Soundset Festival Review 2017
Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Soundset kicked off at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Sunday, May 28th. From its humble roots as a showcase of local label Rhymesayers Entertainment’s impressive roster of independent and underground hip-hop artists in the Metrodome parking lot in 2008, the festival has grown into an all-access pass to all things hip-hop, expanding into more commercial and big name acts, while still retaining a strong roster of local and independent talent.
Characterized by a number of delays and cancellations, this year’s festival experienced a shaky start, but quickly picked up the pace as the expansive roster began to unfold. On four stages with almost no interruptions between sets, it was a high-energy experience for hip-hop heads of all ages and tastes. With so much going on it was easy to miss out on many of the things the festival had to offer. Here’s our rundown of some of the best moments, in addition to some things you might have missed:
-Numbers on the Boards: One of the earliest big name acts on the roster, Pusha T, got off to a shaky start with almost an hour delay riddled by sound checks. However, he quickly bounced back with an impressive and career-spanning set full of early Clipse singles, Kanye features, and some cuts off of his forthcoming record King Push.
-Yah, yah, yah, yah!: One of the last minute additions to the festival, Playboi Carti, played a rowdy set full of famous features and cuts off of his latest mixtape. His set was easily one of the most charismatic performances the festival had to offer.
-Maybe Next Time: Cancellations by Mac Miller and Kevin Gates allowed for the
addition of E-40 and Playboi Carti to the roster, despite some dismay. However, the most disappointing dropout was undeniably the unexplained no-show by Lil Uzi Vert.
-When Life Gives You Lemons: What Soundset is complete without an Atmosphere performance? The festival pioneers delivered one of their best festival performances yet, with a set list that dug deep into their decade-spanning discography. Their performance even included a surprise appearance by Spawn, who joined the group to perform tracks off of their 1997 debut, Overcast!
-Big Guwop: After leaving jail just over a year ago, Gucci Mane made his Soundset debut on Sunday worth the wait. With an eclectic mix of old cuts and singles from his latest albums, Gucci’s set was a crowd pleaser for fans of all ages.
-Killing Me Softly: One of the most prestigious and elusive artists to grace this year’s roster was Ms. Lauryn Hill, whose full-band reworks of some of her most famous work served as a lush alternative to some of the more rowdy hip hop the festival had to offer.
-Not His First Rodeo: I’ll admit I was skeptical if Travis Scott could fill the big shoes that come with headlining a major music festival. However, with a set full of his signature auto-tuned hooks, spectacular set design, and remarkable crowd control, his set was easily one of the best the festival had to offer.
Overall, it was another wildly successful and eclectic year atSoundset. Over the years it has been exciting to watch it grow and expand, and this year was no disappointment. What future lies in store for the festival? It seems uncertain at this point after early rumors began to circulate when Slug made a comment referring to the festival as their last. Was this Atmosphere’s last appearance at the festival or was he referencing the end of an era for the event itself? It’s been no secret that the tone of the festival has been changing as it has become more accepting of mainstream hip-hop, but does this ten-year anniversary also serve as a conclusion? Only time will tell, but we can only hope that this landmark festival will continue to grow and expand for years to come. To hear the latest from Atmosphere, Gucci and many more be sure to tune into Hip-Hop Hotdish, our two-hour hip-hop radio program airing every Sunday9:00pm-11:00pm.