The 10th annual Soundset is in the history books. From Travis Scott to Lauryn Hill to T.I., there was something for everyone at the State Fairground’s Midway, despite some big cancellations.
Before the day even started, Mac Miller canceled to be with girlfriend Ariana Grande following the Manchester terrorist bombing, and Kevin Gates was incarcerated. This day of shake-ups to the event did confuse fans, but didn’t stop them from having a great time en masse.
While there are allegations that this will be the final Soundset – Slug made a quip about it before jumping into Atmosphere’s set closer “Trying to Find a Balance” – it would be one that went out on its biggest platform yet. Here are our five takeaways.
“Soundset Cancellations” are the new death hoaxes
Along with the aforementioned cancellations leading up to Soundset, Lil Uzi Vert no-showing was only part of the echoes of doubt. Rumors were also spreading that Pusha T was canceling, but he didn’t, he was just late reportedly due to travel issues. Later, there was gossip about Ty Dolla $ign no-showing, and he didn’t, he just also was late and moved to a different stage. Finally, there was barstool hearsay regarding Gucci Mane not appearing. He was there and caused a stampede to the stage to catch his set. Amid a layer of uneasy “will they or won’t they” during the festival, the signs of relief were some of the best cheese curds the Fairgrounds had ever produced.
D.R.A.M.’s debut dominance
Just as Anderson .Paak’s set was the talk of last year’s Soundset, D.R.A.M. injected a much-needed boost of positivity into a tumultuous early evening. The sheer zeal he brought to the Fifth Element stage was among the most crowd-pleasing of the day.
E-40, T.I. and Atmosphere show the power of catalogs
One of Soundset’s greatest strengths is how many generations of hip-hop fans it annually draws in. Taking advantage of this are artists with longevity like E-40 and T.I. Both had stellar career-spanning sets, which made for fun crowd watching. Which eras reigned supreme?
Atmosphere’s set was noteworthy for being the 20th anniversary of the release of their debut Overcast. To mark the occasion, Slug performed his favorite song off the record that he’d never done live. (This is, of course, “Clay,” which longtime Twin Cities MTV watchers may recognize as the soundtrack to Fobia skate shop’s late-’90s local television spots.) They even brought out one-time member Spawn to accurately perform the record’s best back-and-forth raps.
Lauryn Hill is the Bob Dylan of hip-hop
She’ll perform all the songs you love in ways that are borderline unrecognizable, but it’s still cool to see her there. Ironically, despite all the timing issues, Lauryn Hill defied her reputation and did a full well-received set right on schedule.
Travis Scott braved the elements
The most memorable image of the whole festival occurred when the thunderstorm broke out immediately before Travis Scott was to take the stage. Despite the merciless winds and brutal downpours, Scott was not to be deterred. With some fans fleeing the festival grounds, Scott seemed to channel all the day’s frustrations into one cathartic high-energy set and he burst on the stage as if he were shot out of a cannon. Eventually chasing the rain away (presumably thanks in part to his fearsome giant mechanical bird) Scott gave Soundset an unforgettable ending.