Outside Lands 2018

Festivals

I would have traded seeing “Low Life” performed twice to see even half of GoldLink’s set. And although The Weekend and Future, respectively, were amazing performances, many of us Hip-Hop heads still have a sour taste in our mouth from last year’s Outside Lands when A Tribe Called Quest got cancelled – not just once, but twice in one weekend.

Sure, Berner filled in, but does Burner really compare to GoldLink? I wouldn’t say so. GoldLink’s last album, “At What Cost” contains several of my all-time favorite songs, not to mention the track, “Crew” which was released in 2016 and is still spinning on mainstream radio.  Rolling Stone even called it one of the 40 Best Rap Albums of 2017.

The weather was great. Typical San Francisco weather – warm in the sun, cold in the shade, foggy at times, and cold enough for fur at night. The grounds were well maintained (no porta-potty issues), minimal trash, and very polite volunteers and vendors. I spent most of my time at the Twin Peaks and Lands End stage with a few stops at Panhandle, but each day, I averaged 30,000 steps and 10 miles of walking during festival hours. The new clear bag policy made entry less stressful – I bought a $9 bag off Amazon that broke at the start of day two. Not recommended.

Some of my favorite sets:

N.E.R.D. – they played the track “Lemon” (yes – the one with Riri) like four times back to back. Sounds cheesy, but I was dancing just as hard to the fourth time around as I was the first.

2018 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Lands End Stage - Day 1

Odesza – not going to lie, all my friends went to Outside Lands for this set. Well, mid-hype, I ran away from the group to use the restroom, heard this song, stopped, and danced with strangers until I almost broke down and cried.

2018 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Lands End Stage - Day 1

Saba – I have seen “West Side Bound 3” live so many times and still, and I get level 100 hype every time I get the chance to see him again. Proof is here.

2018 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Panhandle Stage - Day 3

Smokepurpp – the mosh pit went crazy. He performed one of XXXTENTACION’s songs, “Look At Me” as a tribute. Being signed to Travis Scott’s label, Cactus Jack, everyone went wild (including me) when he did, “Fingers Blue”.

2018 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Twin Peaks Stage - Day 2

SOBxRBE – this has to be one of the best sets of the weekend. SOB brought out Nef the Pharaoh for “Bling Blaow” and shortly after the festival, their single, “Anti” went certified gold. Since the trio was also featured on the Black Panther Soundtrack, they ended their set with the heavy hitter, “Paramedic”.

2018 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Twin Peaks Stage - Day 2

Future – I mean, do I really need to say more?

2018 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Twin Peaks Stage - Day 2

Whethan – I saw this guy on accident walking from one stage to another, but he caught my attention when he mixed Childish Gambino’s “This is America” with some EDM. From then on, I’ve been hooked.

2018Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Panhandle Stage - Day 2

Caleborate – an intimate, daytime performance was delivered by a long-time featured artist over at KSJS. “Soul” is one of the best tracks to come out of 2017. And I got a chance to thank Caleborate later in the day when we crossed paths in the VIP area. Definitely one of my Top 5 Festival Moments.

2018 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Panhandle Stage - Day 1

DJ Snake – real trappy electronic music closed out the weekend. The casual mix of mainstream Hip-Hop with dirty house music was extremely lit. I enjoyed myself. My EDM friends, however, were not impressed.

2018 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Twin Peaks Stage - Day 3

Overall, the weekend was more than I think anyone could ask for. I enjoyed yelling out “you heard it first on KSJS” at the top of my lungs for several songs. I met up with all my friends (if you are a seasoned festival goer, you know how difficult this is). I made a bunch of new friends. I stayed out too late, I drank a little too much, but I have some of the best festie memories to date. Until next year Outside Lands. Peace.

All Photography courtesy of Outside Lands by FilmMagic.com

5 Reasons @NNMFestival Tops All Other Nor-Cal Festivals

Festivals

For some people, a festival is just another festival is just another festival. But in anticipation for Northern Nights, many of my close friends boasted about how “Northern Nights is the best festival” and for some, even their “favorite” festival. I was skeptical – I go to a lot of festivals – how could this one be so great?

Well. Okay – now I see…

The Location – there is a weird geographic anomaly about Piercy, CA.  Locals say there are some places where water runs upstream, gravity is “stronger,” and supposedly, a compass will flutter heavily at true North due to an overwhelming magnetic force surrounding this area.  Not sure if any of this is true, but once you arrive at Cook’s Valley Campground at the Mendocino – Humboldt County line, you can certainly feel a sense of belonging. The grounds are beautiful. The trees are so majestic that if you look up at the tallest branches, you can basically travel through time.  The overall sense of welcoming was incandescent.

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Photo by @kristinabaky

The River – the river was probably my favorite aspect of the entire weekend – partly because it was almost 100 degrees and it kept most of us from dying of heat – but also partly because it was a fun-festival-sea-of-floaties. I saw everything from swans, peacocks, and flamingos to donuts and popsicles. As a matter of fact, an entire group of friends each had a single slice of pizza to form one large pepperoni pizza (squad goals AF). Huge unicorn islands dominated the river, while rafts with built-in canopies and coolers floated by too. A river dragon made its way through smaller floats which made way for the gigantic rubber ducky. An incredible sight for sure. The river stage was strategically placed right along the riverbed so you could hear the music while you lay there chillin’… What other festivals even offer that?

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Photo by @kristinabaky

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The People – there were soooooo maaaaaaany peopleeeee. Organizers say this was the largest crowd EVER. It was insane the number of festivalers who attended this thing. And to be honest, I recognized a lot of faces (and totems) from previous festivals this summer, but everyone’s squad seemed to be bigger than before – including mine. The whole weekend, everyone I met was so extremely kind. Neighbors peaked into our camp to say “hi” and introduce themselves. People passing by stopped to compliment our setup. Some of my crew came all the way from Tahoe and attracted other Tahomies. Someone let me take over our camp’s aux so while I was blasting Mac Dre, pretty girls stopped to get a little hyphy. Even people working the festival made a lasting impression. From the guy who guided us to our camping spot (and then was so patient and flexible when we asked to move a few spaces over) to the lovely lady who took her smoke break at our camp in the shade after picking up trash all day in the scorching heat.  Yes – the people. You will NOT find these genuine people at any other festival.

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Photo by @kristinabaky

The Vibes – needless to say, with the environment and the people on level 100, the vibes were beyond outstanding. Obviously, the music speaks for itself (no need to include how great it was – you saw the lineup!) There was yoga, a forest full of hammocks (perfect for mid-day naps), a cannabis area, a silent disco, art galleries, and tons of things to spend money on: vendors, plenty of food options, and a general store stocked with everything you forgot. I’m not sure what consumes one’s soul when going to Northern Nights, but even the shyest people seem to have the courage to come up and tell you how beautiful you are.  Sometimes you just need that kind of energy and Northern Nights was just that. The vibes at the Bunker Stage were the strongest. I saw the sun set and rise from various spots at the Bunker. Weird-5am-shenanigans took place there, but during that time in space, it was anything but weird.

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Photo by @kristinabaky

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A New Family – so many crews linked up for this. I had my crew (who started festival season off at Serenity Gathering and kept screaming “Serenity Day 91” all weekend), my crew had their LIB and Buku crews, those crews had their friends. My friends ended up knowing their friends. My SnowGlobe squad reassembled… Never in my entire festival-going experience had I ever been in one place with so many loving people. Like it was impossible to get lost when everyone knew where to return you. I went with about 25 friends, I left with about 25 more, and I gained about a million new memories.

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Photo by @kristinabaky

All music aside – now I see why everyone claims this to be the “best” festival ever. And while some of us are still not unpacked, still a little sunburnt, our voices barely returning – we so anxiously await next summer when we return to do it all over again at the 7th Annual Northern Nights Music Festival in 2019. See you all on the river (or at Bunker). Peace out, festie fam.

All photography by Kristina Baky @kristinabaky.

Why Hip-Hop Needs Festivals Like @NNMFestival

Festivals

If there was one thing I wish more people talked about more when rendering their favorite festival experiences – is how peaceful the Hip-Hop environment was.

I realize a small (or perhaps, non-existent) number of people actually go to Electronic-based festivals to hear Hip-Hop so let’s take a moment to acknowledge Northern Nights Music Festival for always including some degree of Hip-Hop. This year: Sage The Gemini. In previous years: Living Legends, Adam Vida, Black Star, GoldLink, Amp Live, Zion I, and many others.

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It’s hard to explain the scenery of a strictly Hip-Hop show or festival but imagine this – last year at Rolling Loud Bay Area, I saw a girl actively participate in a mosh pit and then immediately get upset when she got knocked down multiple times – while getting pushed around (as expected in a mosh pit) she threatened to pepper-spray everyone within reach. Wild right? At the same festival – Lil B got jumped backstage – of all people – Lil B?The Based God – who literally loves every single soul on this Earth including insects and trees.

Also, consider – numerous SOBxRBE shows in the Bay where chains get snatched and in turn, fights break out. At their most recent back-to-back, sold-out show in Santa Cruz, the second show didn’t even happen because someone brought their gun out. I’ve seen fights turn into brawls, rude girls throw drinks on one another, and aggressive attitudes from virtually everybody.

Not to mention – extensive searches, metal detectors, and pat downs upon entry. And don’t you dare try smoking a joint while you’re in there. Some will say it’s ego, others say pride, but what it really is – is the very content of the genre itself. Which is something that’s probably not going to change much in time. When you rap about drugs, violence, and bad bitches, that’s what you can expect when the energy is reciprocated in a live setting. But switch environments for just a second and watch how the scene changes.

HIP-HOP NEEDS FESTIVALS LIKE NORTHERN NIGHTS because the atmosphere is so welcoming and abundant in vibes. If you’ve ever tried, you know you can’t talk a Hip-Hop head out of Hip-Hop, so don’t try. It’s not about the music – but try enticing real Hip-Hop fans with friendly people, pretty girls, not-so-douchey men, caring neighbors, activities like cannabis and yoga – c’mon, have you ever seen anyone smoke weed or leave yoga mad or wanting to fight? No, you have not. This year, Northern Nights has also incorporated an Experimental Cannabis Activation where organizers simply wish to implement a re-imagination of how festivals incorporate cannabis. Plus, of course, yoga, live art, a silent disco, a river, workshops, and plenty more.

So much of Hip-Hop is resistance. Especially resistance to change. But a festival like Northern Nights will change your life, and maybe even your perspective on music in general. Genuinely coming from someone who sgoes hyphy to Mac Dre in between EDM songs at the most unexpected DJ sets at any given festival, I highly recommend this one over your typical festival.

Tickets are selling fast, and the set times have been released. Visit https://www.northernnights.org/ now for everything you need to know.  #MakeTheJourney and see you all there!

Photos courtesy of Northern Nights Music Festival

Enchanted Forest Gathering 2018

Festivals

Enchanted Forest Gathering took place last weekend at this little campground in Northern California called Black Oak Ranch about 3 hours away from the Bay Area. Enchanted Forest featured three music stages, a spa, fire dancers, a mobile art gallery, a kid’s play area, belly dancers, plenty of vendors, boutique camping (and of course, regular camping), ample drinking water, delicious food options, workshops, and hardly any cell service.

Many people, like those who pay thousands of dollars to attend EDC or Coachella, will see a lineup like Enchanted’s, where they don’t recognize most of names, and look right past it.

Here’s a suggestion: go to the shows, concerts, and festivals where you don’t already know half the lineup, even better – go early, catch the openers, and support the local, independent, and underground talent. This is the best remedy for anyone who has self-proclaimed Music-ADHD, like all of us over at KSJS.

At Enchanted Forest, there were certain things that you’d expect – long lines to check in, somewhat unknowledgeable staff on the first day, wooks everywhere, dust (lots of dust), less than ideal restroom situations, you know – the norm for camping festivals, however, there were certain things about Enchanted that stood out.

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The Grounds: The camping area was goddamn beautiful. There were tall, sultry, droopy trees. We got a good spot next to one. Ample drinking was available throughout the entire festival and camping areas (YAAAS). There was river access – I would call it a creek, but all technicalities aside, it was the perfect amount of chill for my feet after setting up camp. On Saturday – much to everyone’s surprise – it rained all day. It never really got cold, and the rain cleared up before sundown so, overall, I would call it a successful little storm. Each row of campsites had a name making it easy to tell friends how to find you – we stayed between Oak and Maple. Little things like this make all the difference. Overall, nature was good to us and I would go back to Black Oak Ranch anytime.

The People: A wide spectrum of people were in attendance. Everything from families with children to hipster millennials, middle-aged couples to college grads, rave kids, yogis, people with disabilities, and every race imaginable. I never saw a fight. I never saw security ruffle feathers. I never saw anyone unhappy. Not to say that Enchanted Forest didn’t have to deal any issues, however, they were minimal and respectfully handled. The good vibes were strong and people were so kind. Some standard festival guidelines to follow in case you didn’t know:

  1. Help your neighbor
  2. Return all things that are lost
  3. If you get a gift, give a gift

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And lastly, the music: highlights curated by KSJS Music Directors David @demiurg3 from the Smile High Club, live every Thursday 2-5pm on 90.5 FM KSJS, and DEBO @c4lif0rni4gr0wn

 

Butterscotch

Keys N Krates 

Ill-Esha

Dirtwire

The Pirate & Smasheltooth’s Anniversary Sets

DEBO also highly recommends this mixtape from Smasheltooth for your hyphy needs:

Truth

Del & Amp Live

 

05/30/2018 10:00PM to 12:00AM – Brother Ali Interview from California Roots Festival

Playlists

10:05PM 03 Greedo “Fortnite” from “Fortnite”
10:08PM Bas “Pinball II ft. Correy C” from “Pinball II”
10:12PM Pac Div “Gorgeous” from “Gorgeous”
10:16PM DJ Fresh x Jay Worthy x Mitchy Slick “Fantastic Four ft. Iamsu!” from “Fantastic Four ft. Iamsu!” Local
10:20PM Royce Da 5’9 “Dumb ft. Boogie” from “Dumb ft. Boogie”

BROTHER ALI INTERVIEW START

10:28PM Brother Ali “Own Light (What Hearts Are For)” from “All the Beauty in This Whole Life” on Rhymesayers
10:43PM Kendrick Lamar “XXX (feat. U2)” from “DAMN.” (2017) on Top Dawg Entertainment
10:50PM E40 “Sideways ft. B-Legit” from “In a Major Way” Local

END INTERVIEW – click here for audio – subscribe to get updates before anyone else!

10:58PM ALLBLACK “Ball Out ft. GUAPDAD4000 & P-Lo” from “Ball Out ft. GUAPDAD4000 & P-Lo” Local
11:00PM City Shawn “2AM” from “2AM” Local
11:05PM Shuko & Chuuwee “Blessings” from “Blessings”
11:06PM Denzel Curry “Sumo” from “Sumo”
11:10PM Yates “Pull Up On Me ft. Ziggy prod. Traxamillion” from “Pull Up On Me ft. Ziggy” Local
11:14PM EARTHGANG “Red Light (prod. Anonxmous)” from “Red Light (prod. Anonxmous)”
11:17PM DJ Fresh & Zion I “CBDA” from “The Tonite Show with Zion I” Local
11:19PM Del & Amp Live “Gravy Train” from “Gate 13” Local
11:23PM Big Krit “Subenstein (My Sub IV)” from “4eva Is a Mighty Long Time – EP”
11:27PM The Cool Kids “9:15PM (feat. Jeremih)” from “Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe” on Propelr Music / Cake
11:32PM Skipper “Man on the Moon (feat. Ymtk)” from “Prezidential” on HBK Gang / Skipper / EMPIRE Local
11:36PM Nipsey Hussle “Dedication (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” from “Victory Lap” on Atlantic Records
11:43PM Tre Capital “Witness #HeroSeason (prod. Mathaius Young)” from “Witness #HeroSeason (prod. Mathaius Young)”
11:46PM Matty Slims “Say Nothin (ft. Motive Yaypes & the Barhemian)” from “Say Nothin (ft. Motive Yaypes & the Barhemian)” Local
11:48PM Austin Marc “Back Up Plan (feat. Sophie Meiers & Tyler Coolidge)” from “Back Up Plan (feat. Sophie Meiers & Tyler Coolidge) – Single” on Austin Marc
11:50PM SOBxRBE “Anit Social” from “Anit Social” Local
11:53PM Chris Orrick “Bottom Feeders (feat. Fashawn)” from “Portraits” on Mello Music Group
11:55PM Warm Brew “Same page ft. Niko G4” from “Same Page ft. Niko G4”
11:59PM Flatbush Zombies “Headstones” from “Vacation In Hell” on Glorious Dead Recordings
12:04AM Blimes “Hot Damn (feat. Method Man)” from “Hot Damn (feat. Method Man) – Single” (2013) on Peach House Local

05/02/2018 10:00PM to 02:00AM – #SerenityGathering Recap & Zumbi Interview

Playlists

10:00PM ALLBLACK “Road Run (ft. Shoreline Mafia)” from “Road Run (ft. Shoreline Mafia)” Local
10:03PM Pac Div “Stoked” from “Stoked”
10:07PM Audio Push “pump fake (Prod by Price & VNSN)” from “Pump Fake (Prod by Price & VNSN)”
10:14PM AD “Darth Vader (prod. Lettuce By The Pound)” from “Darth Vader (prod. Lettuce By The Pound)”

Serenity Gathering Recap & Interview w/Zumbi of Zion I

10:18PM Pure Powers “Love Somebody” from “Love Somebody – Single” on Pure Entertainment
10:23PM Zion I “The Bay” from “The Bay” Local
10:28PM Zumbi “Serenity Gathering Interview” from “Serenity Gathering Interview” Local
10:30PM Zion I & DJ.Fresh “Cbda” from “The Tonite Show with Zion I” on Fresh in the Flesh / Mind Over Matter Local
10:35PM Zion I “What We Gone Do (feat. Jane Hancock)” from “The Labyrinth” on Mind Over Matter Local

Full audio available here
10:38PM Kool John “Drippin’ (ft. Iamsu!, HBK Skipper & Hefna Gwap)” from “Drippin’ (ft. Iamsu!, HBK Skipper & Hefna Gwap)” Local
10:44PM ZIGGY “DFW (prod. Cisco)” from “DFW (prod. Cisco)” Local
10:47PM Drakeo The Ruler “Flu Flamming” from “Cold Devil” on Stinc Team
10:50PM SOBxRBE “Anit Social” from “Anit Social” Local
10:53PM Larry June “Too Live Crew (feat. Chuck Inglish)” from “You’re Doing Good” on Warner Bros. Local
10:56PM RonnyJ “Snakes ft. Wifisfuneral” from “Snakes ft. Wifisfuneral”
12:04AM Cal-A “We Straight (feat ALLBLACK)” from “We Straight (feat ALLBLACK)”
12:06AM Odie “Night Terrific! (ft. Yaqob)” from “Night Terrific! (ft. Yaqob)” Local
12:10AM Nu (Basi x Mvck) “If Mama Knew Love” from “If Mama Knew Love”
12:15AM Zion I & DJ.Fresh “Kale” from “The Tonite Show with Zion I” on Fresh in the Flesh / Mind Over Matter Local
12:17AM Big Krit “Subenstein (My Sub IV)” from “4eva Is a Mighty Long Time – EP”
12:24AM The Cool Kids “Symptoms of a Down (feat. Helios Hussain)” from “Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe” on Propelr Music / Cake
12:28AM Vince Staples “Big Fish (ft. Juicy J)” from “Big Fish Theory”
12:33AM ZIGGY “Emotional (prod. Krikit Boi)” from “Kakis” Local
12:35AM Burnin Giraph “4 Free (ft. Waju & Richard Wright)” from “4 Free”
12:40AM Sahtyre “Afterhourz” from “The Gorgeous Darkness” on Below System Records
12:42AM GrandBankss “Ownership (ft. Elujay)” from “Ownership (ft. Elujay)” Local
12:45AM Sango “Khlorine (feat. Smino)” from “In the Comfort Of” on Last Gang
12:50AM Prince Sole “Change Up (feat. Young Gully)” from “Hope All Is Well” on DreemTeemMusic Local
12:54AM Flatbush Zombies “Headstones” from “Vacation In Hell” on Glorious Dead Recordings
12:57AM Blimes “Hot Damn (feat. Method Man)” from “Hot Damn (feat. Method Man) – Single” (2013) on Peach House
01:01AM Yates “Right Away (ft. Ziggy & Mac)” from “Right Away (ft. Ziggy & Mac)” Local
01:06AM Sa-Roc “Forever” from “Forever – Single” on Rhymesayers
01:10AM Lou Phelps “Come Inside (Ft. Jazz Cartier) (Prod. Kaytranada)” from “Come Inside (Ft. Jazz Cartier) (Prod. Kaytranada)”
01:14AM Buddy “Black ft. A$AP Ferg” from “Black ft. A$AP Ferg”
01:19AM Tobi Lou “Troop (feat. Smino)” from “Troop (feat. Smino) – Single” on Artclub / EMPIRE
01:23AM Smoke DZA “The Mood ft. Joey Bada$$” from “The Mood ft. Joey Bada$$”
01:26AM Phonte “Change Of Mind (ft. Freddie Gibbs)” from “No News Is Good News” on The Foreign Exchange Music
01:28AM Nipsey Hussle “Dedication (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” from “Victory Lap” on Atlantic Records
01:33AM EARTHGANG “Meditate (feat. J.I.D.)” from “Rags – EP” on Spillage Village
01:37AM Tyler the Creator “Who Dat Boy (ft. A$AP Rocky)” from “Flower Boy” (2017) on Columbia
01:40AM Denzel Curry “Zeltron 6 Billion (feat. Lil Ugly Mane)” from “13 – Ep” on Concord Loma Vista
01:44AM Chuuwee “Grand Master (ft. Casual D)” from “Sabbath” on Below System Records
01:47AM Elzhi & Khrysis “Cuffin’ Season” from “Khrysis & Elzhi Are Jericho Jackson”
01:49AM BROCKHAMPTON “Swamp” from “Saturation II” on Brockhampton / EMPIRE
01:54AM City Shawn “My Way (feat. Rexx Life Raj)” from “Still Goin – EP” on Family Money Records Local
01:58AM 6LACK “Ex Calling” from “Free 6LACK” on LVRN Records

Women in Music Festival 2018

Festivals

To be honest, it was intimidating as hell walking into an amphitheater full of powerful women… Until I realized I was a powerful woman too. As I looked around the room, I thought about a book by Toni Morrison called Home, where a young black girl named Cee works as an assistant to a doctor. Lack of knowledge has her convinced he is a hero because he helps the sick regardless of them being black or poor. But really, he is a doctor practicing eugenics, which involves the manipulation of human breeding, often by sterilizing people without their consent. Long story short–her physical and emotional recovery is aided by several strong women. Women who “took responsibility for their lives, and for whatever, whoever else needed them.” These women are described as having “no excess in their gardens because they shared everything [and] there was no trash or garbage in their homes because they had a use for everything.”

Sisterhood.

The New Parkway Theater in Oakland was home to the Women In Music Festival’s Panel Day where several phenomenal women in the industry came together to share insight on: Women in Live Music, Women in Artist Marketing, and Women in Media. The panel also included a Live Artist Interview with female powerhouse: Rayana Jay.

It was refreshing to hear some of the conversation around topics and ideas I struggle with. And I felt less alone knowing that other women around me dealt with the same things.

Here’s some notes I jotted down from the Live Music panel:

  • Practice process over perfection
  • Stay confident
  • No person is too high up to reach out and say hello
  • Go after it–regardless
  • In your come up, bring other women up with you

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Things I took away from the Live Interview with Rayana Jay:

  • You don’t need to move away to a “big city”–just travel
  • Be your own marketing team
  • Do business with your girls
  • Find your lane and stay in your lane
  • Be your own biggest critic

 

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Artist Marketing panel take away:

  • “You’re only as good as your single is”
  • As important as sisterhood is in this industry, recognize your big brothers because there’s just some shit women shouldn’t deal with 
  • Stay curious and always seek knowledge
  • If you’re the only woman in the room–boss the fuck up
  • Don’t be that bitch on the studio couch

 

 

And lastly, from the Media panel:

  • Be creative in your own style
  • Don’t let middle-aged white men tell you that you can’t 
  • Organize your ideas and thoughts so they are easily accessible to you
  • Men need us–remind them if you need to
  • Organic traffic over everything

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Listening to all of this, I realized something…

In my role as Urban Music Director at 90.5 FM KSJS, I am constantly surrounded by men. At the panel they referred to radio a “boy’s club”. And I laughed because it’s very true. Thankfully, I’ve managed with hardly any problems getting what I want or need… and although I’m shy around other women, “LET ME TALK TO A DAMN RAPPER,” is usually my attitude when doing business.

Epiphany: maybe other women feel this way. And maybe that’s where things get weird… The women-to-women interaction needs to be less frightening and more welcoming.

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The Women In Music Festival sparked a lot of conversation about other themes: race, gender, homosexuality, oppression, equality. But it was comforting knowing that my feelings of empathy were being reciprocated. We were all feeling. And that was special.

The festival  didn’t just focus on the panel discussion, in fact, it lasted a total of four days and had a variety of events ranging from an intimate DJ workshop in collaboration with Serato on Thursday, to a discussion showcasing four women from distinctly different parts of the industry, at the Pandora Headquarters on Friday.

The Oakland Museum of California was host to the first ever Women in Hip-Hop panel in conjunction with RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom Exhibit–the under-recognized story of one of the most influential cultural and social movements of the last 50 years–which is ongoing on every Saturday and Sunday from now until August 12. To top it off, this event was garnished with the typical First Friday arrangements: food trucks, cocktails, and live music.

Saturday morning was about self-care, which was a huge reoccurring theme throughout the event. Shakira Scott lead yoga classes that incorporated meditation and mindful vinyasa flow to 90’s R&B, alternative music, reggae, jazz with a splash of meditative sounds.

Saturday night, I attended the Women in Music Concert at Starline Social Club. In a judgement-free zone, we danced to music by Tiffany Gouche, Raveena, B-Side BrujasAh-Mer-Ah-Su, LadyRyan, Sweetest Threat, and Rayana Jay. While DJ Red Corvette was on the turntables, Fela Kutchii hosted the party. What can I say about this? Nearly every women in attendance came from an earlier festival event so we had nothing but good vibes among one another. It was an amazing bond to share with other women in the industry.

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Raveena (photo by @aeprod510)

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Tiffany Gouché (photo by @aeprod510)

Sunday entailed a “Boss Brunch”–breakfast, mimosas, and women speaking about their wins, losses, and what it really takes to be a girl boss in this industry. Afterwards, an “Eat, Shop, Talk” marketplace went down which showcased local female entrepreneurs, business owners, and queen-ran services like nail design, tarot card readings, and henna artists. Art, fashion, jewelry, and beauty vendors were present alongside food and dessert vendors with sounds by Chulita Vinyl Club and Climaxxx. A seemingly wonderful way to end a weekend full of influential femininity.

Whether you attended one event or all of the events, the Women in Music Festival successfully empowered hundreds of women and intentionally brought awareness to the idea of sisterhood.

We needed this. Thank you ❤ ’til next year.

My First 3 Looks of Festival Season

Fashion

Festival season is here! Whether you are traveling across the country, staying local, or going “glamping”, there is one important thing on every fashionista’s mind—”What. Am. I. Going. To Wear?”

The obvious: comfy shoes—for long days running from stage to stage turned to nights of endless dancing. Layers—once the sun goes down, the temperatures will drop (cue bass drop) and you may need a sweater. And last, sun protection—a hat and sunscreen will protect your gorgeous made-up face and delicate skin.

For a multi-day festival, especially one that’s out-of-town, packing may become overwhelming. And while you’re trying not to forget your toothbrush, hair products, and makeup pieces, getting festie-ready might be harder than you expected.

I’ve got a few key-looks to inspire your weekend wardrobe for what could be the highlight of your summer.

Look 1: Festival Goddess

Bohemian-chic inspired styling with florals and ruffles. An outfit might include a wrap-around skirt, romper, and neutral colors decorated with turquoise jewelry, floppy hats, and booties.

This is a timeless look you will see at every music festival. From Coachella to Lollapalooza, the Festival Goddess lives on. She is part moonchild and part wanderer, with a dash of modern to balance out her vintage look.

Here’s what I’m wearing:

Boho Playsuit – $16.99 via Amazon.com 

Billabong Levi Vegan Suede Booties – $74.95 via SwimOutlet.com 

Floppy Hat – $23.49 via Target 

Rose Quartz Aphrodite Necklace – $21.95 via YogaOutlet.com

 

Look 2: Rave Bae

Ready to sit atop a pair of muscular shoulders in true rave fashion, this look is beautifully bright, sometimes neon, sometimes glow-in-the-dark, and quite practical. The Rave Bae lives at EDC, but she often ventures out to mix things up at other, less-EDM heavy scenarios.

No need to get a new crop top—consider rocking one of your fav bikini tops! Pair with your go-to high-waist or cut-off shorts, a backpack for your things, and pro-tip: if you were thinking of a bodysuit, try a statement one-piece instead… it’s waterproof (and inevitably sweatproof) so you can drench yourself in all those good vibes. This is a PLUR-approved message.

Here’s what I’m wearing:

Mermaid Crop Top- $28.99 via SwimOutlet.com

An old pair of cut off shorts that I’ve had for years

Teva Sandals – $70 via SwimOutlet.com

CamelBak DayStar Backpack – $85 via CamelBak

Look 3: Chill Mode

Grand finale aside, cute, comfy-casual is your best bet for day 3.

Chill Mode Chick likes moisture wicking yoga pants, graphic tees and hoodies, slides and tennis shoes. Get creative in your chill mode. Wear those fun, funky prints, bust out your tie-dye, and mask your messy hair with a trendy dad-hat.

Day 3 is also the perfect opportunity to wear the merch you just bought. Whether it’s The Governor’s Ball or BottleRock, remember… you want to be comfortable enough to call this the sleep-on-the-ride-home outfit too.

Here’s what I’m wearing:

The best yoga pants to ever exist (Beyond Yoga Spacedye High Waisted Leggings) – $97 via YogaOutlet.com 

Support local artists – buy a t-shirt or sweater and wear it!

Classic Chuck Taylor Converse – $54.99 on Zappos.com

“Lit” Dad Hat – $8.66 via Amazon.com

Less Rap, Let’s Rave – The Santa Cruz Music Festival 2018

Festivals

Every post-festival Monday always has me in my feelings about the worthiness of #FestivalLife, but here it is, Wednesday, convinced I was delusional because, YES, I am still very much all about it. That being said, the 2018 Santa Cruz Music Festival was a huge success, and having been to the festival last year, I can confidently say, each year is getting better and better.

Despite the light rain, the #SCMF brought together a versatile group of people. Everything from seasoned yogis to hipster millennials, to families, street faire enthusiasts, students, rave babies, foodies, hip-hoppers, and indie rockers. Downtown Santa Cruz was quite literally host to every type of festival-goer. It’s easy to bring together all the same kind of people, so by way of festival code, a huge virtual round of applause goes out to the organizers behind the #SantaCruzMusicFestival for entertaining such a diverse crowd.

If you only went for the Hip-Hop, you’re probably disappointed. Big name headliners like Ghostface Killah, Scarab (of Living Legends), and Smoke DZA took up less than two hours of the two-day show. And while practically every Electronic artist incorporated some Hip-Hop into their sets, most of the “real” Hip-Hop fans wanted less rave stuff and more rap stuff.

Author’s Note: the sarcastic use of “real” when referring to Hip-Hop simply refers the older Gen Y crowd who doesn’t support the evolution of Hip-Hop; and who seem to think the music created during their prime is ultimately the best thing to have ever happened. Also, they hate rappers with the prefixes “Lil” or “Yung” and preach about “hype”.

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Scarub of Living Legends

For many, the true gems are hidden in the earliest sets at the smaller venues. The lesser-known acts and up-and-coming artists are the ones really driving the crowd.  Speaking of, I had the pleasure of meeting with The Rellies, a Hip-Hop duo from Santa Cruz and Maui who performed inside Streetlight Records on Sunday. They brought out Dave Steezy (of HBK) and went level-10 hyphy on us.

I’ve picked out some of my favorite tracks from The Rellies for you to get on:

If you like them, give ’em a follow!

If you listened to A Vibe Called West last week, you’d know that Pure Powers’ killed his set on Saturday (yes—we predicted it). Last year’s headlining acts were all squeezed into the big, but small Catalyst so the festival’s transition to the Civic Auditorium was much needed. It allowed us all to enjoy the show without being too close to the people dancing beside us, while also leaving plenty of space for people with a larger personal bubble in the back.

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Pure Powers

There’s a video out now for my current favorite Pure Powers song,  which is phenomenal live BTW, check it out:

Other Santa Cruz Music Festival Highlights include:

  • Bigger festivals charge $12-16 bucks a beer, but the venues participating in this year’s #SCMF sold regularly priced (and often, locally brewed) beer which made my pockets (and taste buds) smile.
  • I lost my phone in the VIP area (because I saw pizza and was immediately distracted) and thanks to the wonderful ladies at the CloutKing table, I got it back along with a dope CloutKing t-shirt. You should get yourself one too!
  • Icing on the cake for me: adding more really cool people to my network of  #FestivalFamily ❤ Thank you!
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The Grand Finale – Mr. Carmack