AfroPunk Fest is coming, and there’s a lot of anticipation for the music festival, especially since D’Angelo will be headlining it. However, there’s a slew of acts that hold up the strength and uniqueness of Afropunk’s lineup. Whether you’re digging the smooth sounds of the Internet, or may like the hardcore sound of punk band Trash Talk, AfroPunk Fest has a lot to offer. If you haven’t heard of anybody on the lineup, it would suck to be wandering aimlessly to wait for D’Angelo to perform. So, here are a few dope artists to kep an eye out for to in this year’s Afropunk Fest.
SZA – SZA is an artist with a new eclectic sound to R&B. Though the TDE songstress’ sophomore project S help acquire critical acclaim, SZA’s latest project Z solidified her dominance in the alternative scene. Along with her own project, SZA has also collaborated with her fellow TDE members for vocal background, including ScHooly Q’s Oxymoron and Ab Soul’s project These Days… Recently, SZA has released new single “Divinity” with Grammy award-winning singer Jill Scott. With her emergence as alternative R&B’s most prospective artists in the prior year, SZA’s set at Afropunk Fest will definitely be worth the time and excitement.
Gordon Voidwell – This Bronx songwriter might seem like a newer face compared to the other artists on this list, but don’t get it twisted, he’s been in the game for a while.T Gordon Voidwell’s style of music is a fresh new take on funk and new age soul, and his set is one to check out at Afropunk. His latest EP Bad Etudes rejuvenates the sound of 80s pop and R&B, and turns it on it’s head with a modern perspective. Ever since Voidwell’s project dropped earlier this year, it’s been acquiring so much critical acclaim that it’s been put on the best of 2014 (so far) lists for both Complex and NPR.
The Internet – A lot of the times, California based group, Odd Future, is called out for their odd, often darker perspective to hip hop. However, The Internet is an alternative band that instead of following the sound of Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, they go a different route, and turn said route on it’s head. The 5-man band, lead by vocalist Syd the Kid and producer Matt Martians, provide a smooth and soulful edge to R&B and Neo-Soul. The mixture of the band’s live instrumentation and spaced-out production made their sophomore album, Feel Good, a favorite for several critics.
THEESatisfaction – Stasia “Stas” Iron and Catherine “Cat” Harris White makes THEESatisfaction, a Seattle duo with a lot of soul and the rap skills to back it up. At first glance, THEESatisfaction has the vocal sound of the 00s neo-soul duo, Floetry. However, the upbeat production along with Stas’ flow takes THEESatisfaction to another level, combining experimental soul with dope rhymes. The Seattle duo only had a collaboration with their fellow Sub Pop Records artist, Shabazz Palaces, but their 2012 debut album aWe naturalE captured an image that only the two artists can establish. Speaking of Shabazz Palaces…
Shabazz Palaces – So, remember Butterfly from the classic group Digable Planets? Well, he’s obviously not Butterfly anymore, and he damn sure ain’t “cool like that” anymore either (all puns intended). However, he’s still making good music, only as Palaceer Lazaro in the alternative hip hop duo, Shabazz Palaces, along with his instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire. Like THEESatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces is representing Seattle, but instead of the upbeat and soulful sound of their label colleagues, the Palaces take a direction in a more bass-heavy and exotic sound with their rhymes. The Palaces’ long-awaited second album Lese Majesty, dropped July 29th. So, anticipate on hearing some new songs from Shabazz Palaces along with their already critically acclaimed projects: Eps Shabazz Palaces and Of Light, and their debut album Black Up.
Mista Selectah & Mane Squeeze – These two DJs have been buzzing a lot this summer, especially in Washington, DC (where both are based out of). These two DJs throw in a plethora genres within their mixes, and what comes out is a unique art of mixing. Whether it’s electronic music, reggae, mamba, or hip hop, you’ll find it in a clever mix made by both DJs. Lately, Mista Selectah and Mane Squeeze has been popping up around a lot in the DC, also earning a set at local music festival, Trillectro. When these two hit the stage at Afropunk, be ready for anything.