bandana. Enough said. Dropping (hopefully) this Friday according to Madlib, the long-awaited collaborative project between one of hip hop’s most revered producers and one of its most consistently solid gangster rappers is a match made in rap heaven. With the success of Piñata serving as a testament to their chemistry, and with a list of guest features that will make most any fan feel embarrassed for complaining about the wait, we’re excited for Gibbs’ first return to the festival since he performed with Madlib there in 2015. Can we perhaps expect, or at least hope for, another set from the legendary duo? There’s only one way to see, so get your tickets now.