12 New York acts to see at The Meadows (and a chance to win tickets!)
NYC’s The Meadows is this weekend — Friday (9/15) through Sunday (9/17) — at Citi Field and the music festival reps its hometown hard. There are stages named after Queens Blvd and the now-demolished Shea Stadium (The Mets’ home before moving to Citi Field in 2009), and the lineup has a good amount of local heroes too. Some New Yorkers may take seeing hometown acts for granted, but whether you’re coming from out of town or not, The Meadows is a great way to get a taste of New York music. The lineup includes acts who helped define the sound of NYC decades ago and newer acts who are defining it today. We’ve made a list of 12 New York acts to see on their home turf.
There are also plenty of non-New York acts we’re excited to see at The Meadows, like Gorillaz, Future, Erykah Badu, Broken Social Scene, Tegan & Sara, M.I.A., Big Boi, Weezer, and Migos — just to name a few. Check out the set times HERE. Tickets and more info at the festival’s website. You can also enter to win a pair of VIP 3-day passes
One last-minute bummer: Swet Shop Boys, whose Heems is a Queens native, had to cancel all tour dates and drop off the fest.
Read on for our list of New York acts to see at The Meadows…
It’s a little funny that Action Bronson and Ghostface Killah play the same day of The Meadows, as Bronson still can’t escape those Ghostface comparisons, but Bronson really has turned into an artist (and a celebrity) of his own. His big personality, his food travel show Fuck, That’s Delicious, and the sense of humor in his music videos has helped make him an entertaining figure, but his music really speaks for itself. Yes, he’s channelling ’90s rap, but he also has a sense of millennial weirdness in his music that separates him from being pure imitation. The recently-released Blue Chips 7000 is his latest in a string of albums and mixtapes that continue to show off his talent.
Brooklyn’s venerable 12-piece Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas are coming up on their 20th anniversary and release their new album, Where The Gods Are In Peace, this week via Daptone. Though often political, Antibalas are first and foremost a joyous band, exuding positive vibes through their effortlessly danceable music.
Despite being a magnetic frontman, an excellent musician, songwriter and singer, Dev Hynes isn’t really much for playing live, and hasn’t really gone on a proper tour since his days as Lightspeed Champion. Hence, any chance to see Blood Orange should be seen as a special event. It really is, though, and with his ace band, studio creations like “EVP,” “Chamkay,” and “Best to You” really come alive. Hopefully his good pal and collaborator Sky Ferreira, who also plays Friday, will join him (or vise versa).
De La Soul
Long Island hip hop legends De La Soul have a suitcase full of festival-ready classics — “Eye Know,” “The Magic Number,” “A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays,” “Ego Trippin’” to name four — that beam out positive vibes. There are some good chances for guests, too. Damon Albarn played on De La Soul’s 2016 album and the Anonymous Nobody, and De La have collaborated a few times with Gorillaz — including this year’s Humanz and their classic single “Feel Good Inc” — who headline The Meadows later Saturday night.
With a name that tells you where they’re from and how freaky they are, you know what you’re getting from Flatbush Zombies right away. And for the seven years they’ve been a group, they have always delivered. At this point, Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick Arc Elliott have two mixtapes and an album full of LSD experiences, Stanley Kubrick references, and whacked-out, fiery flows. Their live show is always nuts too, with all three members running and jumping around stage the whole time and inspiring plenty of crowd participation.
Ghostface Killah would be set for life if all he did was record as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, but he’s also gone on to be one of the collective’s most consistently great solo artists. His first two solo LPs (1996’s Ironman and 2000’s Supreme Clientele) are part of the rap canon, and a handful of his later albums come close in quality. Lately, he’s been working with psychedelic soul artist Adrian Younge and has two albums out with him that represent a worthy new chapter of Ghostface’s career.
It’s been 21 years since Jay-Z declared himself and Biggie “Brooklyn’s Finest,” and you could argue that he still holds the title. This year’s 4:44, Jay’s 13th album, is one of 2017’s best-received and most popular rap albums. It’s a kind of subdued, confessional album that Jay-Z has never really made before, and it’s a treat to hear the almost-billionaire open up like this. Hearing the new songs should be pretty special, plus Jay will surely find time to squeeze in a few Top 10 singles and spit some of the most influential bars ever laid to tape.
Born in Brooklyn in 1995, Joey Bada$$ started his career paying tribute to the kind of rap music that was taking shape in New York when he was still in the womb. He proved to be pretty damn good at it, and even went on to collaborate with some of his heroes like DJ Premier. You can’t do revival forever though, and this year’s great All-Amerikkan Bada$$ proves that Joey is really starting to find his own sound. His songs are now armed with hooks that get stuck in your head and production that’s not just an homage to New York’s golden age. Add to it that Joey starred in a prominent role on season two of Mr. Robot, and it’s even more undeniable that he’s becoming a star.
LL Cool J
Though these days he might be better known (at least to your Aunt Linda) as one of the stars of NCIS: Los Angeles, LL Cool J is NYC hip hop royalty, whose braggadocios style and classics like “Rock the Bells,” “I Can’t Live Without My Radio,” and “Going Back to Cali” helped define the sound of New York City in the ’80s. With an armload of other classics that extended into the ’00s (“I Need Love,” “Mama Said Knock You Out,” “Loungin” and many more), LL’s should be one of the more genuinely hit-packed sets at The Meadows.
Among the many notable things about The Meadows, is the booking of both Jay-Z and Nas (albeit on different days). Nas’ 1994 instant-classic Illmatic was a direct influence on Jay-Z’s debut, then the two had perhaps the most high-profile rap feud of the 21st century (they made up over a decade ago), and they remain two of New York’s all-time greats. It’s been five years since the latest Nas album, 2012’s very solid Life Is Good, but you don’t need new music to find a reason to see the guy who wrote “The World Is Yours,” “Life’s A Bitch,” “If I Ruled the World,” “One Mic,” and “Made You Look.”
Run the Jewels
Alright, Run the Jewels are only half from NYC, as one of the duo’s members is ATLien Killer Mike. But Brooklyn native El-P Makes them worthy of inclusion on this list. As a member of ’90s group Company Flow and a producer of early Cannibal Ox and Aesop Rock tracks, El was a leader of the city’s underground rap around the turn of the millennium. With Run the Jewels, he has found himself more popular than ever. The duo have three albums that are destined to be called classics one day (if they aren’t already), and they just keep moving up in the world. On their latest LP, they introduce themselves “live at The Garden,” and it doesn’t seem crazy to think they’ll headline the place one day. (For those keeping score, they played there once opening for Jack White.)
TV on the Radio
Born from the early-’00s Brooklyn explosion that also gave us Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, and Liars, TV on the Radio have stayed one of the most creatively exciting NYC bands of the last 15 years. Sure, half the band now live in Los Angeles these days, but NYC is still TVotR’s spiritual home. It’s been three years since they’ve released an album, so expect their Meadows set to be even more weighted towards favorites like “Staring at the Sun,” “Young Liars,” “Golden Age” and “Wolf Like Me.”