Over 40 local and national acts converged at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on May 27 for the 11th annual Soundset, a celebration of hip hop. In addition to music, the festivities included a car show and live graffiti art — all on a 93-degree day.
Three-time Grammy-nominated Rapsody was one of the many highlight of the day. She displayed strong stage presence and knew how to rock the audience. At one point, she took a guy from the crowd and danced with him briefly, before killing the crowd with lyrical expertise. She also took the time to tell the crowd that dreams do come true even when no one else believes.
Jaden Smith was another highlight. He came out with his huge breakout hit ‘Icon” and did the crowd-pleasing “look alive” dance popularized by Blockboy JB. The audience also went bananas when he performed “Batman.” Like Rapsody, Smith offered encouraging words to the crowd, telling attendees to believe in themselves.
Young MA made a strong showing on the “Atmosphere and friends” stage. She took the stage to loud cheers and didn’t disappoint. The climax of her show was her hit song “ooouuu,” which drove the crowd into a frenzy.
Local rapper Prof offered an energy-performance of “Andre the Giant” off of his latest offering Pookie Baby. He performed “Ape Sh*t” and used gigantic inflatables as props. He also got into a giant swan and surfed the crowd, much to their delight.
A Boogie Wit da Hoodie started his set a little late, but it was worth the wait with songs like “Pills and Automobiles” and “Drowning.” He had the people rocking.
One of the main reasons hip hoppers came out was to celebrate Wu-Tang’s 25th year anniversary of their release Enter the 36 Chambers, a hip hop classic. All nine current members of the Wu were there. The only one missing was the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
The Wu started out with the Rza introducing his super group as they took to the stage as only they could. Method Man wasn’t on stage right away, but once he appeared the crowd went wild. They did hits like “Da Mystery of Chessboxin” and the raucous “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit.” They all seemed to enjoy themselves on stage which led to the crowd getting loose.
Next up was Erykah Badu, the queen of “baduism,” as it were; she had a couple drum machines on the left and right side of herself which she used masterfully. She hasn’t performed in the Twin Cities since the early 2000s. The whole mood of the crowd went from wild to peaceful when she sang hits like “On and On” and “Love of my Life.” It was a pleasure to feel the calming energy Badu exuded on stage.
Hip hop legend Ice T provided another memorable performance as he rocked the Atmosphere and Friends stage. The rap veteran showed up and showed out with hits like “O.Originalnal Gangster, “New Jack Hustler” and the infamous “Colors.” It was amazing to see him at work killing the stage.
Hip hop was on full display at the Essential Elements Tent as legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff rocked the turntables. Meanwhile, back on the main stage, Migos perform, which turnt the fest all the way up! They performed a number of hits which kept the festgoers jumping and passing out.
Finally, the climax was Logic; he took to the stage and made us all aware of why he was this year’s headliner. He performed hits like “Oh God” and the epic “1-800-273-8255,” a song about suicide prevention.
Iconic performances by legends and newer artists made this year’s Soundset music festival one to remember.
Below, click through to see more photos by Chris Juhn: