Thursday, May 28, 2009

Soundset 2009

"Mad props to our friends over at Rhymesayers for the fantastic time at Soundset 2009!"

For days I had been debating over whether or not to attend this hip hop festival at Canterbury Downs in Shakopee, MN. The five hour drive was not too appealing, and I wanted to spend my Memorial weekend relaxing and writing. As time passed and Soundset got closer, I started getting anxious to get out of town. The day before the party, I called my little brother and asked him if he wanted to go. Being a hip hop fan himself, he of course said yes. So I called up my grandma and let her know we would be in town. She quickly offered up beds for the two of us. I then purchased our tickets to the event, and within hours, we were on the road to Minneapolis!

The drive was pretty uneventful. The usual silly brother and sister conversations mixed with overly excessive sibling debates over global warming and the effects of gas and third world countries. We arrived just after midnight to my grandma's house, and went straight to bed.
The next morning I woke up to my lovely alarm that had been going off for well over 30 minutes due to the easily accessible snooze button. Irritated at having to get up so early on my three day weekend, I rubbed my eyes and looked around the bedroom. I could see through the window that it was actually a perfect day to be spending outside listening to talented artists perform great music. That was all the motivation I needed.
I jumped out of bed and took a shower immediately. I got dressed in my lady in red outfit with sparkling black (yes black as black can be) eye shadow. I didn't know they made black glitter? Anyways, we were then off to eventually end up at the festival. We swung by my favorite breakfast spot, Einstein Bros., and ate a late breakfast or early lunch. Then we ran to Target to accessorize as I realized over brunch that I had left all my accessories at home. Oh my!

As a joke my brother picked out a pair of 80s style florescent yellow sunglasses and laughing he suggested I get them. Well, I wasn't finding anything else that really fit my taste, so for the sake of making a fashion statement, I almost bought the yellow ones. However I found the ones for me, an identical pair in red! They were hawt! My brother laughed hysterically, but no doubt they were exactly the type of accessory I needed for that day! I then grabbed a random red necklace and checked out.

When we found the park with great ease, we were directed to park in the grass. Our arrival was simple as things were very well organized. My brother and I took the long hike across the grass and parking lot to where the festival stages were and collected our tickets at Will Call. Upon going through security, which consisted of opening my camera bag to show my Nikon, we entered the gates.

I stopped two feet inside and took a breath of fresh air. We were finally there! At first I was a bit overwhelmed by all that was going on as I usually am when I initially arrive at any sort of festival or party of this caliber. It didn't take more than a few seconds to feel at home, and I did a brief rundown of what was all going on. We then decided to check out the stages to see if we could find a line up posted. We didn't even make it half way to the second stage and my feet tok a mind of their own leading me towards the music.
I wanted to dance! My brother fought with me wanting to find the line-up as my feet continued to stray from the path he was leading. Finally he found one and was able to deter me from the music long enough for us to look it over. As we had suspected, The Pharcyde and Atmosphere were performing last. I also made mental notes of when Eyedea, Immortal Technique, and Sage Francis were playing before wandering my way into the tent packed with people located between the two stages. This was the b-boy tent, and where I would eventually move in and make myself comfortable as the day would go on. I don't know what it is with me and break dancers but once I see them, it's hard for me to walk away!

"That little girl on the left was the cutest!"

For the next hour I kneeled on the side of the battle stage and took pictures in between the battlers’ legs. There was this cute little girl that was part of one of the battle crews. She couldn't have been over the age of four, and was actually very good for her age. Someone needs to keep an eye on her! When they finally decided to take a pause in the competition, I got up to move around a bit. Mind you I hadn't even made it to the main stage yet. My brother a little annoyed by this decided it was time to migrate that way, and yes he was correct. Eyedea was set to perform! We caught the tail end of POS as we fought our way as far to the front of the main stage as possible.

Then Eyedea and Abilities went on. They were phenomenal. The emotion that Eyedea had behind his performance was extreme. He and Abilities put on quite the show. If I hadn't had such a lifelong love for The Pharcyde, Eyedea very easily could have been the best performance I saw that day. However, I love The Pharcyde! Eyedea and Abilities very motivational in their own right! About half way through the performance, Kristoff Krane joined Eyedea on stage. Those two were right in sync and complimented each other greatly. Immortal Technique followed that great performance with a style all his own. All these performers brought some great vibes to the individuals lucky enough to be in attendance. You could really feel the hope and inspiration flowing though the mic as you walked through the crowd. Straight love for music was what it was about.
"Immortal Technique on the mic. A vibe all his own."

As much as I would have liked to stay and experience more of those vibes, the B-boy tent was calling me. It was time for the finals of the B-boy battle. As the crews battled, you could see the progression in skills. I have photographed break dancers before, but this was my first battle. I was amazed by what I was seeing. I don't even think I can begin to explain with words. For well over an hour I kneeled at the end of the stage, no one in front of me, and just continued to snap pictures one after another of these truly marvelous dancers. (Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone. I may have, generally speaking, missed the entire performance by Sage Francis because my fingers were clicking too much.) I viewed that entire final battle through my camera lens and captured some great moments!

"If anyone knows who this kid is, can you tell him I <3"

My brother and I walked around a bit to stretch after spending so much time stationary in the B-boy tent. Then shortly before The Pharcyde was scheduled to go on, we made our way back to the masses. With MF Doom playing, we tried as best we could to get through the crowd for some photo opportunities at the front, and lucky for us, we made it to the front well before The Pharcyde began!

"The Pharcyde - Imani, Slim Kid Tre, and Bootie Brown (Missing Fat Lip)"

"Look at his smile!"

Then they walked out, all four members of The Pharcyde. This very performance was the first appearance that The Pharcyde had made in over ten years. It was amazing. Fat Lip, Bootie Brown, Slim Kid Tre, and Imani all on one stage and performing before my very eyes. I felt like a groupie with all of my dreams finally coming true. It was the moment I anticipated the most at the festival, and it was not to disappoint. The Pharcyde was spectacular, everything I had expected and more! This is also where I met the Left Speaker Posse. We stood our grounds as everyone tried to get to the front that we fought so hard for. We were rewarded accordingly. Slim Kid Tre came and stood in front of us. He took the hats off my new friends and brought the hats on stage with him. Just when we started thinking the hats to be gone for good, Tre returned them to their rightful owners.

"To all those beautiful people out there. Shut the fuck up! God loves ugly people!" Atmosphere

I would say the party was overall a general success. With thousands in attendance and awesome performances, it was a Memorial weekend well spent. If ever in the Twin Cities area, look up Rhymesayers. They know how to throw down!

*For more pics of Soundset 2009, check

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Finally Crossed Over into Blogdom

After years of writing and months of working on a book, I finally decided to start my very own blog! Too many stories to keep track of and maybe this will be a nice focal point for them all. I mean I can't just indefinitely write a book on my life!

So we are going to start with Memorial weekend 2009 and go from there. Who knows maybe down the road when things are slow, I will reminisce on some oldies. For now, let's stick to the current!

I encourage you to subscribe to my blog as I will post pics and stories here and there. With the festival season falling upon us, I can assure you some good times in the near future. But to start us out, I will give you the 4-1-1 on my Memorial weekend at Soundset 2009 in Shakopee, MN.

Stay tuned....