“Five years ago this was an idea in a notebook. I’m living proof that you can be anything you want to be” said Tyler, the Creator during his set at the Camp Flog Gnaw carnival, which is his very own brainchild. At just 25 years of age, Tyler has thrown his fifth consecutive carnival, with over 40,000 in attendance. “Take that Coachella!” he adds.
Camp Flog Gnaw is a music festival and carnival complete with artists performing on two stages along with rides, games, and restaurants. But there is truly something magical in the air at this gathering, it’s far ahead of any festival. This is a place where fans of Odd Future and hip-hop at large can be one with the music and the culture.
This year the two day festival showcased dozens of artists, but the first one I was excited about on Saturday was singer/songwriter Alina Baraz. Having never seen her in concert before, it was wonderful to hear her majestically voice live.
Domo Genesis was next to hit the stage performing mostly songs off his 2016 debut album Genesis. Sporting a black Dodger fitted cap, his aesthetic was reminiscent of Ice Cube, as Domo performed a cover of “Today Was a Good Day.” Any Odd Future affair is incomplete without seeing a set from The Internet. They delivered quality with Tyler, the Creator joining Syd and the rest of the band for “Palace/Curse.”
I was able to catch brief moments of Lil Uzi Vert, Chance the Rapper, and A$AP Rocky, but PALM all-star band Toro Y Moi killed it once again performing a nice variety of old and new songs! I managed to catch just enough of SZA, to hear her perform “Child’s Play” and bring out D.R.A.M. for “Caretaker.” It’s kind of funny because Chance the Rapper brought out D.R.A.M. for “Sings Special” as well.
One of the best sets of Saturday night was from Tyler, the Creator. You can always expect Tyler to bring the best energy, after all it is his festival. But the level of energy went thorugh the roof when he brought out YG to perform the politically charged anthem “FDT (F*** Donald Trump)” The night was closed by the one and only Lil Wayne. It was exciting to see him perform hit after hit going all the way back to “Go DJ.”
Sunday was another epic day. Festivities opened up with a DJ set from Top Dawg Entertainment’s MixedByAli. Next we caught a set from Kilo Kish, which was interesting to say the least. Dressed as ife she was interviewing at Wells Fargo, she delivered her chill atmospheric rap style to the fullest.
I was excited to see Kali Uchis hit the stage and she met my expectations 100%, even bringing a couple fans on stage to help her sing her single “Ridin Round.”
Believe it or not, one of the best DJ sets I’ve seen in a long time let alone at Camp Flog Gnaw came from Odd Future’s Taco Bennett. Syd the Kyd’s younger brother was accompanied by none other than EDM/Trap DJ and producer Dillon Francis. The one act on the lineup I was perhaps most excited for was Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals. Anderson’s stage presence is one like no other and I can already tell he’s set to take the game by storm. He brought out Domo Genesis for “Dapper”, and Mac Miller for “Dang” which set the crowd ablaze.
Sremmlife Crew (Rae Sremmurd) brought an unmatched energy and had the whole audience turned up with every hit the performed. It was only right that we mellowed out after with a lovely set from Erykah Badu. The special guests for the evening whom which I thought gave the best performance were Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. Finally Schoolboy Q closed out the night performing songs from his 2016 Blankface LP along with songs off of 2014’s Oxymoron.
Overall, the beauty in Camp Flog Gnaw is seeing the growth of Odd Future and the respect they garner from their fans. When members from different hip-hop collectives come together it gels so well. I’m talking about how A$AP Ferg, and Rocky being from A$AP Mob were there, Schoolboy Q and MixedByAli came through, and this was Odd Future’s carnival, it just seemed like different families coming together for a barbecue.
Camp Flog Gnaw is an incredible festival, not just for the amazing artists who perform there, but for the amount of love and acceptance in the air. I’m hoping that factions of it get to other cities and around the world. Until next time Camp Flog Gnaw.