Another year of the Afropunk festival in Brooklyn, NY, is done, and there were plenty of highlights from this time around. While everyone will talk about the fashion side of it, which is without a doubt better than anything happening in Williamsburg, the musical lineup is always strong. But aside from the slayage of headliners like Grace Jones and Lenny Kravitz, who else was killing it? The people who attended know, but for everyone else who missed out, here is a small sample of the artists you should be following now. Really though it is hard to go wrong with any of the acts at Afropunk, if your musical palette allows for a wide variety of genres and styles.
The singer and writer has been enjoying the beginnings of a promising solo career. You can put names like Mary J. Blige, Marsha Ambrosius and Wale as artists he has written for, and he used to front the band Cloudeater. His talents were on display Sunday night as people at Afropunk were liking his set. Now signed to RCA records, his debut EP Damn Sue was released back in April.
The singer who started by adding her own vocals to beats on Youtube is now performing live for fans everywhere. Not only was she dubbed one of the sounds of 2015 by Vice, but she has also been praised in the pages of Wax Poetics and Paper Magazine. It only took her dropping one mixtape in 2013 to receive praise from the likes of Solange Knowles and Bjork, and she has been on the rise since. The singer’s performance at Afropunk lived up to expectations, and her upcoming EP should be met with anticipation.
This group has been building quite a bit of buzz this summer. Jillian Hervey, the daughter of Vanessa Williams, and musician Lucas Goodman form this duo that has young fans of their sonically mixed up style raving about them. They landed at Afropunk after performing at places like Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and Brooklyn Museum earlier in the year. The two have been building towards their debut album, and are on everyone’s radar now that they landed at Interscope.
The double threat Uniqu3 rocked for heads at Afropunk this weekend, bringing her signature Jersey Club style to the party. She was mainly behind the wheels during her set, but heads who were feeling her should check for her rhymes too. She was a volunteer at the festival three years ago, and now was on the bill. Cue a Drake anthem here as her debut EP drops soon.
The quickly rising producer has been gaining recognition for his production as well as his DJ skills. He started out by making waves with mixes and projects he released under the name Kaytradamus. Now acts like Mobb Deep, Freddie Gibbs and Vic Mensa have tapped into Kaytranada for beats recently. The producer drew a sizable crowd on Sunday while spinning a set of his remixes, keeping Afropunk attendees dancing even as Lenny Kravitz was tearing it up on the main stage.
Afrofuturistic Extra: Thundercat
For anyone not familiar with Thundercat after the moves he done made this year, you are truly missing out. The artist named after the classic 80s cartoon is someone that should be on everyone’s radar. He is said to have been one of the huge creative forces behind Kendrick Lamar‘s tour de force To Pimp A Butterfly, and used to play in Erykah Badu’s band in the late 2000s. Anyone who arrived early enough to Afropunk was treated to his genre-bending sounds and killer technical proficiency on electric bass.
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