|Raekwon and Ghostface Killah at Soundset 2012 / Photo by Nat Shepard|
This year’s lineup was probably their best yet. The 1-2 punch of the hugely popular Lupe Fiasco and Wu-Tang vets Ghostface Killah and Raekwon brought in big name talent that satisfied new and old heads alike. The mid-day lineup boasted Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Big K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar, all artists with equal fan adoration and critical praise. Then, adding on the usual Rhymesayers artists and local acts (not to mention the DJ Tent, car show, and other attractions) made Soundset 2012 a fantastic deal. To see all this on separate occasions would cost around $200; Soundset brings it all to us in one day for significantly cheaper.
By now you probably know severe rain and wind, paired with a tornado warning, brought the festival to an abrupt close during Lupe Fiasco’s set. Atmosphere didn’t get to headline their own party, which was disappointing, but the fifth annual Soundset was still a resounding success.
|Action Bronson / Photo by Nat Shepard|
|Danny Brown / Photo by Nat Shepard|
|The Tribe & Big Cats! / Photo by Nat Shepard|
|Evidence and DJ Premier / Photo by Nat Shepard|
Kendrick Lamar took the main stage with a confident swagger, at one time declaring, “I’m the best mother fucking rapper on planet Earth.” At times he made you believe it, but too much of Lamar’s set was spent in downtime between sets. Which was a shame, because Kendrick’s Section.80 was one of my favorite raps albums from 2011.
|Big K.R.I.T. / Photo by Nat Shepard|
|P.O.S / Photo by Nat Shepard|
During those mid-day main stage sets, I missed shows by local acts Villa Rosa, Audio Perm, and M.anifest, who was filling in for the absent Medusa. While I regret not catching them, by all accounts they all gave great shows.
By the late afternoon the crowd was sweaty and tired for Ghost and Raekwon’s set. However, the two New York legends brought a career-spanning performance that had all the older heads in the back that weren’t willing to brave the thick of the crowd showing a lot of love. I don’t remember everything, but I heard tracks from Enter the 36 Chambers, Supreme Clientele, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, OBFCL 2, Fishscale, and more. Aside from a hilarious 5-minute fiasco where the rappers wanted to bring someone on stage to rap Method Man’s verse to “Protect Ya Neck,” the set went off without a hitch.
|Lupe Fiasco / Photo by Nat Shepard|
About halfway through Lupe’s set, I left to check out Astronautalis headlining the Fifth Element stage. His crowd wasn’t huge, but was very dedicated. Astronautalis noted that anyone willing to skip the late-day main stage sets to watch him must be a long-time fan, and decided to close his set by getting into the crowd and performing his 2008 song “Trouble Hunters.” I didn’t know it at the time, but shortly thereafter, Soundset would abruptly end due to severe weather. “Trouble Hunters” was a fitting last song to see performed live before to storm arrived.
With the mass exodus from the festival, it took over two hours for me to get home, and I was too exhausted and fed up to attend the Get Cryphy after party at First Avenue. Those that did were treated a full-on impromptu Atmosphere set, along with tons of special guest appearances. Everyone else may not have been able to see Atmosphere close down their own party, but were still treated to yet another successful and well-executed Soundset.