14 Unforgettable Sets from Outside Lands 2015 [Festival Review]

CoverIt’s been nearly a week since we first stepped into Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands, but with the return to the daily grind it feels like even longer for most of us. This year’s festival, yet another record-breaking one by attendance, featured all the amenities that make OSL special–amazing food, craft beers, a star-studded comedy lineup, the beautiful backdrop of Hellman Hollow and of course a top-notch bill of musical performances. With its rapid expansion came some growing pains as well, though, and our main gripe was the inaccessibility of the Heineken House, which featured some great DJs, due to overcrowding. At the same time, the greater depth of the lineup made the previously overlooked Panhandle stage the place to be and when the crowd came together at shows, the energy was unbelievable.

In the stupor that follows music festivals, it can be easy to allow your precious experiences to fade in the rearview of your memory bank, but there will always be sets that you’ll never forget. We’ve recounted 14 sets that have been stuck in our minds all week and also tried something a bit new with this review by asking random fans to review our favorite sets. If you were in attendance this year, we hope this brings you back and, if not, it might just make you want to check out OSL next year.

All images by Ninja Dominic Powell. All writing, unless otherwise noted, by Ash.

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Dinner With Gerald: G-Eazy Talks Lollapalooza, Endless Nights In The Studio & The Golden State Warriors [TMN Exclusive Interview]

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G-EAZY
Oh Well

G-Eazy‘s ascension to hip-hop stardom has been anything but typical. In just four years the Bay Area native has gone from indie rap darling to selling out nationwide tours. It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment where fantasy crossed over to reality for the rapper, though if you take the name of his debut album literally, you may be inclined to just assume These Things Happen. Except they don’t. Whether you enjoy his music or not, you have to respect the man’s hustle and the way he’s been able to expand his fanbase organically through a steady release of free music on his SoundCloud page. The hype is very real, so much so that G-Eazy was the only hip-hop artist to headline a stage at this year’s Lollapalooza, a testament to how far he’s already come.

I had a chance to catch up with Gerald prior to that performance as he prepared to take the stage Friday night at The Music Lounge 10 Years After-Party presented by Renaissance Hotels, BMF Media Group and Billboard. Having just landed in Chicago after playing a set at Osheaga Festival earlier that day, Gerald was about to dive in to dinner when we first shook hands. Like many rappers, Eazy’s persona is one that’s built on bravado, but in reality Gerald is an incredibly humble and pragmatic dude. At one point during our interview we were interrupted by a few friends and admirers who wanted to snap a couple pics, which G was more than happy to oblige as he posed with a huge grin while hilariously flaunting a stack of $2 bills (which he subsequently used to make it rain during his set about half an hour later). During this exchange an older gentleman pulled me aside and assured me that in all his years working in the industry, Gerald was one of the nicest individuals he’d ever met, also emphasizing that he was special and always made time for people. Perhaps it’s that charisma and magnetism that draws fans to him in the first place. It certainly translates to his live performance, as G-Eazy had one of the more entertaining sets all weekend. In my conversation with Gerald we touched on what it meant for him to be closing out the festivities on Saturday night, along with plans for his new album and some of his early Bay Area influences. Find out what he had to say below. 

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[Hip-Hop] Chance The Rapper & Noname Gypsy – Israel (Sparring)

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Chance The Rapper & Noname Gypsy
Israel (Sparring)

A week after releasing his surprise mixtape with Lil B, Chance The Rapper is back again with some dope new material. Produced by Cam O’bi, “Israel (Sparring)” is a relatively low-key tune that features Channo kicking a few laid-back bars alongside frequent collaborator, Noname Gypsy. Don’t let the mellow vibes fool you though, as the introspective cut boasts some of the sharpest rhymes we’ve heard all year. There’s no clues yet on the status of Chance’s next solo project, but with his Family Matters tour set to begin later this fall, we hope that means even bigger things are in store for the future.

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[TMN Interview] How to be Hard Headed: GANZ on his Vision and Path to Success

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The ever shifting musical landscape of today lends itself to short memories and drastic overstatements. Albums are placed in the upper echelons shortly after their debuts, and claims of dominance fly constantly, portraying musicians as the literal godfathers of their respective genres. Part of the blame is shouldered by writers; an over reactive bunch who tend to go a bit overboard in backing their favorite artists. “Godfather” might be a bit of an embellishment, but in the case of Dutch producer Jordy Saamena, it would not be entirely hyperbolic to claim that he spawned an entirely new production style two years ago – one that has sparked a new wave of artists emulating his early success.

Saamena, who has situated himself as a internationally known producer under his stage name GANZ (pronounced gans), took the attention of the electronic music world through the release of his unique remixes – coined as “flips” – dating back to February of last year. While at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco on the first of an 8-stop North American tour, Jordy and manager Dennis Saamena (his older brother) were gracious enough to take some time after his performance and give The Music Ninja a run down on what the past two years have been like, the release of his label, and what he sees for the future of GANZ.

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Lollapalooza 2015: Our Top Takeaways [Event Review]

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As with any music festival, after Lollapalooza is over, it always takes us a few days to digest everything and snap back to reality. For locals, the festival serves as a three day escape within our own city. For outsiders, it provides them with a completely unique way to experience Chicago. The magic of Lollapalooza is simply unmatched, and despite a weather scare on the final day, Lollapalooza 2015 turned out to be just as memorable as years past. On the next few pages we’ve broken down some of our lasting impressions from Lolla.

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[Event Preview] Red Bull Sound Select – Denver – 8/22

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At this point, there shouldn’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind that Denver’s music scene is alive, bustling, and showing the rest of the country that it can go toe to toe with any other major musical city. Obvious identifiers aside (Red Rocks, Beta Nightclub, The UMS), smaller showcases like this help shine the spotlight on this ever-growing scene.

If you’re not familiar with Red Bull Sound Select just yet, now is your time to brush up. It’s a concert series that is curated across multiple major cities (Nashville, Portland, Philly, etc), and it focuses on bringing in local promoters to help craft shows that highlight national and local talent alike.

Denver’s own DJ Low key of The Meadowlark’s weekly parties, The Solution and Goodness, has his hands on this show in particular, and has brought in Chicago sensation Towkio, as well as Houston-based Fat Tony, and local acts F.L. and CRL CRRLL (who happens to be one of our fav Denver musicians.)

It’s being held at The Moon Room at Summit Hall, on August 22, which will provide an intimate, yet rowdy setting. You can RSVP here, but make sure to show up early. RSVP’ing is not a guarantee for entry, but it does promise $3 entry, if you’re there in time.

As an added bonus to getting there early, the first 100 people will be getting free drinks. If that doesn’t motivate you, we don’t know what will.

Towkio
Heaven Only Knows (Ft. Chance The Rapper, Lido & Eryn Allen Kane)
Twokio
Involved Ft. Vic Mensa (Prod. Kaytranada)
Summer Feat. Fat Tony
F.L.
Let You Know (Ft. AP)
CRL CRRLL
FIVE X TWENTY X FOUR
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[NEW] Lil B & Chance the Rapper – Free (Based Freestyle Mixtape)

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Love him, hate him or just don’t understand him, Lil B is without a doubt one of the most interesting personalities rap culture has ever seen. Coining the term “based” to describe his stream-of-conscious, at times incoherent, style, the Based God’s touched hip-hop in a way that’s freed up hip-hop artists to be as weird as they please. This influence is evident today, more than ever, with a new wave of quirky, creative emcees popping up constantly and the term “based” becoming a staple of everyday vocabulary in describing a state of flow or inner-peace. Over the last few years B’s remained relatively quiet, and in that same time Chance the Rapper who is an oddball in his own right, albeit a more coherent and widely accessible one, has risen to popularity.

A few weeks back, the two posted a picture together on social media announcing that they had recorded a full album of based freestyles from a single studio session sending the blogosphere into a craze. They’ve finally unleashed the project and it’s as off the wall as you’d expect. Fans of Lil B will notice him back in his comfortable form, just flowing off the top, while people who are just fans of Chance might find the project a bit confusing as the production is certainly a departure from what you might be used to. If you’re fans of both, like I am, you’ll just be happy to see Lil B return working with such a creative mind. Give it a listen below.

Lil B & Chance the Rapper
Last Dance BASED FREESTYLE
Lil B & Chance the Rapper
Whats Next BASED FREESTYLE 1
Lil B & Chance the Rapper
First Mixtape BASED FREESTYLE 1
Lil B & Chance the Rapper
Amen BASED FREESTYLE
Lil B & Chance the Rapper
Do My Dance BASED FREESTYLE 1
Lil B & Chance the Rapper
We Rare BASED FREESTYLE 1
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