OutKast - Fiddler's Green - August 22, 2014
There was a moment on Friday night when, in the general vicinity of an IKEA, all six feet, three inches of Waka Flocka was jumping into a crowd of teenagers, waving a Flosstradamus flag. Flosstradamus, meanwhile was sending a cacophony of drums and drum-like electronics and rapid-fire laser noises and blown-out saxophone out onto a crowd of some 15,000 more teenagers who were rubbing against each other with their eyes rolled back in their heads.
Robert Castro of Ultra5280
But the night didn't belong to Flosstradamus or Waka Flocka. It didn't belong to Griz, who followed them, or Diplo, who orchestrated this whole thing. It belonged to two dudes from Atlanta who started making music long before all those kids out on the lawn at Fiddler's Green were born.
Mad Decent, the label/media brand led by producer/DJ/smirk-purveyor Diplo, has done a remarkable job of gathering a certain kind of young, insatiably curious music fan with a high-speed internet connection. They have congregated most obviously at the label's annual Block Party, which was, for its first several years, a small affair bringing solid lineups of online-friendly pop and dance music to clubs in major American cities. It has grown exponentially since 2012, reaching a zenith this year with a lineup that might have made sense at a massive amphitheater like Fiddler's Green even before it included the OutKast Summer Music Festival Reunion Explosion.
So the Mad Decent Block Party came to Englewood sitting comfortably close to a sell-out before they even opened the gates around noon on Friday. The afternoon sets peaked with Houston rapper RiFF RaFF. He actually, you know, rapped this time, which was a nice change of pace. But it's strange to see such naked hedonism by the light of day.
Then it was Run the Jewels, the El-P and Killer Mike collaboration you may know from the best hip-hop album of the last couple years. They have spectacular onstage chemistry:
"I feel like we're in a giant community theater," said El-P.
Killer Mike laughed and, with sudden intensity, said, "We're gonna win this talent show!"
Some people liked that one, including all fifty or so who clearly bought tickets to this thing expressly to see Run the Jewels. They have a second album coming out this winter, and it will probably be great. El-P's grumble makes an excellent counter-point to Killer Mike's solid brass bark.
Flosstradamus, Griz and Diplo followed. Waka Flocka showed up during Flosstradamus's set to yell some stuff into the microphone and, as mentioned, wave a flag. Griz wore a Rockies hat and played saxophone. Diplo made a weed joke. Let's stop talking about anything other than OutKast.