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Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

Ah, Soundset. The sixth installment of the Rhymesayers Entertainment hip-hop festival had a breakout year in terms of attendance -- a reported 28,000 fans came out -- and talent, with a lineup including Snoop Dogg, Mac Miller, Tech N9ne, along with the host artists Atmosphere. Many folks pegged A$AP Ferg as the set of the day, and (YN Rich) Kids turned out as well.

Canterbury Park didn't see the sun at all on Sunday -- nor did it see Busta Rhymes -- but the day was absolutely brimming with positivity as everyone got to know each other better in the name of keeping their warm bodies close together. Gimme Noise brought an intrepid team in photographers Erik Hess and Anna Gulbrandsen, as well as writers Jack Spencer, Zach McCormick, and myself to cover as much of this historic day as we possibly could. What follows is an extensive timeline of the day. Feel free to add your own memories in the comments.

See Also:
Review: Atmosphere at Soundset, 5/26/13
Review: Snoop Dogg at Soundset, 5/26/13
Slideshow: Soundset 2013 - Awesome People and Scenes
Slideshow: Soundset 2013 - The Music
12:15 p.m. The crowd milling around in the Canterbury Park lot looked anxious about the 60 percent chance of rain at Soundset 2013. Still, a shocking number of people opted for skin-baring articles of clothing better suited for a mid-80s day. "Cold Ass Honky" takes on a slightly different meaning than what T-shirt owner has in mind with temperatures flirting with the low-50s and gusting winds. (Reed Fischer)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

12:20 p.m. Meta hit the Fifth Element stage -- which was expanded to a full tent to great effect -- hard, dudded out in a psychedelic-looking denim jacket with bullet pins, which seemed to be a fashion theme for a number of the local artists that followed. During "Pennywise," he threw fake money with his face on it into the audience, which got an immediate reaction similar to had it been real money. There's a message in there somewhere, I bet. Directly questioning the recent police shootout in Uptown, Meta performed "Self-Defense" which was remarkably poignant in it's anti-authoritative stance for an issue that never sees to dissappear. Meta ran through some of his best tracks, ending on the powerful "Senior" which brought out a warrior energy for a triumphant finale. (Jack Spencer)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

12:30 p.m. "Let's go so crazy that they won't invite me back next year," yelled R.A. the Rugged Man over on the Soundset main stage. The Long Island rapper had one of the most energetic stage presences of the day with a raunchy style harkening back to independent rap's gritty glory days. By stage-diving and doing the Centipede, he injected life into the early performance. Despite his efforts, the crowd seemed utterly unfamiliar with his music and unwilling to learn. Combating this apathy, the Rugged Man called several audibles and turned more than one song into an impromptu a cappella to force some attention his way. (Zach McCormick)

1:00 p.m. Next on the main stage, Boot Camp Clik alumni Sean Price was pretty mellow in performance despite his combative and violent material. He let his menacing persona and gun talk do most of the leg work in terms of making a stage show. The material spoke for itself and the rapping held an aggressive intensity that cut through, but some sort of movement might have boosted the performance. (JS)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

1:00 p.m. Haphduzn stood tall among a thick Fifth Element stage crowd, working with a DJ and his producer Dimitry Killstorm on the side playing MPC. "Brand New Nostalgia" naturally got the biggest crowd response, but it was clear when he performed the difficult narrative "Have My Doubts" that people were truly listening to what he had to say. The lanky MC has a undeniable charisma and a style firmly rooted in hip-hop's golden age, without being regressive, but a couple of the hooks ("Fuck your swag" being a big culprit) felt a bit holier-than-thou. Still, Duzn kept things breezy and fun, never lecturing and instead making his case with and effortless flow and Musab-esque flavor. (ZM)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

1:20 p.m. Keeping the Fifth Element tent packed with bodies sharing heat was the Chalice. Drinking from their gilded goblets, Lizzo, Sophia Eris, and Claire de Lune announced "The queens are here!" urged the crowd to put their middle fingers up, and set forth to show the potential of expanding a female presence at Soundset. After "Crown on the Rocks," the brightly clad trio brought up DJ Snugles to beatbox for "Ladies Night." Their next guest, La Manchita, ratcheted up the intensity onstage further for "Wegula," and they also dropped a new track tentatively called "Fly," on a more melodic tip than anything the Chalice has done up to this point. After some serious bounce in their steps and Lizzo rolling out the flow on "Recognize Real," even stage host Blueprint looked mighty impressed. (RF)

 

1:40 p.m. Continuing with the denim vest theme, Greg Grease and guest hype man Franz Diego rocketed through Grease's latest material at the Fifth Element stage. After leading a chant of "Fuck this rain," he managed to bring up to festival level by spitting his quick chilled vocals with a higher intensity that kept it in balance. High on having dropped a new vinyl record for the Black King Cole EP that day, Grease was in rare form and even showed off his rapid-fire drum pad skills. Mike Mictlan joined him for "WZRD SCIENCE" dressed in a punk denim overcoat with a Justin Bieber T-shirt underneath.

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

There must have been something in the air, because as Greg brought out Meta for their "Fuck the police" anthem "Harvest," Joey Bada$$ was expressing similar sentiments on the big stage with his combative "Survival Tactics." Unlike Bada$$, who seemed to sleepwalk a bit, Greg seemed to determined to push the momentum he's been creating over the last year and win over some new fans. Despite the mix not doing him any favors, he definitely succeeded, closing with a particularly buck run at "Flute Beat," his ode to the Twin Cities community that embraced him. The south Minneapolis native delivered his song's hook "I love my People," and with a beaming smile added "That's y'all!" as he waved to the crowd. (JS & ZM)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

2:00 p.m. Back on the main stage, Aesop Rock played well off his DJ Big Wiz, bringing a slight Run-DMC tinge to his wordy underground flow, which worked amazingly since his best material is that which finds the middle ground between his sludgy early work and the tighter, more fun side of last year's Skelethon. Reprising some of their 2008 Soundset performance, the group known as Hail Mary Mallon on their recorded material worked off of each other with the ease of longtime bandmates, trading bars with old-school expertise as Big Wiz laced in some playful scratches and cuts. Aesop Rock's recently been pushing his new collaborative effort with the Moldy Peaches' Kimya Dawson, called the Uncluded, and the afro-sporting indie-folker made a surprise guest appearance near the end of the set which really popped despite a few sound difficulties. (JS & ZM)

2:20 p.m. To launch his set, turntablist Kid Koala announced, "I was too lazy to bring a laptop today, so I hope vinyl is okay." (RF)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

2:24 p.m. The Familia Skateboard Showdown was in full swing in the middle of the grounds with about 25 skateboarders crowding the course, and the crass rhymes of Danny Brown filling the air. Nearby, the RUUUUUUMBLE of sweet car stereos came out of the Custom Car Show area. Noted that the free water station up the hill from it was scaled back considerably to just a dripping fire hydrant. (RF)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

2:30 p.m. P.O.S. has said he wrote a lot of his recent songs with festival settings in mind, and it was clear here, judging from the big sound brought on with Marijuana Deathsquads and Plain Ole Bill backing. With a big excited smile cemented to his face, it was clear the rapper was happy to be onstage again, and Soundset is a place where he really shines. There were a number of sound issues that prevented his voice from being heard clearly, unfortunately. "We Don't Even Live Here (Weird Friends)" was a highlight, bringing some punky electronic intensity to the rowdy crowd. "Get Down" might have been the set's most wild moment though, as P.O.S., Ander Other, and Mike Mictlan all jumped around like lunatics to the song's club-banger beat, willing the crowd into a fury with them. For a guy who has been sick, P.O.S. still moves pretty good onstage, and it's a testament to the heart he puts into every performance that he was able to do so. (JS & ZM)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

2:50 p.m. The meet and greet tent in the center of the grounds had a line extending at least a hundred deep as Slug and Aesop Rock awaited their feverish fans. After seeing that his services would be needed elsewhere, Slug decided to weave through the line for more photo ops, hugs, fist bumps. Then he hopped onto his personal golf cart and -- poof! -- disappeared. (RF)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

3:00 p.m. Juicy J made for an odd transition out of P.O.S. style and content-wise on the main stage, but the crowd insanity stayed pretty consistent. He worked through his big hits and played some snippets of classic Three Six Mafia material, almost as a test to see who knew it. "Sippin' On Some Sizzurp" sounded spectacular, a reminder that he was doing the type of trendy stuff of today several years before. The bass sounded amazing and J's loose, fun-loving vibe got a lot of people moving. (JS)

 

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

3:05 p.m. The Cloud Forest Coffee stand was moving a lot of hot drinks -- as the air was colder than a polar bear's toenails at this point. The (YN Rich) Kids, who later cameoed in the DJ tent, were all gathered nearby looking fresh as ever as members of their entourage/parents grab beverages. Just as well that they were out of earshot from the main stage for Juicy J's cuss-laden set -- look no further than "She Dancin'". (RF)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

3:30 p.m. Opening with Kendrick Lamar's "m.A.A.d city" and emerging during his famous "YAK YAK YAK YAK," Schoolboy Q came out in dapper black jacket and rainbow tie-dye bucket hat and ran through a mix of old and new material with Mac Miller looking on from side stage. Watching him on the enormous screens on the side of the stage, it looked far sunnier than the grey day looked in actuality. New tracks "Sextin" and "Yay Yay" were especially great, whetting anticipation for his upcoming OxyMoron. (JS)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

3:45 p.m. Picture a full live band, complete with a horn section. Now picture them wearing white jumpsuits, fronted by two women in colorful wigs over in the Fifth Element tent. Psalm One, joined by frequent collaborator Fluffy and Oxnard, California-based producer Oh No definitely made a visual mark on the Fifth Element stage, but were equally fun to listen to on songs including "Macaroni and Cheese" and "Ginsu Knives" as they were to look at in some white rain/HAZMAT suits. The Rhymesayers artist and Chicago native Psalm recently made a move from her Midwest underground roots to a more gutter west coast style with the help of Oh No's grimy, soulful beats that are reminiscent of his older brother Madlib's work. (ZM)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

4:00 p.m. Brother Ali in a crisp windbreaker received some high praise from Sway before his set on the main stage. He played through crowd favorites like "Daylight" and "Truth Is," and was joined on stage by dancers Amirah Sackett, Iman, Kadijah, in pink, teal, and blue hijabs, doing a hybrid of traditional Muslim dance and break dancing. "We cannot love hip hop unless we love the people who created it," he asserted to the crowd before dropping into "Forest Whitiker" to wrap. (ZS & RF)

4:30 p.m. A$AP Ferg was a definite highlight of the day. Opening with the crass "I Fucked Your Bitch," it was a clear departure from a lot of other acts. The blown-out lo-fi beats in the Fifth Element tent sounded like shit, and he wanted them ever louder. Ferg's hypeman was wearing a hairstyle with beads and braids not typically seen outside of girls over the age of ten. The rhymes were crude and poorly enunciated, but sloppiness of performance was entirely the point: This was meant to be an experience. It was trap-turned-punk through sheer insanity, as the huge crowd went as hard as any all day. At one point, Ferg split the crowd down the middle and told everyone to mosh into each other when the beat dropped, utilizing an age-old technique from the hardcore punk community called "The Wall of Death." From then on, it was an all out shit-show, like something out of a Black Flag pit but turned to rap. Elbows and fists flew everywhere. Specifics got blurry. Everything had turned to riot and the energy was unlike anything else that day.

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Technical ability and lyrical prowess are less of a factor as pure unadulterated energy and raw power, and Ferg brought every ounce he could to the tiny stage. Ferg is far more than just a brutish thug however, and when a young woman was rendered unconscious from unknown reasons and carried out of the crowd by security, the NY rapper stopped the show cold. With concern etching his chiseled features, Ferg implored the crowd to pray for the fallen girl, and later, gave us an update that she had made it out okay. This was characterized as a "cause for celebration" by the MC and caused him to redouble his efforts and make the show even more insane, with his hype men dragging out massive Super Soakers from behind the DJ booth to hose down the frenzied audience. (JS & ZM)

 

4:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Busta Rhymes was supposed to put his hands where our eyes could see right around now, and fulfill fantasies for City Pages contributors everywhere, but...


Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

4:31 p.m. Sway came out and made an announcement that the next artist would "keep it local." With only a slight limp from his recent knee surgery and a "Sex Drugs & Rap" tee, Prof launched into "Gampo" and the place got loud. If anyone was mad about Busta missing the party, they didn't show it for long. "You guys weren't expecting me, were you?" he asked in between songs. "Neither was I, up until 15 minutes ago." Mid-set, a fight broke out during a tender moment, and the normally jovial rapper got serious. It wasn't tough to get this crowd to bust into a chant of "Soundset is for peace," and things progressed. (RF)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

5:15 p.m. Tech N9ne's theatrical intensity showcased his veteran talent as a pure spitter and wordsmith -- and suddenly the whole place was screaming along like he was the headliner. N9ne's face was painted white with the word "POWER," and it exemplified the strength of the performance on bust-open tracks like "Am I a Psycho?" One of the most technically proficient rappers to hit the stage, the rapid-fire and virulent sound was contrasted well with a sense of pop that made it all work. That is, up until his insistence that women on shoulders reveal their breasts to him (" The rule is, at a Tech N9ne show, if you're on shoulders, you gotta show me your titties. Everybody titties! Titties!") his Juggalo affiliation didn't show out too terribly much, but that was enough to give an eyebrow raise to what was mostly a standout performance. When a pink bra emerged onstage, Tech draped it on one of the large cameras filming him. After some lizard-like tongue-waggin', he concluded with his "Tech N9ne gun salute," in which he raps really fast along to the sounds of a machine gun, hence the namesake. So much rebellion. (JS & RF)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

5:30 p.m. Abstract Rude and Musab (aka Sab the Artist) made for an inspired pairing, with the smooth flows and melodic hooks of Las Vegas' Abstract melding seamlessly with Musab's Southside-by-way-of-Los Angeles rapping. One of the OG Minneapolis MC's, Musab never really got his props as a local artist, which is a damn shame because he's got a boxer's poise and the agile mind of a Nas-level lyricist. Despite being in the game long enough to have a son old enough to perform at Soundset, Musab doesn't look a day over 25 and still sounds fresh and innovative, particularly on his new song "Revival." Over a sparse piano beat, 'Sab made a great case for his comeback story, and here's hoping Minneapolis shows him as much love as he gave to us during his performance. "South Minneapolis is the Brooklyn of the Midwest" he said at the end of the set, the sincerity and positivity coming from both himself and Abstract Rude was definitely a pleasant surprise during the long afternoon. (ZM)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

6:00 p.m. Mac Miller opened up with a lot of early material to see how long his fans had been following him, and it showcased how his style has shifted from backpack beginnings to his later work. The set seemed evenly divided between career points. While it's sad that this is the new standard, the fact that he actually rapped all his words with no backing vocals did show off that he is a legitimate MC, taste aside. Miller's crime isn't one of performance, but one of persona. Somewhere along the way, enough artists with actual street cred have cosigned this goofy frat boy that he's starting to believe his own hype. The later portion of his set highlighted his newer, trappier material like "Lucky Ass Bitch," with deplorable lyrical content rife with the kind of misogyny clashes gratingly with Miller's "Kool Aid and Frozen Pizzas"-era sunny bro-rap. (JS & ZM)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

6:00 p.m. Over on the small stage, two very different rappers delivered a charismatic, home-run of a performance as the newly minted group Step Brothers. Evidence of Dilated Peoples fame and LA rapper/producer Alchemist have a natural chemistry that made their performance thoroughly enjoyable to watch. Seemingly a bit less serious than their solo material, Step Brothers performed new collaborative songs and riffed on a few Dilated Peoples classics. One memorable moment was a remix of Cypress Hill's "I Want to Get High" which sent Evidence briefly backstage so he could don a throwback afro wig. (ZM)

 

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

6:30 p.m. Mixed Blood Majority played to a small, but passionate crowd at the Fifth Element stage at the tail-end of the show. Playing during Atmosphere's set definitely thinned things out, but the fans that stayed were devoted and got really into the group's tight set and huge beats. Some new No Bird Sing was debuted, and guest spots from Toki Wright and Kristoff Krane (who also stayed for some FIX material) made the small stage seem big. Jokes about a hologram Cecil Otter were bandied around, showcasing the wry humor that lies underneath the group's dead serious front. It was tight and impressive, and Crescent Moon and Joe Horton have real time-tested skill with stage presence. Lazerbeak smashed the MPC with fervor behind them as they ran through a strong set. Between songs, Crescent Moon overheard Atmosphere playing "Party for Your Right to Fight" and rapped along with it, recalling his days as Slug's hypeman, after which he expressed how impressive it was that the Rhymesayers team has built so much. (JS)

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

6:30 p.m. Atmosphere performed on the main stage, and a lonely giant beach ball whipped across the crowd. Read Zach McCormick's full review here.

7:46 p.m. Snoop Dogg/Lion and his dancers, who probably were quite chilly, and mascot Nasty Dogg did the headlining thing to a crowd fully high on their supply. Read Jack Spencer's full review here.

Soundset 2013: A music and photo timeline
Photo by Erik Hess

8:30 p.m. The playing of "Drop It Like It's Hot" results in pockets of exuberant dancers doling out every last drop of energy they had left as the crowd began rolling to the parking lot, and to the after party. Spectacles are, by definition, spectacular -- and the 2013 incarnation of Soundset will be a party to remember.

See Also:
Slideshow: Soundset 2013 - Awesome People and Scenes
Slideshow: Soundset 2013 - The Music


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