hip hop at Coachella 2017: a guide + rumored guests & pics
Coachella 2017 goes down this Friday (April 14) through Sunday (April 16). The second weekend is 4/21-4/23. As always, the Coachella lineup is very diverse in terms of genre. Here’s a guide to this year’s hip hop acts, rumored acts, and some photos too (UPDATE: check out pics of Stormzy and Travis Scott from day 1 in the gallery above).
Sadly, the biggest name on Coachella was a hip hop act who cancelled (but will play in 2018), Beyonce. But on the bright side, Sunday’s headliner is the best rapper in the game right now, Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick will have a new album out this Friday (update: it’s out!!), so be sure to download that ASAP and memorize all the words by Sunday. All we’ve heard from it so far is lead single “Humble,” which has our hopes very high.
UPDATE (4/14): TMZ posted a rumor that we might get even more hip hop at the festival. The Weeknd, Rae Sremmurd, French Montana, Wale and Diddy are all supposedly showing up. Will The Weeknd join Future one of their collabs? Or maybe he’ll join his protege Nav? Will Rae Sremmurd join Gucci Mane for “Black Beatles?” We’ll see!
UPDATE (4/16): Yup, Gucci Mane brought out Rae Sremmurd for “Black Beatles” and Nav brought out The Weeknd.
UPDATE (4/16): The Weeknd didn’t join his collaborator Future at weekend one, but Future brought out Drake, Migos and Ty Dolla Sign.
As for the rest of the festival, here’s all the hip hop you can see, day by day:
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Travis Scott (update: check out photos of his set in the gallery above)
Travis Scott has gotten some criticism for biting other people’s styles, but his increasingly large fanbase doesn’t seem to mind. He’s gotten ridiculously popular off the strength of major singles like “Antidote” and “Pick Up the Phone,” so popular that he’s billed just two slots below Coachella’s Friday headliner Radiohead on the festival’s poster. Needless to say, his set should be a wild one.
I’m not a huge Mac Miller fan, but the dude’s landed collaborations with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to DJ Premier to Vince Staples to Pete Rock, so don’t listen to me. His set on Friday could be a great time.
For a minute there, it seemed like D.R.A.M. might be a one-hit-wonder for his Beyonce-and-Drake-approved “Cha Cha,” but those days are long in the past. These days he’s even bigger for his Lil Yachty collab “Broccoli,” which should be a gigantic singalong at Coachella.
Raury might be the only rapper on Coachella’s 2017 lineup that also makes sense on a Mumford & Sons tour, and you can do what you will with that information.
Stormzy (update: check out photos of his set in the gallery above)
Grime is back in a big way, and one of the genre’s most loved rising stars is Stormzy. The genre is even bigger in the UK, but more and more North Americans are taking notice (like Drake). If you wanna see what Stormzy’s all about, now’s your chance.
Florida rapper Denzel Curry just gets better and better. He’s been at it for a little while now, but last year’s Imperial felt like a real breakthrough moment. His delivery is always on point, and his live shows are relentless. See him now before his name is in a much bigger font the next time he’s on a Coachella poster.
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Future was basically unstoppable from the Monster mixtape through the Drake collab What A Time To Be Alive. He really found his sound, and during that run he put out one of trap’s most instant-classic records, DS2. His newer stuff is just a tiny bit lower in quality, but he remains prolific and he’s still got plenty of great stuff coming out. So far he released two record-breaking albums this year, the trap-minded Future and the R&B-minded HDNRXX.
Schoolboy Q released one of the best albums of last year (and arguably the best of his career) with Blank Face LP. He was always TDE’s party rapper, but Blank Face LP shows off his dark side and his dark side is pretty great. With Kendrick and Q in the house on the same weekend, we’ve got our fingers crossed for a collaboration.
Gucci Mane became a staple of Atlanta rap in the 2000s, and his career was unfortunately put on hold when he was imprisoned. He was released in 2016, and he instantly jumped back into the spotlight with multiple albums, mixtapes, and EPs. He’s currently on his first proper tour ever, so his live show should be ready for the Coachella stage.
R&B singer Tory Lanez has had some genuinely huge radio hits, and he’s set to tour later this year with Future and Migos. His star status is likely only going to increase.
Majid Jordan started taking off after appearing on Drake’s massive “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” and they released an album of their own last year. If you tend to trust Drake’s tastemaking skills, you might wanna catch their set.
Canadian auto-tune rapper Nav signed to The Weeknd’s XO Records after appearing on Travis Scott’s hit “Biebs in the Trap,” and he released his debut LP on XO earlier this year. He produced most of the album himself, but he did get a track co-produced by Future/Young Thug/Kanye collaborator Metro Boomin (so even if you’re not hip to Nav yet, your favorite artist might be).
Banks & Steelz
We don’t know how good or bad this one is gonna be, but we needed to make sure you realized it’s a collaboration between Interpol frontman Paul Banks and Wu-Tang Clan member RZA.
More a jazz musician than a hip hop musician himself, but Thundercat (who also played bass in thrash band Suicidal Tendencies) is a frequent collaborator of Kendrick Lamar (and he’s worked with other rappers like VIc Mensa and Mac Miller), so rap fans won’t wanna miss him.
Swet Shop Boys
Swet Shop Boys were formed a few years back by former Das Racist member Heems and the then-less-popular Riz MC. Riz, whose full name is Riz Ahmed, is now very popular as Naz in the The Night Of and Bodhi Rook in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As Swet Shop Boys, Heems and Riz make powerful, politically-charged music. Their set is a must-see.
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As written above: Sunday’s headliner is the best rapper in the game right now, Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick will have a new album out this Friday, so be sure to download that ASAP and memorize all the words by Sunday. All we’ve heard from it so far is lead single “Humble,” which has our hopes very high.
The one time I caught DJ Khaled was when he opened Beyonce’s 2016 tour, and I’m not sure how much he did exactly, but he did bring out YG, Tinashe, The LOX, Ty Dolla $ign, French Montana, and more to play a couple songs each. If his Coachella set is anything like that, it’ll be a great time.
Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert is now kinda gigantic, thanks to appearing on Migos’ #1 hit single “Bad and Boujee.” The auto-tune rapper is not recommended for ’90s-rap diehards, but he knows how to come up with addictive hooks and we’re sure to be hearing more and more from him.
Just when it seemed like alt-R&B was done producing new stars, along came Kehlani. She’s gotten bigger and bigger, especially since the release of this year’s debut album, SweetSexySavage.
As mentioned in the Stormzy blurb above, grime is back in a huge way. Skepta has been at it for over a decade, and the genre’s resurgence has made him very popular. Last year he released Konnichiwa to much acclaim.
DC rapper GoldLink got started a few years ago, he was named an XXL Freshmen in 2015, and this year he finally put out his debut album, At What Cost. It has cool guests like electronic musician Kaytranada (who also plays Coachella) and R&B/soul singer Jazmine Sullivan.
Show Me the Body
Show Me the Body are regulars in NYC’s DIY music scene — they’re sort of New York’s answer to Death Grips. Their new mixtape has guests as diverse as lo-fi soul artist Mal Devisa, experimental rapper Moor Mother, avant-pop singer Eartheater, and Florida spitter Denzel Curry (who also plays Coachella). Their live shows are supposedly always crazy.
THAT ALL SAID…
If I had to choose just three rappers to see at Coachella my top three choices would be Schoolboy Q, Future and of course Kendrick. Four and five would be Denzel Curry and Swet Shop Boys, or Skepta and Stormzy for grime fans. Stay cool out there!
Or stay cool in the comfort of your home. Coachella will livestream a number of these sets (including Kendrick, Future, Schoolboy Q, and Gucci Mane).