As we enter summer we also enter the greatest season for live music. Festivals happening left and right from small local’s to nationally known shows, they are everywhere. Most festivals have a tendency to incorporate multiple genres to attract a diverse crowd and thus, increasing ticket sales, but some don’t necessarily do it for the money, some do it for the culture of a certain genre. Enter Soundset. A strictly hip-hop showcase located on the state fair grounds in St. Paul, Minnesota. Soundset is known to not only host a stellar lineup filled with multiple big names in hip-hop, but also incorporate showcases that take influence from hip-hop culture, like skateboarding, car shows, graffiti art, b-boy & b-girl competitions and plenty more. This is not just a day for hip-hop music, it is a day for hip-hop culture, the Adam and Eve of its kind.
This year had some doubts following the release of the lineup. Many people believed Soundset took a step backward when comparing last years lineup to this one. This year featured names like Migos, Tyler The Creator, Erykah Badu, Logic, The Wu-Tang Clan, Atmosphere, Ice-T, and many more. Needless to say those doubts were shut down almost immediately. As nearly every performer of every set gave their all to the people of Minnesota. So much so that Erykah Badu went over a half-hour over her allotted set time, and thus was cut-off. As amazing as it was to see a legend to perform for that long, it ended up taking a toll on arguably the reason most people were at the festival, yes I am talking about the Migos. After a mere seven songs the Migos set was cut-off to make time for the headliner, Logic. A sad thing to see but regardless, Logic, Migos and Erykah Badu shut down their stages.
This show not only hosted great headliners, it showcased lower tier artists that any real hip-hop fan would be excited about. For any show there is a budget. Soundset seemed to focus their budget around the idea of balance throughout the lineup, presenting high quality artists from the beginning to the end of the festival, without a dull moment. I for one respect that. Soundset is not for the casual radio listening hip-hop fan, it’s for the real hip-hop connoisseurs, the in-depth listeners, and for that alone is the reason Soundset Sunday is my favorite day of the year. A show this year that not only lived up to last years superstar lineup, but exceeded it. Be sure to check it out next year, as the festival gets better year after year. Check out the photos from the show above. All photos are by Benji Bloom (follow him on instagram for more photos: @benji.bloom).
Highlight Performances: Migos, Tyler The Creator, Logic, J.I.D., The Wu-Tang Clan, Jaden Smith, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Jack Harlow, Quincey White, Erykah Badu