This Saturday begins the Afropunk Festival in Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn. The free festival boasts a hefty line up of thirty acts that range from punk and death metal to hip hop and R&B. Below we chronicle the top 10 acts we’re looking forward to.
Canadian artist, K-OS could be labelled a rapper but that would be selling him short. His 2011 Phantom Planet-sampling single “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman” became a blog hit but his experimenting mixing hip hop and indie hasn’t stopped there. He is preparing to release a new double album called Black on Blonde with one album CD being hip hop and the other being rock.
09. Unlocking the Truth
What were you doing in sixth grade? Chances are you were not playing a packed show in Brooklyn. The 11-year-olds of Unlocking the Truth have garnered attention not only for their age but for having metal chops beyond their years.
08. Saul Williams
Saul Williams maybe the poet laureate of hip hop. Starting out as a slam poet, Saul Williams’ developed into an alt-hip hop head fav. His tracks range from emo hip hop similar to Atmosphere to political allegories. With his name having been signed up to the Occupy Wall Street movement, expect some political vews mixed in during his performance.
07. Living Colour
Although Living Colour are best known for their late 80s hit, “Cult of Personality,” the band has a lot to offer. Mixing elements of punk, funk, jazz, and reggae, the band has developed into underground legends.
06. Jean Grae
Hailed by Talib Kweli as “one of the last true MCs left,” Jean Grae has been a well respected rapper for over a decade and a half. Her lyrical prowess and intelligence has garnered comparisons to the likes of Lauren Hill. Although never having achieved the success of Lauren or Talib for that matter, she is still a sight to be seen on the microphone.
Do we really need to explain this one? ?uestlove is one of the most educated musical minds in music and he will performing an eclectic DJ-set. What’s to not want to see?
04. The Coup
Twenty-plus years into their career, The Coup still stand out as one of the best underground groups in hip hop. Their fun-loving bay area sound lures people in but Boots Riley’s socio-political prowess keeps them captivated.
03. Danny Brown
Detroit’s greatest hip hop export since Eminem, Danny Brown raked in the accolades for his single “Grown Up.” The track earned him an MTV Woodie award as well as a place on several critics’ “best of” lists. Expect Brown to play “Grown Up” and many more tracks from his delayed album #OLD at the Festival.
02. The Heavy
Three albums into their career, England’s The Heavy have proven themselves one of the hardest rocking neo-soul bands on the planet. Spawning such singles as “Oh No! Not You Again!,” “What Makes a Good Man?,” and the overplayed but still excellent “How You Like Me Now?,” the Heavy are not to be missed.
01. Chuck D & DJ Lord
Chuck D is in his fourth decade of the rap game but he has not slowed down. Public Enemy released two albums last year and Chuck D proved that his verses have the same tenacity and fervor just as they did back in 1987. To see him in his hometown for free will be something special.