2016 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival - Day 2
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#HappyRoo: The 13 Best Performances Of Bonnaroo 2016

These performances have us wishing we were back on the Farm.

For the second year in a row, VIBE traveled to Manchester, Tennessee to experience Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, known for its good vibes and even better music, for four full days of musical madness on the infamous farm.

With 2016 marking the long-standing festival's 15th anniversary, it was surely one for the books: memorable, momentous and unreal, bringing together the likes of hip-hop heavyweights, appealing alt acts, R&B's newest vanguards, genre-bending DJ's and much more that kept festival-goers jamming 'til sunrise.

Below, we rounded up the best performances of Bonnaroo 2016, from Chance The Rapper's impromptu Silent Disco listening party to Lizzo's refreshing girl-powered set to Bryson Tiller's festival debut.

Chance The Rapper

Since his 2014 debut on the farm, Chance The Rapper and Bonnaroo have become best buds in a sense. He's camped out on the grounds with fans in true Roo fashion. He's had unforgettable surprise appearances alongside Kendrick Lamar during Earth, Wind & Fire's set. And who could forget his 2015 SuperJam performance that included covers of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy," the Fresh Prince's "Summertime," Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It,", and Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison?" Honestly, you never know what the 23-year-old has up his sleeve when it comes to the multi-stage camping event. And last week, he rivaled himself, going down in Roo history with a new nickname as the mayor of Bonnaroo. While he wasn't on this year's lineup, that didn't stop the South Side-bred rapper from attending the four-day festival, giving his fans many rare musical moments ranging from popping up onstage with J. Cole, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Miguel, and sprinting to the stage during Bryson Tiller's set and hurling his fists in the air as the beat to "No Problems" dropped. Complete pandemonium ensued every time.  And for those that were lucky, like us, they'd spy Chance chilling in the press area amongst us common folk and taking in various artists' sets. To close out the weekend in a major way, he'd pull out all the stops on Sunday (June 12) with an impromptu listening session of Color Book in the Silent Disco, where 500 fans packed out the venue to (silently) witness the greatness of Chancelor Bennett. Oh yeah, and the next day, he tweeted, "Hey @Bonnaroo I love you. See you next year."

The Internet

There's something very ethereal about The Internet. So much so that 10 minutes into their set, you forget about the blazing Tennessee heat and the beads of sweat rolling down your face. Most times, singers with sensually sweet voices become lost in translation on festival stages, but it's apparent that front woman Syd Tha Kyd has been hard at work for the past year to make her anomaly of a voice her own since their rise to critical acclaim with their third studio LP, Ego Death. For day one fans and those that just caught their wave, the band balanced their show out with throwbacks, newer jams and some of their more high-energy tracks to keep the crowd energized. But it was their performance of "Curse," a bonus-like bass and falsetto-driven track, in which guitarist Steve Lacy flexes his vocals alongside Syd's that had the crowd at a loss for words. And when Pharrell secretly shows up to your set, you know you're pretty much the s**t .

Miguel

Only Casanova-like crooner Miguel could pack out a tent well past midnight, after the festival shut down all of its stages for 65 minutes while a thunderstorm blew through Manchester. Throughout his damn near flawless set, he'd rock the crowd with a handful of his chart-topping hits dating back to 2010. It was the kind of set where you'd see couples discreetly grinding to "Adorn," proud singles smoothly body rolling to "Quickie," while reminiscing about some of their best low-maintenance lovers, and genre-less music junkies partaking in air guitar to "face the sun." Our Assistant Editor, Stacy-Ann Ellis, was in awe to the point that she equated his Bonnaroo debut to that of "an electric moment worth reliving."

Tyler, The Creator

Odd Future may now be a defunct collective with a bunch hopefuls waiting with fingers crossed for a reunion, but fans still come out in hoards to pledge their allegiance to its group members, including Tyler, The Creator. But even still, he divulged very shortly into his set that he wasn't sure if Tennessee "fucked with him." "I've got 50 minutes, can I just jump around and yell?" he asked the crowd, turning up the This Tent with his longtime pals Taco on the turntables and Jasper on the mic. Tyler is the type of artist who suffers from severe asthma, but doesn't abandon his stage presence because of it. While performing tracks like "48," "Domo 23," "IFHY," "Tamale," "What The F**k Right Now," "DEATHCAMP, and "Tron Cat," the crowd repeated the lyrics word-for-word while T hit his smoothest Dougie and Harlem Shake. 

Cashmere Cat

DJ sets at festivals can sometimes be chancy, contingent upon both the crowds energy and the turntablist's vibes. But Bonnaroo-goers gave a warm welcome to Norweigan musican/producer/DJ and turntablist Cashmere Cat, whose dreamy electronic dance sound controlled the crowd, even though he never actually addressed them like most DJs. His actual stage set up was nothing fancy to gawk at, just a simple black stage with intense, iridescent lights beaming every moment the beat of a track dropped. For those that weren't familiar with his catalogue, the music was surely infectious enough to keep you entertained. But it was his live edit of Kanye West's "Waves"  and "Wolves" (which he has a producing credit on from The Life Of Pablo) that grabbed the attention of most. And a spin of his unexpected 2015 collaboration with Ariana Grande, "Be My Baby," solidified his set as a full-fledged lituation.

Vince Staples

Twenty two-year-old LBC-born rapper Vince Staples embarked on a cross-country trip to for his Bonnaroo debut and didn't disappoint. Staples live is in ways a gift that keeps on giving. He doesn't just run through his set with agility and ease (with his asthma pump not too far behind), but he's also down for cracking a joke or two and trolling the audience. And it also doesn't hurt that you can genuinely feel his energetic vibes draw in the crowd with a single wave of his hand from left to right while performing tracks from Summertime '06, his critically acclaimed double album debut.

Goldlink

DMV rapper Goldlink has a festival-filled summer ahead of him, performing at Soundset, Firefly, Wildlife, Lovebox and many others well into the end of August. Bonnaroo, the second of his 12 stops, got to experience his dynamic live set featuring the quirky future bounce sound he birthed from influences ranging from rhythmic Go-Go to the hip-hop-tinged R&B of the 90's. Goldlink brought along his whole crew (Louie Lastic, DJ Kidd Marvel, and Brass Tracks) to jazz things up with a live band element, performing tracks like "Ay Ay," "Spectrum," "Late Night," "Dance On Me," and many more. An honorable mention goes to Marvel's remix of Ludacris' "What's Your Fantasy," where we witnessed Goldlink let loose and cut up.

Flosstradamus

Chicago-based DJ duo Flosstradamus brought the ratchetness to Bonnaroo, and we mean that in the best way possible. There was a bunch of hair tossing, twerking, and turning up when they hit the stage to party with their fans, better known as, #HDYNATION. J2K (Josh) and Autobot (Curt) both forerunners of the EDM trap wave of the 2010s, took turns holding down the turntables and rocking the mic, while keeping hits like Desiigner's "Panda" and Rihanna's "B***h Better Have My Money" in rotation. The highlight of the night was a synth-heavy revamp of Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag."

Bryson Tiller

We've got five words for Bryson Tiller: the glo' up is real. No one currently occupying the lane of the newly-adopted fusion genre Rap&B has seen quite the career trajectory the 23-year-old Louisville, KY artist has, flipping his SoundCloud success into 2015 debut, T R A P S O U L. His success was also fermented with three tracks charting the Billboard Hot 100 within three months, venturing on his own North American tour, and taking the main stage at Hot 97's legendary Summer Jam. So, when it came to Bonnaroo, his first festival performance ever, things fell right into place and without a hitch. When it comes down to the particulars, there was nothing new or life changing about his performance for those that have already experienced him live. "Exchange," "Been That Way," and "For However Long" all cranked with the same smooth, slow-rolling tempo and Pen Griffey quotable bars music junkies have grown to love him for. A highlight of his performance did present itself when Chance The Rapper hopped on stage and turned up the crowd with "Blessings." Tiller closed out his set strong with the single song that took him from working at Papa John's and UPS to chilling in the Hollywood Hills, "Don't," as the crowd sang the entire song in unison, word-for-word.

J. Cole

Don't let Jermaine Cole's sleepy disposition fool you. The man knows how to take any lifeless stage and set it ablaze come showtime. All six feet and some-odd inches of J.Cole sprinted across Bonnaroo's What Stage with a ballplayer's energy as he ran the through the most hype selections from his six-project plus discography. He maneuvered from The Sideline Story selects like "Nobody's Perfect" into the major 2014 Forest Hills Drive faves like "A Tale of 2 Citiez," "No Role Modelz" and "Wet Dreamz." A special shout out to Cole for sonning the unfortunate Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in "No Role Modelz." As a treat for his day ones, he even pulled goodies like "Lights Please" off The Warm Up out his vault. And of course, how could we forget how the Rapper's Champ brought out the Peoples' Champ Chance The Rapper for a surprise performance of "No problem"? Talk about an experience like no other at a festival like no other. —Stacy-Ann Ellis

Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington is an artist that embodies the many wonders of music with a single tenor saxophone. From his contributions to To Pimp a Butterfly to his own impressive 2015 record, The Epic, a 172-minute, triple disc brimming with an undeniable rhythm. Washington & Co. brought the same grand gesture to Bonnaroo feeding the home of Johnny Cash smothered, down-home soul.

Ibeyi

Beyoncé and 20-year-old French-Cuban twins Ibeyi may be pretty much synonymous at this point after B randomly teased a short clip from a video from her September Vogue cover story featuring an excerpt of their track "River." And then months later, the magical, multi-cultural music duo popped up in Lemonade. But Bonnaroo was the best place to show that beyond B's co-sign, they've got something worth listening to. With Naomi on the percussive instruments of the Cajon and the Batas, and Lisa on the keys, the ladies slayed the stage.

Lizzo

Twenty eight-year-old alt hip-hop artist Lizzo wasn't even on our list of artist sets to catch, but her DJ was so lit that we scarfed down our sugar-tinged funnel cakes and scurried to the half-packed tent that was quickly filling. An answer to this generation's Missy Elliott, Lizzo is super duper fly. She's got thorough bars and a set of powerhouse vocal chops that boast of a theatrical "it" factor. "Good As Hell," "Let 'em Say," and "Batches & Cookies" were just a few of the tracks that drew us in instantly and had us two-stepping with strangers. With an all-gal crew of dancers, MCs, and DJ holding her down and lyrics boasting of body-posi sentiments (listen to "My Skin"), more than her talent, we're sure the tentful of people were feeling what she symbolizes in the industry's male-dominated setting, converting people over to her Big Grrrl Small World movement.

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Anderson .Paak's Grammy Glow Lights Up New York's Hammerstein Ballroom

"I told y'all I would come back but I had to come back with a motherf***in Grammy yo!" Anderson .Paak belted to the crowd inside of New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. On Friday (Feb. 22), the musician was elated to return to New York for his Andy's Beach Club World Tour with opening act Tayla Parx and his band, the Free Nationals. His energy has unsurprisingly remained on a thrilling high since taking home his first Grammy just three weeks ago.

The Cali native was a breath of fresh air for the crowd in attendance, who after a long work week was ready to hear some tunes from his stellar albums Venice, Malibu and his recent musical offering, Oxnard.

.Paak was that jukebox for the crowd, with select bubbly tunes from Parx, who just like her main act, has a funky vibe to herself. Parx, an artist who most recently wrote on Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" as she told the crowd got the energy bubbling with known covers and performances of her songs like, "Mama Aint Raise No B****." Parx set up the funky vibes that .Paak would go on to later execute and perfect.

The musician jumped out on stage an hour and a half later and started his heading set with the song, "Bubblin" that earned him a Best Rap Performance Grammy.

From the jump, his megawatt smile peaked under his red bucket hat as he performed more deserving tunes like "Tints," "Trippy" and "Come Down."

 

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flashing.. lights.. 🔦

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His bliss of just being in the moment was abundantly clear as well as his chemistry with the Free Nationals. He danced along to their song "Beauty & Essex" featuring Daniel Caesar, grooving to the smooth beat while transitioning to "Saviers Road."

There was not a moment in the night that skilled drummer wasn't in tune with the crowd. At one point, he even crowd surfed, calling out New Jersey natives to catch him. Because of his old soul, the musician easily crafted his flavor of soul and funk to keep body rolls going throughout the evening with cuts like "Smile/Petty" and "The Heart Don't Stand a Chance."

Although his drum solos showed off his musical talent and capabilities, .Paak's tribute to late rapper, Mac Miller with a performance of their song "Dang!" towards the end of the concert is what really sealed the deal.

"If you miss Mac Miller like we miss Mac Miller make some f***ing noise! Say we love you Mac, say we miss you Mac," the Oxnard musician urged the crowd to yell, and the crowd obediently obliged.

Seeing the crowd and .Paak arrived in sync one last time for Miller was the finishing touch for the concert. Although .Paak's crowd demo was young working adults, they won't forget the moment they shed their corporate garb to be a little weird and carefree again.

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The “Necessity Of Expression,” As Explained By Jacob Banks

Jacob Banks is pressed for time. With just a few hours before his headlining show at New York’s massive Brooklyn Steele, the Nigerian-born, Birmingham, UK-raised artist has gone all day without so much as a bite to eat. “Can we make it 10 minutes, 15 tops for the interview?” his tour manager asks. “It’s been a crazy day. He still has meet-n-greets and hasn’t eaten yet.”

Seconds later, Banks emerges from a backdoor inside the Williamsburg venue. He smiles and offers hugs, possibly sensing a brewing push-and-pull between press and a protective handler. He quickly diffuses potential rising tensions by giving an OK to his camp and escorting me into a tiny greenroom.

“Just do your thing,” Banks says at the onset of the interview. The irony of his statement is that I, and the rest of the nearly 2,000-person crowd, chose to spend their Friday night watching him do his.

On stage, the 27-year-old is a behemoth. Standing at 6-foot-4, he never scowls nor grins at the audience during his songs. Instead, his eyes are focused and his face, stoic. It’s intentional and penetrative. Mr. Banks and the mandem—Danny his guitarist, HB his drummer and bass player, and musical director Smoove—are there purely to serve the moment. You bought a ticket? Cool. Jacob & Co. are there to deliver.

 

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NYC, the gang and I are ever so grateful, thank you so much 🌹 Boston, let’s show out tonight 🚀

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However, before the night’s performance, and in the midst of choreographed chaos backstage, Banks is chill, soft-spoken and full. Not full of himself, but full of experience, which translates to a gentle but firm assurance. He crosses his legs while he sits and adjusts his glasses from time to time when they slide down the bridge of his nose. That fullness allows for him to have great empathy, a byproduct of the many villages he says raised him.

“I was raised by culture: African culture, Caribbean culture, youth British culture, which is Caribbean culture,” he says. “I was raised by the streets. I was raised by the nerds. I was raised by cartoons. I was raised by happily ever afters and real life tragic endings as well.”

Speaking of those very cultures, there’s a knock at the door. His food has arrived. “What did you have?” his tour manager questions. Take a gander at Banks’ Twitter profile and you’ll read that he considers himself a jerk chicken connoisseur. However, someone else will be partaking in his beloved dish. Tonight, Banks is having the curry, while the oxtail will go to another famished member of the tour. How the British entertainer was able to get authentic Jamaican dishes in Williamsburg is equal parts impressive and mind boggling, but I digress. There are more important things to dive into right now.

Banks released his debut album Village via Interscope in November 2018 and to celebrate, he played FIFA at home with his two cats. For the singer-songwriter, music is “purely a necessity of expression” that he doesn’t let get to his head. “I have meticulously created a life where I don’t need that validation. I exist outside of music,” he says.

It’s odd to hear him speak so humbly about his art. As the night rolled in and fans stood eager to hear his robust voice, Banks performed songs from Village and his EPs The Paradox and The Boy Who Cried Freedom, which merited everything from a woman’s shrill “Sing daddy!” to the New York male equivalent “Yerrr!” from the diverse crowd.

The stand out moment of the night, however, came during his delivery of the pensive, almost spiritual “Slow Up.” Written as a note to himself that he wished he stayed younger for longer, Banks reflected on exactly when he knew he wasn’t a kid anymore: “What I've learnt from a mirror/Look too hard and you’ll find you a stranger/Love is just a decision/The choice is yours.”

“When I look back, I think I was eight. I remember thinking—well, obviously at the time I didn’t know, it was just life happening—but at eight I thought I have to be my own cheerleader,” he reflects. “I realized it wasn’t going to come from nowhere else.”

As Banks reached the second chorus of the triggering ballad, a growl from the deepest hollows of his belly emerged, setting the audience ablaze and prompting many to abandon their phones and inherit the vulnerability of the moment. At the close of the song, he hung onto the microphone and rested his head into the crease of his arm, almost spent from the effort of mentally referring to his adolescent self. In return, a chorus of applause came barreling toward the stage.

Banks’ voice is Thor’s hammer, a lightning strike against mediocre industry standards. The cacophony of car alarms you may suddenly hear outside of your window isn’t caused by a neighborhood perp. It’s because of Banks’ rich baritone, nothing more, beloved.

 

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Sang about Caroline in a cold locker room for you lot ❤️ Catch the full vibe on YouTube Another one courtesy of the wonderful humans at @youtubemusic #artistontherise Brought to by @wearenob0dy and @frmwrkldn

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When we’d almost forgotten our 15 minutes together were coming to a close, a prompt second knock at the door served as a gentle reminder. “We’ll take five more minutes. I was on the phone for a bit,” Banks lies to his publicist, Stefanie. There was no such call, but giving to the moment is what he does and if the moment needs more time, then so be it. There are more questions to ask the man of the moment.

I prod about the several drug references on standout tracks like “Mexico,” “Kumbaya,” “Nostalgia” and “Witness.” As a man who doesn’t drink or partake in substances, Banks says the lyrics (“You're so far away but when someone drops your name/You come pourin' through my veins/Like that Hollywood cocaine”) are less about a habit and more about needing a place to go.

“Drugs are in pop culture. I see it everywhere. It doesn’t bother me really. Do what you want, it’ll kill you, but do what you want,” he laughs. “Ultimately, I understand escapism. I understand needing a place to go. One can make the argument I’m addicted to expressing myself.”

He chats more about recognition versus representation and the importance of being seen but also realizing it’s not just important that you’re seen. But whether Jacob is visible or not, whether you hear his music or not, it’s still all good. He’s still G, as he’s often says, because Jacob made it so. Jacob will always be speaking his mind as Jacob, regardless.

“It was important for me that when my album came I didn’t let it define me,” he says. “I exist outside of Jacob Banks the artist,“ he said.

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A$AP Ferg (L) and A$AP Rocky attend A$AP Mob Yams Day 2019 at Barclays Center on January 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Yams Day 2019 Was A Millennial Hypebeast's Wet Dream

It's somewhat fitting that the theme for the 2019 Yams Day is WWE wrestling. While it pays homage to the late Yams' favorite sport and pastime, it perfectly encapsulates today's concert culture for the millennial hypebeast.

After wading in the brisk weather of one of the colder Thursday's of Jan. 2019, 20-somethings and late 90s babies flocked to their assigned sections of Brooklyn's Barclays Center to pay tribute to the founder member and enjoy A$AP Rocky's "Injured Generation Tour."

The crowd is more salt than peppered, even more than a Lil Wayne concert. Puffer jackets decorate the rows of stadium chairs. And young clear girls donning cornrows, tube tops, cropped shirts, and a rainbow of colored, high-waisted camo pants weave in and out of the aisles. Boys in beanies, florescent skullcaps, and cross-body bags are seen down below migrating in huddles by the main stage and sub-arena masquerading as a wrestling ring. If you needed a gentle reminder of just how influential black culture can be, you found it here.

Rocky, the mob's fierce leader, encouraged the crowd to form a pit in the center of the venue. And just like WWE, a single spotlight highlights the pit as shirtless boys crash into one another, limbs failing and heads bobbing. It surely looks like it hurts, but as mentioned several times throughout the night, it's all for show, and for fun of course.

Each mosh is ricocheted off of one another so much so that from the lower level (which is actually one level above the floor), looked like a violent sea rolling up to shore.

The only thing keeping these kids up, besides the body of the person beside them, seems to be the revolving doors of performers which included a long list of ragers like Ski Mask the Slump God, Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$, Metro Boomin, and of course A$AP Mob.

Weed fogs the air as fans light up to commemorate the fallen members of hip-hop. That includes more than Yams today, as XXXTentacion recently passed away in 2018. And it wouldn't be a night if someone didn't yell "Free Tekashi 6ix9ine." "No one deserves to be locked up," it was stated.

"Millennial" and "hypebeast" haven't always found the perfect harmony, but when they do it produces a unique experience. Black boy joy is one of the better products. A$AP Ferg and a variety of other friends and family partake in a fun-loving game of dance-tag, flinging their arms and bodies around as Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz's "Uproar" cuts on. Other jams of the present and past like Crime Mob's "Knuck If You Buck" and Kendrick Lamar's "M.a.A.d city" also blast through the speakers, while the n-word echoes through the spot.

 

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$ummer $lam or #YamsDay? 😂

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Millennials are fearless. What's more courageous than the kids entering the pits of destruction, are the musical acts that run off the cliff of the stage into the audience. They are so certain their fans will catch them, they often dive head first, flipping into piles of extended arms.

The surprise guests of the night, Meek Mill and Soulja Boy, are perhaps the most trending acts in the social realm. Soulja Boy reenacts comedic interview from The Breakfast Club, reciting "Draakee" as he walks from one end of the stage to the next. Meek creates a "moment," performing "Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)."

 

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Bedtime is approaching but there's not a yawn in sight around this crew. If you're looking for the millennials, you can find them turning up at Barclays.

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