ONE Musicfest 2016 Highlights: The Dungeon Family, Erykah Badu, Ice Cube & More
Atlanta has become not only a musical hub known for producing some of today’s biggest stars across all genres, but a city that houses individuals who have an appreciation for world-class talent. This was certainly the case on Saturday (Sept. 10) as crowds poured into Lakewood Amphitheatre for the seventh annual ONE Musicfest. Dubbed as an “11-hour orgy of live music, non-stop dancing and beer tents,” among other things, it’s also the southeast’s largest annual urban progressive music festival, featuring an array of music from alternative to soul to next generation hip-hop.
With acts like the Dungeon Family, Ice Cube, Erykah Badu and Anderson .Paak, there was something for everyone who believes music is the universal language to enjoy. Below, relive the highlights from ONE Musicfest 2016.
Jazmine Sullivan Takes the Crowd Through Love's Ups and Downs
With an influx of Rap&B clouding the airwaves, it’s become a rarity to hear pure rhythm and blues. However, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan brought just that and more to the festival’s main stage. The Meek Mill-assisted single “Dumb,” from her 2015 album Reality Show, kicked off her performance, making a smooth transition into a handful of throwback jams that made us fall in love with her warm powerhouse voice and open-book narratives of love's battle-like course.
“Do we have any day one Jazmine Sullivan fans?” she asked the crowd, hopping right into “Bust Your Windows,” the second single from her debut album, to which the crowd roared. “Lions, Tigers & Bears” and “Circles” also thundered with the same passion as her live band added just the right amount of soul to her robust sound. Even in the dead of the heat, Sullivan raged on with her nearly flawless performance, switching gears to a lighter note. “I’m really a lover, y’all,” she offered before “Let It Burn,” the body roll-inducing track that makes you feel no other way than being in love with the thought of being in love. Sullivan’s artistry truly heals from lovesick to lovestruck.
BJ the Chicago Kid Blesses All With His Heavenly Reverb
R&B heads definitely got their sonic fix during ONE Musicfest, BJ the Chicago Kid being one. The singer-songwriter took everyone to church with songs from his recent major label debut, In My Mind, like “Turnin’ Me Up” and “Love Inside.” The temptation-laden “Church,” the perfect example of the culmination of BJ’s exquisite pen game and voice, felt just as good live as it does on wax, undeniably rocking the crowd 24 hours before Sunday service.
A$AP Ferg Amps His Live Performance Up to a New Level
“Didn’t we come here to party?” Harlem MC A$AP Ferg asked the crowd during his first-ever ONE Musicfest performance. Although the sweltering heat seemed to come to a head at his 5:30 set time, that didn’t stop fans from partaking in the rapper’s signature turn up vibes. “Uzi Gang,” “Beautiful People” and “Strive,” among other tracks from his second studio album, Always Strive and Prosper, anchored his lively set. He even showed loved to his fans with an impromptu in-crowd performance of “New Level” that had folks scrambling to pull out their cell phones and capture the rare moment.
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals Introduce Their Own Brand of Soul
To see Anderson .Paak is to witness a legend in the making. He’s truly got the talent to take him straight to the top, which we’ve made notice of in the past year with his conquering of Dr. Dre’s Compton and his latest album, Malibu. .Paak and his backing band, the Free Nationals, brought their own brand of soul to the audience. His scratchy scat floated flawlessly on tracks like “Come Down,” "DRUGS” and “Milk N’ Honey.” And of course, he hopped on the drums to flaunt his plethora of talents, singing all while taking control of the beat of “Put Me Thru” and “Am I Wrong.”
Erykah Badu Proves She’s Still a Powerful Live Performer
“I can’t do ‘Hello.’ Andre is on another stage,” Erykah Badu said to a fan who offered she perform the surprise collaboration after she mused to the crowd about what they’d like to hear from her. “That’s the only reason I’m here,” she said. “They called me and asked me to perform at the summer festival, and I’m like, ‘What’s that? The Dungeon Family? Yes, I’ll be there.'” And there she was, live and in the flesh. In her signature eclectic garbs and round top hat, the singer-songwriter put all in a trance with her voice that paints colorful pictures. Even though she was nearly 40 minutes late, Badu stans kept their feet firmly planted into the dirt ground until her arrival. Songs like “Me,” "Out My Mind, Just In Time," “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop)" and “Tyrone,” just to name a few, were a friendly reminder of all the wonderful, timeless music she’s gifted us for over two decades. “If you’ve listened to Baduizm, it means you’re a Badu baby, you’ve had milk from my bosom,” she said, laughing.
Busta Rhymes Schools the Audience on His Legacy
Never count out Busta Rhymes. The MC who ascended to the charts in the early '90s is still wowing all with his intricate rapping technique and shredding the competition. Introduced by his longtime friend, rapper and radio personality, Ed Lover, Rhymes was determined to put on a show. “Some of y’all just seeing us for the first time, you gon’ learn today,” he said. “For those of y’all that’s been rocking with us for the last 25 years, happy to see y’all.” “Make It Clap,” “What It Is" and “Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check” were a few of the chosen tracks that documented his stealthy contributions to hip-hop. One of the most notable performances was his standout rough and tough bars on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario,” which had everyone reciting the lyrics word-for-word. “I told y’all, you gon’ learn today,” he marveled as the crowd clapped.
Ice Cube Performs Hit After Hit
Ice Cube hit the stage with tons of West Coast swagger on Saturday night, outfitted in an all-black ensemble and a black Oakland Raiders snapback. The legendary gangsta rapper brought his native Compton to the ATL, performing his countless hits and paying homage to N.W.A.'s legacy. Cube kept the crowd riled up. “It Was a Good Day,” “Check Yo Self,” and “F--- tha Police” garnered the most crowd support, offering a dose of nostalgia for those that have long followed his career.
The Dungeon Family Puts on a Dynamic Reunion
Most of the buzz surrounding this year’s festival was built around the fact the entire Dungeon Family, Atlanta’s prized-possession of a hip-hop/R&B/soul music collective, would reunite. Known for producing the talented likes of Outkast, Goodie Mob, Organized Noize, Killer Mik, and many more, the whole city came together to support the A-Town veterans who paved the way for artists rising from the Dirty South.
This special performance was the first time in nearly two years that Outkast would reunite onstage, performing a plethora of their soul-tinged rap tracks like “SpottieOttieDopalisicious,” “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Hootie Hoo” and more. The two also tag-teamed with their Dungeon Family members, performing featured verses. Andre 3000 and Big Boi both spit their smooth bars on Sleepy Brown’s equal parts soulful and funky “I Can’t Wait.” Rotating the stage throughout the night, Goodie Mob also shut things down with “Cell Therapy,” the debut single from their acclaimed debut album, Soul Food. “Dirty South” was another joint that resonated with the crowd of proud natives. Killer Mike, second generation Dungeon Family, made his first appearance of the night for Outkast’s “The Whole World," which took the high energy set up yet another notch.
Aside from the stacked discography of the Dungeon Family, there were a few gems of surprise performances sprinkled throughout the set. Kilo Ali’s explicit “Love in Ya Mouth” had everyone reciting his lyrics with no shame, and Bone Crusher and T.I. tore down the stage with the crunktastic “Never Scared.”