Tag Archives: DJ Abilities

Just Like Music – Soundset 2015

Well, leave it to music to get me writing again…

This past weekend I got to experience my favorite music festival for the second time.  SoundSet is the largest hip-hop festival in the nation.  When I was personally invited to return to the sold out event, I was elated.  I had invites from some of my flight attendant friends to go on some pretty amazing trips over Memorial Day Weekend, but honestly, when it comes to SoundSet, (like the song says) “there’s no place I’d rather be…”

It’s Sunday morning, May 24th, 2015, and I’m waking up, in recovery mode from the SoundSet pre-party at First Avenue the night before.  The oh-so wonderful Ashanti, welcomed me to Minneapolis like he’d done before, with drinks, live music and great people.  Despite the hangover, my adrenaline is rushing.  I am so excited because today is Soundset Sunday… my favorite day of the year! 

I know the weather’s going to be wet and probably a little chilly compared to what it was like last year,  but nothing can keep the smile from my face and the excitement out of my heart for what’s about to happen today.  The entire time I’m getting ready I’m singing and dancing.  I’m looking forward to this amazing lineup

  
 

My buddy, Brandon, who I met last year, is like my personal chauffeur for the day.  We arrive at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN, a little before noon – just in time to catch the opening acts.  Last year I slept in a little and missed the early birds, so this year I want to take full advantage of the entire day.  I instantly realize that I am a little under dressed (and unprepared) for the weather, so I head over to the Rhymesayers merchandise tent to cop me one of those sick waterproof windbreakers.  I run into Alicia and Harold, who I met last year, and I know today is going to be filled with reunions and familiar faces.  

 

Riding around in style with Harold, the meet & greet king.

 
As I’m walking the grounds, peeping out each of the stages, different tents,  the skate ramp, the car show & the graffiti wall,  I notice that Peri Duo has a free charging station set up.  I’ll definitely be back.  But, for now, it’s time to head back to the main stage to catch deM atlaS.  Although I’ve met him personally, this is the first time I got to see him perform, and man, can this guy move a crowd! He’s so free on stage and his energy is huge. 

  
  
  

 

It was such an honor meeting one of my all time favorite photographers, @VanStyles. This guy is an artist. We chatted about how his mom used to work in the friendly skies, too… & I got a sneak peek at one of his upcoming projects. Be sure to check out some of his stunning shots from @Soundset on Instagram!

 
Next on my list – and on the lineup -was Aesop Rock with Rob Sonic and DJ Abilities.  These guys were so much fun to watch and I absolutely love Aesop’s voice. 

  
I walk the grounds once again to charge my phone and take a break from the main stage.  On my way, I hit the Fifth Element tent and I get to enjoy G.L.A.M. and Sean Anonymous

  
Both artists were new to me & both of them had my full attention.  Dessa took the main stage as I played in the crowd & left my phone to charge.  I got to visit with the guys from Peri & catch up with Clint, who I met at Camp Flog Gnaw

I caught a piece of Clockwork Indigo’s set from the side stage & decided I needed a little break.  I head backstage for some water & a delicious Glam Doll donut.  I know there’s a big line up still ahead & it’s going to be a busy day. 

I get my phone in time to catch Dilated Peoples.  As most of you already know, these guys are some of my all-time favorites… 

  
  
Soundset has this amazing concept for their main stage – the East Stage and the West Stage.  The stages are connected, standing side-by-side, facing the same crowd.  Each performance is alternated between the two stages, leaving no down time between acts.  Genius! 

I have now discovered the middle section between the two stages.  This is where the crew is hard at work, making sure that the stage is set & sound quality is up to par for every artist.  

   
 

  

I don’t know it yet, but my itinerary & plan to see certain artists on other stages is about to go out the window… I’m standing next to the host, Sway Calloway, and we start making friendly conversation.  

  
YelaWolf is performing “Pop the Trunk,” with a full band, and the bass has me in a trance.  I’m seduced by the vibrations and I can’t take my eyes off of him or his white pointy cowboy boots.  

 When the song ends, Sway’s voice comes from over my shoulder, bringing me back to reality with my exact thoughts, “That was hard!”  I told him he read my mind; we definitely shared a moment.

After Yelawolf’s crazy set – which included him tossing a barstool off the stage for people to crowd surf on,  and chucking his microphone into the audience – I can hear Logic testing the mic. I’m pumped.  When he rushes the stage, I see 30,000 people go crazy. 

  

Logic announces that this is his first music festival ever, and it seems that he’s just as excited as everyone else to be there. It was such a good vibe when he was on stage. Girls were up on shoulders, screaming, declaring their love & practically pulling their hair out from all the excitement.  It was so beautiful to watch.  These fans go hard. 

At this point, even I’m drenched from the rain.  I rush for a quick hot drink before Ludacris takes over.  

   

It’s Evidence (behind) the scene…

I rush back to my spot between the two main stages, sipping my green tea.  Sway turns to me and says, “What’s up with the tea, tho?”  And ladies & gentlemen, I shared my tea with Sway!  This is when I’m certain that I’m not going to make it to any of the other tents for the rest of the day. I had found my home for day, backstage, between the East and West main stages, near the soundboards, here at SoundSet… 

The way Yelawolf had me in a trance, Ludacris had me absolutely mesmerized.  The moment I heard Blueberry Yum Yum, I lost myself.  I was standng in the rain, dancing & reciting every lyric. It was so nostalgic for me.  I flashed back to when I first purchased that CD, listening to it with my ex in Los Angeles, in his beat up Honda Civic – and now, I was standing backstage, watching Ludacris perform it up close and personal.  It was insane! 

  
The show went on, as did the rain, and Big Sean didn’t let technical difficulties stand in the way of his performance

  

  
Hometown heroes, Atmosphere, never fail to impress. They always have so much fun on stage and they always bring a sense of unity.   

 Slug reminds everyone that we all look a mess, after a day out in the rain, and he asks everyone to join hands.  I’m in awe… 

Watching Atmosphere move the crowd with @SarahDope and @VanStyles . Photo by @corydewaldphotography

And then, my phone dies… 

Now it’s time for Ice Cube to take the stage.  I’m excited!  I turn to Sway and say, “Oh man, my phone died.”  To which Sway replies, “Oh darn.  Now I guess you’re going to just have to watch it with your own eyes & enjoy it the way it was meant to be.”  Ha! Touché, Mr. Calloway, touché. 

It’s surreal.  I have this pretty exclusive view and I’m dancing & rapping lyrics with Sway.  Talk about “Today was good day!” 😉 

I’m surrounded by a pretty elite crowd and at one point, I remember turning to Rhymesayers Co-founder, Siddiq, to hug him, to thank him & to tell him that I love him & this festival. 

 

@SiddiqRSE. Excuse the blur. Photo by Sway, before my phone died…

 
Ice Cube’s set was full of nostalgic moments for me.  Growing up in California, N.W.A. was definitely one of my first introductions to hip hop.  I was remembering some of my cousins (Vero & Victor, you already know), my dad (his Lowrider days and the famous green Impala), & my sister (the Up In Smoke Tour). I remembered dancing to Bop Gun on repeat in my room as a kid… & it was as if pieces of entire life, my family, and friends were all there with me in that moment.  It was beautiful. 

After all that excitement, my special spot on stage got shut down as J.Cole prepared to close the show.  I played in the crowd for a bit, before nightfall.  I wanted to feel all that energy up close & personal.  I applaud each and every one of those soaking wet fans

I dance around all the people as I make my way to the side stage just in time for J.Cole’s  final few songs.  He’s so charismatic and funny.  The rain still hasn’t let up, the sun’s gone down and everyone is still having a blast.  

When it’s time to say good night, I stick around for a bit, to wait for Brandon.  I didn’t see him much throughout the day, and because of this, my GoPro stayed in the car. Oh well.  Here’s to living in the moment, Sway! 

We close the night at the after party at First Avenue with more amazing performances and wonderful people.  This is when you can sense the team’s relief and everyone is celebrating a job well done. 

 
   

Bravo to the hardworking crew.  Bravo to alll the performers.  Bravo to all those die-hard fans in the audience who stood out there in the rain.  Bravo to Rhymesayers Entertainment for another epic SoundSet

*Special thanks to everyone at Rhymesayers for teaching me all about “Minnesota Nice,” and for always making me feel like part of the family.  This was such an amazing experience.  I love hip hop, I love all of you and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year! 

  
Catch SoundSet 2016 on Sunday, May 29th, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. 

Here’s some more fun SoundSet coverage (and amazing photos) from a couple cool guys that I got to hang with… Andres Tardio – MTV News and Van StylesThe Hundreds.  Also,  shout out the the social media queen and super star, Sarah Dope, for all her amazing work. 

For all the latest news, download the SoundSet app here.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope this post left a good song in your heart! 

  

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Soundset

Where do I even start…?
Have you ever had those moments in life where everything is just perfect? Well, I just had a whole long weekend of that exact perfectness. Great weather, delicious food, awesome people & all-access to the most amazing music…
I woke up Saturday morning and rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Minneapolis. I was going to spend Memorial Day Weekend out in Minnesota to catch Soundset, the annual hip hop festival held by Rhymesayers Entertainment at Canterbury Park. I’ve wanted to go to Soundset for a few years, now. This year, it finally happened… on Sunday, May 25, 2014, I spent the day with 30,000 other music lovers at the sold out event…
During my flight, I met a few people who were headed to the festival for the Bboy Competition. I didn’t have any set plans during the day, so, they invited me along. We stopped at The Mall of America and rode a crazy roller coaster. Then headed to the 5-8 club for a famous Juicy Lucy burger.
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After lunch, I met up with the famous, Eddie Sancho, for some drinks before the Soundet Pre-Party . (I’ll share more about Eddie someday soon. Chances are, if you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ve heard his work).
We’re having drinks at the hotel when Eddie asks if I’d like to check out the venue for tonight’s show… It’s at the legendary First AvenueThe house that Prince built – which has been around since 1970 and was featured in the film, Purple Rain. It’s stage has been graced by countless amazing musical acts. Of course I want to see it!

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When we get there, they’re setting up for the #BeforeSoundset show. It’s cool seeing the empty space & witnessing the calm before the storm.

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From there, we head over to the Rhymesayers offices. I’m so excited! This is where a lot of the (behind the scenes) magic happens… We get a private tour of the facilities, have some delicious local beers and grab some gear from the Fifth Element Store. Not to mention, I got to meet some super cool people!
We have dinner near the venue, and get ready for the show. Thanks to Eddie & the amazing team at Rhymesayers, Here’s a little glimpse at how the night went…

20140603-012118-4878694.jpgSlug (Atmosphere) made an appearance to introduce Step Brothers

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Rhymesayers Entertainment

20140603-023438-9278849.jpgBrother Ali

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Slug, Atmosphere

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20140603-023828-9508284.jpgEddie & Ali

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Dem Atlas

The pre-party definitely set the tone for Sunday… aka Soundset Day. I woke up so excited!
Let me start with the line up…

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from Veterans, to fresh new artists, to some of today’s heavy hitters, the wide range of acts consisted of both, men & women, representing various ethnical backgrounds. With DJ’s, B boys & MC’s on three different stages, a car show, graffiti wall, and skate ramp, there was something there for everyone.
I’ve attended a lot of hip hop festivals before this & I gotta say, this was, by far, my favorite one ever. (Ok, maybe the accommodations and all access pass had a little something to do with that). But, nonetheless, the guys at Rhymesayers really know how to throw a party. I’ll let my pictures do (most of) the talking…

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20140608-005046-3046926.jpgAfter a fun shuttle ride with a great group, we got there just in time to catch Snow Tha Product rockin’ the stage. I learned about her when I saw her on the line up a few weeks before. She’s a young Latina from San Diego and I love what she stands for. Don’t let the pretty face fool you, either, this girl can spit rapid fire!

20140608-011344-4424904.jpgEddie and I enjoying Snow’s set. In the background, (from our fun shuttle ride) is the talented G Koop, the man behind the live instruments on Atmoshpere’s Southsiders.

20140608-012236-4956522.jpgEddie introduced me to Maria Isa, another proud Latina, sharing her message through her music.

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It wasn’t long before I caught up with my favorite Instagram Photographer… Mr. Evidence was hard at work, running the Soundset ig account .

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And of course, these guys weren’t too far behind… Alchemist and DJ Mishaps

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Golf Carts were the preferred mode of transportation… Check out our driver! 😉

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This girl, Alicia, made me feel like the ultimate VIP and took good care of me. She has a great heart & we became friends instantly.

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20140608-014328-6208230.jpgEven though we got there too late to catch their set, I had a chance to meet up with two of my favorite California kids, The Grouch and Eligh

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Monica, another find from the fun shuttle, introduced me to the sounds of (& the man himself) DJ Q Bert

20140608-015806-7086438.jpg I also had the chance to catch Rapsody move the crowd.

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Sky made sure we got to see the view from the side stage…it was amazing!

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I gotta admit, there were moments when I pretended the crowd was cheering for me… I felt like Selena! 😉

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We caught the legendary Cypress Hill from the side stage…

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took a few pics…

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& made some new friends.

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This girl, Taylor, got lost from her group…she was all alone & one of the members of security allowed her access to the side stage so that she could try to spot them. How cool is that?

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I was 2 excited to see 2 Chainz! (See what I did there)? 😉

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Cool shirt, bro

20140608-021423-8063118.jpgOpen container situation with Alc

20140608-021448-8088355.jpgCypress Hill!

20140608-021515-8115242.jpgMy fellow San Diegan & world traveler, Cros One was judging the Bboy battle.

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20140608-021711-8231349.jpgRan into my ladies from the plane…

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20140608-022447-8687342.jpgWiz Khalifa didn’t let being arrested in Texas earlier in the day keep him from performing for his fans. The crowd went absolutely wild when he took his place on stage!

20140608-023105-9065055.jpgEddie and I caught Nas‘s set from the Monster Tower…

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along with this unbelievable view of the festival!

20140608-023433-9273258.jpgThen, we caught up with Mr. Jones backstage.
*Eddie actually worked on Illmatic. The classic album celebrated it’s 20th anniversary this year. Pretty cool stuff, right?

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Maggie, my doll for the day, was another one from the fun group on the shuttle. I had a blast with her.
*Shout out to DJ Abilities

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Soon, it was time for the main event… the hometown heroes from Minneapolis, Atmosphere, closed the show like only they could.

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20140610-181146-65506387.jpgPosing with the host of the event, Sway Calloway, before heading back to First Avenue for the official Soundset After Party…

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I’ve seriously always dreamed of experiencing a music festival in the capacity in which I experienced Soundset. Just hanging out with the artists, behind the scenes, in their element, among friends, family & comrades. I am so glad it finally came to be!
From this (once) small town girl, with big dreams, I encourage each & every one of you to follow your heart & seek out your passion in life. Chase it, hunt it, run after it with all your might. Your heart will never lead you astray… Once you know what it is that you really want in life, the universe will conspire to give it to you. Go after it!

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Shout out to the girls at Glam Doll Donuts for following their love & passion for music (and baking) & turning it into a successful business in such a sweet way!

Thanks for reading along, everyone. What is it that you really want in life? What’s your dream? Or has it already come true…?

*Special thanks to Eddie Sancho, Ashanti Abdullah, Siddiq, & the entire staff & crew at Rhymesayers Entertainment for an unbelievable, unforgettable weekend. Much love. Let’s do it all again next year!

Check out the Soundset 2014 Wrap Up here…
*at 1:39 in…don’t blink! 😉

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