As you can see by the picture I look like I am in a great mood. That’s because I was outstandingly over-joyed all day on Saturday in Shakopee, MN at Soundset 2009. I really couldn’t have asked for much more the entire day. My camera died roughly an hour and a half into the show (thanks to Erik for the pictures as well as other people on Flickr) and I ended up looking like a lobster from sunburn, but it was all worth it to be at this show. Even though this show was on the first weekend of summer, I can guarantee that this show will be the highlight of my entire summer.
The first show of the day I went to was I Self Devine who I was not super familiar with, but knew some of his background. I have to admit that I was very impressed by his performance and I can’t wait until his new album drops on RSE later this year. He had a lot of energy on stage, which in my opinion is absolutely key when it comes to an all day Hip-Hop festival.
Blueprint was next, and boy was I in for one hell of a surprise. I am probably one of the biggest Soul Position fans there is, and when I found out Rjd2 wasn’t coming I was a little disappointed. Let me tell you that Rj not being there made no difference whatsoever. Blueprint went on stage at Soundset and completely ripped the microphone to shreds going through tracks like “1988” & “Tramp”. My favorite part of his set, though, was when he busted out “Drugs, Sex, Alcohol, Rock-N-Roll” from the Soul Position album Things Go Better With RJ & Al. After seeing Blueprint at Soundset, I look forward to seeing Print no matter who he performs with.
The next show I saw was Abstract Rude (who brought along Aceyalone & Myka 9) who I’ve been trying to get into lately. He put on a pretty good show, and when Aceyalone & Myka 9 hit the stage the energy really started to rise. These 3 guys together are a great group and it shows they are all highly influenced by each other when they are together.
Before this show, I had been waiting about 4 years to see Eyedea & Abilities. I missed them at last year’s Soundset and hand’t been able to make it to Minneapolis for a show when there was another opportunity. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to this show. The dynamic between these two is absolutely amazing and seeing them play classic cuts like “Star Destroyer”, “E&A Day”, as well as cuts off of the upcoming album By The Throat was nothing short of fantastic. It was also great seeing Eyedea give the stage to DJ Abilities so that he could display his amazing techniques on the wheels of steel.
Immortal Technique is another guy that I was really looking forward to seeing live. I had heard so many good things from people that had seen him. I would have to say that Immortal Technique probably emitted the most energy out of anybody on stage the entire day of Soundset. Hearing Tech spit songs like “Point Of No Return”, “Industrial Revolution”, “Obnoxious” & other classics was incredible, not to mention that his speeches to the crowd made me (and probably others) feel like fucking some shit up. I feel like chances are, everytime this guy performs, everyone in the crowd walks away moved by his highly emotional & energetic performances. Immortal Technique is someone that everyone should see once in their life.
With the bar already set very high, the show kept moving. Hometown hero P.O.S. was next to perform on the mic and he put on a great show with local DJ Plain Ole Bill (who if I do say so myself, is a great DJ). He performed some of the great cuts off of his new album Never Better such as “Let It Rattle”, “Goodbye”, “Savion Glover” & “Optimist”. He also performed one of my favorite tracks off of Audition, “P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life” while telling the crowd to sing as loud as they could for his mother. The highlight of Stef’s set however (as Erik mentioned in his post) was “Low Light Low Life” when he brought out Dessa & Sims of Doomtree to bring their verses to life onstage.
Since I missed most of Sage Francis due to the fact that my face was already hotter than the sun from sunburn, El-P (with TMQ & Mr. Dibbs) was the next show that I was able to catch. I’ve seen El-P once before already and I knew that he was going to put on a great show for the crowd, but I had no idea it would be this good. He started out his set with my favorite track “Tasmanian Pain Coaster” off of his most recent album I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, which may have been the loudest performance of the day. He then continued through more of his catalogue: “Smithereens”, “Overly Dramatic Truth”, “Deep Space 9mm” & etc. At the end of his set he reminded us all of Camu Tao, who had passed away one year previously due to a fight with lung cancer. All I can say is Camu would have loved to have been there. The most amazing part, however, was when Mr. Dibbs took over on the turntables with his baby head routine that I had seen once previously. Dibbs stole the show with his turntable antics.
After El-P came Freeway & Jake One. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from these guys, but I didn’t know it would be this good. Freeway went through some tracks from the Rocafella days as well as tracks he was featured on from Jake One’s White Van Music. They also decided to bust out some new material from their upcoming Rhymesayer’s release The Stimulus Package. Let me tell you right now, The Stimulus Package is an album you are not going to want to sleep on people. These two have some really fucking good chemistry.
We actually left this set a little bit early so we could catch Southern favorites, CunninLynguists. We got over to the Fifth Element Stage to catch Cunnin’, and immediately I get a message from Erik saying “DOOM is a no show”. I started laughing hysterically and blazed what seemed like my third or fourth joint of the day because I knew I was about to see one of the best shows of the entire day. I was right in every aspect because Kno, Natti & Deacon fucking tore up the Fifth Element stage. All three of them have so much energy with the stage, and at the same time they are so interactive with the crowd. They went through a diverse set from their catalog: “Old School”, “KKKY”, “The South” and more. I can tell you that I honestly didn’t want the show to end at all. I look forward to seeing these guys many times in the future.
After the CunninLynguists set, we were actually able to catch about half of the Brother Ali/BK One set because they got pushed up. I’ve seen Brother Ali a few times and I know that he puts on an amazing show. I was able to catch the tracks “Good Lord” & “Forest Whitiker” and Ali was on top form with these tracks. Ali is one of those guys that just has a persona about him, his aura just emanates off of the stage and everyone absorbs it. He really puts on a great show no matter when you see him.
While I was watching Brother Ali, I got a tweet from Rhymesayers that DOOM was in the house. I was a bit apprehensive at first because of all of the bullshit that this guy has pulled in the past. It literally took (the first) DOOM what seemed like 30 minutes to take the stage. I was literally getting pissed, but then I heard the “Benzie Box” beat and my head started to nod immediately. After the first track there was some typical bullshit going down on stage, making it look like DOOM had to leave the show. Just when you though it was over… the real DOOM took the stage and went through a decent amount of his catalog. “Gazillion Ear” in my opinion was definitely the highlight for me, nothing like hearing DOOM over a Dilla beat, especially live. I have to say though, I agree with my man Aaron & the homie Blueprint… DOOM’s show kinda blows, I’d rather hear him on an album. I understand that DOOM has a certain nostalgia about him and that’s what a lot of people love about him, I just don’t buy into it. PLEASE do not take this as me dissing DOOM, he makes incredible music, he’s just an average performer.
The Pharcyde was something that I was definitely looking forward to a great deal. They were insanely pivotal to the West Coast scene and they re-united for this show. I’m not up on their catalog as much as I should be, but they rocked the shit out of the main stage. I would say they were definitely one of the top acts of the day. It seemed like everyone in the crowd was feeling them. They started things off with the classic “Runnin'” and continued down the line with classics one every song they performed. They even broke down into the classic Slum Village track “Raise It Up” in memory of their late friend J Dilla. As mentioned in the top picture of my post, I went absolutely nuts because I fucking love Jay Dee.
It seemed like the day was about over, but no Soundset would be complete without hometown favorites Slug & Ant. These two were arguably the crowds favorite, and I would put money on over half of the people being there just to see them. They went through your pretty typical array of Atmosphere songs, “Godlovesugly”, “Shoulda Known”, “Trying To Find a Balance”, “Sunshine” & etc. They finished with the fan-favorite-karaoke-jam “Always Coming Back Home To You” with the vast majority of the crowd singing along with Slug. These two really know how to put on a show for a hometown crowd with no disappointment what so ever.
Soundset 2009 is one of the best musical experiences I have ever had. It was everything I could have asked for and more. Rhymesayers Entertainment knows how to throw one hell of a Hip-Hop festival, and I can guarantee you I will be on tickets right away for the next Soundset. Make sure you watch out the rest of this year, Rhymesayers has some big things coming up and I know you won’t want to miss them. I know you are probably sick of me rambling on about this show so I will end the post now, hopefully you enjoyed reading about my experience half as much I enjoyed writing about it.