It’s almost a wrap for Sasquatch! (one day left) — and gotdang my dogs are barking. I still love music though. Even while surrounded by party zombies who’ll dance to anything. After seeing hardcore Detroit rapper Danny Brown on the main stage (he ruled), I ping-ponged between side stages Bigfoot and Yeti Sunday evening, for music by Earl Sweatshirt, Killer Mike, and Grimes.
Earl really put the “sweatshirt” in “Earl Sweatshirt” for his set, wearing a hoodie with the hood up for the whole half hour, performing complicated raps to an audience that had his words memorized.
It was a feat, considering the 19-year-old raps really well and does nothing else. There was no stage show to speak of. Just raps from Earl, and beats from deejay Syd tha Kid. Normally people don’t have the attention span for that. Does the close listening have a lot to do with fans getting into his story-arc with the rap group Odd Future, the tale of a phenom emcee who then mysteriously laid dormant for his later teens? Yes. But however the focus got here, Earl’s tactic seems to be to shunt it all on his rhymes. The best stretch of songs happened at the beginning: the grand-sounding “Burgundy” off his upcoming solo album “Doris”; undeniable bangers “Orange Juice” and his “Drop” freestyle; the just-released “Whoa” and the dark star of the set, the highly personal “Chum” — “I’ma get really depressed for a second,” he said, before beginning that.
The standout part of Atlanta rapper Killer Mike’s set was his ‘80s-style rage directed at Ronald Reagan (rappers used to write hate songs to Reagan more often). For her part, Canadian pop producer Grimes fiddled with machines and shrieked into a microphone through layers of digital effects. Her dancers had hip-hop flair.